These materials will give students the means to develop as writers and publish their work.
- Read and enjoy different examples of acrostic poetry
- Participate in story discussions and brainstorming ideas related to mothers
- Learn features of acrostic poetry
- Students will apply the features of acrostic poetry to poems they write in large, small group and individually
- Samples of acrostic poems found in books or online
- Mother's Day or Mother themed books to read for inspiration (see the Mother's Day Book List or the Lesson Extensions section for suggestions)
- Chart paper
- Art supplies for the collages, such wallpaper scraps, yarn, button, ribbons, construction paper, sequins, stickers, etc.
- Oversized construction paper or card stock, one sheet per student
- Optional: Computers with printer access, if you choose to create final projects in word processing
- Choose a selection of acrostic poems to share and discuss with students. You can write them on chart paper or prepare them for use on an overhead or visual presenter. I like to do one of the above and create a small packet of poems for each student to read along with so they have it to save afterwards.
Note: I like to use National Poetry Month in April to explore different types of poetry writing. I expose my students to numerous types of poetry by reading many different selections and by writing our own poems. I focus on children poets such as Shel Silverstein and invite guest poets to visit our class. I continue our exploration of poetry throughout the end of the year, saving acrostic poetry lessons until the week before Mother's Day. This results in some lovely projects that are created by the students and cherished by their mothers.
Part I: Read Mother-Themed Stories
Step 1: Spend time reading books and poems about mothers to inspire student discussions about their own mothers and how they relate to the stories being shared.
Step 2: Throughout the week we discuss and create a chart that has the following headings:
- Things I Do With My Mom
- Things I Love About My Mom
- Things My Mom Does For Me
This chart comes in handy when students need ideas for their acrostic poetry writing.
Part II: Reading Acrostic Poems
Step 1: Display the sample acrostic poems and/or distribute the packets of sample poems to students. Read aloud one or more of the poems, explaining what makes them acrostics.
Step 2: As students read more of the poems, have them create a list of features attributed to acrostic poetry:
- Uses the letters in a topic word to begin each line
- All lines of the poem should relate to or describe the topic word
- One word or a phrase can be used to describe the topic word
- Poems are written vertically down the page and they do not have to rhyme
Step 3: Check in with students to confirm understanding. Students will reference these features when writing their own poems throughout the week.
Part III: Writing Acrostic Poems
Step 1: I like to write a few poems as a class using a common topic word such as school or springtime or anything else the kids seem interested in.
Step 2: Give students the choice to work in small groups, in pairs, or alone to start writing their own acrostic poems. Encourage them to write about their interests.
Step 3: Later in the work, ask students to write an acrostic poem with the topic word "Mother's Day."
Step 4: At the end of the week, ask students to write their own acrostic poems using their mothers' first names.
Part IV: The Final Product
Step 1: When students have completed the acrostic poems using their mothers' names, bring students to the computer lab or set up a classroom computer center. Show students how to use a word processing program to type their acrostic poem. (This is an excellent opportunity to teach students about different fonts and how to increase and decrease font size.)
Note: If you don't have access to computers, have students write out final copies of their poems on nice paper.
Step 2: Print each student's poem. I usually have students draw a picture of their mom and decorate around the poem with a whimsical design.
Step 3: Have students create a collage-like picture of their mother using art supplies found in the classroom, such as yarn, construction paper, wallpaper scraps, ribbon, yarn, buttons, sequins, etc.
Step 4: Give each student a sheet of oversized construction paper or card stock. Have them fold the sheet in half to create a folder. Have students decorate the folders with their mom's names.
Optional: You may want to staple two sides or tie the sides together with ribbon or yarn (leaving an opening at the top) if you think items will slide out.
Step 5: Have students place the poems, collages, and any other gifts for their moms inside the folders and send home.
Supporting All Learners
Students learning needs are easily met because of all the opportunities to work as a class, in small groups, with partners or alone. Being able to produce work by hand and/or on computer also gives students other options for creativity.
- Assemble all of your students' work in one place with a class poetry quilt display.
- Any of these books listed are excellent choices and references to extend the activities throughout this project.
- Hazel's Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells
This is a particular favorite, as we spend time discussing what "the power of love means" in connection to this story and in their own lives. This is one of the sweetest conversations I have with my students every year and the writing that follows this book reading and discussion is priceless.
- Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
I don't know who can read this book without crying. It is a wonderful way to open up discussion about how students may one day be caring for their own parents as they are being cared for now.
- The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
No matter what you do or say, the message is that moms will always love you and be waiting with open arms. This is so important for my students to hear and to discuss because everyone has tough days with their parents and as an innocent child you can wonder where you stand sometimes.
- My Mom by Anthony Browne
Students can write a parallel book similar to this story alone or as a class.
- Just Me and My Mom by Mercer Mayer
Such a simple story, but it ties in the true things about what we all do with our moms.
- Mama, Do You Love Me? By Barbara M. Joosse
Beautiful artwork, good cross cultural connection. I like to promote the idea that moms and kids are the same everywhere.
- Hazel's Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells
- Have students bring home acrostic poems to share and read to their parents.
- Ask students to find out if their parents or family members have favorite poems to share with the class.
- Send home final products as Mother's Day gifts.
- Write about feelings or connections made to the selections of books read
- Participate in writing general acrostic poems with the class
- Work in small group, partners or alone to write an acrostic titled "Mother's Day"
- Write an acrostic about your mom using her name
- Decorate or illustrate your poems
- Create a collage art picture that represents your own mother
- Decorate a "pocket folder" to hold all of your work to present to your mom on Mother's Day
- Did students write a complete acrostic using the correct features of this poetry genre?
- Did students participate in the different class discussions and assignments throughout the week?
- Observe understandings during class discussions
- Assess student journal writing for content and understanding
- Analyze work in progress and completed acrostic poems