Best Book I Have Not Read

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Fifth Grade Poetry Unit of Study Writing Lesson 1 March 29, 2010

Filed under: Poetry,units of study,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:38 am
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Writing Lesson 1: Using the Writing Notebook-Collecting Interesting Words


• Poetry exemplars and anthologies used during Reading Workshop

• Students’ writing notebooks

• Teacher’s writing notebook

Intended Learning

• Students use poetry mentor texts and the world around them to record interesting and engaging words in their writing notebooks to develop a clearer sense of what it means to read and write like poets.

Big Ideas

• Develop awareness of sounds of words and rhythm of phrases.


In her book, Poemcrazy, Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge stresses the importance of collecting words. She is always collecting words (“they’re free”) and writing them in her notebook.


Explain to students they are surrounded by words, good words, all the time. But unless we slow down and notice, we often miss them. Remind students that, in Reading Workshop, they have begun to notice the way poets use words and phrases to create imagery and emotion. The exercise today will help them as they begin to write poems.


Tell students they are about to go on a word hunt. Their job is to look around the room and find interesting, engaging, intriguing words, or words they just like, and write them in their notebooks.

Model by reading three or four words recorded in your own notebook, such as “Yo!,” “wondrous,” “swiped,” or “pling.” Say each word slowly to “savor” the words’ sounds.

Ask students to look around the room for words they can see from their seats, on labels, posters, book covers, posted poems, and so on. Circulate around the room noticing students’ progress.

After a minute or two, ask a few students to share out. Again, enjoy the words’ rhythm and music.

Active Engagement

Give students three or four minutes to move around the room, looking for words and listening to the rhythmic or unique sounds of the words.

Tell students they are to write seven to 10 more words in their writing notebooks. Remind students they do not have to worry about the words’ meaning right now; they just need to pay attention to sounds, rhythms, and music of the words.

When students return to the group, have a few share out one or two of their interesting words. Choose students whose words reflect a variety of word choices, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, onomatopoeias, and so on.

Tell students today during independent writing time, they browse through some poems and poetry anthologies on their tables to find more words to add to lists in their writing notebooks. Students may already have poems in their book bags, depending on whether they have done the Reading Workshop Lesson 1: Poetry Pass -An Interview With Poetry .

Independent and Small Group Time

Students work independently or with partners to list possible words.


• Students share with partners some words they found and wrote in their notebooks.

• Several students share out one or two of their favorites with the whole group.

• Close Writing Workshop by rereading one or two mentor poems, savoring—but not discussing—the language.


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