Poetry Friday: Alphabet Poems with Third Graders

Some years ago, about four – I think, I  had my writer’s circle students write a compilation of alphabet poems. There were six students in my group, each getting four letters on which to write a short, descriptive poem about what the letter brings to mind for each of them. I gave my usual, stay on topic, use descriptive words that form a picture in the reader’s mind, and get to work!  As I usually wrote alongside my students, I took the last two letters upon which to write. Of course these were the “unpopular” letters like Q and U, which were probably felt to be “too difficult” upon which to write.

During our poetry unit, I found that it was often difficult for the student’s to stay on topic. For example, when writing on prairie dogs, do not start veering off to include coyotes! Of course this depends on the type of writing that is being done, the strength of individual student skills and capacity with vocabulary, among other things like the degree of distractibility or focus possessed by each writer. Surprisingly, I noted that despite the variability, with good instruction, the use of mentor texts, and solid feedback which includes both written comments and verbal encouragement, my writers always produced some nice work. Generally, they completed it on time, too!

Some examples of their poetry follows along with a Q poem that I gave as an example that had a few things wrong with it. I used my Q poem to demonstrate what I wanted them to avoid, and what I wanted them to strive to accomplish.

Alphabet Book Poems

‘Q’

Q is a donut dripping frosting

Q sounds like the quick quacking of a duck’s bill

 Quicksilver the Color of Quiet Money

 Quarterly, Quotient, Quagmire, Quench, Quest

A Quest for Quarterly Quotients led to a Quagmire

 The Quagmire was Quenched when the Quarterly Quest was completed.

 By Mrs. L.  

                                        Some of the questions I want you to ask yourself                                           when you write your alphabet poems are:

  • What is wrong with this poem?
  • How could I fix it?
  • What is the topic? Does the topic stay consistent?

 

       Student Alphabet Poems

   A

        By A. M., Age 9

A Is An Ape Amazingly Chewing On An Apple

Amazing, Astonishing.

And Then The Apes Are Amazed At How Many

Apples The Gorillas Have.

B

By A. M., Age 9

 

Bloodhounds In The Open Fields Of Grand Dad’s Bluff

 B – The Moaning By A Bridge Of Bears

By The Fine Mist Of

Brilliant

Blue, B Is Amazing.

 

D

By A. M., Age 9

D Is Danger

D – Is the Sound of Daring And Drain

D Is Dreamless, Dare-less,

Never Daring to Give Up.

 

E

By W.L., Third Grade

E Sounds like C.

E on its side looks like an animal.

Electric Blue – the color of an animal,

Elegant, Electric Blue, Elmer, Easily

The animal looked elegant.

The animal, an eel, looked like a shade of Electric Blue!

F

By S. V., Third Grade

F is snow blowing through the air

F sounds like the snow making a big thump

Fuchsia the color of the snow mysteriously turning into the color fuchsia

Freezing, fabulous, for very beautiful, friendly,

Freezing snow falling above my roof,

The fabulous snow vanishes all of a sudden and the grass replaces it.

 

G

By G. K., age 8

G is a curly grapevine

G sounds like the pitter-patter of dew drops dropping off a vine

Green – the color of some grapes

Great, grand, goodness, globular

You’ll enjoy yummy goodness once the globular grapes are picked and shipped.

 

K

By G.K., age 8

K are the sun’s rays outstretched in the sky

K sounds like a kite tail swirling in the sunset

Khaki – the color of desert sand at sunrise

Kaleidoscopic, keen, kinetic, kinesthetic

Kaleidoscopic rays shoot out of the sun

 The kinetic rays shine in the distance beautifully and majestically.

 

M

By B. G, age 9

 M looks like two mountains

Mountains look like laundry piled up after vacation

Maroon, the color of the rocks

Mighty, Magnificent, Miles, Master, Magma, Mountain Goats

The Mighty Mountains turned into Magma spitting volcanoes

Mountain Goats master climbing many Miles of mountains.

N

By L.C., Age 9                                                    

N looks like two hills                                                                                  

N smells like fresh-cut grass                                                                    

Navy blue – the color of flowers                                                          

 Nice, narrow, nature, neat,                                                                     

The navy blue flower is part of nature

The hills are narrow and neat.

writer's-circle-alphabetbooks

We did complete the student written alphabet poem that year in Writer’s Circle. It was a fun project that the students enjoyed and was shared with their classmates during the Young Author’s night. Sadly, I believe Young Author’s night no longer happens in our school. While it did, many young students were inspired to write from their heart and share their accomplishments with many.

Can you tell that I miss Writer’s Circle?

                                                   

For some sources on word choices visit:

 www.dictionary.com

 www.phrontistery.info/q.html

 www.worddector.com

      This week, Poetry Friday is hosted by TeacherDanceBlog. Thank you! For more wonderful poems, check out her page for the Poetry Friday round up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Thoughts

  1. I’m always amazed with writing from children. They can rise to a task and write uninhibited. What a bummer the school no longer has ‘Author Night’. I bet that was fun for the guests and great for the authors to share what they’ve written! 🙂

    Like

    1. Yes. The Young Author’s Night was a great experience for the students. All three of my boys got to do it. I know it was a ton of work for teachers, but there was so much pride on those nights! Hard to see it go. Our librarian retired and with the change, some of the “old” ideas left too! It was hard for us “old” folks.

      Like

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