Poetry in the Classroom

Now, when we are all getting into the festive mood, probably makes an ideal time to discuss some holiday hotspots (or ‘cold’spots).

This activity is built around an extremely ‘cold’spot – Ice Hotel – to spark your students’ imagination, discuss unusual ways of holidaymaking and get them to try their hand at writing a cinquain.

(A cinquain is a five-line poem that describes a person, place, or thing and has a distinct structure: noun, two adjectives, three verbs, a four-word phrase and a noun).

Step 1.

Show the following image to your students and say that everything in the place is made up of snow and sculpted blocks of ice. Ask them to think of what this place could be for.

ICE HOTEL16842414851_0a7d06f5ba_z

 (Image credit: -Pixel –,, Creative Commons)

Discuss possible options. Introduce the Ice Hotel idea. Show the images of the Ice Hotel in Sweden:

or play the following video showing the Ice Hotel in Canada


Step 2.

Ask your students to imagine being in the “ugg boots” of people staying at this hotel. Have them write down what they feel (e.g. cold, freezing, unusual, weird, thrilling, chilled, wintry, unique, amazing, etc.) and then ask them to give the adjectives one by one without repeating the words that have been mentioned. After each adjective, get students to clap hands and snap fingers. Unique! (clap-snap) Awesome! (clap-snap) Freezing! (clap-snap). The student who gives the last adjective wins.

Step 3.

What could people do in the Ice Hotel? Split your students into small teams and have them make a list of things to do in such hotel. Have a plenary session and write the most creative responses on the board.

E.g. Sleeping in beds made of snow, sitting on benches made of ice, eating lunch, drinking, chatting, relaxing, giggling, enjoying, holidaymaking

To add some more ideas, ask students to read some travel stories of those lucky ones who experienced Ice Hotel holiday.

Travel stories: Erica & Andrew, US, learn ice sculpting and dog sledding

Step 4.

Have the teams make a list of 10 items they would take with them to the Ice Hotel. Get them to justify their choice.

E.g.  ugg boots, mittens to wear to keep warm, etc.

Say the policy of the hotel has changed and now the teams are allowed to keep only 5 items with them.

What have they got remaining?

Step 5.

Association game.

Have the students play the association game to get them to think about their associations with the hotel:

Ask all the students to stand up. The first player says any word that they associate with the chosen word. The next player must then do the same with the first player’s word. This continues from player to player. If a player says a disassociated word, repeats a word or is too slow to answer, they are out and have to sit down. The winner is the last person left standing.

E.g. Hotel – holidays, comfort, adventure, paradise, etc.

Step 6.

Time to get the poem together. Introduce the pattern of the cinquain.

Line 1 – pick one-word title (Step 1)

Line 2 – pick two adjectives (Step 2)

Line 3 – pick three words describing what can be done at the hotel (Step 3)

Line 4 – pick four words describing what the students would need at the hotel (Step 4)

Line 5 – Step 5 – pick one word-association with the title



Wintry, unique

Chilling, shooting the breeze

Ugg boots and ice



Enjoy your holidays and happy teaching!


  1. What a brilliant way for a new form of idea like writing a five-line poem: A CINQUAIN.

  2. What a brilliant way for a new form of idea like writing a five-line poem: A CINQUAIN.

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