Rhyming States

What's in a state? What makes it great? Students learn more about a chosen state and create a rhyming poem to display their new knowledge.
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Lesson (926)



What’s in a state? What makes it great? Students learn more about a chosen state and create a rhyming poem to display their new knowledge.

Suggested Time Allowance:

40 minutes


  • Students will research a state of their choice.
  • Students will identify the rhyme pattern of a famous children’s poem.
  • Students will write a poem about their chosen state using the same rhyme pattern.


  • Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out.”
  • The Fifty States
  1. Read aloud to the class Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out.” (You can read it from Silverstein’s book Where the Sidewalk Ends.)
  2. Ask students to identify the rhyming pattern in the poem. If students are familiar with rhyming patterns, they can tell you that the poem is AA, BB, AA, CC, DD, EE, FF, etc. However, it’s fine if they can just identify that the first two lines rhyme, then another two lines rhyme, and so on.
  3. Tell students they are going to write a similar poem about a state. Working in pairs, have the students choose a state that interests them. Partners should begin by brainstorming down anything they know to be true about the state. Tell them not to write something down if they’re unsure. For example, they may know that there are beaches in Florida, and oranges are grown there.
  4. After they have brainstormed what they know about the state, direct students to FactMonster’s state facts at The Fifty States. They should print the information about their state and circle at least five facts they find interesting and important.
  5. Using the rhyme pattern from the Silverstein poem, the pairs should create a poem about their state. It does not have to be as long as the Silverstein poem but must include at least five facts about their state taken from their research and brainstorming.


  • Have students perform their poems for the class; they may even want to turn them into a rap. After each performance, ask the audience for a thumbs up or thumbs down regarding the poem’s rhyme scheme: did pairs of lines rhyme with each other? Then ask the audience to name several things they learned about the state. Write these on the board and compile the facts. Create a short quiz about the states from the compilation.
  • The pairs should turn in their poem along with their brainstorming sheet and their printout with the circled state facts. Use these to assess their work.

Extension Activities

  • Have the pairs use the Internet to locate a map and photographs of the state. Maps can be found via the FactMonster state page students used for their research. Search state tourism offices’ sites for photographs. Combine the maps, photos, and poems to make either a web page presentation or posters to hang in class.
  • Working individually, have students perform in-depth research of one aspect of their state and then write a poem using a different rhyme pattern about the topic.

Standards Correlation

  • Understands the people, events, problems, and ideas that were significant in creating the history of their state
  • Uses a variety of strategies to identify topics to investigate (e.g., brainstorms, lists questions, uses idea webs)
  • Applies reading skills and strategies to a variety of literary passages and texts

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