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Garden City School Library: Telling Fibs

Essential Question

How can I celebrate National Poetry Month?

Lesson 1 - Introduction

  • Introduction: Let the kids know that April is National Poetry Month. We are going to learn about a fairly new form of poetry, and they will write their own poems either today or next week (depending on whether we are in the classroom because of testing). Ask them to name forms of poetry they're already familiar with. If someone mentions haiku, that will make a good segue.
  • Discussion (taken from the numbers 1 3 5 7 on the chalkboard. Ask the students what number comes next. Usually a student will correctly guess 9. Ask for the next number in the sequence. Ask the student who answers how she or he knew that was correct. Students will offer explanations such as "You're skipping a number every time." If they don't bring it up themselves, point out that these are the odd numbers.

    Write the numbers 1 4 7 10 on the board. Ask for the next number (13). Ask for the number after that (16). Ask the students to explain the pattern (adding 3).

Write the numbers 1 2 4 7 11 on the board. Ask for the next number. It may take a few guesses for the students to come up with the correct answer of 16. Ask for the next number (22). Ask the students to explain the pattern. It may take several minutes for the students to figure out this pattern. Often they will say, "You're skipping two numbers." I respond by referring to the sequence and asking whether I am skipping two numbers between 1 and 2. I then ask what is happening between 2 and 4. As we proceed along the sequence a few students will guess the rule. They usually express it as "skipping one, then you skip two, then you skip three."

Now it's time for the challenge. Write the numbers 1 1 2 3 5 on the board. Ask the students what comes next. There are usually only one or two kids who figure it out: To get the next number in the sequence, you add the previous two numbers, i.e. 1+nothing=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, and so on. This is called the Fibonacci sequence.


  • Activity: Explain that "Fib" poems were invented by the author Greg Pincus, and the Fibonacci numbers indicate how many syllables are in each line. Make sure the students understand what syllables are; give several sample words and ask for the number of syllables in them. Then write the numbers vertically down the board and tell the kids that you're going to work together on a class poem. Ask for a topic, then for the lines. Explain that ideally, the last line should sum up the rest of the content.


        accomplishing a 
        Fibonacci poem together

Lesson 2 - Writing

  • Review: Give the students a copy of the handout. Remind them that we talked about number patterns last week, and demonstrate the Fibonacci numbers again. Remind them that "Fib" poems use these numbers to determine how many syllables are in each line. You may create another poem together as a class. For some reason, a few kids always have trouble understanding the concept of syllables.
  • Activity: Tell the kids that their assignment is to write one Fib poem following the rules of the format. They may certainly write more if they would like, but only one is required. They may also give each poem a title, but that is also not required. 

    Give examples of how they can adjust wording and line breaks to fit the pattern (i.e, say "will not" instead of "won't" to go from 2 to 1 syllables if you have extra).

  • Assessment:

    1 = Student does not complete a poem, and any lines that are written down do not have the correct number of syllables

    2= Student completes a poem, but a few lines do not have the correct number of syllables OR student is missing a line. (Give them the opportunity to revise first.)

    3= Student completes a poem with the correct number of syllables

    4 = Student completes more than one poem correctly


See the Numbers


Standards Addressed

AASL I.B.3 - Generate products that illustrate learning; I.C.3 - Act on feedback to improve; III.A.2 - Develop new understandings through engagement in a learning group; V.A.1 - ... write and create for a variety of purposes; V.B.1 - Problem solve through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection

Rhode Island Core: ‚ÄčELA W.3.4 - Produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience; W.3.5 - Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing; Math OA.D.3.9 - Identify arithmetic patterns and explain them using properties of operations. 

Rhode Island Cross-Curricular Proficiencies: Communication - Use appropriate style ... to address intended ... purpose; Problem Solving and Critical Thinking - Show flexibility and persist through frustrations; continue to revise. 

Rhode Island School Library Curriculum: Anchor Standard II - We are readers, writers, and creators in multiple formats.