Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lesson Plan: Color Poem

The following lesson is on writing color poems.  The lesson is in the format of a gradual release of responsibility, where the students slowly gain independence.  The lesson includes reflection on planning and instruction.  Also embedded below is an optional template for writing color poems.

Title: Color Poems
Grade/Subject: 4th Grade Language Arts

  • 1.4.4.A:  Write poems, multi-paragraph stories and plays.
  • Students will be able to write their own color poems incorporating their senses by using a color poem template.
Anticipatory Set:
  • Read My Many Colored Days by Dr. Suess aloud.
  • Ask students: “What do the different colors represent?  What do the colors show?”
    • Feelings and emotions
  • State: “We are going to write color poems that will show what colors represent, what they remind us of, and how they make us feel.”


I do:
  • Read the color poem that I wrote (“Red”) out loud:

Red seas fill the stands.

Red is lined on the jersey's pinstripes.

Red is anticipation of the first pitch.

Red is the taste of victory.

Red smells like trouble for the opposition.

Red sounds like fans cheering.

Red evokes the feelings of pre-game jitters.

Red looks like a team ready to play.

Red makes excitement for baseball.

Red is the color of the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Have students do a brief think-pair-share discussing what they noticed about the poem.  Then, ask the students to raise their hand and share.
    • Uses five senses, starts with “Red,” has a theme
  • Read “What is Purple?” on page 189 of Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature, K-6.  Have students do a brief think-pair-share comparing “What is Purple?” poem to my poem. Then, discuss as a class.
    • Uses senses, doesn't have a theme, doesn't have specific format
We do: 

Explain that when writing my poem, I went through the following process:
  • Ask the class to brainstorm a list of colors.  Write the colors on the board.
  • Pick two or three of the colors listed, and brainstorm things that could be that color, keeping the five senses in mind.  Write the ideas as a chart on the board.  Start by giving the students an example, then have students share their own ideas by raising their hands.
  • Have the class decide on one color to write a poem.
  • Write a poem as a class, using the ideas on the board.  Use the Color Poem template, but to save time, pick only four of the lines (senses).  Give the students a sense to use, then have them give a description.
You do:

Students will be given a color poem template worksheet.  They will write their own color poems, either based on what what brainstormed in class or from their own ideas.  Note that they do not have to follow the template, like the “What is Purple?” example, as long as they incorporate the usage of their senses.  Encourage students to continue to brainstorm before transitioning to their writing portion.


Students are able to discuss the poems that were read with a partner.  This will help all students pick up ideas and build off each other.

The template will help students with disabilities or struggling students because it specifically lays out what to write.

Closure: Students will take home their poems and have a family member or friend revise and edit the poem (they can do their own revisions and edits if family members or friends are unable to help). Students will write a good copy the next day in class.  They will also draw a picture relating to their poem, but they will not color it.  All the poems will be put together to create a class Color Poem Coloring Book.


The poems will be collected.  They will be graded using a rubric, loosely based off the Pennsylvania Domain Scoring Guide.
  • Focus: Poem is about Colors
  • Content: Students incorporate their senses
  • Organization: Poem is organized in a way that makes sense
  • Style: voice is apparent through word choice
  • Conventions: grammar and spelling is on grade level
  • PowerPoint Presentation of My Many Colored Days by Dr. Suess.  Read the book aloud by going through the PowerPoint slides.
Reflection on Planning

This lesson was based off Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli's “Your Turn Lesson” from Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature, K-6.  I liked the idea of the color poem because it allows students to think about colors through in different ways through what they see, hear, taste, smell, and the feelings that connect to them (p. 188).

I wanted to use the I do, we do, you do model because it guides students through steps that will help them become independent writers.  It ultimately leads them through the process of writing.  I also wanted the students to work with their peers, which is why I incorporated think-pair-shares.  By working with partners, students are able to build ideas off each other and learn from one another.  Frey, Fisher and Allen discuss “democratizing of knowledge” in the article “Productive Group Work in Middle and High School Classrooms.”  They state that “truly productive group work should be about collaboratively building knowledge so that each member gains new understandings.” Group work really enhances students understandings, which is why I wanted to incorporate it.

Reflection on Instruction

Overall, I thought this lesson was successful.  My classmates were able to pick up that different colors trigger different emotions, depending on the person.  One person's view of a color can be very different than somebody else.  They also picked out that senses were the main parts of color poems.

I had to improvise and add things along the way.  I realized I had extra time, so after giving my classmates time to write their poems, I had them share it to a partner.  Then, volunteers shared their poems aloud.  I didn't include this in the original plan because I didn't believe there would be time for it; however, there was plenty of time.  In addition, I could have spent some extra time brainstorming ideas on the chalkboard, but I went through it pretty quickly because I worried about time.  In reality, I had plenty of time.

Also, I believe I could have spent more time evoking feelings and emotions during the brainstorming session.  My classmates were able to brainstorm words that reminded them of the colors or things that were the color, but I could have spent more time focusing on how that color makes them feel or what emotions are sparked by that color.

In the future, I would like to be more clear about the purpose of poetry.  For this type of poem in particular, I could show how writing poems is a good way to release emotion.  I could have tied this idea into the lesson.


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