Though grammar lessons are sometimes perceived as dry and boring, there is an abundance of fun activities to reinforce the lessons learned. For example, to reinforce and review adjectives and synonyms, teachers can incorporate poetry, specifically acrostic poems.
When it comes to poetry, acrostic poems are perhaps the easiest to write. They don’t have to rhyme but it’s fine if they do and some think that makes them more interesting.
Simply think of a topic and write the word vertically down the side of a sheet of paper. Then go back and think of a word or sentence that starts with each letter and describes the topic. Here’s an example:
Winter is a fun filled season
Ice skating and snowball fights out in the cold
North pole visitors
Toys under the tree
Evenings spent by a crackling fire
Raindrops turning into beautiful snowflakes
The entire poem is written using the letters of the topic word, usually the beginning letters.
Before beginning the lesson, review the meaning and function of adjectives.
Choosing A Topic
Choosing a good topic makes writing acrostic poems much more enjoyable, not to mention easier. Though an acrostic can be about anything, students will be more successful if they choose a topic having a variety of words and phrases that can describe it.
Before students write their own acrostic poems it’s a good idea to practice as a class. Have a brainstorming session about possible topics for the class poem. Explain to students that the topic needs to evoke an emotion or can be easily described. The topic can be a sport, content from another subject area, the title of a book read in class, or a celebrity name.
After generating a variety of topics, choose one from the list and write it vertically on the board. Leave plenty of room below each letter.
Ask students for examples of words that begin with the first letter and also describe the topic. Write their suggestions underneath the letter. Do the same with the remaining letters.
Choose one example for each letter of the topic word and write a model acrostic on the board. Then students can write their own poems on the same topic.
Working with synonyms
After students have created their first acrostic poem, review definition and function of synonyms. Explain how understanding how to use a synonym is very helpful in poetry writing. For example, if the poet writing an acrostic wants to describe the word cold by using the adjective chilly but needs a word that starts with an f, then the poet has to find a synonym for chilly that begins with an f, such as freezing.
This is a great time to practice using a thesaurus. Have them locate an adjective in a thesaurus and then generate a list of synonyms for it.
Now that students have had practice writing acrostics, it’s time to write an acrostic poem on their own. They may choose from the generated list or choose another topic for teacher approval.
Go over the structure of acrostics once more – each line begins with a capital letter and the letters that spell out the topic word are usually bolded or of another font or design.
Remind students to use strong, vivid adjectives and to look for synonyms in a thesaurus.
Once students have finished their acrostic masterpieces, encourage them to share them with the class. As an extension activity, students can write an acrostic poem on a topic that is the opposite of the first one. If they wrote a poem about winter, they can write the second one about summer.