|Grades||1 – 2|
|Lesson Plan Type||Minilesson|
|Estimated Time||One 60-minute session|
Cinquain (pronounced "cin-kain") is a five-line poetic form, using a wavelike word count of two-four-six-eight-two. In this lesson, sample cinquains are read aloud as a class, allowing students to familiarize themselves with the form. Students then write simple cinquain of their own as a follow-up to a subject they have been exploring in class. Although students can write about any subject, graphic organizers and other resources are available to support units on animals, community, fairy tales, healthy foods, picture books, and rainforest/habitats.
Apple Graphic Organizer: One of several themed graphic organizers included in the lesson, this resource includes a sample cinquain, as well a step-by-step guide to creating on original cinquain.
In Apol and Harris's article "Joyful Noises: Creating Poems for Voices and Ears," one of the ways teachers build interest in poetry is by using magnetic words to create original poems. This exercise is one of several scaffolding experiences that the teachers use to "lead students beyond a superficial encounter to a deeper understanding and appreciation of poetry" (316). Through reading cinquain and then writing their own, students move from simply reading the poems to analyzing the poems and, ultimately, composing their own poems that match the format.
Apol and Harris. "Joyful Noises: Creating Poems for Voices and Ears." Language Arts 76(4) (March 1999): 314-322.
Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Apple Graphic Organizer (English & Spanish examples)
Apple Graphic Organizer (English example)
To begin, choose an person, place, or thing to write your cinquain about.(See graphic organizers or the Sample Cinquains handout for more examples)
Line 1: One word that tells what the poem is about
Line 2: Two words that describe the subject
Line 3: Three words that describe something the subject does
Line 4: Four to six words describing the subject further
Line 5: One or two words that rename what the poem is about (a synonym)
Here's an example:
running, barking, jumping
a wagging tail on the end
Grades 1 – 9 | Calendar Activity |  April 20
Students write original picture books based on their own aspirations and dreams and share with the class or with younger students.
Grades K – 12 | Calendar Activity |  October 3
Students investigate the website of a past Poet Laureate's project and use it as a model to celebrate poetry that appeals most to them.
Grades 1 – 4 | Calendar Activity |  February 16
After reading two complementary Reading Rainbow selections, students compare the selections using the Venn Diagram and write a comparison essay.
Grades K – 8 | Professional Library | Journal
This article discusses the efforts of a fifth-grade teacher and a visiting poet to rekindle students' sense of poetic passion and pleasure and describes how the authors introduced students to poems for two voices.
April 19, 2011
This looks like a great lesson that will lead the kids through the learning not only poetry but other motivators to learn about nouns and adjectives. Thank you for ALL of the great resources like work sheets and instructions and activities. Greatly Appreciated!
R Susan Spradlin
March 20, 2011
Thank you for this lesson plan. I needed to teach my first grade students how to create a simple poem and also need to teach adjectives: cinquains! I had forgotten about this style. I am excited to do this with them. Thank you, again.
July 01, 2010
Great examples and worksheets. My students enjoyed adding the graphics as modeled in the samples.
Two suggestions for the model: On the Apple Graphic Organizer page, "rojo" modifies manzana and therefore needs to be in the feminie form of "roja" - also, the singular negative command in Spanish for don't eat in the familiar form (which would apply to students/friends/peers/etc.) would be "no comas" (the singular negative formal command would be "no coma" and the plural negative formal command would be "no coman" - the translations of "no comes" would be "you're not eating" / "you don't eat" / "you don't usually eat" (statements, not the imperative mood)
Lisa Fink, RWT Staff
June 07, 2010
Thanks for the comment. We have added in the samples. Hope they are helpful!
June 02, 2010
The instructional plan says there is a student reproducible with sample cinquains, but the only samples are on the graphic organizers. It would be nice if there was a page of just cinquain samples for kids to see.