At a conference last year, I was introduced to biopoems, a wonderful structured form to let students write about a person. During my visit this week Wealthy Elementary in East Grand Rapids, MI, I’m writing biopoems with third graders, but we’re not writing them about people. Instead, we’re using topics they’ve recently researched and written about. Here are a few excerpts. My sessions with them were just 30 minutes, so I took snippets here and there from individual students to share. But I have to say that these were amazing! The kids really picked up on this across the board. They chose some very cool details and wanted to share their favorite lines. They seemed to really enjoy writing about their chosen topic in another way. The fact that they had already been writing about their topics, in other forms, allowed them to slide into this activity with plenty of information and thinking easily at hand.
Aren’t these awesome!
Before we wrote, we did still do some some brainstorming about the details, nouns, sights, smells, settings, people, emotions, processes, specific moments, etc. Very quick and freeform. Then we used our brainstormed thoughts to help us write our poems.
Here’s the biopoem structure:
1. First name
3.Son or daughter of x and y
4.Lover of (3 things)
5.Who feels (3 different feelings and when they are felt)
6.Who gives (3 things)
7.Who fears (3 things)
8.Who would like to see (3 things)
9.Who lives (brief description)
10.Who (wild card)
Melissa Stewart says
What a great activity, and the kids’ snippets are terrific.
Thanks, Melissa–I am quickly falling in love with this poetic form for writing about people OR topics/events/places. Your name has come up often this week:>)
This is something I miss from working at an elementary school. I used to put a poetry board up in April for National Poetry Month. I loved displaying the students’ poems. In some cases, you can learn more about a kid by reading one of their poems than you can from other interactions throughout the school year!
That is SO true, Rebecca.