Didactic Cinquain: Tell Me About It

Contributor: Kristen Gardiner. Lesson ID: 10582

When was the last time you wrote a Didactic Cinquain? Never? "What is it?" you ask! Using fun online games, a thesaurus, and a snowflake, learn how to write this clever, colorful type of poetry!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Timmy strikes again – and he doesn't even know what he did. When you are asked to write to give information, how would you present that information? For example, if your teacher asked you to give him or her all of the information you had in your head about snow, what would you say? Go ahead and tell your teacher what you know about snow now – you may know more than Timmy!

So how did you do? Did you tell your information in a list by saying something like:

  • Snow is white
  • Snow is cold
  • Snow comes from the clouds
  • Snow is frozen ice crystals

Or, maybe you gave the information in more of a story. For example:

  • Snow falls from the clouds in the winter time. Its is very cold because it is made of frozen ice crystals.

Either way, many of us do not think of poetry as a way of giving factual information or informative writing.

We can tell by Timmy's face and the last block that his poetry was not written intentionally (on purpose), but Timmy wrote a type of poem called a Didactic Cinquain. You learned in the Related Lessons, found in the right-hand sidebar, that a cinquain is a form of shape poetry that has five lines.

The syllabic version has a certain number of syllables in each line, much like the Japanese Haiku. The didactic version is slightly different. First, it helps to know that the word didactic means informative. This is why it is considered a type of informative writing.

Take another look at Timmy's snow poem. Do you notice any patterns? Can you see the shape?

Here is a closer look:


Cold, white

Falling, blowing, drifting

We have no school


Let's look at the form in detail:

cinquain diagram

As you can see, the pattern of this cinquain is in the number and type or purpose of words. The number of words follows a 1, 2, 3 ,4, 1 pattern.

We know in line one we need to state our title, and as in the syllabic cinquain, the topic must be a noun (a person, place, or thing).

Next, we need two adjectives. Adjectives are words that describe nouns; for example, flowers can be pretty and red; dogs can be fluffy and big.

In line three, we need three words that tell more about the topic. These words must end in "ing." For example, a mother can be caring and loving; baseball can be tiring and exciting.

Line four is the best line in the poem because it is your personal statement. You get to tell your audience how you feel about the topic in four words; choose them wisely!

Finally, you need one more word. This last word needs to mean something the same as, or similar to, your topic. In the example above, winter is used as a word closely related to snow. This works because it typically snows during the winter. If you are having trouble, you can use a thesaurus for kids, or look the word up in the dictionary and, under the definition, you will find a few synonyms. A thesaurus is like a dictionary, but it will give you a long list of synonyms for many, many words or all different parts of speech. They are great to have when writing poetry.

Okay! Now that you know what a didactic cinquain is, let's see how you use this information! Here's an example to get your creativity flowing!


Five, informative

Brainstorming, Creating, Writing

Make art with words


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