"Colors of the Season" Poetry Writing Activity
by Eric Ode
Suggested grade level(s): 3 - 5

With some modification, this activity could be used with younger students.

Each new season has its own palette of colors, and autumn is certainly no exception. Here's a beautiful poetry writing activity for any time of the school year. You might even consider using this activity as a kick-off while you move into each new season. You'll find this project leaves plenty of room for individual expression and gives every student opportunities for success at his or her own level.

Poetic devices: figurative language, sensory/descriptive language

We'll start by creating one poem as a class. First, brainstorm together things (nouns) associated with your season. Build a word bank on the board. Don't stop too soon. You'll want plenty of words to work with.

Next, talk about the colors associated with several of the items. Are there some on the board which can be grouped together by color? Are there some which may be different colors or more than one color?

Begin your sample poem by writing on the board a starter phrase such as this:

    Autumn is orange
    like a pumpkin

Here you may wish to discuss how writers often use figurative language to make their writing more interesting. Autumn is not actually a color at all. It is a season. But we are poets. We're allowed to play with language.

Now add to your first stanza by choosing a second and third item of the same color until you have something like this:

    Autumn is orange
    like a pumpkin,
    a school bus,
    and a pencil.

Read the stanza together. How do the students feel about the stanza? Would it be more interesting with more descriptive language? Think about the senses - sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste. Play with the phrasing, finding appropriate adjectives to improve the stanza. When you have finished, you may have something like this:

    Autumn is orange
    like a lumpy pumpkin waiting to be picked,
    a noisy school bus on the first day of school,
    and the new pencil resting on my desk.

As you transition into the students writing their own poems, challenge them to create three stanzas, three supportive lines each. Each stanza should focus on a different color. Encourage them to come up with ideas not found in the word bank and, of course, to include interesting descriptive language. Have the students illustrate their final versions. Here is a sample poem:

    Autumn is Orange
    By Eric Ode

    Autumn is orange
    like a lumpy pumpkin waiting to be picked,
    a noisy school bus on the first day of school,
    and the Number 2 pencil resting on my desk.

    Autumn is brown
    like a new Wilson football,
    a Thanksgiving turkey just pulled from the oven,
    and the sticky mud caked in the soles of my sneakers.

    Autumn is yellow
    like a bouncing tennis ball,
    my new 3-ring binder,
    and the flickering flame on a Halloween candle.

    Spring is Yellow
    By Eric Ode

    Spring is yellow
    like the soft feathers of a baby duckling,
    the silky pedals of a daffodil,
    and the spongy, round center of an Easter egg.

    Spring is pink
    like sweet smelling cherry blossoms,
    little pink jelly beans,
    and the twitching nose of a curious bunny.

    Spring is white
    like a skittering cloud,
    Grandma's Sunday shoes,
    and my little sister's new raincoat.

Text © 2007 by Eric Ode. Reprinted by permission of the author. Any copying or use of these poems without consent is unlawful.

Permission is given for individual school classes to use this lesson and to make as many copies of the lesson as are needed for the students’ use. All other reproduction is prohibited under penalty of law. For use outside individual classes, please contact info@meadowbrookpress.com. All rights reserved.

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