MaterialsHailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill
Set Up and Prepare
This is a fun activity that I do during a poetry unit in April but could even be a fun end-of-the-year activity.
Before reading the story, I set the students up for listening. I explain to them that they will be choosing a color that they think represents friendship. They are to listen for ideas from the poems in Hailstones and Halibut Bones that they can use in their poem about friendship. They keep the following questions in mind as they listen: What are colors represented by? How could they relate to friendship?
While I read through some poems, the students are to write in their writer’s notebook colors that they could relate to friendship. They will also write down words and phrases from the poems that they might want to use as ideas for their own writing. They may also come up with their own words and phrases that they may use in their writing while they are listening.
After reading the story, teach about or review using similes and metaphors as comparisons. Choose a color to model writing similes and metaphors about friendship with the class. For example, if you chose the color blue to model with the students, an example simile could be “friendship is as calm as the ocean," or a metaphor could be “friendship is a never ending blue sky on a sunny day." Have students brainstorm other similes and metaphors about friendship that connect to the color blue. Then model for students how to organize their similes and metaphors into a simile/metaphor poem. The students should then work independently to choose a different color and go through the same process to create their poem. Students can work alone or in pairs.
After the students publish their pieces about friendship, I have them create a rainbow by gluing tissue paper that is different shades of their chosen color on construction paper. Both their writing piece and their rainbow hang in the hallway as a beautiful spring display.
Students could write their own color poems during a poetry unit in a different poetic format.
This book can be used with younger students when they are learning their colors. They could make a collage of the items that are named for each color.
The poems in this book can be used for students to identify personification, similes, metaphors, and other figurative language.