A Patchwork of Places and Poetry
~ An Internet Project ~

About the Project
Marci McGowan completes her first trilogy
of outstanding special places projects with
A Patchwork of Places and Poetry.

Our Special Place
Our classroom theme this year is lighthouses because we will be navigating our way back to our newly built school. We also, as an extension of the book Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, begin our school year with a field trip to Eastern Point Light in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Here is a map that shows its location.

Image courtesy of New England Lighthouses ~ A Virtual Guide
Our Work
Since we will soon be having to move our classroom to a new school, I thought that online quilts might be the best way to display our work. Marci's projects always inspire and challenge us to new heights!
Our work for this project had three components:
  • an Online Acrostic "Quilt"
  • a Dazzling Daymarks Quilt
  • a version of Sensory Poetry using the book Hello, Ocean as a model

Our Online Acrostic Quilt
We began our project by discussing the poetic form of acrostics. We did a "practice" acrostic with the word OCEAN, then created a class acrostic for the word LIGHTHOUSE.

Usually I encourage the children to use phrases, not individual words, when writing acrostics, but because we knew our work would become an online quilt, we chose single words. We had to choose them very carefully to be sure we captured the essence of a lighthouse. You can imagine the discussion while trying to choose just the "right" words!

Next, using Appleworks 6 Drawing and the backgrounds from our page, I took the children's words and created our online quilt below.

Dazzling Daymarks Quilt
Every lighthouse has its own special pattern of flashes to help ships navigate at night. Each lighthouse also has its own special daymarks to help sailors find their location during the day. Daymarks are the way a lighthouse looks - its color and patterns. Some have stripes, some have checks, some have simple colors.

We thought we could come up with some very imaginative daymarks! Inspired by Heidi's beautiful artwork found at The Country Shelf, we created our own daymarks for our Dazzling Daymarks Quilt.
Please click on the lighthouse below to view it.
We think you'll agree, our daymarks are dazzling!

Our Sensory Poems
Before our field trip to Eastern Point Light, we read the book Hello, Ocean by Pam Munoz Ryan. This is a wonderful book, written in rhyme, that shares the world of the ocean through our senses. At the lighthouse we took notes about what we saw, heard, smelled, touched, and felt. These notes would be used to help us in Writers' Workshop as we wrote sensory "poems".

I introduced the children to their first graphic organizer of the year - something we call a "describing wheel". The children wrote the words see, hear, smell, touch, and feelings in each section of the wheel, then added something to each part that matched it (example: see - ocean). Finally, they added a descriptive word or phrase to each section (example see - glimmering ocean). Now we were ready for writing!

Here is an example of a Describing Wheel Graphic Organizer:

Below please read a few examples of our finished pieces.
We hope you enjoy them!
Hello, Lighthouse, my best friend.
I see you standing tall.
I hear your ocean waves crashing against your land.
I smell salt water all around you.
I touch your cold, iron railing that leads to the top of you.
I feel very excited when I'm on your highest point.
Goodbye, for now, Lighthouse, my best friend.
Keep your light shining!

by Nicholas

Hello, Lighthouse, my new friend.
I see your bright light shining from your peak.
I hear the pounding of the powerful waves crashing against the breakwater with the bubbling current.
I smell the keen, grassy scent mixed with the salty air which smells so good.
I touch your smooth, white bricks which feel so cool.
I feel as if the beauty of the world was stored in you.
Goodbye for now, Lighthouse, my new friend.
I will see you again.

by Ben

Hello, Lighthouse, my best friend.
I see the blue, glimmering ocean that waves in front of you.
I hear the low voices of old foghorns.
I can smell salt as it floats through the air with its strange aroma.
I feel the wet, cold mist that surrounds you.
My heart is touched by your strength and courage.
Goodbye, Lighthouse, my best friend.
Keep the light working and your beauty forever.

by Omer

Hello, Lighthouse, my best friend.
I see seagulls with their pearl white feathers gliding up above.
I hear a foghorn like someone moaning.
I smell mist moving slowly in the chilly air.
I touch grass swaying silently in the breeze.
I feel joyful with the pleasure you give me.
Goodbye, Lighthouse, my best friend.
Keep your lights burning strong.

by Dylan

Addressing the Standards
English/Language Arts Curriculum Framework
Standard 19: Writing
Students will write with a clear focus, coherent organization, and sufficient detail.

Standard 20: Consideration of Audience and Purpose
Students will write for different audiences and purposes.

Standard 21: Revising
Students will demonstrate improvement in organization, content, paragraph development, level of detail, style, tone and word choice (diction) in their compositions after revising them.

Standard 23: Organizing Ideas in Writing
Students will organize ideas in writing in a way that makes sense for their purpose.

Please note: This project also addressed a number of standards in Geography. Our Social Studies Curriculum Framework is currently in revision and will not be available for some time.
Questions or comments? Please feel free to email me.
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