A Poetry-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: SENTENCE FLUENCY Support Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT

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Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

Student Instructions

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources

Student Writing Samples from this Lesson

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Teacher's Guide:

Poems of Condition

a how-to-be poem that is built with conditional clauses

This lesson was created for WritingFix after being proposed by Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant Rebekah Foster.

This on-line writing prompt is based on a poem by Rudyard Kipling, which can be found online, or there is a wonderful picture book (pictured at right) that celebrates this poem. Before writing to this assignment, students should hear and discuss the poetry of this great poet.

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A note for teachers: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources:

Pre-step…before sharing the published model:   Before delving into this writing activity, you will need to teach and/or review with students clauses, subordinating conjunctions, and punctuation. An adverb clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a verb, and adjective, or an adverb. Adverb clauses are introduced by subordinating conjunctions such as: after, although, as if, because, before, even though, unless, until, once, and most importantly for this lesson, if. In terms of punctuating suborindate clauses, an excellent resource can be printed by clicking here.

Step one…sharing the published model:    After reviewing and practicing adverb clauses, you should share Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.

Students will immediately notice the listing of “if” clauses which instruct the reader on how to be a certain person—in this case a man. Have them circle the “if”s and notice how the text is punctuated. After discussing the sentence fluency and format of the poem, direct students to finding the character traits and qualities that a man must have. Have them pay special attention to the balances that are found and developed in the qualities—“trust yourself when all men doubt you / But make allowance for their doubting too,”—highlighting or listing all the elements Kipling believes a grown man must have.


Step two (introducing student models of writing): In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups will certainly talk about the sentence fluency, since it’s the focus of this lesson.  You might prompt your students to talk about each model's idea development as well.

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.

 

Step three (thinking and pre-writing): Either use the online interactive button game on this lesson's Student Instructions Page or brainstorm a class list of careers or people that students might want to write about. Have students list all the character traits and qualities (using the contrasting model concept from Kipling) that one would need to have in order to effectively become that individual or occupation. Once they have their list of qualities or character traits, have them draft three sentences that begin with the conditional “if” adverb clause. Use the [overhead for Punctuating subordination conjunctions that still needs to be tweaked] for guidance. Once they have reviewed and practiced writing their adverb clauses, let them draft and write their Kipling-esque conditional poem.

Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.

We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we might just send you a free print resource from the NNWP for being generous.

  • Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

 

Step four (revising with specific trait language):   To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-Its to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-Its, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-Its, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we might just send you a free print resource from the NNWP for being generous.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

 

Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.


 

Step six (publishing for the portfolio):  The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing was taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for this writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group. Fifty teachers a year who do this will receive a complimentary copy of one of the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Print Guides.

To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's Writing Lesson of the Month ning.

 


Learn more about poet Rudyard Kipling by clicking here.


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