Writing Extension: The acrostic poem delivers insight!


Are there times when you wonder, “what is my child thinking?” Well, let me clarify...

Are there times when you wonder, “what are my child’s thoughts on a particular topic.”  (Yes, that’s better phrasing.)

I find that this question usually hits me around the holidays. While the pageantry, hustle, and bustle of the holiday season surrounds us, I have a desire to know, "what are you thinking?!?" I have found a great way to “tune-in” with acrostic poems.

In an acrostic poem, the letters that begin each line spell the subject of the poem. To write an acrostic poem, simply think of an event, person, animal, or thing to describe. Write the letters of your topic vertically. Beside each letter, write an adjective or short phrase that starts with that letter to describe the person or thing.

Here’s one example of an acrostic poem for Thanksgiving:

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Remember, this is a great time to review similes, metaphors, and personification.  Don’t forget, you could also discuss parallelism in writing. When you apply parallel structure, it improves readability and understanding. Why not try starting each line with verbs? Next time, start each line with nouns. (This is a great segue into outlining, but that's another topic for another day.)

So, this holiday season, I encourage you to have your children compose their own acrostic poem.  It truly is a fun, insightful activity for everyone! 


Kim Shurley

Kim Shurley is a wife, mother, educator, and wanna-be rockstar. She graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock with a degree in Marketing in 1999. Upon her graduation, Kim joined the Shurley Team, where she collaborates on product development and promotion with her mother-in-law, Brenda Shurley.

Kim believes wholeheartedly in the work she does in curriculum development, which is why she homeschools her two children in the summer months using the Shurley method of instruction. After all, educating children is what this family-run company is all about.

In her spare time, Kim can be found adventuring in the mountains of Colorado with her family.

Let's Get Organized with Writing Maps!

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Being organized is a key ingredient to the writing process. It helps everyone stay focused and on-topic. I find that writing maps not only help my students accomplish this goal, but these planning tools also give them a great place to start. 

Recently, I had a teacher at a workshop ask me where to find all the Prewriting Maps since they have not yet ventured into the digital version of Shurley English.

Here is a step-by-step process to access our Prewriting Maps from our website:

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Step 1:

Go to www.shurley.com.

Select the login button.

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Step 2:

Login to your Shurley account.

Don't have a Shurley account? No problem! Simply select the REGISTER link.

Your account is free and your information will remain private.

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Step 3:

Scroll down to the bottom of the homepage.

Click the PRINTABLES button.

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Step 4:

Select the appropriate grade level and view the printable content.

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Step 5:

Scroll through the PDF content. For most levels, you will find multiple pages of resources.

Print the map you wish to use.

Happy writing!


© Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc.


Cindy Goden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.


Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.

The "Perfect" Shurley Teacher




PERFECTION:  the quality or state of being perfect:  such as

a. freedom from fault or defect:  flawlessness




That is how Merriam-Webster defines the word, perfection.  In my experience training teachers across the USA, on how to implement Shurley English into their classrooms, I have noticed this one quality in many teachers. Hi! My name is Kimberly, and I’m a recovering perfectionist! 

During trainings, I hear questions like:

“Where should I be in the book at Holiday Break?”

“Where are the pacing guides?”

“How long will it take to finish the book?”

And, here’s how I answer them…

“Ultimately, your students will guide your pace.  They will ‘master’ the concepts through the repetition in each lesson, not by you trying to teach the content to perfection or rush through the book.

Your goal is to complete one lesson per day (if possible), and if you finish the book…GREAT, but that’s not the goal!  The long term goal is to teach your students how to make the grammar-writing connection so they can be successful communicators for the rest of their lives.”

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So, how do YOU become the “Perfect” Shurley teacher? 

1.  STICK TO THE SCRIPT as closely as possible.

2.  Create an atmosphere in your classroom where YOU & YOUR STUDENTS are willing to TAKE RISKS.




© Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc.


Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.


Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.