by Bruce Lansky
Heres a fun idea to help your students write a funny poem:
Let them write about you! I know all your students say youre
their favorite teacher, but this poetry exercise will tickle even
the most die-hard teacher's pet. Heres how to do it. Tell
your students to pretend theyre going to make lunch for
you or another teacher. Have them make a list of really funny,
gross, yucky foods that theyll be serving. Then, they can
either turn these foods into a "list poem" or they can
turn their list into a poem that rhymes.
Heres an example:
What Id Cook for My Teacher (nonrhyming list
- Rattlesnake stew
seaweed and jellyfish sandwich
milk mixed with glue
I hope the old bat doesnt die!
Comment: Nonrhyming list poems are easy and fun to write. But
many people enjoy reading poems that are written with rhythm and
rhyme. Below, Ive taken the same ideas and added some connecting
What Id Cook for My Teacher (rhyming poem)
- If I cooked hot lunch for my teacher,(A)
I would start out with rattlesnake stew.(B)
- Then Id serve her a centipede salad(C)
And a tall glass of milk mixed with glue(B)
- Next, a seaweed and jellyfish sandwich(D)
For dessert, an a-chooberry pie.(E)
- When my teacher finds out what shes eaten,(F)
I hope the old bat doesnt die!(E)
© Bruce Lansky, reprinted from If
Pigs Could Fly
and Other Deep Thoughts published
by Meadowbrook Press.
Now, heres what your students need to do to create their
own funny poem:
1. Have them make a list of funny, gross, yucky foods. Be sure
they have several ideas for each different meal segment so they
can choose the best ones for their poem. Have them add a funny
comment at the end.
2. Have your students pick their best entry for each meal segment
and their best funny comment at the end. (One student suggested
this funny comment: "hearty appetite.") Then let them
turn these segments and comments into a list poem.
3. Have your students show their list poems to you. If they need
more ideas, have them read the winning entries from our "Teacher's
Lunch" poetry contest.
4) Then let your students turn their list poems into rhythmic,
rhyming poems. Make sure they take a look at my example. Make
them say it out loud. Be sure that they notice my rhythm pattern:
ABCB, DEFE. In other words, every second line rhymes. (Feel free
to borrow my rhyme pattern.)
5) Invite them to show their rhyming "Lunch for Your Teacher"
poems to you. Be prepared for lots of belly laughs and giggles.
you are interested in inviting Bruce Lansky to your school, click
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