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A Juicy, Succulent, Interesting, and Sensational Halloween Poetry Mini-lesson


Language Arts  



A Juicy, Succulent, Interesting, and Sensational Halloween Poetry Mini-lesson

By Kathleen Isberg
Primary Subject: Language Arts
Grade Level: 3rd
Duration: 10-15 minutes with a 45-minute writing component


This third grade mini-lesson teaches the application of descriptive language in reading and writing using poetry. There is an optional writing activity

Colorado 21st Century Standard:

    Interpret how the structure of written English contributes to the pronunciation and meaning of complex vocabulary.


Students will be able to:

  • Use poetry techniques and poetic structure to craft a poem.
  • Create mental images by visualizing text.
  • Select language carefully to create images and mood.

Materials Needed

  • Making Friends with Frankenstein – A Book of Monstrous Poems and Pictures by Colin McNaughton. ISBN 1-56402-962-X. (A fun title to use during the Halloween season)
  • Class copies of the poem I’m Talking Big! from the book above
  • Highlighter pens
  • Student thesaurus and dictionary
  • List of trait and character words for each student (See list below)
  • Projector — overhead or attached to a computer
  • Pencils and paper

Trait & Character Word List

Accomplished Happy Messy
Ambitious Helpful Mischievous
Beautiful Humorous Passionate
Brilliant Fantastic Peaceful
Clever Friendly Prosperous
Competitive Generous Quiet
Cooperative Imaginative Respectable
Creative Intelligent Sad
Dependable Jovial Serious
Exciting Little Trustworthy
Exuberant Loud Witty



  • Teacher reads the poem I’m Talking Big! aloud using a large voice.
    • Ask students to highlight all the descriptive words.
    • Ask students to count how many descriptive words they found. There are 27.
    • Ask “Who can tell me what all these descriptive words mean? Big
    • “There are two descriptive words that don’t mean big, can anyone find them and tell me what they are?” Incredible and Unbelievable. (Be prepared for a student to reply I’m or talking. Explain subject and verb.)
    • Teacher and students read the poem together using their large voices.
  • Teacher/Student Questioning Dialog:
    • Does the girl in the picture look big? No, but she feels big, enormous, vast and monumental.
    • What do we call words that mean the same thing – like the words big, enormous, vast and monumental?
      • We call these words synonyms
      • To encourage complete sentences and oral language development, ask as one of your students who needs to work on replying in sentences to answer this question as a complete sentence.
      • Words that mean the same thing are called synonyms.
    • Words make writing more interesting and not boring are called what?
      • Descriptive
      • Continue to encourage complete sentences and oral language.
      • Descriptive words are words that make writing more interesting.
    • Words that make us have a picture in our mind are called?
      • Descriptive
      • Continue to encourage complete sentences and oral language.
      • Descriptive words makes us see pictures in our mind.
    • So that means the words in our poem are both? What types of words?
      • Synonyms and Descriptive
      • Continue to encourage complete sentences and oral language.
      • The words in the poem are both descriptive and synonyms words.
    • Exactly most of the words are a synonym of big and are descriptive.

Shared Writing:

  • Finish the mini lesson with shared writing. The teacher is the scribe and the guide supporting the imagery and mood of the poem; display the work as it progresses.
  • Select a messy or scary word for Halloween or as appropriate, such as Slimy or Oily or Cold or Stinky or Monstrous and have the students create an “I’m” poem. ( This part of the lesson can be substituted for the modeled writing below.)

Modeled Writing:

  • Project your writing on the white board.
  • Use the word ” Accomplish ” and write an “I’m” poem.
  • Use the thesaurus and the dictionary to find words for the poem.
  • Make the poem no longer than 5 lines.
  • Explain why you choose to make your poem a little bit different.
    I’m completely, totally, utterly ACCOMPLISHED!
    I’m polite, well mannered, and a know-it-all!

Guided Writing:

    Use the word “LITTLE” and have tablemates or other pairs work together to write an “I’m” poem. Have five of the student pairs share their work.

Independent Writing:

  • Using the descriptive word list, have students look up synonyms for a word that describes their character and write an “I’m” poem.
  • Allow the students to illustrate and share during writer’s workshop. This can become a permanent artifact.


Determine if students need more time to complete their poems; this can be done in the next day’s workshop.

  • Were they able to follow the author’s poem and the modeling to write their own poems?
  • Were the students engaged in the process?
  • Did they write an “I’m” poem and did they use descriptive language?

E-Mail Kathleen Isberg!

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