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Learn All Year Long

Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

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Write "Moving" Sports Poetry


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Write "Moving" Sports Poetry

Grades 3 – 5
Activity Time Three hours (can be done over different days)
Publisher International Literacy Association

Here’s What To Do

More Ideas To Try



Here’s What To Do

1. Before you begin, have some sports-related websites picked out and bookmarked. Here are a few good ones to start with, though you may find others based on the child’s personal interests:

Note that to view the movies on the NCAA website, you will need to make sure your computer has QuickTime, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/.

When choosing books for this activity, look for those with plenty of action-packed photos, like Sports Illustrated Kids Year in Sports (Scholastic, 2008) or photo-filled biographies like Tony Hawk: Professional Skateboarder by Tony Hawk and Sean Mortimer (HarperEntertainment, 2002), On the Field with…Mia Hamm by Matt Christopher and Glenn Stout (Little, Brown, 1998), or Michael Phelps: World’s Greatest Olympian by USA Today (Triumph Books, 2008).

Helpful magazines might include Sports Illustrated for Kids and ESPN: The Magazine. You might also use the sports pages of your local newspaper.

2. Spend time exploring the images together, talking specifically about movement. Ask the child to describe what he or she sees. Together, your goal is to come up with a list of 20 words about movement. If necessary help the child by commenting on the photos or posing questions. For example, you might draw the child’s attention to the athlete’s arms and legs. Are muscles bulging with a sense of energy? Are fingers and toes pointed with a sense of grace? Now look at the athlete’s face. Is he or she sweating from the intensity, or is there a calm, determined, focused expression? Finally, look at the rest of the picture. Are there teammates nearby, awaiting the athlete’s next move, or is he or she alone in front of a crowd? Helping the child to notice these types of details will provide important clues about how to describe the movement.

3. To get the child thinking about his or her own personal feelings about movement, have a discussion using the following questions as a guide:

  • How does it feel to move your body?

  • What do you think the phrase “beauty in motion” means?

  • What do you think the word grace means?

  • What sport do you think is the most beautiful to watch? Why?

  • If you were a painter, which sport would you like to paint? Why?

Children may respond orally or they may write the answers. (Note: If you are doing this activity over several days, this might be a good place to stop.)

4. Now grab your camera and get ready to move! Go to a local park or gym and start playing ball or climbing on equipment. Take turns getting pictures of each other as you catch or run or jump or throw or climb. (Note that this part of the activity can be done with more than one child. If so, have the children photograph each other doing different things.) You’ll need to print out the pictures before moving to the next step.

5. Set out the pictures so the child can look at each one individually. These photos will serve as inspiration for a poem about movement that the child will write with your help. The poem may be free verse (meaning it does not have to rhyme or follow any special pattern) or it may be written in one of the formats listed below.

  • An acrostic poem uses the letters in the topic word to begin each line of the poem.

  • A theme poem describes an object and is written in the shape of that object.

  • A diamante poem is a seven-line poem that takes the shape of a diamond.
6. Together, use everything you have learned about motion to make a poetry poster. Have the child write the text of the poem on the poster, then surround it with the photos taken during your field trip and/or some favorite sports images from the earlier research session. Then display the poster with pride. After all, it is sure to be a “moving” piece of art!

Visit the Theme Poems page and Diamante Poems page for more information about these tools.

We Give Books logoLooking for a book to inspire the young poet? Follow the progress of a beginning skateboarder in the book Skate! Find Skate! at your local library or online at www.wegivebooks.org. Create a free account by clicking "Join" at the top of the homepage. Once logged in, click "Read" in the top header and then search for the title you'd like to read online.

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More Ideas To Try

  • Body language is an important component of physical movement. Talk with the child about how we use our bodies to communicate. Then look at photos of an athlete who’s been victorious as opposed to one who’s been defeated. Talk about what their bodies are saying about their feelings. The child might write two additional poems—one describing the body language of victory and one describing the body language of defeat.

  • For a great exercise in critical thinking, compare photos of athletes playing different sports—a hockey player and a figure skater, for example, or a skateboarder and a surfboarder. What is similar? What is different?

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Diamante poem


A poem whose longest line comes in the middle, creating a diamond-like shape. Sometimes written in a cause-and-effect format.



Researching a topic or question can take many different forms, from year-long studies resulting in publication to a quick search of available resources on the Internet. For these activities, we refer to research in the informal sense, using readily available resources (Internet, magazines, books, interviews, etc.) to answer questions.

Think critically


To think both logically and creatively about a topic using different kinds of information. When people think critically, they not only attend to new words and ideas, but they also connect these words and ideas with the things they already know.

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