Poetry Lesson Plan - Cinquain
Introduction: Discuss the history of the cinquain poem as a rhyming poem from centuries ago in Europe and its rhyme patterns. Discuss the haiku poem and its emphasis on syllable counts. Discuss how Adelaide Crapsey meshed the two together to create her own variation on the cinquain.
Librarian or teacher will: Read examples of Crapsey's variation of cinquain poems, such as Amaze, used to express her feelings and discuss the structure. Tell how poetry can also be used to demonstrate knowledge or teach something.
Here is an example that I wrote to demonstrate the mathematical concept of capacity:
In this pitcher?
In this jar, bowl or jug?
The capacity! Refill, please!
(Another example is given in Paul B. Janeczko's book A Kick in the Head-An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms by Scholastic).
Students will: Listen attentively and participate by asking and answering questions about the subject matter. They will practice counting syllables by clapping them out or in another appropriate way in the example poems given.
As a class, they will create one cinquain poem to practice writing out the correct number of syllables per line. The five lines should always have a sequence of 2, 4, 6, 8 and two syllables. This poem should be kept on display to help students when they write their own poetry in small groups or individually.
Extension: In teams, they will choose a book about an animal, plant or math or science concept they are learning about. They will jot down facts about their topic from the book. Finally, they will use this information to create their own cinquain poems. Students will create their cinquain poems using info and facts about animals. The poems can be used to create a class anthology or a class book that can introduce the concepts contained within to other students. Poems should also be displayed around the room and on bulletin boards with an explanation of the poetic form. This can be done over one or two class periods with older students, but can take a few weeks with younger ones as they learn to be accurate with counting and generating ideas.
If students research facts, they can use this form of cinquain poetry as a product for any subject. The form can also be used in a foreign language class. Students can write a poem of personal expression in Japanese, or Spanish, etc and practice correct usage in their poems.