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Lesson Plan

Dynamite Diamante Poetry

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Dynamite Diamante Poetry

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Claudia Moberly

Claudia Moberly

Middleton, Alabama


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Sessions 3 and 4

Session 5


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Access prior knowledge about nouns, adjectives, and verbs and use this understanding of parts of speech to learn about gerunds

  • Demonstrate comprehension of parts of speech through a word-sort activity and by composing a poem that uses them

  • Define a diamante poem by looking at examples

  • Practice developing vocabulary words as part of a brainstorming activity

  • Illustrate their understanding of the diamante format by writing poems both individually and as a class

  • Practice spelling by revising their poems

  • Share their poems by reading them aloud and publishing them in a class magazine or book

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Session 1

1. Review the parts of speech noun and adjective, asking students for definitions and examples of both that you list on a piece of chart paper. Read students the noun and adjective examples you have selected from the Cleary and Heller books (suggested examples are listed in the Preparation section, or select others you prefer from these books). Ask students to tell you words that were new to them or pages they particularly enjoyed hearing. Include the new words on the chart paper.

2. Ask students to define the word verb and collect examples that you write on a new piece of chart paper. Introduce the term gerund. A gerund is a verb form ending in -ing that acts as a noun. Add the -ing ending to the verbs on the list that students generated (you might use a different color marker).

3. Read students the verb and gerund examples you have selected from the Cleary and Heller books prior to the lesson (suggested examples are listed in the Preparation section, or select others you prefer from these books) and ask them to tell you words that were new to them or pages they particularly enjoyed hearing. Include the new words on the chart paper. Brainstorm other examples of verbs and gerunds with the students and record them on the chart paper.

Point out the base words, which change their function when -ing is added. Ask students to use the gerunds in sentences that you then record on the chart paper.

4. Show students the Word Sort Chart you have created on the board or chart paper and review the different spelling patterns for each column (you may choose to provide one example for each). Tell them they will work in groups of two or three to do a word sort activity using this chart. Distribute six or seven index cards to each group. Students should record a verb and its gerund form on each card. They may use the examples you have discussed as a class or come up with their own but they must have at least two examples for each spelling pattern.

Use of dictionaries, glossaries, or your classroom word wall should be encouraged at this step.

5. When each group of students has at least six examples (two from each spelling pattern), ask them to tape their cards in the correct column on the Word Sort Chart.

6. As a class, decide if there are any words that should be moved into a different column, then discuss the reasons for the move.

Note: You should make the books you used in this session available for students to read during independent reading time and when they are writing their poems in Session 3.

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Session 2

1. Distribute the Sample Diamante Poems handout and any additional samples you have chosen to use. Ask students to discover the pattern of these poems using the following questions:
  • What do you notice about the shape of the poems?

  • What are these poems about? How do they start? How do they end?

  • What do you notice about the number of words in each line?

  • Do the poems use nouns? Adjectives? Verbs? Gerunds?
Among the things you want to discuss are the following:
  • The poem is shaped like a diamond, giving it the name diamante poetry.

  • Diamante poems can be about one thing or they can compare and contrast two opposite things.

  • The number of words varies by line.

  • Different parts of speech make up the different lines. Lines 1 and 7 are nouns. Lines 2 and 6 are adjectives. Lines 3 and 5 are gerunds.

  • Line 4 is a transitional line that moves from the first part of the poem to the second. It can either be four nouns or a thought that has at least five words.

  • The words in the poem all relate to the first and last lines of the poem, which serve as a title and conclusion. Sometimes the same word is used, sometimes two words that are synonyms, and sometimes two words that are opposites.
2. Ask students what they notice about the words used in the diamante poems you have chosen. Questions for discussion include:
  • How do they think the writers selected their topics?

  • What words do they think are especially effective and why?

  • How do they think that the writers came up with these words?

  • If they were writing a poem, where could they look to find words that relate to their topic?
3. Distribute the Diamante Format handout and review.

4. Tell the class you will now compose a poem together. Ask students what they think the topic should be. You might choose something seasonal, an upcoming event, or something you have read about or studied recently. Make sure that the topic is meaningful to students.

5. Working as a class, use the Diamante Brainstorm overhead or chart you have created to come up with appropriate words that are related to the topic you have chosen. List more words than the poem will require.

6. Model the choice of the most descriptive and appropriate words from the list by encouraging a class discussion about which words should be used and why. Discuss the order in which they should be placed to create a class diamante poem. Ask students what they think the transition should be from the beginning of the poem to the conclusion. Encourage students to experiment with different word choice and order and make note of the change in mood, tempo, and rhythm.

7. Review spelling patterns necessary for correct spelling of gerunds.

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Sessions 3 and 4

1. Students will compose their own diamante poems on a subject of their choosing.

2. First, have students select topics. Tell them that getting started is always they hardest part. Help students brainstorm possible poem ideas such as a favorite holiday, a hobby they enjoy, a science unit you are studying, a family member, or a trip they have taken.

3. Discuss potential sources for interesting words. Possibilities include the books you shared and the charts you created during Session 1, reference books in your classroom, and vocabulary lists.

4. Pass out the Diamante Brainstorm handout and ask students to create word lists for their poem. Remind them of the process you used during Session 2 to search for words for the class diamante poem. Tell them that having more words than they need for their final poem will allow them to choose the words that will best describe their topic.

5. Have students use their word list and the Diamante Poems interactive writing tool to write a diamante poem. Students should print their poems when they are complete. If your students' skills vary widely, having them work in pairs may insure success.

6. Remind students of the three possible spelling patterns used in correctly spelled gerunds. Ask them to check the gerunds they used in their poems to make sure they are spelled correctly. You might have them use print or online dictionaries such as WordCentral.com. If they need to, they can reenter their poems and print final versions.

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Session 5

1. Ask student volunteers to share their poems with the class. If they are comfortable asking for comments, allow time for class responses.

2. Collect student poems and hang them up in the classroom. Or you may choose to make them into a book or magazine for which you solicit student illustrations. This book can become part of the classroom library so students can take it home to share with families.

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  • During class discussions (especially the creation of the class poem), anecdotal notes and observation can be used to monitor understanding of spelling patterns, parts of speech, and vocabulary.

  • Use the word-sort activity to assess student comprehension of gerunds.

  • Check final versions of the students' poems for application of new learning of parts of speech, diamante structure, and spelling patterns.

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