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Lesson Plan

Composing Cinquain Poems: A Quick-Writing Activity

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Composing Cinquain Poems: A Quick-Writing Activity

Grades 1 – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time One 60-minute session
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Cinquain (pronounced "cin-kain") is a five-line poetic form, using a wavelike word count of two-four-six-eight-two. In this lesson, sample cinquains are read aloud as a class, allowing students to familiarize themselves with the form. Students then write simple cinquain of their own as a follow-up to a subject they have been exploring in class. Although students can write about any subject, graphic organizers and other resources are available to support units on animals, community, fairy tales, healthy foods, picture books, and rainforest/habitats.

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Apple Graphic Organizer: One of several themed graphic organizers included in the lesson, this resource includes a sample cinquain, as well a step-by-step guide to creating on original cinquain.

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In Apol and Harris's article "Joyful Noises: Creating Poems for Voices and Ears," one of the ways teachers build interest in poetry is by using magnetic words to create original poems. This exercise is one of several scaffolding experiences that the teachers use to "lead students beyond a superficial encounter to a deeper understanding and appreciation of poetry" (316). Through reading cinquain and then writing their own, students move from simply reading the poems to analyzing the poems and, ultimately, composing their own poems that match the format.

Further Reading

Apol and Harris. "Joyful Noises: Creating Poems for Voices and Ears." Language Arts 76(4) (March 1999): 314-322.

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