Cinquain Resources & Lesson Plans

What is a cinquain?

At the most basic level a cinquain is a five line poem or stanza. 

 The poem has one topic and the details describe the the topic's actions and feelings.

Here are two variations. 

Method One
Line 1 -  one word for the topic
Line 2 -  2 words to describes your topic 
Line 3 -  3 words that describes the actions relating to your topic 
Line 4 - 4 words that describes the feelings relating to your topic 
Line 5 - one word that is another name for your topic

Method Two

Line 1 - two syllables
Line 2 - four syllables
Line 3 - six syllables
Line 4 - eight syllables
Line 5 - two syllables


Lesson Plan

My class was learning about butterflies. Near the end of this theme when they had learned many things about butterflies, we decided to write some poems about what we had learned. 

The cinquain style of poetry made it easier for everyone to write a poem by following the template. I chose method 1 (See the description above) because it was a great way to combine a lesson on adjectives (describing words) and verbs (action words).

Step 1: Brainstorm with the class a list of words that describes butterflies. Write the words on  chart paper.

Step 2: Brainstorm a list of action words and write their responses on the chart.

Step 3: Follow the same procedure for words that express feelings. We also included words about how the topic feels to touch.

Step 4: Provide the students with a template of the cinquain and explain each line.

Do an example together. Have the students suggest words for each line.

Step 5: Students may refer to the list of words on the chart paper  to write their own poems.

Step 6. Students may use the word processor to write their poems and then draw a picture to illustrate their poem.

Lesson Plans on-line

Teacher Guided Activities    A great basic description of what a cinquain poem is all about.
How to write a cinquain Learn to write a cinquain and submit it to the Girl Scouts Web Site
Fill in the blank cinquain exercise  
Use the template on-line to fill in the blanks and view your poem on-line. 
Cinquain Poetry at Poetry Zone

Another kind of short poem you could try is the cinqain, this time invented in
America by the poet Adelaide Crapsey (unfortunate name, good poet though). A cinqain has twenty-two syllables in five lines (two, four, six, eight and two).

Panic at Midnight

It's dark
I'm surrounded
by strange shapes and shadows
There's someone coming up the stairs
It's.... Mum!

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