Standard Lesson

Dynamite Diamante Poetry

Grades
3 - 5
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Five 45-minute sessions
Author
Publisher
ILA
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Overview

Engaging activities teach basic grammar concepts while developing vocabulary and spelling proficiency. Several amusing and informative grammar-themed picture books supply read-aloud examples for a review of nouns and adjectives and an introduction to gerunds. Students themselves refer to the books from the list of materials, plus appropriate dictionaries and glossaries, as they engage in a word-sort activity that provides practice in the spelling changes that can occur when verbs are turned into gerunds. Diamante poems are introduced through handouts and websites, and students compose original, structured poems in this form—first as a class and then independently—using an online interactive tool.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Many teachers do not include word study in their instruction, thinking that it is supplemental to the key elements of spelling instruction. However, word study builds vocabulary and increases spelling accuracy, contributing to overall word knowledge and reading and writing skills.

  • Students are more excited about word study when it is presented in an engaging manner, usually by integrating it into other activities that demonstrate its importance and allow students to make connections to real reading and writing activities.

  • The more teachers integrate word study into their curriculum, the more comfortable they become with it. This deepens their understanding of how to make changes so it to fits individual lessons.

 

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.

State Standards

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

  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access and printing capability

  • Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs by Ruth Heller (Putnam Juvenile, 1998)

  • Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives by Ruth Heller (Putnam Juvenile, 1998)

  • Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns by Ruth Heller (Putnam Juvenile, 1998)

  • A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? by Brian Cleary (Carolrhoda Books, 1999)

  • Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective? by Brian Cleary (Carolrhoda Books, 2001)

  • To Root, To Toot, To Parachute: What Is a Verb? by Brian Cleary (Carolrhoda Books, 2001)

  • Overhead projector

  • Chart paper

  • Index cards

Printouts

Websites

Preparation

1. Make sure that students have permission to use the Internet, following your school policy. If you need to, reserve two 45-minute sessions in your school's computer lab. These do not need to be on consecutive days. Bookmark the Diamante Poems interactive writing tool on the computers students will be using. These computers should be connected to a printer so that students can print off their poems.

2. Review the Diamante Poems interactive writing tool to familiarize yourself with it. (If you experience difficulty, make sure that computers have the most recent version of the Flash plug-in, which can be downloaded for free from the ReadWriteThink Site Tools page.)

3. Obtain copies of A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun?, To Root, To Toot, To Parachute: What Is A Verb?, and Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is An Adjective? by Brian Cleary and Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs, Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives, and Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns by Ruth Heller. Review each of them and find examples of nouns, adjectives, verbs, and gerunds to share with students during Session 1. Examples include:
From Many Luscious Lollipops:
An ADJECTIVE's terrific
When you want to be specific.
It easily identifies
By number, color or by size
TWELVE LARGE, BLUE, GORGEOUS butterflies.

Treat PROPER ADJECTIVES the same
as any other proper name . . .
a PERSIAN rug, an IRISH setter.
They always begin with a capital letter.

From A Mink, A Fink, A Skating Rink:
Hill is a noun. Mill is a noun.
Even Uncle Phil is a noun.
A box, a lip, a chocolate chip,
A cup or glass from which you sip,
A pocket, button, sleeve or cuff -
A noun can simply be your stuff.

From To Root, To Toot, To Parachute:
To root, to toot, to parachute,
To play the flutophone or flute,
To dare, defend, descend, disturb,
If it's an action, it's a verb!

Then go on to share this next section, which introduces gerunds:

Verbs tell of ships cruising, dogs snoozing, slime oozing,
They tell of spies spying, guys trying and losing,
Of leaves when they're falling, and wind when it's blowing,
The rain when it's raining, the snow when it's snowing.

4. Make a transparency of the Diamante Brainstorm or create a similar page on chart paper or a white board. Make copies of this handout for each student in the class.

5. Copy the Word Sort Chart onto chart paper or a board in your classroom.

6. Make one copy of the Sample Diamante Poems handout for each student in the class. This handout includes three examples. You might also visit the Diamantes by Koday's Kids website, which includes a number of examples of student diamante poems or the Animal Inn Poetry website, which has another example. You may want to copy one or two of these poems onto chart paper to use with the class as well.

7. Make one copy of the Diamante Format handout for each student in the class.

Student Objectives

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Extensions

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • 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.

Momma
Parent
As a teacher and parent of elementary and middle school children I so appreciate the poetry generators. The children, including my own are motivated by the structure.
Momma
Parent
As a teacher and parent of elementary and middle school children I so appreciate the poetry generators. The children, including my own are motivated by the structure.
Momma
Parent
As a teacher and parent of elementary and middle school children I so appreciate the poetry generators. The children, including my own are motivated by the structure.

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