Acrostic Poems: All About Me and My Favorite Things
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- Standards |
- Resources & Preparation |
- Instructional Plan |
- Related Resources |
Students write free-verse acrostic poems about themselves using the letters of their names to begin each line. They then write an additional acrostic poem about something that is important to them. After proofreading, both poems are recopied or typed and illustrated and then mounted on construction paper for display. Several opportunities for sharing and peer review are incorporated.
From Theory to Practice
The use of children's names in reading and writing activities can bring personal meaning to literacy work. Lucy McCormick Calkins, in The Art of Teaching Reading, emphasizes the value of using words that matter to children and describes a classroom scenario in which young children use their own names for a variety of literacy activities. Mariana Souto-Manning takes it a step further, emphasizing the importance of respecting students' names as part of a diverse classroom community. "By highlighting the importance of names and their many meanings and accents across cultures, languages, and places, we can create a space for acknowledging the identities children embody and move one step closer toward genuinely valuing diversity in classrooms." By using their own names as a starting point for writing free-verse poems, children are using words that are important to them while learning and reinforcing initial letter sounds."(2)
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 4. 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.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. 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.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
Materials and Technology
- Writing materials, markers
- White paper, construction paper (12x18)
- Chart paper
- Create and post on the wall a large "letter/word matrix" on chart paper, in which you can write suggested words children can use for each letter of the alphabet. Write some words in a few of the boxes for examples. Include words such as never, always, sometimes, loves, likes. The ABC Word List can be used as a starting point.
- Choose sample acrostic poems to use with your class, using books from the booklist or Websites from the Resources section.
- Before Session Five, create a finished acrostic as a sample to show students when they are ready to publish their two poems. You can use the two poems that were created through shared writing with the students. They can be illustrated and mounted on the inside of a folded sheet of construction paper.
- If you will complete an extension, test the Acrostic Poem interactive, or the ReadWriteThink Printing Press interactive on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool. Choose the flyer template that will work best for your students' poems.
- Share the Acrostic Poem interactive with the students. Complete an example together. Or, demonstrate the ReadWriteThink Printing Press for helpers, indicating which template to use for students' work.
- find words that begin with the letters in their own names, using a variety of sources including word banks and online dictionaries.
- create two acrostic poems.
- revise poems as needed, for meaning and conventions.
- share their poems with classmates.
- complete a reflective self-assessment.
Session One: Introduction and Modeling with Teacher Name
- Prepare for the session by loading the Little Explorers Picture Dictionary on computers.
- Display the letter/word matrix and blank chart paper side-by-side on a flat surface.
- Read and show some acrostic poems to students, using the examples that you have chosen from the Resources section or the booklist.
- Gather students and explain that they will help you write a poem using the letters in your name, and you need them to help you think of some words.
- On chart paper, write your own first name vertically down the left side, so that each letter can be the first letter of the first word of one line. Be sure to do this in front of the students (rather than in advance), so that the starting format can be modeled for the students.
- Have students read the letters aloud, starting at the top.
- Then write your name and the verb "is" on the top line, using the first letter. For instance, I would write, "Renee is."
- Ask students to suggest some words which begin with the next letter and which can describe you.
- Write all appropriate suggestions on the letter/word matrix and explain that the chart is going to be a word bank the whole class can use.
- If no one can come up with an appropriate word, refer to the online dictionary for some ideas. Show students how to find lists of words by clicking on a letter.
- Choose at least one word from the online dictionary and have a student add it to the matrix.
- When you have a few possible words, choose one and complete a phrase or sentence, writing it down and having students read it with you.
- Continue the process with all the letters of your name. My example:
- When the poem is complete, have students read it aloud together and then talk about it. Does it make sense? Do you get a picture of the person by reading the poem? Did we use complete sentences or just words and phrases? Is there anything we should change?
- If changes are suggested, talk about them and change some words if desired.
- Leave the poem displayed on the wall.
Session Two: Students Write Their Own Name Acrostic Poems
- Before starting, review the large chart paper matrix.
- Have students suggest more words for the matrix, and especially for any blank spaces. Try to have at least two words in each space.
- Have students begin by writing their names in capital letters down the left side of a sheet of paper, then to begin their poem by completing their name and adding "is" to the top line.
- Invite them to help each other find words they need that begin with the letters of their names, and to use those words in phrases.
- Have adult helpers assist students as needed, if they are available.
- As students work, invite them to add any particularly interesting words to the matrix for others to use, too. Keep in mind that they will be doing another acrostic poem about something they like, so including some of these images in their name poems would be particularly good.
- As students finish their poems, have them informally share with each other. Working with pairs or small groups of students, invite them to give each other suggestions. Encourage students to rewrite their poems on clean paper if they have done a lot of erasing. When all students are finished, have volunteers read their poems aloud to the group.
- Collect the poems and keep them for later use.
Session Three: Students Write a Second Acrostic Poem
- Post a blank piece of chart paper to the right of your name poem.
- Gather students and explain that they are going to write another acrostic poem, this time about something that is important to them.
- Ask students to tell about some things that are important to them. Suggestions might be a pet, a favorite person, a favorite food, and so forth.
- Quickly review the process with students and give directions by choosing something that is a favorite of yours and writing that word down the left side of the chart paper.
- Then write the word and the verb "is" (or "are" if appropriate). For instance, you might write "Hedwig is" or "Cookies are."
- Have a student suggest words for the second line. It isn't necessary to complete this whole poem, since students have already been through the process.
- Have students choose what they will write about before they get a sheet of paper to begin.
- Ask them to write the word down the left side of the paper and show it to you before they begin writing their poem. At this point, you can check the spelling.
- As with the first poem, invite students to help each other, use an adult helper for extra assistance, encourage students to share their finished drafts with each other, and invite students to write a clean copy if necessary.
Session Four: Preliminary Sharing and Revising
- Tell students that they will work in groups to read each other's poems. Explain that they will trade poems with each other, read each other's poems, and give each other suggestions for alternate words and changes in spelling and/or capitalization.
- Make sure they understand that they should read all the poems in their group, so that everyone will get lots of suggestions and help.
- Point out to students that suggestions are optional, and that this is a time to try out different ideas, to get help with spelling, and to finish up their poems before they make a new, clean copy for publishing.
- Arrange students in heterogeneous groups, with four to a group. As they work, circulate among the groups to listen in, giving advice and ideas when necessary and appropriate.
Session Five: Publish and Perform
- Before starting, transfer your name acrostic poem and your favorite thing poem to blank white copy paper. Fold a sheet of construction paper in half and glue one poem to each side of the inside of the folded paper.
- Gather students together. Show them your sample illustrated poems mounted on construction paper.
- Explain to students that you are going to give them both of their poems, and that they will do three things:
- trace over the words with a fine-tipped marker or colored pencil
- illustrate their poems
- mount their poems on construction paper
- Have students create a "mother" or "father" acrostic poem for Mother's Day or Father's Day.
- Have students create holiday acrostic poems.
- Use the Acrostic Poem interactive to publish your poems. The Acrostic Poem Tool allows students to type in a word, create an Acrostic Poem, and then print out their writing.
- Or, use the ReadWriteThink Printing Press interactive to publish your poems. The flyer templates will work for individual poems. Students might use the booklet template to create a collection of acrostics.
- Have students pair off and write acrostic poems about each other.
- If students have older classroom "buddies," have them write an acrostic about their buddies.
Student Assessment / Reflections
Monitor student progress during the lesson and as students work independently through anecdotal notetaking and kidwatching. Students can complete the questions on the Acrostic Poetry Reflection Checklist in writing or during a class discussion using one enlarged copy where student reflections are gathered.