Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tried it Tuesday + some giveaways!

Hi all! I'm linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday!

My class finally finished our informational writing unit. We've been working really hard on some heavy duty writing as part of my Biography project. So I though it'd be great to do our poetry unit as a little bit of a break before delving into opinion/persuasive/argumentative writing.

I know, I know, April is poetry month. But so be it. We are taking our big state tests at the end of this month and I didn't want to do persuasive when my kids' brains were fried. Also, I have my kids submit an anthology of their poems to my school's SLAM Fair. That's our Science, Literature, Art, and Music Fair at my school, which is a really well attended parent night. So I wanted to have plenty of time to get that ready.

So, we started this week off by having the kids work on the cover for their anthology. While it's not a true form of poetry, I think it's fun to have the cover be a Wordle made up of words that the kids feel relate to them. It's kind of like a stream of consciousness piece!

Today we wrote acrostic poems. Now...I've taught acrostic poems to kids for years. But the bulk of that experience is back when I taught 1st and 2nd grade! I've never taught them to 3rd and 4th graders until this year. I have to say that privately I've always considered the acrostic poem to be the lamest of all poems. I'm really used to teaching them like this, almost acronym style:


In first and second grade the kids can barely spell the words they want to use, so you end up with O standing for Osome(awesome) and stuff. It ends up being aggravating to the kids when they want to use words that won't fit, and it ended up being aggravating to me because I don't believe instructional writing time is a time to be obsessed with spelling...especially poetry. And isn't one of the main points of poetry to express emotion of some kind? I never felt like the acrostics my kids produced really did that. So my history with acrostics hasn't been pretty. 

I decided to choose to have a new mindset when it comes to acrostics. I wanted to make the focus of writing them change from just fitting the formula of what an acrostic is, and focus more on the expressing of emotion. AND my intern found a great example of how they can be written as full sentences! So I started the lesson by reading Spring by Steven Schnur. (There's one for the other 3 seasons as well!)  

Then I asked for a word from the kids and of course I got "BURGER." We talked about how the words we choose to write these poems will be more meaningful as part of our anthologies if we choose words that mean a lot to us, but Burger would be fine for the example. I think the poem we came up with turned out great. If nothing else it expresses some humor. I especially like that we have referred to burgers as "edible treasures." And I have to say that both my kids and I have some newfound respect for the acrostic poem! My change of mindset really helped me frame the lesson better for the kids, and their poems were better as a result. 

In retrospect, I really think I could've been pushing those 2nd graders to do this years ago! Sigh! 

So, did I fool you or did you guess that my Tried It Tuesday is really that I tried changing my mindset about something, not just teaching acrostics! 

But anyway, in other news...

Have you heard? My one year blogiversary is coming up on Saturday! This little blog of mine will be a whopping one year old! Woohoo! I'm having a giveaway to celebrate of course! A $50 Amazon gift card and 17 other wonderful prizes from some of my favorite bloggers are up for grabs! Be sure to stop by!

And now you should rush on over to Fifth in the Middle because she is gearing up for her March Madness Giveaway, which begins later this month! She's having a pre-giveaway giveaway! What?! 

See you on the 8th! I'll end up with 4 lucky winners, but everyone who stops by will get a little something...hint hint, wink wink! And you might just want to "Like" me on Facebook so you're sure to get notified about some Flash Freebies that'll be happening that day!


  1. I like how you "sneaked" in the changing of your mindset. That can sometimes make all the difference! :)

  2. I have the hardest time with poetry....I like your burger acrostic.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I love how you concentrated more on the emotions in the acrostic poem. We have already covered poetry quite a bit. There is no waiting for poetry month when our big tests start April 1st. ;) Thanks for linking up, Nick!
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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