Encouraging kids to write poetry is a language lesson in itself. They need to compact language, using only a few words to describe their subject, feelings or its impact. Brainstorming adjectives and verbs that describe your subject can expand a child’s vocabulary.

Since it is Poetry Month, one of my students was asked to write Cinquain poems. A Cinquain poem (pronounced sing-cane) is a poem of few words that describes a noun. The order of lines is as follows:

Line 1: a one word title that is a noun

LIne 2: two words that describe the topic (adjectives)

Line 3: three action words related to the topic ending in -ing. (participles)

Line 4: four to five words expressing your feeling about the topic

Line 5: the same word as line 1 or a synonym

In introducing this new form of poems, it might be helpful to show kids the website, Kennth’s Cinquain Poems, where second grader Kenneth shares his poems complete with illustraions.

My student chose to write a poem about worms:


slimy, muddy

wiggling, eating, crawling

too wet for me


It is actually fun to be selective about words.