One of my
favorite things to do when I visit schools is write talent show poems with
fourth and fifth grade students. To start, list all the unique talents (the
weirder the better) that kids have, like:
- burping the
“Chopsticks” on the piano
- cutting the
- gobbling down
- wiggling their
- doing the
chocolate milk while giggling
listed the talents you and your classmates possess, pick a rhythm and rhyme
pattern. I like one that you can sing to the tune of “Miss Suzy Had a Brother”
(AKA “Miss Lucy Had a Brother”). It goes like this:
Miss Suzy had a brother.
name was Tiny Tim.
She threw him in the bathtub...
to see if he could swim.
Even if you
don’t know the tune, you can see that there are three beats in each line and
the rhyme pattern for each stanza is ABCB (which means that the last word in
the fourth line rhymes with the last word in the second line).
Here’s a poem
about a kid who could burp the ABCs that I wrote with Mr. Johnson’s fourth
graders from the Roanoke Avenue School in Riverhead, New York:
can burp the ABCs,
but his breath’s not the best.
We had to clear the classroom, and
missed a spelling test.
David starts to giggle,
knows he shouldn’t drink.
His chocolate milk shoots out his nose
makes his clothing stink.
Make your own
list of weird talents, sing the song, and write your own talent show
2009 Bruce Lansky. Text reprinted by permission of the author. Permission is given
for individual school classes to use this lesson and to make as many copies of
the lesson as are needed for the students’ use. All other reproduction is
prohibited under penalty of law. For use outside individual classes, please
All rights reserved.
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