"But Mrs. W, I DID put in figurative language AND I used at least 5 poetry techniques that we learned about in class. Why doesn't my poem sound good?" Ever hear this? I heard it a lot. The answer is in a students word choice, connotations of their word choice and the mood of their poem. Saying her eyes shine like diamonds is different than saying her eyes are bright like shiny rocks. However, that is really hard to describe to a 7th grader when they worked really hard on their shiny rocks simile!
These three poems, the first one with good word choice, the second one with ok word choice and the final one with poor word choices SHOW students what positive word choice and connotation can do for a poem. We have an on-going joke in our class when we write poetry now: Give me diamonds, not shiny rocks!
I have students label different techniques used in each poem then discuss in groups the differences in word choice in each poem. We then have a class discussion on the mood of each poem.
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