A Picture Book Poetry Lesson from WritingFix
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Student Writing Samples from this Lesson


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Teacher's Guide:

The Color of Love

reflecting on colors and the positive images they evoke

This poetry lesson was created by
NNWP Teacher Consultant Karen McGee. Many of Karen's lessons can be found in the NNWP's Six by Six Guide for Primary Teachers.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the picture book I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosse. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing I Love You the Purplest from Amazon.com, and help keep WritingFix free and on-line. We thank you!

A note for teachers: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources:

Pre-step (before sharing the lesson's mentor text): In addition to I Love You the Purplest, there are other great books that help students think deeply about color. You might share some of these other books before bringing out the lesson's mentor text...either days or weeks before you start this poetry lesson. Two of our favorites in Northern Nevada are Hailstones and Halibut Bones and My Many Colored Days.

Step one (sharing the published model):  Put two charts on the board: title one Blue and the other Red. After reading the story aloud, go back to the page of the text where Mama tells Julian that she loves him the bluest. On the Blue chart, list five blue ways she tells her son she loves him. Repeat this activity with the Red chart. Discuss with the students the meaning of the title of the book.

Invite the students to add other items that they love to the two charts, ie. the cornflower blue eyes of our Siamese cat, Ping; the shimmering water of Lake Tahoe when you first see it on a summer morning; the color of my mom’s lips when she kisses me good night; the first bite of watermelon on a hot summer day picnic.

Put the students into heterogeneous groups of 4-5, and assign a color to each group. Ask one member of each group to act as scribe, and each group repeats the process modeled on the board. When the groups have finished their charts, they will share them with the larger group and then post them around the room.

Pass out this list of colorful imagery. Have students answer the four questions in the bottom right hand corner in pairs or in small groups. Discuss the importance of thoughtful color imagery for the poems the students are about to write.

Step two (introducing models of writing before students write):  If you have made a teacher model of this assignment, you might show it to your students now. Color poems are fun to decorate, and if you show your students a decorated final draft made by you, you will motivate them to put their hearts and souls into this writing.

The Power of a Teacher Model: Meet Nevada fifth grade teacher, Kate Carter. Kate attended the NNWP's Piñon Poetry Festival with three of her students in 2010, the year that I Love You the Purplest was the featured lesson.

Kate left the festival with a decorated teacher model and with three students who could help her teach the lesson to the rest of her class. Kate said, "[My students] were thrilled at being able to be the 'examples' for the room!"

Click here to view/print Kate and her three students' finished poems.

Our Poetry Festival's philosophy is simple: teachers should make models of assignments before teaching a lesson, and teachers, whenever possible, should write alongside their students to hear how they think about and interpret the assignment.

The Power of Student Models: In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  Draw attention to the kind of word choice which helps them “see” and “feel” love. Pose questions like: Did this author’s word choice work for you? What might this author have included to enrich his word choice?

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.


Step three (thinking and pre-writing): Students will start writing using the first line: I love you__________ the _____________. Use this template with younger writers or for students with special needs. They will continue writing their poems using the charts as needed for either ideas or for spelling support.

Encourage students to manipulate the model as they see fit. Some students might choose to describe a loved one in two primary colors, using the secondary color as the opening and closing line. Some students might want to extend the model in more creative ways.

Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.

We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.


Step four (revising with specific trait language):  Two tools for revision are provided below.  You can use one or both, depending on how much time you have to spend on this assignment.

To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.


Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.

Step six (publishing for the portfolio):   The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing was taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for this writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group.

To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's Writing Lesson of the Month ning.

Like Color Poems? Have you seen WritingFix's lesson called
Color My World Grey and Blue

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