Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lesson Plan: Writing Fibs (Fibonacci Poetry)

In today's poetry class, we learned the fine art of writing fibs (of course, when I announced that, all the students were intrigued).  But in this case, fibs is short for Fibonacci Poetry.  They are named after Fibonacci, the mathematician who discovered the Fibonacci sequence of numbers (the Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers).  If you are not familiar with Fibonacci numbers, which occur in all sort of natural growths (pine cones, pineapple, leaves on trees, the nautilus shell, etc.), check out this book from one of my previous posts.

Fibs are six-line poems in which each line contains the number of syllables in the initial Fibonacci sequence--1,1,2, 3, 5, and 8.    I wrote the following two Fibs to explain them to the students by example:

Then Two.
Next Comes Three.
Fifth line has Five sounds.
Wrap it up with an Eight sound line.

Has six lines
With syllables that
Grow in Fibonacci sequence.

We paired Fibs with writing Haiku, which also have a set syllable structure.  However, the traditional Haiku form also has various rules--it is supposed to be about a scene in nature, it is supposed to have a word that connects the poem to a particular season, and the final line is supposed to be about the emotion that scene evokes.  Fibs are a more recent poetic form, and have fewer restrictions about content, etc. 

I like Fibs because they are new to most students and so have them thinking in different ways.  I also like them because they are contemporary (which I think is important to students) and because they connect poetry to math (and I love creating connections between disciplines).  Plus, Fibs are just fun!

Here is one last Fib that I wrote for the students in my class:

has been
so much fun!
Your poems are great.
The poets are even better!

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