Lesson Title: Personality Poems
Subject: Language Arts; Reading
Grade Level: 2-12
Overview: Students will gain insight into a character by creating a bio-poem for that character. This lesson may also be modified so that the student writes a bio-poem about him- or herself.
Rationale: Some students have difficulty in identifying character traits. By giving the students a non-threatening structure or form, they will be able to develop, step-by-step, an understanding of a character in a piece of fictional text.
The learner will:
- identify a character's traits;
- gain a deeper understanding of a character by writing a poem about the character.
- any fictional text which has a "rounded" character
- board, transparency, or handout on which the bio-poem form is written
Have students read a short story, part of a novel, or other fictional text. Tell the students that they are now going to become more familiar with the main character by writing a poem about that character.
Tell students that the form of the poem is a bio-poem, which is short for biography poem. (Students may already be familiar with this poetry form. If they are not, you may want to introduce the students to bio-poems by reading several.)
Have the structure of the bio-poem written on the board, on a transparency, or a handout. (You may alter the form if you wish. Adjust the length of the poem as needed simply by adding or deleting lines. You may prefer to add, for example, "Resident of _____," or "Who plans _____," etc. Go over the poem line by line, asking if anyone has questions.
Who is _____(insert four descriptive words that describe the character)
Who loves _____
Who fears ____
Who needs _____
Who gives _____
Who believes _____
Model writing a bio-poem by creating one (as a class) of a character with whom the students are familiar. For example, Cinderella:
Kind, caring, beautiful, smart
Who loves to dance
Who fears her sisters
Who needs love
Who gives of herself
Who believes in magic
Once students are familiar with the structure, have them create a bio-poem for a character about whom they are reading. (You may wish the have the entire class write about one single character or let students choose a character to write about.)
You may wish to have students first create a bio-poem about themselves. This will familiarize them with the structure.
You may use the bio-poem in subjects other than language arts. For example, students may enjoy writing a bio-poem about an historical figure or a present-day hero.
Have students share there poems. Or, ask questions about characters on a traditional quiz or test.