Writing Lesson Instructions:
Introduction: Share the song, “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I like to pass out the lyrics out so students can follow along. Discuss the colors of the rainbow. Working whole group, brainstorm all the colors of the rainbow. Create a list on the back of their song sheet and list them on the board as well.
Writing Lesson, step 1: Introduce the book, Hailstones and Halibut Bones, to show students what good color poetry can sound like. Because this book is quite long, I like to limit it to What is Gold and What is Red. I provide students with a copy and have them follow along as I share those to poems. Once we’ve read these two poems aloud, I have students “dissect” the pieces. We discuss word choice, descriptive language, imagery, rhyming patterns, and highlight our favorite sections.
Transitioning to what their favorite color is the next step. What color would they write a poem about? Allow students the time to really think about it. I like to conduct a think aloud at this point, asking the questions and providing my answers, while students ponder their own. Guide them with questions like…
- What color would you write a poem about? My think-aloud response: I like the color blue.
- Why would you choose that color? My think-aloud response: I like the color blue because it reminds me of the ocean, where my family takes their summer vacations.
- What experiences do you have with that color? My think-aloud: I have a lot of experiences with the color blue. I like to lay on the grass and stare at the clouds floating by in the sky. I like to drink blue slurpees from 7/11. I like the way blueberries roll around in my mouth when I eat them after school.
- Where have you seen that color? My think-aloud: I’ve seen blue everywhere! Blue is on my computer screen when I open up my word processing program, blue is the color of the gum I chew, my dog's eyes and my mom’s hair! Blue is all around me!
From the brainstorming list generated earlier in the lesson, have students choose their favorite color. Pass out the graphic organizer and fill out the first page.
|Note from Barbara: The art project and the poetry piece can and should be done simultaneously. After reading and discussing selections by Mary O’Neill, you can start Step #1 of the art project lesson.
Writing Lesson, step 2: Now Listen to the song, “Color Me Blind” by Extreme. As students listen, have them highlight what words, phrases, and images they believe to be the most interesting. Have a question about being blind, or something else they’d like to discuss at the end of the song. Discuss their responses.
On side two of the graphic organizer, complete the phrase: "Picture the world without _________________. "
Have students fill in their color and write their responses. What would the world be like without blue, for example? Because this is such an abstract concept, depending upon your grade level, you might want to complete this piece whole group. For the two remaining boxes on page two of the g.o., discuss--as writers-- what words they might use in their piece and what writing skills would they add to their writers tool box that the band Extreme shared.
Based on the books of the great Katie Wood Ray, I always include a "Writer’s Tool Box" box on my g.o.'s when using any mentor text. We can always learn something from a published author, and this box is just an opportunity to record those ideas and as they occur to us. Students now have completed the pre-writing process and should be ready to write their own color poem, step 3.
Writing Lesson, step 3: Using the structure of Hailstones and Halibut Bones' poems, the graphic organizer and the student examples provided, have students write their own color poem. If students are struggling, have them start off with, [Blue] looks like _______________________________.
Once they’ve written their rough draft, I like to spend some time working on peer editing, word choice and sentence structure before writing their final draft. Once this piece has been revised, edited and their final draft is completed, continue with the art lesson under step 3.