Instructions for a Pyramid Poem
Poetry can seem too complex and overwhelming for young students. Simple poems like the pyramid poem can make the form more approachable while also teaching children about language. The pyramid poem starts with one word on the top line, and it adds a word on each successive line, creating a pyramid shape with the words on the page. The poems do not have to rhyme, and there are no requirements for syllables or rhythmic patterns.
Select a Topic
Topics for pyramid poems need not be complex. They can be as simple as "flowers" or "dogs." Teachers may want to direct students to select a topic based on recent study units such as a book the class is reading or a historical figure. Students can then show off their knowledge of that topic and practice their writing skills. Teachers may also assign a theme to guide the topic, such as "family" or "vacation," from which students could write about things like "sisters" or "beach."
Before constructing their pyramid poems, it will help students to brainstorm a list of related vocabulary. For example, if students choose to write about "cats," their vocabulary list could include words like "fluffy," "playful," "cute" or "fast." Students can use a dictionary or thesaurus to help them come up with more words about their topics. Students should then separate their list of words into parts of speech, including nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs.
Write the Lines
A pyramid poem has a distinct construction. The first line is a single word, a noun. The second line includes the same noun and an adjective. The third line adds a verb, and the fourth line adds an adverb. The fifth line includes all those words and a prepositional phrase. A sample pyramid poem is:
Cats Cute cats Cute cats purr Cute cats purr happily Cute cats purr happily in owners' laps.
Illustrate the Poem
When students are done writing their poems, they can illustrate them. Young children enjoy illustrating their writings, and the content of pyramid poems is well-suited to being illustrated. Teachers can provide their own forms that students can color, such as an animal shape that includes lines for the poem. Alternately, students can use markers, crayons or paints to create their own illustrations that are specific to the topics of their poems.
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.