The Continuous Acrostic Poem.
I don't know if that's the actual name or if I just made it up. I know from my elementary school days that an Acrostic poem is where you come up with a word for each letter of the "primary word". I always remember doing them with my name in elementary schoool. J I L L = Jolly Intelligent Lovable Loud.
I love using poetry in social studies. It is a great way for students to make a deeper connection with the content as well as stretch their vocabulary. And when done in collaboration with your ELA teachers, kids can create some pretty awesome poetry. Two of my favorites that I've blogged about before are the Haiku and Blackout Poetry. Check those posts out, cool stuff.
Sometimes I don't want the activity to be a long project. Sometimes I just want it to be something quick and easy. That's where the continuous acrostic comes in. I give my students one of the main vocabulary words for our unit of study and they are required to write a poem that continues through the letters of the word. Instead of using one word (like elementary "JILL") or even stand alone statements, this challenges kids to write something continuously through the letters. It should all read as on long statement, or group of statements about the topic.
I LOVE this strategy because in order for the kids to be successful at it, they HAVE to include details and examples about the word that they have learned in class. Some students' poems read just like a paragraph, while others really dive into the creativity of the poetry and make a truly moving poem. I have used these in conjunction with a larger project, as an assignment at the end of a lesson, as a review activity, part of a choice board, and as a station rotation task. It can even be used to summarize an analysis of a primary source. So versatile!
Here are a few examples from my high school students this year. I have also done this in the past with middle school.