If you’re looking for a writing tool that targets parts of speech practice and has a clear line from start to finish with a basic structure that allows room for plenty of creative expression, you might want to consider bringing the cinquain to class.
There are many types of cinquains, but the one I focus on with my students is the didactic cinquain. It is a simple cinquain that has five lines and uses word count rather than syllable count to compose each line.
The structure looks like this:
Line 1: What is your topic? Write it as a single noun.
Line 2: Describe the noun from Line 1 using two adjectives.
Line 3: Write down three action verbs that relate to the noun from Line 1.
Line 4: In four words, put down your thoughts or feelings about the noun from Line 1.
Line 5: What is a synonym for the noun from Line 1?
flurrying, falling, accumulating
warm and cozy inside
steaming, stirring, sipping
perfect cold weather meal
scooping, digging, shaping
moving across the land
Why I Love Them
Using this type of cinquain has so many benefits for both the reluctant and adventurous writer.
The cinquain lends itself well to warm up writing exercises and getting those creative juices flowing.
The cinquain isn’t too intimidating. It provides structure, and with it being only 5 lines, completion is near in sight.
Writing a cinquain encourages students — regardless of ability — to practice using appropriate and descriptive nouns, adjectives, verbs, and synonyms.
Since cinquains are relatively short in length and can be completed in one writing period, they are the ideal confidence-boosting piece; you know when the writing period is over, you will have accomplished a completed piece of poetry.
With practice, cinquain writing can be a fun and creative way to reflect and document just about anything. Consider starting a cinquain journal!
This list of topics to write about are endless, but here are some suggestions:
A hobby or sport
A favorite food or drink
A holiday or celebration
A past vacation
A friend or family member
A favorite animal
A field trip
How to Use Them in the Classroom
Once a formal mini-lesson on the cinquain in completed, there are many ways to incorporate them into your classroom and curriculum.
Writing warm up (no assigned topic)
Assigned topic to be used for a bulletin display
Writing journal for weekly cinquain entries
Class book on an assigned theme (holiday, field trip, season, etc…)
Holiday gifts for parents (as a bookmark or framed writing piece)
Below are bookmark templates I created for writing holiday and seasonal cinquains, and available in my TpT shop. They are larger than average bookmarks to allow enough space for writing, and once completed and laminated make a useful bookmark, whether for the student or as a gift. Alternatively, lamination can be skipped and the final product can be used as a bulletin display, or turned into a class booklet. With various topics within each holiday and season, you are sure to get a variety of completed cinquains!