A Picture Book Poetry Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT Support Trait: WORD CHOICE

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Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

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Student Writing Samples from this Lesson

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Teacher's Guide:

Four Metaphor Poetry

stretchiiiing a metaphor four times to build a poem

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by NNWP Teacher Consultant Holly Esposito at an SBC-sponsored inservice class.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the picture book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. 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 Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge from Amazon.com, and help keep WritingFix free and on-line. We thank you!

A note for teacher users: 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 :

Step one (sharing the published model):  Mem Fox’s Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge centers around four metaphors for the question: "What is a memory?"    Mem Fox uses a young boy to interpret other people's metaphors, and these metaphors help Miss Nancy’s memory return.  The careful way Fox has chosen to describe each metaphor creates special meaning.  The writing activity below stresses the skillful creation of metaphors, which is a skill used in idea development and helps in developing showing details. 

Teachers should discuss, as they read Mem Fox's Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, what the author has done particularly well in writing this story:  in this case, author Mem Fox creates four   Illustrator Julie Vivas has created realistic and colorful images to bring the story to life.


Step two (introducing models of writing):    In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups will certainly talk about the idea development, since that's the focus of this lesson, but you might prompt your students to talk about each model's word choice as well.

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, talking and pre-writing): The interactive button choices on the Student Instructions Page can certainly inspire your students to begin generating ideas for metaphors for this assignment, but you can certainly create a class brainstorm that accomplishes the same without being on the computer.

Each student's goal is to create a four stanza poem for an interesting noun other than memory. Each stanza needs to make a comparison between their interesting noun and another noun. Each stanza needs to explore details about the metaphor they have made. When finished, each student will have a poem that actually contains four metaphors. The graphic organizer below will help them explore details for their four metaphors.

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.


Learn more about Mem Fox by clicking here!


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