The Cootie Catcher Poem April 22 2010

The Cootie Catcher Poem is a great spring activity as we come closer to the end of the year. Because this poem has a versatile skeleton, the subject matter of the poems can range across the curriculum. Your students will become "poetry detectives," using the clues in the poems to figure out what they're about!

Writing The Poems

The amount of poems you need depends on whether or not you do the Easy or More Complicated Version of this project with your kids. However, both poems follow the same pattern:

Descriptive Word
Descriptive Word
Descriptive Word
Descriptive Word
Statement (a sentence about the subject)
Answer (the subject of the poem)

Using this format, I wrote the following poem:

Preacher
Civil Rights
1960s
Holiday
A person who changed the world.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The descriptive words in the poem should describe the subject matter that the student has chosen to write about, functioning as clues to help other students guess what the poem is about. It might be a good idea to review what makes good descriptive clues, and that words such as "nice" and "cool" are not going to work for this project.

Making the Cootie Catcher

The Easy Version

As a person with little spatial or directional intelligence, Cootie Catchers are surprisingly simple to make. I made this one at my dining room table using Carol's FREE Cootie Catcher Template.

For the Easy Version of this project, use one poem for the Cootie Catcher. The poem in this picture is about Martin Luther King, Jr. and shows my four descriptive words. Have students write the four descriptive words on the inside flaps.

On the opposite side of one of the flaps, students can write the statement about the subject of their poem. On the inside of another flap, they can write the answer to the clues, which is the subject of their poem.

The More Complicated Version

The More Complicated Version of this project involves a little more experimentation and creativity on your students' part. There are two poems with two different subjects for this version, which made organization a little trickier - I think I figured out a way that makes sense.

From the picture, you can see that I labeled the sections with "1" and "2". The "1" stands for the sections that show when the Cootie Catcher is open vertically, and the "2" stands for the sections that show when the Cootie Catcher is open horizontally.

For me, the numbers made it easy to put in the descriptive words for that poem. Then I opened the flaps to put in the statement and answer. The second poem's descriptive words can go on the flaps in the section labeled "2", with the statement and answer written on the underside of those flaps.

Sharing With A Friend!

Give students time to share their Cootie Catcher poems with their classmates, giving their friends the descriptive clues to guess the subjects of their poems.

If you had your kids do the more complicated version, have them do a math problem to choose which poem to guess. For example, the poem writer instructs the guesser to pick a number less than 20. The poem writer moves the cootie catcher that specific number of times and lands on the poem for the guesser. Then the guesser has to figure out the subject of the poem!