Jumbled Tanagers and Tangled Jumbos

Fisi - Creative Writing Idea: The poem, Fisi, can serve as a model for a fun and simple animal poem writing activity. Break students up into groups and assign an animal to each group. Have the groups brainstorm for sounds they associate with the animal (noises it makes with its voice, while moving, while eating, etc.). Then have the groups brainstorm for descriptive words that draw a picture of the animal (colors, physical features, typical movements, etc.). Next, have them consider and list things they could compare their animal to, or what they might compare specific physical features or behaviors of their animal to. Next have students check their lists for easy words to rhyme. Have them list rhyme matches that make sense given the theme. Then let them create their animal poems following this formula:

1. Repeated sounds.
2. Rhyming lines with descriptive words and comparisons.
3. Repeated sounds.

Mchwa - Language Arts/Art Connection: Mchwa is a concrete poem - which makes it more fun, but also makes it more challenging to read. Students, for example might miss the fact that the poem has a regular rhyme scheme. Have students read back through the poem putting slashes after each line and identifying the rhyme schemes. Reread the poem emphasizing the rhymes. Discuss what is lost and what is gained by choosing to make a poem 'concrete.' Have students discuss how they might make the animal poems they wrote (above) concrete - and then let them try it. After they have put their words on the page to resemble a shape representing or associated with their animal, have them embellish the image by drawing and painting details and a setting.

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FISI
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