Going on a road trip? If you and your family are traveling to a vacation destination or to visit long-distance relatives, your child may have some extra time on her hands. Keep her busy with an activity that reviews basic grammar and parts of speech, encourages creative thinking, and best of all, records the most memorable parts of the trip! Have her write a diamante poem. A diamante is a special poem that makes use of a simple structure, resulting in a diamond-shaped poem. Diamantes are fun and easy to write, so your kid may want to write a whole collection of them to preserve those memorable moments of your travels. More is better here: she’ll be getting better at adhering to grammar rules and parts of speech. To celebrate her literary art, we'll also provide directions for an attractive diamond-frame card. Mail those trip memories to Grandma and Grandpa, and you can be sure you'll make their day.
What You Do:
Encourage your child to record the memories of your trip in a notebook. Explain that a fun way to do this is by writing short, fun poems called diamantes. Show her how to write a diamante by writing one of your own as a model. Here’s the basic structure:
- The first line is one word, and is the topic. It is a singular or plural noun. The 7th line is also one word, and a noun. The 1st and 7th lines should be in contrast to one another.
- The second line is made up of two adjectives that describe the noun from the first line.
- The third line is three -ing verbs that tell actions associated with the noun from the first line.
- The fourth line is the longest of the entire poem, and is its turning point. This line has four more nouns. The first two nouns are words that are associated with the noun of the first line, and the second pair of nouns are words that are associated with the noun of the seventh line.
- The fifth line is three -ing verbs that are associated with the noun from the seventh line.
- The sixth line has two adjectives that describe the noun in the seventh line.
- The last line of the poem is a singular or plural noun that contrasts with the one from the first line.
Here’s an example of a diamante that one might write about a road trip which including lots of time at the pool and the beach:
- wet, wild
- slipping, sliding, splashing
- water slides, wading pools, beach towels, sunbaths
- drying, resting, snoozing,
- quiet, restful
Have your child keep all of her diamantes in the notebook, and encourage her to write these poems to represent all the parts of your road trip, from lengthy car rides to exciting outdoor adventures. When she’s finished, she can decorate the cover of the notebook to create a flashy title page, and even add some photos to the notebook. Along the way, she will have reviewed basic parts of speech, and created a memento that will last a lifetime!
No matter how many of these poems your child writes, you'll want to select at least one for a card to send. Relatives, in particular, tend to adore these handmade messages; and it won't hurt that this one is so literary, too!
To make a "diamante" card, fold a piece of construction paper horizontally to make a card 6" x 9" in size. Open the card, and on the left hand flap, use a ruler to trace a diamond that's 6½" tall x 4" wide, on the center of the panel. Cut out the diamond using decorative scissors (the kind with cool, scalloped edges—craft stores are sure to have a myriad of beautiful choices).
Now have your child use her best writing to write the poem through the diamond "window" you have made. (Hint: if your child struggles with writing straight, help her out by making pencil lines, or you can even write the poem on white, lined paper and glue it on. Don't let handwriting frustrations get in the way!)
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading.