Spring at Little House

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Spring has officially sprung here at Little House, and we are celebrating the changing of the seasons with a new writing contest! This new contest will not only challenge our students’ imaginations but also their poetry skills. In order to be in the running for the mystery prize, the students must write an acrostic poem centered around spring time.

Acrostics are a fun poetic form that anyone can write by following just a few simple guidelines. To begin, an acrostic poem is a poem in which the first letters of each line spell out a word or phrase. For our acrostic, we will be spelling out the word “SPRING”. Usually, the first letter of each line is capitalized, as this makes it easier to see the word spelled vertically down the page. The nice thing about acrostic poems is that they don’t need to rhyme, and they don’t have to follow a specific rhythm.

Students are encouraged to participate in the contest by brainstorming about what they think of when they think of spring, and creating a descriptive acrostic poem!

-Paige

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Brainstorming: I Have a Plan!

Nicole Del Negro's drawing

Staring at a blank sheet of lined paper can be a nightmare. For some, the empty lines can represent so many possibilities for wonderful compositions that they have no idea how to start. For others, the blankness of the paper causes them to forget every word they ever learned and they find themselves equally unable to start writing. Struggling to start writing – whether a story, an essay, or a poem– is a familiar experience for people of all ages. Whether you are someone with an overabundance of ideas, or someone who tends to need help developing them, a technique I always recommend is to brainstorm and plan before starting to write. I learned this from my grade eleven English teacher who told us that students who take time to plan before starting an in-class essay always do better than those who do not. This advice has been invaluable for me, both in my final years in high school as well as in university.

Before starting a written composition, I have my students write their topic on a piece of paper and write down all their ideas about the topic. Some prefer having the topic in the middle with ideas spreading outward, while others use bullet points. It doesn’t matter what method they use, as long as it works for them. Once they have recorded their ideas, we work together to determine which ideas are useful for the composition, and the order in which they will be included. This method has been helpful for both my grade three and grade six students, as it makes their writing more focused and organized. It also tends to result in more developed ideas, since it gives the students an opportunity to think more about their topic before starting to write.

Ultimately, taking time to brainstorm and plan before starting a written composition is an incredibly important habit to develop. Students who start doing this early will not only be stronger writers now, but will be better prepared for more challenging writing assignments as they progress through school. I only wish I had started doing this sooner!

-Nicole