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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Writing Workbooks  >  Elementary School
Four Elementary Bilingual/ESl Exercises  -  Rainbow Poetry Exercise
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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 grammatical principles:

  • 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.

Introduction
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.

Writing Activity
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.

Model
Rainbow Day

Red
sunrise
climbing up the darkness,
kissing the stars.
Orange
lilies
swaying on the stalk,
playing with the wind.
Yellow
butterfly
standing on a petal,
sipping daisy nectar.
Green
ivy
creeping up the brick wall,
looking for adventure.
Blue
waves
rolling toward the beach,
bringing a mermaid.
Indigo
parrot
perching on a leafy branch,
scolding everyone who passes.
Violet
petunias
blooming in a window box,
perfuming the siesta hour.

Student Examples
The examples listed below are from Anchorage School District students enrolled in the Bilingual program. For each student, English is their second language.

Blue whalesBy Michael B. Poniente
blue
whales
jumping high in the sky
flying over water


Green leaves illustrationBy Arsim Lena
green
leaves
falling from the sky
floating in the water


Red bird illustrationBy T. Jay Mauga
Red
bird
flying in the air
looking for its egg
blue
feathers
falling from the sky
landing in the water
yellow
bananas
peeling from a monkey
up in a tree
dying to get eaten


By Stevenson Alo
yellow
jello
dancing on the table
crying for marshmallow
red
roses
falling from the tree
landing in the grass
blue
monkey
flying up in the tree
looking for banana

Next page:   Butterfly Exercise Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6 


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