Sunday, October 11, 2009

SmallWorld's WordSmithery Week 7: Writing About the Weather

SmallWorld's WordSmithery is back after an e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d summer vacation. Yes, I know it's October.

If you are brand new here, I recommend that you go back and start at the beginning. My goal with the WordSmithery is to make creative writing exciting for writers of all ages. Here's what we've covered so far:

Lesson #1: Introduction and Journals
Lesson #2:
Introduction to Creative Writing, Featuring Good Words
Lesson #3:
Using Powerful Words to Create More Interesting Writing
Lesson #4: Similes
Lesson #5: Metaphors and Strong Verbs
Lesson #6: Alliteration and Spring Flowers (or Fall Leaves)

I also have a place for you to share your kids' writing and read other kids' writing to your children: Share Your Writing! I encourage you to share there or link back to your own blog. My kids love to read what your kids have written!

And now for Lesson #7: Writing About the Weather. As always, this lesson is loosely scripted. You might eliminate some things or add others as you go.

As you know if you are a regular here, I try to put the "speaking" parts in regular type and the answers in italics. And remember: parents/teacher: you should be doing the assignments, too! Go back and read the first couple of lessons to find out why. Here we go!

Writing About the Weather (beginning poetry)

(Note: if you don't go through your journal assignments from the previous lesson on a regular basis, this is the time to share your journals! Remember: we only use encouraging words!)

In the past several lessons, we’ve talked about many different tools that writers can use, so we’re going to spend more time writing in the next few weeks. We’re going to start with some weather poems. Weather is great because people react in so many different ways to different kinds of weather. Weather is always with us! Listen to how much people talk about the weather. What are some different kinds of weather? (blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoon, flood, earthquake, etc.) Note: You may want to read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs at this point, if you have a copy or can get one from the library. This gets them thinking about all kinds of weather!

Listen to these poems about different kinds of weather:

by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

(Ask questions, like: to what is the author comparing fog? what would fog look like if it were a cat?)
by Lilian Moore

All night
The wind
Through the trees,
Like a waterfall,
Tugged and Tore.
In the morning light
The stunned
Looked down on
Tattered leaves
Heaped in
Torn twigs
In barbed wired
Crossed like

Listen to the strong words that the author used in this poem: poured, roared, tugged (go through and read list). The author didn't just say, "There was a big hurricane last night." She chose very strong words to give you the feeling of a powerful storm coming through.

by Eve Merriam

Dot a dot dot dot a dot dot
Spotting the windowpane.
Spack a spack speck flick a flack fleck
Freckling the windowpane.
A spatter a scatter a wet cat a clatter
A splatter a rumble outside.
Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella
Bumbershoot barrel of rain.
Slosh a galosh slosh a galosh
Slither and slather a glide
A puddle a jump a puddle a jump
A puddle a jump puddle splosh
A juddle a pump a luddle a dump
A pudmuddle jump in and slide!

Does this poem remind you of rain? Do you hear how Eve Merriam carefully chose words that sound like rain: spick, spack, fleck, dot, etc. Can't you just hear the rain falling on a roof or on a window?

Let’s try writing a weather poem together. We are going to follow a certain formula. Writing a poem with a specific formula, or pattern, is one fun way to write. Here is the example:

Thunder comes in roaring
And rattles your bones
Like a heavy chain
Clanking across the sky
And then stalks back into the clouds,
Rumbling still.
Let's talk about this poem first. How does the thunder come in? (Roaring.) Does that make you think of an animal? What other strong words has the author used to help us really feel the thunder? (rattle, roaring, heavy, clanking, stalks, rumbling) Now let's brainstorm about different kinds of weather. (Write as they say types, such as: tornado, monsoon, earthquake, flood, tsunami, snow, blizzard, ice storm, etc.)

Now let's pick one type of weather and write a poem about it. Here is the formula we are going to follow. (As you go through each line, help them to come up with strong words that describe this kind of weather.)

Title: Form of Nature chosen

Line #1: Title plus how it arrives or begins as an animal would
Line #2: Tell what it does
Line #3: Tell how it does it
Line #4: Tell where it is
Line #5: Tell how it leaves (as an animal would leave)

After they write the poem, let them illustrate the weather.

Do one together and then give each child a form to do his or her own poem. Share these at a later time.


Below are this week's journal writings. We do one each day and then share them with each other.

Day 1

Think of at least 5 words that, when you say them, might make someone feel thirsty.

[For example: parched]

Day 2

In the spirit of “Jabberwocky,” create at least one original word and tell what it might mean.

[For example: magniflubescent: something that glows in the dark without fading.]

Day 3

Make up a tongue twister.

[For example: a box of mixed biscuits]

Day 4

Stretch this sentence by adding or changing words to make it more specific and more interesting: She ate breakfast.

[For example: After being sick for three days, my ravenous daughter ate three helpings of biscuits and gravy.]

Day 5

List all the words you can think of which are in any way related to trees.

[For example: willow, leaf, bark]

Hope you have a a cornucopia of creativity this week! If you enjoyed this lesson, let me know!

Missed the previous lessons? Click on the links below for the whole WordSmithery experience!
Lesson #1: Introduction and Journals
Lesson #2:
Introduction to Creative Writing, Featuring Good Words
Lesson #3:
Using Powerful Words to Create More Interesting Writing
Lesson #4: Similes
Lesson #5: Metaphors and Strong Verbs
Lesson #6: Alliteration and Spring Flowers/Fall Leaves

And don't forget to Share Your Writing! Also, I like link love. If you are using WordSmithery and have a blog, please take a minute copy the WordSmithery logo on my sidebar and point your readers to my blog!

All material on the page copyright 2009-10, Sarah Small.


  1. Thank you Sarah! C. never complains about writing when it is one of your lessons!

  2. Heather: Thanks for dropping by my blog! WOW I've never seen yours before but I could spend months here, probably. :) I love the writing lessons! When I have some time I'll be going through them and probably jump on board for some of it with my kids. Thanks so much for posting this poetry lesson. Your site looks like a treasure trove!

  3. We're in week two girls and me. We are loving going through your creative writing course together. My girls are young...only 8 and 6, but since the beginning they have learned so much. Their vocabulary - expanded, their stories - more vivid, their want to write more - awesome. So today as we read weather poems we created this poem about tornadoes...with the help of the much loved thesaurus (a word loving dinosaur:-)
    Tornado comes in twisting
    And yanks up the trees
    Like sharp claws
    Unearthing it's prey to devour
    Then retreats to the sky
    Still growling

    Thank you for wordsmithery. We love it

  4. Dear Sarah,
    Thank you very much for this wonderful creative writing curriculum - my girls 13 and 10 are loving it. They were having such a good time writing today - you would have thought they were having a party - there was much giggling and sharing in dramatic voices what they had just wrote....we just finished lesson 5...using strong verbs brought out their silly creativeness! Thanks again from a very appreciative home school mom!!

  5. I am such a math person that writing and coming up with writing ideas are difficult for me. Thanks for these lessons, they have made homeschooling my 2nd, 5th, and 8th graders easier!! We love them and yes I'm doing them too!


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