The Colourful Parking Lot

The yellow lines separate.
A red car by a school.
Black concrete,
green cars blend in to the trees
by a lonely, cold puddle.

That poem was written by my class yesterday.

I really love what we are able to accomplish in this guided writing activity.

Our goal was to write a colour poem. I started off the lesson by sharing a poem from the book Poetry Speaks to Children.

I highly recommend picking up this book for several reasons. It comes with an audio CD that features several readings. Many of these readings are done by the actual poets as well. Not only that, but the books is beautifully illustrated.

I presented “Crayons: A Rainbow poem” by Jane Yolen to my class. I pointed out how each line of the poem contains a colour word. We looked at how each line also contains details such as shapes (circles, triangles, spikes)

I then told the class that we were going to write our own colour poem. I asked them what we could write about. We needed something that had a lot of colour in it. Of course, my students mentioned markers right away. “Markers are too much like crayons,” I said. “Let’s come up with something better.”

I opened up the emergency exit door and looked out towards the parking lot. One student figured out what I was doing. A parking lot is a very colourful setting and would work great for our poem.

I asked the students what colours are in a parking lot. The first person said “yellow lines” so I started writing that on the board.

Another student mentioned a red car. Another added that it could be by a tree. So I wrote the second line of the poem on the board.

On the next line, we wanted to say “tree” again. It sounded right so I wrote that down. But now we had an image of a tree twice in the poem. So we went back to the first mention of a tree and I asked them for a different suggestion. That’s when we came up with “school.”

The next contributer to our poem wanted to add “yellow car.” I pointed out that we already included  “yellow lines” so he suggested the car to be green instead.

The last line doesn’t have any colour in it but I loved the imagery that my student suggested. It perfectly closed out the poem. We didn’t need to write anything else. It was done.

I think we were all impressed with what we came up with.

Present poems to your class regularly. Try collaborative writing. Have fun!

If you have a teaching tip you would like to share, I know we’d all love to hear from you. There are quite a few readers of this weekly feature. I thank each and every one of you for visiting. Please consider contributing either with a comment below or a guest post. Teachers helping teachers is what this is all about.

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2 responses to “The Colourful Parking Lot”

  1. Hi Chase .. this is great .. and the book and poem look really interesting .. teaching them colours and shapes at the same time .. make sense ..

    Getting kids to think for themselves is essential ..

    Thanks – I'm sure they enjoyed the process .. you obviously did as you're sharing with us .. and I do like the poem .. descriptive – thanks – enjoy Thanksgiving .. Hilary (unless yours was last weekend?!)

  2. Hi Hilary,

    Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October. So, no long weekend for me this week. I don't think you get one either, do you?

    Thanks for the well-wishes nonetheless. Hope you have a great week.