Poetry Club: Writing Activities

122327545_15958001be_mAs we brace for another potential blizzard here in New England, I can only think of one thing: snow. Cold snow. Deep snow. White snow. Snow flurries, snow drifts, and snow-covered roads. Snow. I know that other parts of the world are basking in warm sunshine right now, but it’s hard for me to remember the world without snow.

There’s a reason why weather is often a conversation starter. It’s easy to talk about. It doesn’t immediately require complex thought or personal revelations. For that reason, I think weather can be a good jumping off point in an ESL lesson.

1. Acrostic Warm-up.  Write a single word vertically on the board. The word should reflect the current weather. As a class or in pairs, students can write an acrostic poem. Encourage full participation from everyone. All contributions should be welcome. Model:

Shivering fingers

Noses that get cold

Only white all around

Warm hot chocolate in a mug

2. Poetry Clubs. You can have more fun by putting students into groups and having them write an acrostic poem from a certain point of view. Name each group: Optimist Club, Pessimist Club, Go-Getter Club, Club of Imagination. Dictionaries can be used to prompt ideas. Have them read their poems aloud and see if each group captures the spirit of their club name

  • The Optimist Club might produce:

Blankets of beautiful snow

Light snow falls on my face

Icicles hang like diamonds

Zipper up and stay warm

Zillions of snowflakes

Amazingly high hills of snow

Really fun winter sports

Down the hill we go in our sled

  • The Pessimist Club might compose:

Bothered by the cold

Layers and layers of snow I must shovel

Icicles are dangerous

Zippers don’t keep me warm

Zoom away to a warmer climate

Always sneezing

Really slippery outside

Disgusting slush on the roads

Share the poems – and the laughs – and talk about which poem each student can relate to best. Follow-up questions for discussion:

  1. Do you like the weather we’re having? What kind of weather do you enjoy the most?
  2. Is this the kind of weather you grew up with?
  3. Does the weather affect your lifestyle? Explain.

A helpful resource for acrostic poems is available at readwritethink.org. Students can play around with the tools in or out of class. Users first select a single word to base their poem on. They click to the next page and then brainstorm a list of related words. The third screen nicely invites users to start building lines based on their list. Additional editing is allowed before printing or sharing by email.

 

Photo credit:

“Snow Day at Clark Park” by Katie. Retrieved from the Creative Commons on Flickr.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Great suggestions, and what fun!

    1. Glad you liked the post. Thanks for stopping by, Brenda!

  2. hollyd2575 says:

    Hi Jennifer! Over on LEWWWP.com we’re experimenting with monthly poetry themes, and monthly synchronous class poetry jams. Ironically, this month’s theme is: If I could change the weather…
    and this fits perfectly with your post here. I’m glad you’re finding ways to put a positive spin on the challenging winter you’re enduring there.
    http://lewwwp.com/group/poetry/forum/topics/february-s-poetry-theme-if-i-could-change-the-weather
    [Read some of the entries here: http://lewwwp.com/group/poetry/forum

    If I were in the Club of Imagination, I might write a BLIZZARD acrostic like this one:

    Banished indoors (Bone-chilling winds)

    Leapin’ Lizards! (Let’s watch Little Orphan Annie)

    Inches to feet to yards to (I don’t want to go there!)

    Zip-a-dee-doo-dah-day (Zap me with a song)

    Alphabet soup for lunch (And let’s nibble on appetizers all day long!)

    Run in place (Rigorous activity for body and mind)

    Delightful diversions (Delightful diversions)
    🙂

    Stay warm, stay safe, keep smiling,
    Holly

    1. Creative minds think alike, Holly! Despite the chilly temperatures and my fears of what the spring thaw will bring, I can appreciate the beauty of what I see outside my windows. And I feel the need to do something fun if I’m stuck indoors. Poetry fits the bill.
      Thank you for checking out the post and contributing your own acrostic poem. Kind wishes to you and the LEWWWP community!

      Will I see you in Toronto this year?

      1. hollyd2575 says:

        Just found your message, Jennifer. Unfortunately, finances keep me from attending TESOL once again. Next year, though, the convention will be in Baltimore, MD, much closer for me. I should be there!
        Hope you enjoy yourself in Toronto (and hope the snow is gone or at least nearly so. Our last pile melted today; yay!).

        Safe travels,
        Holly

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