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Cinquain Syllables

What’s a cinquain? Students will find out as they use the intense colors of Crayola® Model Magic to accent the number of syllables in each line of an original verse.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Ask students how, in their experience, stories and/or poems help them visualize, or paint mental pictures of, what is going on in a story. A discussion of visualization should follow.
    2. Have students close their eyes. Read a short poem to the class and ask for student reaction. What did they visualize? Read an additional poem and repeat the process of visualization. Encourage students to analyze how poets arrange the words and lines in their writing for effect.
    3. Introduce students to the format for a Cinquain poem. Discuss the need for counting syllables and what synonyms are. Show the class an example of a Cinquain, have it read orally, and allow a student discussion to follow.
    4. These are the rules for writing each line of a cinquain: Line 1 - Title (2 syllables) Line 2 - Describe (4 syllables) Line 3 - Action (6 syllables) Line 4 - Feeling or effect (8 syllables) Line 5 - Synonym for initial noun (2 syllables) For example: Parties Fun, food, games, friends Talk, laugh, and celebrate Share old memories, make new ones Good times
    5. Students write their own cinquain neatly with a Crayola Washable Fine Tip Marker. Leave three or four spaces between each line. To make an interesting border, trim around the edges with Crayola Scissors. Use a Crayola Glue Stick to attach the cinquain to a contrasting color of construction paper.
    6. Show each syllable of the cinquain with a distinctive accent mark made with colored Crayola Model Magic. Make tiny icons that reflect the theme of your poem to mark each syllable—such as the party balloons shown here. Create custom colors by mixing two or three colors of Model Magic together. Try swirling colors together for more special effects. Students could even color-code the syllables.
    7. Allow the icons to dry. Use Crayola School Glue to glue them above each syllable of the cinquain. Air-dry the page flat.
    8. Add decorative details with markers. Read the cinquain to appreciative audiences of families and other students. Display the beautiful cinquains in the classroom or school hallways.
  • Standards

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

    VA: Describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.

  • Adaptations

    Expand your poetry writing to other forms of poetry such as haiku, diamonte, limericks, and shape poems. Pair with a student partner; read your poem to a classmate without the title. Your partner is challenged to draw a sketch illustrating your prose. Then switch tasks and illustrate your partner's poem.

    Share a favorite poem with the class one line at a time. Challenge students to illustrate each line and post their sketches. As a whole class, discuss the differences you see in the sketches.

    Have students choose a style of poetry to include in a class publication. This can be in paper book format or electronic. Students write an original poem and illustrate it using Crayola Colored Pencils. Package these for display.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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