April is National Poetry Month, and of course we will be celebrating in the library all month long!

Last week, our 1st grade classes wrote their first poems of the season with the help of ReadWriteThink’s acrostic poem generator:

screenshot via ReadWriteThink.org - click to visit!
screenshot via ReadWriteThink.org – click to visit!

Of course, before we started writing, I thought it would be good for us to read an alphabet book to get us into the acrostic mindset–and, of course, I had the perfect picture book in mind:

image from http://www.indiebound.org

Kelly Bingham and Paul Zelinsky’s Z is for Moose was a big hit at our book fair a couple of weeks ago, and I also learned today from Mr. Schu’s blog (Watch. Connect. Read.) that this hilarious book has been nominated as a finalist for the EB White Read-Aloud Award in the picture book category. The kids loved this silly (and ultimately sweet) ABC story almost as much as I loved reading it to them. 🙂

After we read the book, we were ready to write our poems. Each class came up with a list of possible topics, voted on their favorite, brainstormed ideas and information to describe the topics, and finally composed a poem with the help of the acrostic generator.

I love that all the classes chose such different topics and took such different approaches to this writing task!

Ms. Smith’s class decided to write about animals, which they have been studying in science.

smith animals
Great facts! I think we may have some young naturalists in this group…

Mrs. Barr’s class picked movies, a favorite pastime of many students.

barr movies
I love how they applied their knowledge of narrative elements in written stories to movies, too.

Mrs. Moore’s class selected dragons, because who wouldn’t have fun writing about dragons? 🙂

Yikes! I am glad dragons don't live around here...
Yikes! I am glad dragons don’t live around here…

And Mrs. Corbett’s class chose to write about World War II, which they are just beginning to research together as a class–Mrs. Corbett has a ton of budding history buffs in her group! Not only did their choice of topic surprise me, but also their impressive vocabulary and maturity.

These young historians blew me away.
These young historians blew me away. Can you believe this was written by 6- and 7-year-olds?

Besides sharing these poems on the blog, I’ll be posting them outside the library for all to read and enjoy. So, if you’re in the building, keep your eyes out for these poems and more over the next few weeks!

Bonus:

ReadWriteThink’s acrostic generator was a fun way to integrate technology into this activity, but it wasn’t the only cool tech tool I used.

To keep the lesson organized, I compiled the cover art of Z is for Moose, the 1st grade standards for collaborative writing and phonemic awareness, and the acrostic generator into one easy-to-navigate screen using Padlet (formerly called Wallwisher):

screenshot via padlet.com  - click to visit!
screenshot via padlet.com – click to visit!

I’ve just recently started playing with Padlet as a note-taking tool, but I didn’t know until this lesson that you can embed fully functional documents and webpages into a wall on Padlet. So my first graders were able to get to the acrostic generator in one easy click, and now the PDF files for their class poems are embedded onto the wall, too.

My mind is reeling with ideas for using this amazing tool! And if you’ve already used Padlet to do something awesome in your classroom, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 🙂

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