A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Welcome to this Lesson:


using just seventeen syllables to create a riddle for your reader

Piñon Poetry Festival presenter, Heather Clark, inspired this on-line WritingFix lesson.

The mentor text:

If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky is a wonderful book of animal haikus. Read the words without showing the pictures! It becomes a great "riddle" book!

Three-Sentence Overview of this Lesson:

Writers, first, celebrate the flawless animal haikus found in Jack Prelutsky's If Not for the Cat.  Next, each writer creates an animal "riddle" haiku to read aloud to others; following the creation of an animal riddle haiku, each writer creates three more haiku riddles about other topics.  Students publish their four riddle haikus out loud for fellow writers, allowing their audience to guess the subject of each poem's seventeen syllables. Teachers: Click here to see the entire lesson plan.

6-Trait Overview for this Lesson:

The focus trait for Prelutsky's haikus would certainly be word choice, and writers must emulate Prelutsky's ability to pick the perfect word to base their small writing on.  It's hard to pinpoint a support trait with such a small form of writing, but if we had to choose one, it would be voice or idea development; a traditional haiku--it is suggested--should make a connection with something in the natural world, perhaps through simile or metaphor.  Encouraging such figurative devices in your students' haikus would help either of these support traits, depending on how the teacher introduces them.

Recipient of the NNWP's
Excellent Writing Lesson Award:

Because of the quality of its resources and ideas, this WritingFix lesson was selected by the Northern Nevada Writing Project as February 2007's Writing Lesson of the Month. It was e-mailed to thousands of teachers who are members of the NNWP's Writing Lesson of the Month Teacher Network.

To quickly access all the WritingFix lessons that have been chosen as "Lesson of the Month," click here to visit the on-line archive. You can have a link to a high-quality writing lesson sent to you every month.

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