Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writing Fib Poems

Third grade students are well on their way to publishing their Fib poem accordion books! To review, they have visited with author and photographer, Sarah Campbell, to learn about her new book, Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. They have taken their own digital photographs on the school grounds and chosen their favorite photos to use in their books. They have constructed blank Fib accordion books in which to write and illustrate their poems with a photograph and other drawings. On Wednesday, they wrote their Fib poems.

Each student had a manila folder with their photograph and a "Fib Poem Template" with which to work. Fib poems are similar to haikus in that each line of the poem has a certain number of syllables. These students had already written haikus for a unit on Charlotte's Web and cinquains for a unit on snowflakes and crystals with their classroom teacher, Mrs. Holder, earlier in the year. The syllable count for a Fib poem is based upon the first few numbers in the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8.

Mrs. Tarleton, St. Therese's art and music teacher and my co-teacher for literature connection class, was also on hand to help guide students through the process of brainstorming, counting syllables, writing, and revising. To help get them started, Mrs. Tarleton suggested students brainstorm and write down words and phrases about their photographs. We asked them questions such as:
  • What colors, shapes, and textures do you see in your photograph?

  • What does your photograph make you feel or think?

  • What do you remember about taking your photograph?

  • Does your photograph remind you of anything?

  • What do you know about the subject of your photograph?
We all used our fingers to count syllables! Many of the students chose a similar word for the fourth line of the poem which demands 3 syllables: "beautiful." The day on which we took photos was beautiful, and their nature subjects of springtime were also beautiful. The poems are all different, however, and reflect their personalities and interests.

On Thursday after checking out new books for the week, students wrote their poems on the folded pages of their Fib accordion book. On Friday, the students will illustrate their books in their classroom. Sarah Campbell will return to St. Therese on Monday for thirteen book readings as the students share their completed books and poems with her and with each other. We have tried to keep their photo choices and poems secret so that the final sharing session will be a surprise to all!

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