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Chain Poem


The chain proem is a semi-free writing activity that starts with a collection of topic-related keywords in class. Being able to contribute to the collection of words which, by the way, might be arranged as a web, a list etc, learners have to brainstorm, summarize, remember and reflect on the topic/lesson/project/seminar.

Afterwards, the students decide to either work with a partner or on their own to accomplish the writing task. Then, each student/tandem chooses five words from the word list to become the basic building blocks of his/her/their chain poem. The poem’s structure is simple, and, what is more, it does not have to rhyme. Here is the chain poem-recipe (see Sambanis 2013: Fremdsprachenunterricht und Neurowissenschaften, p. 55-56):

Ingredients: One word per line, five in total

Directions: For line one, start with a keyword of your choice. Write a sentence. It might be a declarative, an interrogative, an imperative, an exclamatory or a conditional sentence. Any kind of sentence, even a fragment might do.For the next line, pick another one of the remaining four words. […]


An example of a chain poem is available here.