- Be able to distinguish between gifts that relate to the heart and those that are simply purchased
- Create a poem for someone else
- Use appropriate word choices and metaphors to extend the meaning of the poem
- Chart paper and markers, overhead projector, or computer and projector
- "If I Could Give a Gift to You" Poem Template printable
- Colored markers, chalk, crayons, or paint
- Books or short stories to read aloud that emphasize gifts from the heart, such as "The Gift" by Helen Courrant or Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
- Optional: Blank transparency
- Select a short story or book about gifts from the heart. For more suggested titles of books about gifts from the heart, see the Books for Teaching About Giving book list.
- Decide how you want to model using the "If I Could Give a Gift to You" Poem Template printable. Write out the poem on a sheet of chart paper, make an overhead copy of the poem, or set up a computer and project.
- Prepare your own poem to act as a model.
- Make a class set of the "If I Could Give a Gift to You" Poem Template printable.
Step 1: Explain to the students that there are many ways to "give" to someone or to the community. Discuss some of the ways they know that people "give" to each other. Tell them that today they will be reading a story (or book) that relates to gifts from the "heart" rather than from the "purse."
Step 2: Read and discuss a short story such as "The Gift" or a picture book such as Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. What made the gift so special?
Step 3: Discuss the following prompt: If you had an imaginative power to give anything, what would you give someone or something you care about? It might be a gift for a relative, a pet, or a person you admire.
Emphasize that it has to be something the student couldn't buy with money, and it is something the receiver wouldn't normally have. It is a wishful gift. For example, the student could give the receiver "the speed of a cheetah."
Step 4: Using the chart, overheard, or projector, display the format for the "If I Could Give a Gift to You" Poem. Tell students that they're going to use this poem to give a special kind of gift to someone they care about. This someone can be anyone, from someone famous like Martin Luther King Jr. to someone or something familiar like their pet or their mom.
Step 5: Model how you, the teacher, would fill in the poem for your special person. Remember to use imagination and metaphor to extend the meaning. Take suggestions from the class.
Step 6: Review the "If I Could Give a Gift to You" poem that was modeled and the format students will use.
Step 7: Have the students decide to whom they are going to dedicate their poem. They should do a "prewriting" activity to help them plan: either jot down notes; make lists or webs of adjectives, similes, and/or metaphors that fit their topic; do brief drawings which symbolize what they would give; etc.
Step 8: Distribute the "If I Could Give a Gift to You" Poem Template printable and have students write their rough drafts.
Step 9: Students use the writing process to work through to a finished product including sharing their rough draft with a peer, revising, editing, and writing a final copy.
Optional: Have students choose and use "stationary" for their final polished piece. (See the Books for Teaching About Giving book list for information on the Scholastic teacher resource The Big Book of Classroom Stationery. It provides many stationery design choices.)
Step 10: Either have students take home their finished poems to share with their families or put the poems together in a class book, which can be duplicated and given to each student to share with their families.
As the teacher, give a "heart" gift to every student in the class. Write a sentence to each child telling why each one of them is special.
- Did I give enough background information?
- Should I have read more examples?
- Have the students extended their ideas so that the poems go beyond usual "gifts" into those things that are really special to them?
- Have they incorporated imagination and metaphor into their writing?
- Were students pleased with their finished product?
- What part of this lesson was most enjoyable for the students?
- What would I change next time I do this lesson?
As students are working on their poems, use teacher observation to evaluate whether they understand the assignment. Are the students using metaphors? As you go around, discuss what the students have written. Read aloud to the class particularly well-done pieces.
You can also use a rubric which includes:
- Whether the format of the poem was correctly used
- Whether the child used imagination and took the personality of their "receiver" into account
- Whether word choice or metaphor make the poem interesting and personal
- Whether language mechanics meet grade level standards