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Line Breaks

Line Breaks To introduce the concept of line breaks; to use line breaks to practice prioritizing information and creating emphasis. Optional Free Write Prompt: Write a free write in which you start sentences but never finish them.

Newspaper Poems

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Step One: Start by demonstrating the importance of line breaks with a group example. Take an interesting sentence like “The lonely girl cried fat, salty tears” or “the flock of pigeons scratched hopefully at the dirt.” Then, take a large sheet of paper and cover up everything but the first word. Ask students what they would think of this word as the first line of a poem. Go on to reveal the sentence one word at a time, continually asking students what they would think of this as the first line of a poem. For example:

CAUTION

The lonely: “This sounds like a really serious poem, right? It sounds like it’s about all the lonely people in the world.” The lonely girl: “What about this? Now it sounds more like a story, with the lonely girl as our main character.” The lonely girl cried: “Now it’s totally different: it’s got action. We start wondering what she’s crying about, and what she’s going to do. We care more about the crying than we do about the loneliness.” The lonely girl cried fat: “Now it’s kind of funny, isn’t it? What does it mean to cry fat? How would you feel if this were the first line of a poem?”

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Step Two: Explain that line breaks do exactly what you just did: when you end a line, you briefly cover up the rest of the sentence. The last word of a line is instantly the most important word to the reader, and by making different words important, you can drastically change the meaning of a sentence. You can make any sentence interesting by choosing line breaks that are funny, surprising, or meaningful in some way.

Step Three: Have each student rip a page out of a newspaper or a magazine and select one

paragraph that grabs their attention. Have them turn that paragraph into a poem by adding line breaks in strategic spots. Then, have them repeat this exercise two or three times with the same paragraph but using different line breaks, thus creating a poem with a different meaning each time. Have them choose their favorite version at the end and share it with their classmates, explaining why they like it best.

The Cure for IDK  

The Cure for IDK isn't a typical lesson book. It is frank, funny, and full of lessons that are simultaneously entertaining and challenging....

The Cure for IDK  

The Cure for IDK isn't a typical lesson book. It is frank, funny, and full of lessons that are simultaneously entertaining and challenging....

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