Their words. My Verse.

In Their words, my verse I like to gather sentences from the kids and then put it into verse. These could be pinned up on the wall, read as a class or used with future classes when covering the same language. A lot of these activities were inspired by Michael Rosen and his book Did I hear you write? Here are some examples:

01 A grammar focus

I asked my students to write sentences about San Fernando in Spain, the town where we live, using so and such which we were studying at the time. I then put their sentences into verse. Here is the result.

San Fernando
Such an important history
Such an educational and cultural city
Such a good climate
Such a big shopping centre
Such beautiful views
So ugly yet so beautiful at the same time
So many flamenco singers
Such a flamenco influence
Such a lot of friendly people
So many idiots
So few things for teenagers to do
So repetitive
So repetitive
San Fernando

With a lower level class we wrote down sentences about the town using too and enough to describe it.
Their words, my verse.

Too many pigeons
not enough parks
Too many people
Not enough determination
Too many shops
Not enough discos
Too many homeless
Not enough money
Too many cockroaches
Not enough cinemas
Too many seagulls
Not enough beaches
Too much trash
Not enough parties
Too many cats
Too much dog poo

02 Rhyme

Students had to come up with two words that rhymed and then place them at the end of the two sentences as below:


If _______________________________ dark

If _______________________________ park

Then they had to complete the two sentences, in this example, with the second conditional. It could be used for other grammar points. Here are the results: #theirwordsmyverse

If I had money I would buy a book
if I found my brother's phone I would have a look
If I loved animals I would buy a cat
If I was a magician I would have a hat

If I was an animal I would be a dog
If I had some money I would buy a clock
If I had a pet it would be a parrot
If I was in the kitchen I would eat a carrot

If I ate a vegetable I would eat a tomato
if I went to a restaurant I would eat a potato
If I had a garden I would plant a flower
If I drank a red bull I would have more power

If I had a girlfriend it would be you
If I saw you, you would be wearing blue
If you were here we would be together
If we were in love it would be forever

03 Complete the sentence

Students complete the sentence On Monday.
I put their sentences into verse.

On Monday
I'm tired
I'm bored
I feel sad
I say 'oh no' a zillion times

On Monday
You need to be motivated.

On Monday
I go to school asleep
I have art
I have maths
I go to Royal street
I eat sweets (dippers)

On Monday
I do my homework
I watch TV
I play football on a pitch
I go to the cinema
I go to the swimming pool

On Monday
I go to English class
I see Steve
I play tennis
I go to the zoo*

*This last one is not true

Think about things your parents say starting with the word: Don't...
Their words, my verse.

Don't speak to me like that
Don't shout
DON'T SHOUT when you're at home!
Don't shout when your little brother is sleeping

Don't eat in the kitchen
DON'T EAT quickly!
Don't use your phone when you're eating
Don't sing when you are eating
DON'T SING at the table!
Don't stand up when you are eating
Don't speak to me like that!

Don't kick your brother
Don't kill your brother
Don't hit your sister

Don't use the computer so much
Don't play computer games for more than two hours
Don't play computer games before studying
Don't play computer games when studying

Don't use your phone when you're studying
Don't watch TV when you have important things to do
Don't watch TV when you are doing your homework
Don't get bad marks

Don't use the skateboard in the house
Don't play tennis in the house
Don't play basketball in the house
Don't play football in the kitchen
Don't play football in the house

Don't talk when I'm on the phone
Don't play the recorder at home
Don't smoke
Don't insult Alex by saying he's fat
Don't give your dad a heart attack
Don't confuse me
Don't jump on the sofa
Don't draw on the wall
Don't open the coca cola
Don't believe everything people tell you

Don't do crazy things in the street
Don't stay out later then 10 o' clock
Don't go to bed without brushing your teeth
Don't! Don't! Don't!!!

If I didn’t have to go to school

Complete the sentence above.
Their Words. My Verse.

If I didn’t have to go to school
I wouldn’t be bored
I would stay at home
I’d be happy
I’d do things that I like
I’d go to my friends house
I’d play football
I’d play PS4
I’d play PS4 all day every day
I’d travel with my family a lot
I’d get up at 12 and call everybody in my class
I’d do what I wanted
I’d stay at home and sleep
I’d stay in bed all day
I’d sleep all day
I’d sleep
I’d sleep
I’d sleep a lot

04 A Group Poem

This is a a group poem put together by me and my class of 12, 13 year olds. The idea was taken from the book by Michael Rosen: Did I hear you write? who says 'in order to alert a class to the fact that what they say and do is the valid stuff of writing, I might do a group poem with them.' He also states that having students imagine the situation in the present tense releases more immediate emotions, dialogues and moments.'

I wrote the title I am ill on the whiteboard and asked them how they feel when they are ill, what they can see and hear, what people say and what they think - all the while noting down things they came up with on the whiteboard and every 3 lines I wrote the chorus line I am ill, I am ill. I tried to make sure every student said at least one line, pushed them to really imagine the situation at home and together we translated anything they couldn't say in English. Afterwards we read the poem aloud; all of us saying the chorus line. This was the result:

I'm ill, I'm ill
The T.V is on
I'm doing my homework
in my bedroom.
I'm ill, I'm ill
my mother's shouting
the dog is barking
the phone is vibrating
I'm ill, I'm ill
my sister is singing
'You should be at school!'
'Do you have exams?' asks my Mother
I'm ill, I'm ill
I'm not at school
I miss my friends
I wish it was summer
I'm ill, I'm ill
I feel bad
I am in pain

As an extension Rosen suggests students copy the poem, change the poem, cut it up or expand it. I put mine on my classroom wall and encourage other classes to read them and question them.

05 Acrostics

I did this one as a group on the board taking the best suggestions.

Meh... Motivation
OMG I'm so sad
Nooobody likes it
Difficult day
A horrible day
Yesterday was better

06 Apologetic Verse

I asked my students to write a note of apology similar to that written in the poem below by William Carlos Williams entitled: This is just to say.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Thanks to Jane Revell for bringing the poem to my attention at the recent ACEIA conference in Seville. Here are their efforts of my students given the template: 

I (have) ___
Forgive me___ 

I forgot
to send you a message

Forgive me
I was in the street
and I didn't have wifi

I have done your homework

Forgive me
I was bored
VERY bored :)

I have finished
watching the film
because you are late

Forgive me
Do you want something to eat?

I have finished
the dinner
You haven't got
anything for dinner

Forgive me
I was hungry

I have used your pen
because I didn't have one

Forgive me
I had to write something :)

I forgot to return
the pen you lent me

Forgive me
I have been so stressed
I'll give it back tomorrow

I lost
the football match

Forgive me
I went to a party
last night
and I was
very tired

I haven’t made
the cake

Forgive me
I was feeling lazy

I looked at you
when I was kissing another girl

Forgive me
I don't want to be
with you now

I have lost
your one million Euros

Forgive me
I left it in the bar

I have made
the Christmas balls

Forgive me
I forgot you like to do it.

I have
left home

Forgive me

I left at midnight