Are you looking for a writing resource for Black History Month in February?  If so, I've got you covered!
Rosa is the perfect read-aloud book to launch this writing activity for Black History!

During Reading

Your students will be inspired as you read and reflect on the life of Rosa Parks. 
Pause occasionally as you read, ask your students some questions:
  • How they would feel if they were in Rosa's situation?
  • What would they do if they were there?
  • What are some words that describe Rosa?


After Reading

Tell your student that they will create a ‘Snap Shot' of Rosa's life by creating a Cinquain Poem.

What is a Cinquain Poem?

A Cinquain poem is a perfect format for creating an autobiographic snapshot of anyone's life.  It is a five-line poem the follows a word pattern:
Line 1: a one-word subject
Line 2: two adjectives to describe the subject
Line 3: three verbs (ending in -ing)
Line 4: four-word phrase about the subject
Line 5: one synonym
Students come to understand a person's life on a deeper level as they fill in this graphic organizer.

How Do We Write a Cinquain Poem?

Depending on your students, you can do this activity with the whole group,  partners, or individuals.
Encourage your students to refer back to the story to show evidence of their choices of adjectives, verbs (ending in ‘ing), and synonyms to describe Rosa Parks.

Use the attached ‘Cinquain Poem Snapshot' to reflect on Rosa's character qualities that the story revealed about Rosa.

Write them in the three boxes on page 1 with the Pre-write graphic organizer.  I prefer to fill in the first page of the ‘Cinquain Poem Snapshot' page together.  As the students brainstorm together, they can generate an abundance of words for the boxes.  It's good to have many words in each box, even though they will only choose a few.

After your students have lots of descriptive words, ask each one to highlight:

  • Two favorite adjectives
  • Three favorite -ing verbs
  • Favorite synonym


As each student chooses their favorite words, each student's poem becomes a unique expression of how they see Rosa.

Now your students are ready to write their rough draft using their highlighted words from the graphic organizer.

They will:

Write the words that they highlighted on the lines.

Think of a four-word phrase the describes her.

Now that your students have completed their rough draft, they are ready for the fun step – to publish their autobiographical poems! 

These published poems make an inspirational bulletin board to spark more conversions during Black History Month.

The download link for this book companion is below.  Get your copy of this activity – so you can inspire your students with Rosa's amazing story!

Are you looking for additional writing resources for February – check out these Paragraph Writing Resources for February.


My name is Peggy Means. I am a child of God and a retired elementary teacher. I loved teaching and creating engaging resources for my students. Now, I love sharing my resources and ideas with busy teachers around the world.

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