It’s nearly the end of National Poetry Month. And finally! A Poetry Friday post! (I know you’ve been holding your breath.) Today I’m paying tribute to Barbara Park, whose Junie B. Jones books have been cracking us up all year. I know there’s a divide over Junie B. so I’d like to come out and say I am firmly in the “pro” camp — so much so that I just don’t get why there’s a divide in the first place. (I should probably come out here and say I’m pro Captain Underpants, too.) Junie B. has taught us plenty, like how your own Grandma’s house is best, how lots of things can qualify as pets and how you shouldn’t kick a cow watering can when it’s full. She (and her teacher, Mr. Scary) also taught us how write a five-line poem called a cinquain.
A cinquain is a PWR (poem with rules). Fortunately the rules are easy to follow. And if you break them, your poem still comes out okay. Cinquains are great for kids and for kids working with partners, which is what happens in Junie B. Jones, First Grader: Cheater Pants. That dumb bunny May’s poem is a bomb, but Junie B and her friends come up with a sweet little cinquain about friendship. Their poem (and Barbara Park’s) goes like this:
Joking, gelling, sharing.
Four amigos all together.
Some cinquains use a syllable count, but here’s how write a cinquain Mr. Scary’s way, which is probably easier for younger kids:
First write your title. One word. Make it a noun.
For line two, use two words that describe line one.
For line three? Three action words.
Line four: Four words this time, an expression, phrase or sentence that reflects a feeling about line one.
Line five: One word again. Use that thesaurus in the back of your brain and think of another way to say line one.
Here are a couple we wrote as a family:
Strumming, playing, humming
Music to my ears.
rolling, eating, munching
Grandpa doesn’t like them
salty finger puppets (here we bent the rules and used three words instead of the one. Oh well.)
So that’s your writing prompt for today: write a cinquain. But don’t do it alone! Try it with a friend or with your family while you’re eating dinner. Holler if you come up with one you like.
Thanks to everyone who’s been boosting poetry awareness this month, and a special thanks to Anastasia Suen, today’s Poetry Friday host. You can find her at Picture Book of the Day. To see what else is up in the kidlitosphere for Poetry month, visit this site at kidlitosphere.org.