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Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Writing Workbooks  >  Elementary School
Four Elementary Bilingual/ESl Exercises  -  Butterfly Exercise
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Butterfly Exercise

By LaVon Bridges

Butterflies are chips of color,
rainbow bits.
Pieces gently drifting
filtering through sunbeam prisms
singing silent beauty.
--LaVon Bridges

This exercise teaches bilingual and ESL students how to write a paragraph within an imaginative context. The Butterfly exercise uses color and form, highly visual elements, as ways to foster creative expression and learning. See also the Rainbow Exercise, for using color in teaching writing to bilingual and ESL students.

Introduction and Motivation
Read the above butterfly poem to the students. Discuss any vocabulary they may not know. Talk about poetry and some of the elements of poetry used in this piece. Then ask the students to read it together as a group with you. When a student feels confident, he or she may read it individually. Pass around the book Butterflies and Moths, by Barbara Taylor, or any book with good photographs or illustrations of butterflies. Each student should spend about thirty seconds looking at the butterflies.

Writing Activity
Instruct the students to draw a butterfly with four wing sections. On the body, have them write, "I am." In each wing, the students should write a sentence about themselves. They can then write a draft paragraph, by writing out the four sentences in paragraph form. Each student should then have an individual conference with the teacher for discussion about editing the paragraph. When it comes time to write the final draft of their paragraph, they can draw and decorate a butterfly and copy the poem, too.

Reading may be evaluated from individual or group reading and participation. Conference with each student for writing evaluation and return papers to the student for correction. Consider publishing the finished products by displaying in the room, making a class book, or saving it for an individual portfolio or book.

Additional Evaluation
Give students a worksheet that involves the vocabulary from the poem. In addition, an exercise with excerpts from poetry, stories, and non-fiction articles about butterflies to match with a list of genre categories could be used.

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