Take Me ThereComfortCarolee Dean


Let Your Imagination Take A Trip With Me

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Teacher Resources for Forget Me Not


Poetry Forms - Scavenger Hunt - Downloadable PDF File

Raven Trivia Challenge - Downloadable PDF File
Verse Novel Panel - IRA Conference 2012 - Downloadable PowerPoint Show

Cinquain Chains

Cinquains are a great way to explore characters. They are short, just five lines long as the name illustrates, so it's important to capture the essence of a character with as few words as possible. It's also a good activity for students who struggle with written language.

Writing character cinquains can be part of a book report or a stand alone activity. They can be used to create a "cast of characters" and because so much white space is left on the page, other artwork may accompany the project.

Because it's a poem, ideas are more important than grammar and punctuation. Ironically though, students are still exploring grammar because the cinquain focuses on using parts of speech to create each line.

The basic format of the cinquain is as follows:

Line 1: One word (subject or noun)

Line 2: Two words (adjectives describing the subject)

Line 3: Three words (-ing verbs relating to the subject)

Line 4: Four words (feeling words, sentence, or phrase relating to the subject.

Line 5: One word (synonym or word that sums up the subject)

In my recent paranormal verse novel, Forget Me Not, I wrote sections of the story in screenplay format. As an introduction to one of the sections, I wrote a series of cinquains describing the characters who appeared in that scene. I decided to call this my cinquain chain because of the way the verses appear to be interlocking down the page. See the example below:

Cast of Characters:



afraid, alone

hurting, hiding, biding

never can go back




timid, guarded

sitting, knitting, praying

quiet girl in black




hungry, unsatisfied

holding, kissing, groping

always gets his way



Julie Ann

trapped, bored

forgetting, conceding, letting

she never gets away




dark, dangerous

playing, plotting, punishing

ruler of the hall



And a cameo appearance by:



brave, bold

knowing, helping, showing

he risks it all


So give it a try! Have fun creating cinquains of your own. 


The content of this website is copyrighted © 2010 Carolee Dean. There are several reproducible activities that say “permission to reproduce for classroom use.”

If you would like to reproduce any of the other content or publish the reproducible activities for something other than classroom use, please contact me HERE.


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