Rainbow Poetry Exercise
By LaVon Bridges
This original poetry form is one that is simple enough to offer
students with limited English skills the opportunity for creative
expression. Rainbow poetry also helps teach the following important
- the definition of nouns
- the definition of adjectives
- how to use adjectives and nouns in English
- how to use verbs in English
Students’ English vocabularies also increase as they search for new
verbs for use in their poetry. Because these poems focus on colors,
they are useful in teaching the vocabulary of color; they also assist
in the teaching of concepts like prisms and the spectrum of a rainbow.
Introduce the unit by discussing the rainbow and its color scheme:
red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. An easy way to
remember the order is to think of it as the name Roy G. Biv. You can
also use the book If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow,
by Cooper Edens, before looking at the form and trying to write the
poem. The book helps students realize that imagination is important,
and that a poet or creative writer can look at life from a different
viewpoint and help the reader look at life differently, too.
Have students list the colors of the rainbow, in order, down the
left side of a piece of paper. (Fewer colors can be used, depending on
time constraints.) Then, with each color, have them write an object
(noun) of something that is that color. Then, using the progressive
verb tense (the "ing" form), have the student spend some time
creatively describing what their noun is doing. A teaching model is
listed below. Each color poem can stand alone, or they can be in a
cycle, each relating to one another.
Have a conference with each student after they have finished their
first draft, to go over grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Then, have
the students write their final draft, drawing a rainbow and decorating
the page as they wish.
climbing up the darkness,
kissing the stars.
swaying on the stalk,
playing with the wind.
standing on a petal,
sipping daisy nectar.
creeping up the brick wall,
looking for adventure.
rolling toward the beach,
bringing a mermaid.
perching on a leafy branch,
scolding everyone who passes.
blooming in a window box,
perfuming the siesta hour.
The examples listed below are from Anchorage School District
students enrolled in the Bilingual program. For each student, English
is their second language.
By Michael B. Poniente
jumping high in the sky
flying over water
By Arsim Lena
falling from the sky
floating in the water
By T. Jay Mauga
flying in the air
looking for its egg
falling from the sky
landing in the water
peeling from a monkey
up in a tree
dying to get eaten
By Stevenson Alo
dancing on the table
crying for marshmallow
falling from the tree
landing in the grass
flying up in the tree
looking for banana