Expressing Emotions With Sensory Poems

My 2nd grade students celebrated National Poetry Month by showing off their poetry writing skills. I already wrote about their Haiku Passover poetry using the BookCreator app. This week, they finished sensory poems using the Haiku Deck app for iPad.

We began by talking about the five senses, reading some examples of sensory poems, and discussing their format (consists of six lines, emotion is stated in the first line and described by a color, uses lots of adjectives). We then brainstormed a long list of emotions and chose the word “surprised” to write a sensory poem together. When it was the students’ turn, they each used a template for drafting.

Template- My Sensory Poem

My Grade 2 students LOVE to write. They used lots of great adjectives and metaphors in their poems. While I don’t expect perfect spelling, I wanted to at least encourage the students to check the spelling of those “harder” words they used. So before moving on to the final phase, the students used dictionaries to look up words they themselves had identified as possibly misspelled.


To create a final product, I chose Haiku Deck for iPad. Not only is this app very user-friendly, but it also provides access to high-resolution, Creative Commons licensed photographs–the perfect match for our sensory poems!


I showed the students a couple of examples I had created and then very briefly demonstrated the steps to find an image (we searched by our chosen color), to select the best text layout for our purposes, and then to share the final product.

In all, we spent two 40-minute lessons writing and creating our sensory poems. The students are incredible writers–but their products speak for themselves!

Sophias Poem-1


[Slides created with Haiku Deck app for iPad. Lavender image by Scott 1346 CC. Yellow image by EssjayNZ CC-NC-SA. Green image by Preneur d’Image CC. Light green image by sodaro,k CC-NC.]




Passover Haiku Poetry

My 2nd grade students wrote and illustrated Haiku poems! In celebration of National Poetry Month, I chose to expose my students to Haiku poetry–mainly to reinforce syllabication with words. We recently created I SPY riddles, which are written in a 4-beats per line rhythm, requiring parsing of words into syllables. As some students found this difficult, writing Haiku poems seemed the perfect reinforcement activity. While traditional Haiku is about nature, I’ve changed our topic up a little bit. Since I teach at a Jewish day school and Passover is right around the corner, I wanted my students to write Haiku poems about Passover.

Introduction to Haiku

We began by reading lots of examples and counting the syllables in each line (traditional Haiku consist of 17 syllables–five in the first line, seven in the second line, and again five in the third line, are non-rhyming, and written in the present tense). Using the topic “Spring” as a whole group activity, we brainstormed any related words and recorded them in a web organizer. My original plan was to then write a Spring Haiku together, but the students were eager to get started and work on their Passover poems. So we did.

Creating Passover Haiku Poems

Armed with a graphic organizer, the students began brainstorming and then drafting their poems. They did a wonderful job incorporating everything they have learned about Passover in their Jewish Studies classes.

Template- Haiku

The next lesson, we used the BookCreator app for iPad to type the poems and draw an image to illustrate them.


Check out some of their beautiful creations!




Acrostic Poetry and PicCollage

In 3rd grade, we continued our celebration of National Poetry Month. Students wrote acrostic poems and created an artifact for their blogfolios. An acrostic poem uses the letters of a word or name to begin each line of the poem, and each line must in turn relate to the word — a fun and very simple form of poetry. The subject can be anything. For our mini-lesson, students used their first names for their topics.

We began by looking at an example of an acrostic poem. Then, using pencil and paper, students brainstormed a list of words or phrases that describe them best and used those words/phrases to let their creative juices flow and draft their poems.

photo 2-1

Once poems were written, students used the PicCollage app for iPad to create their artifacts. I modeled the process and then it was the students’ turn.

In PicCollage, they took photos of themselves (or had a friend do it for them). They “clipped” their images and then added their poems. To make the first letter of each line stand out, the instructions were to choose a background color different from the rest of the text.

photo 3-3

This was a fun and quick lesson, forcing students to think of attributes that describe themselves and apply them in a creative way.





Visualizing Shel Silverstein

It’s National Poetry Month–and since I love Shel Silverstein’s work (and we have a good number of his books in the library), I did a mini poetry session with 3rd grade in the library last week. As an introduction, we watched “Ickle me, Pickle me, Tickle me too” (see ShelSilversteinBook’s channel on You Tube) read by Silverstein himself. My goal for this lesson, however, was for students to understand “visualization” as a comprehension strategy: Make a mental picture to help you understand text.

I adapted a great lesson about visualization from a math (yes!) site and read-aloud the following poem:


A square was sitting quietly

Outside his rectangular shack

When a triangle came down–keerplunk!–

And struck him in the back.

“I must go to the hospital,”

Cried the wounded square,

So a passing rolling circle

Picked him up and took him there.

As I read the poem, students were drawing their visual interpretations of the poem. It was interesting that a couple of students were worried about what or how to draw. I had to emphasize and re-emphasize that there is no right or wrong way and that we all form different mental images of text. The result was a very unique illustration from each student. Some focused on the shapes, some on the hospital.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

Then I shared Silverstein’s illustration with the class. As it turns out, he chose to not illustrate one part of the poem. Can you guess what is missing in Silverstein’s illustration?


(From A Light in the Attic, 1981)