Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fourth Grade Writing Homework

This title is a bit misleading.  Emma Jane is indeed in the 4th grade.  However, I am blown away by her writing teacher.  The assignments are not like anything I did in elementary school.  I learn something every week from this amazing teacher.  And the progression of Emma Jane since August is like nothing I have ever witnessed.  She keeps a composition book to turn in each week.  It is amazing to look through her writing assignments from September and see how she has progressed in her creativity and construction.

A couple of examples of assignments and what Emma Jane turned in.

From the teacher:  Since we are continuing to refine our sentence writing skills, we are moving on to parallel construction.  With that construction in mind, with our pens in hand, and with dedication of purpose, we will write ten sentences - each with a series of phrases or clauses created with parallel construction.  (Notice here that the teacher uses parallel construction in her directions?  I love that woman!)  Each phrase or clause must consist of at least four words.  They may be subordinate clauses, prepositional phrases, gerund phrases, participial phrases, or anything else.  

From Emma Jane:
1. Because my sister is sick, because she is contagious, because I don't want to get sick, I stay in my room.
2. Inside Lucy's doll house, on top of her wardrobe, and around her bed, tissues are everywhere.
3. With a canvas in front of me, with paintbrushes in hand, with a sky full of pink and orange clouds, I paint a masterpiece.
4. On a lake full of ducks, on a cold day in March, on a shoreline that was once flooded, my grandpa bought a boat.
5. Swimming through the freezing water, quacking their beaks off, and eating bread from my breakfast, the ducks I named Nelly and Gertrude are fun to watch.
6. I woke up to the sun rising over the water, the birds singing their morning song, and the moon setting on the horizon.

How is that for using the material before you?

This week the assignment was to write 3 poems.

From the teacher:

Writing homework is to write three poems:  One haiku, one cinquain, and one diamante. Choose one topic and write all three poems on that topic.
Remember a haiku is three lines: the first has five syllables; the second has seven; and the third, five. 

Because Emma Jane had just finished reading the book Hatchet this weekend, because she had Hatchet on the brain, and because she needed to write three poems, she used the novel as the topic for her three poems.

Here is her haiku.

Starving, stranded boy
Surviving in the forest
For fifty-nine days

The cinquain has five lines. The first line is a noun that is the topic or the title. The second line is two adjectives. The third line is three words describing the noun.  The fourth line is four words describing feelings related to that noun.  The fifth line is a single noun that is either a synonym for or is some reference to the first noun. 

Here is her cinquain.

Scared, strong
Trying to survive
Desperate to be rescued

A diamant√© is a seven-line poem.  The first line is a noun. The second line is two adjectives. The third line is three gerunds (ing verbs).   The fourth line is four nouns. The fifth line is three verbs (again gerunds). The sixth line is two adjectives. The seventh line is a noun that is either a synonym or an antonym of the first noun. The poem often changes tone (or if it’s an antonym at the end—changes topic) halfway through the line of four nouns.

Here is her diamanté.

Desperate, hungry
Crashing, starving, hurting
Hatchet, tornado, radio, airplane
Landing, surprising, rescuing 
Brave, resourceful

Shaped like a diamond
Just like it was meant to be
Creative, smart girl

(sorry, couldn't resist)

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