- Use the book as a mentor text for students to write pieces that pair fiction and nonfiction. Students select their favorite fact blurb/paragraph and use that to write an original poem, incorporating learned facts. Create a display in the classroom or on the computer where the fact paragraph is in the center with the poems it inspired surrounding it.
- Using the poem Countdown as a model, students write T-minus poems for various daily activities (bedtime, getting ready for school, getting ready for recess, sitting down to do homework). Prior to students working independently, guide the whole class in creating one for a classroom routine. For example, getting ready to line up. Once written, students can learn the countdown and use it as a part of their classroom routine.
- Write poems in space. Several of the poems in this book use the space of the page to support the reader’s understanding of the subject (Blast Off, Zero Gravity, After Blastoff, Hungry Moon, Black Hole, My Place). Guide students in thinking about why the poet made a specific decision about where and how a line is placed on the page. Have students write or perhaps rewrite poems they have been working on, using the space of the page to enhance the reader’s understanding. Students write or type their words on white paper and cut them out individually. Taking black (if needed, large) construction paper, students can play with their words on the page. Once they have their words where they want them, they can glue them down.
- Write “Personal Preference Kit” list poems. Students generate a list of what they might bring if they were on a mission to the moon and allowed to pack one Personal Preference Kit. Students will write list poems that may be placed inside a white papered/painted Girl Scouts Cookie Box or brown paper bags. As a community building activity, read the poems aloud and have students decide which list belongs to which student. Clearly, if the list poems are very personal, students should be given the choice of not sharing.
- Write acrostic poems on a content area subject, using Moon as an example. Students may decide to use facts in combination with their own feelings about the subject.
- In small groups, write content area Haiku poems using Left Behind and Comet as models.
- After reading Vacation Destination, students could create a travel guide brochure for one of the planets. This gives students an opportunity to incorporate what they know about each planet with creative, informational writing. Remember informational writing is not always non-fiction! This could also been done as a humorous how-to book.
- Write “phrase poems” (see template below) and use the poem Sun as a model. As an optional challenge, students may want to see if they can rhyme each phrase but not if it distorts the facts/meaning. Phrase poems may be used in the content areas but are also useful as a reading response to a work of fiction. And of course, you can mix it up and write phrase poems using adverbs and verbs.
Contributed by Laney Nielson