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WT 184 Traditional and Playful Poetry

Teacher Tips and Answers


WT 184

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Traditional and Playful Poetry

Kid and Picture
© Thoughtful Learning 2025

Have you ever seen a still-life painting of fruit? The red apple shines, and its sweet aroma drifts up from the canvas. Yellow bananas bunch with flavor. Cool green grapes and wonderful watermelon call to you. The painter has captured the scene so well that you can taste it.

Make Mouths Water!

You can write poetry so well that readers can taste it, too. This chapter teaches you to write traditional and playful forms. You’ll learn to write limericks and haikus, silly poems and shape poems. Your poem can offer luscious visions and sweet smells and happy sounds!

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Traditional Poetry
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Cinquain 🟪 A cinquain poem is five lines long. To write a cinquain poem, follow the form listed below.

    One-word title . . . . . .  . . . . Pizza
    Two describing words . . . Cheesy, meaty
    Three action words . . . . .  Bake, slice, steam
    Four feeling words . . . . . . Share with my bros
    One synonym for title . . .  Pie

Limerick 🟪 A limerick is also five lines long. Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme; and lines 3 and 4 rhyme. A limerick is always about a silly topic. Notice the rhythm of the words as you read it aloud.

Bernard the Mule Limerick
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Haiku 🟪 A haiku poem is three lines long. Lines 1 and 3 have five syllables. Line 2 has seven syllables. The topic of a haiku poem is usually something in nature.

Caterpillar Haiku
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Writing a Haiku Poem


Gather Writing Ideas 🟪 What do you see outside? A robin hunting worms, purple lilacs blooming, rain pelting puddles, trees shivering in the wind, a cat prowling along a fence . . . ?

Select a Topic 🟪 Choose an idea that is surprising or colorful, one that makes you wonder or makes your heart flutter.

Writing a Draft

Write Three Lines 🟪 In the first two lines, describe your topic. In the third line, say something thoughtful about it. Here’s a first draft by student Jill Rivers:

Lilacs burst in bloom

Around an old dry fence post,

Glad spring arrived.

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Count the Syllables 🟪 Count the syllables in each line of your poem. (Jill's first draft did not have enough syllables in the last line.) Add, delete, or change words to fit this pattern:

Line 1: five syllables

Line 2: seven syllables

Line 3: five syllables

Check the Details 🟪 Make sure that you have used the best words to describe your topic. (In Jill’s poem, she decided that “worn-out” would be a better adjective than “dry old.”)

Editing & Proofreading

Check for Errors 🟪 Correct any spelling, capitalization, or punctuation errors. Then make a neat final copy of your poem. Here is Jill’s finished poem:

Lilacs bloom purple

Around a worn-out fence post,

Glad that spring is here.

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Playful Poetry
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Alphabet Poem 🟪 An alphabet poem uses part of the alphabet to create a funny list.

Alphabet Poem
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Concrete Poem 🟪 A concrete poem has a special shape or design.

Concrete Poem
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5-W’s Poem 🟪 A 5-W’s poem is five lines long. The lines answer who? what? when? where? and why?

5 W's Poem
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Writing a 5-W’s Poem


Choose a “Who” 🟪 Make a list of silly and serious “who” ideas. Select one for your topic.

Use a 5-W’s Chart 🟪 Fill out a chart like this to answer each of the 5 W’s.







Writing a Draft

Create Your Poem 🟪 Write a line inspired by each column of your 5 W’s chart. Change words as needed.


Check Each Line 🟪 Make sure you have answered each of the 5 W’s in order.

Check Each Word 🟪 Have you chosen the best words for your poem? For example, dozes is better than sleeps, and bark-o-lounger is better than bed.

Editing & Proofreading

Check for Errors 🟪 Fix any mistakes and make a neat final copy.

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Lesson Plan Resources:

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Vocabulary List:
  • traditional poetry: poems with regular rhythm and rhyme

  • playful poetry: poems that play with words and ideas

Vocabulary List:
  • cinquain: five-line poem with one word in lines 1 and 5, two describing words in line 2, three action words in line 3, and four feeling words in line 4

  • limerick: silly five-line poem that rhymes lines 1, 2, and 5, and lines 3 and 4

  • haiku: three-line Japanese poem about nature

Vocabulary List:
  • alphabet poem: poem with an A-B-C form

  • concrete poem: poem that takes the shape of what it describes

  • 5 W's poem: five-line poem that answers who? what? when? where? and why?

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