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Performance Plus POETRY

The following collection of poems, chants and rhymes is presented for active service in classrooms. They have been successfully presented and performed by teachers and students over a period of time. I trust that you, the reader, will find new and exciting ways to link them into your literacy program. 

Let's Begin...
I remember clearly the chants and rhymes that were part of my school days.

"Tip, top, taxi
One two three
Tip ,top, taxi
You're not he !

 I still like to tune into the poetry of today's playground people. Children are constantly inventing rhymes and chants and the words they use reflect a poetic thread. Rhyme and rhythm play an active part in many of the games children play. They are part of the performance.

The poems included in this post have been chosen because they have shown themselves to be suitable to performance.

The presentation may be in a variety of groupings:
·  whole class
·  small group
·  individual.

The poems themselves are not set in concrete. They can be modified to suit any situation. They can be used as a structure for children to write their own performance poetry.

The use of music and other sound effects are possibilities that can further add to a performance. Children should be encouraged to consider these additional ideas when preparing a poem.

One Simple Rule !
Each time a presentation is undertaken it requires the participating poets to inject energy into the performance.  A spirited performance is an unwritten obligation.

Where do we begin ?

·   Read the selected poem to the students with all the energy you can muster.

·    Read the poem again, but this time provide the students with a copy of the poem, so that they can follow the words and see the shape of the poem.

·    Allow the students to read the poem themselves. Encourage them to listen in their minds for words that need to be read for effect or emphasis.

·   Invite the students to read through the poem as a shared reading with you. Follow this by re-reading as a class with groups of students being responsible for parts or verses. A chorused response or repeated line would easily lend itself to a group within the class.

Now you're ready to try some additional ideas. Discuss with the students the possibility of adding some music, actions or changing words.


I share following poems. It is my gift to launch your poetry performances. Once you begin using poetry to perform you will see endless possibilities.


On Monday I complained to Mum about soggy sandwiches in my school lunch.
On Tuesday I complained to Mum about a brown, gooey banana.
On Wednesday I complained to Mum about a wormy, squirmy apple.
On Thursday I complained to Mum about hard cheese slices and sticky cordial.
On Friday Mum said I could make my own lunch from now on .
So I did....
I made a sandwich using all my favourite fillings
- pickles
- peanut butter
- and pineapple pieces !
And when I got to school
...A dog ate it.


Danielle loved eating pasta
No one else could eat it fasta
Finally she overloaded
.....And that's when Danielle exploded.

Pasta on the ceiling
Pasta on the stair
Danielle was literally
Pasta'd everywhere.


Running, jumping, standing still
In the sandpit
Up the hill
Over, under, sideways, down
Making faces
Like a clown
Chase me, catch me
Watch me run
Morning playtime
Oh what fun !
Running, jumping, standing still
In the sandpit
What a thrill
Racing, chasing, scream and shout
Ring the bell
I'm all puffed out.


Growing wildly in our backyard
Growing wildly in our backyard
My dad loves it
My dad loves it
In a bowl with apple and custard
In a bowl with apple and custard
My Dad loves it
With apple and custard
Not with mustard !
Dad just LOVES  it


Sneak a look at my sneakers Sam
Sneak a look if you dare
Sneak a look at my sneakers Sam
What do you see there ?
Can you see my toe Sam ?
Can you see my toe ?
It's poking through my shoe Sam
It's poking through my shoe
Sneak a look at my sneakers Sam
Sneak a look please do
Sneak a look at my sneakers Sam
You may see a tootsie or two.


A smelly sock
A rusty lock
A broken clock
A new pet rock
An old art smock
A Chinese wok
A chopping block
Some hollyhock
Tick tock
Mister Spock
Electric Shock
Rock, rock, rock!


Eat up all your cabbage
Eat up all your peas
Eat up all your pumpkin
Every mouthful please
Eat up all your spinach
Eat your liver too
Don't forget your brussel sprouts
They're awfully good for you
Swallow every morsel
Chomp and crunch and chew
Keep your mouth closed while you eat
BURPING just won't do !
Keep your elbows by your side
Please don't wave your spoon
And don't forget your brussel sprouts
-They're awfully good for you.


Just what lurks in Sandra's lunch ?
Munch and crunch!
Munch and crunch!
Just what lurks in Sandra's lunch,
Do you want to know ?
I think I have certain hunch
Just what lurks in Sandra's lunch
I think I have a certain hunch
Do you want to know ?
Well, yesterday was curried egg
Curried egg
Curried egg
Yesterday was curried egg
The day before salami
The things you find in Sandra's lunch
Are enough to drive you barmy !
One day, her lunch I tell you true
Was something green and runny too
....Something green and runny
Now that isn't very funny!
But of all the sights and smells that lurk in Sandra's putrid lunch
What she's brought to school today...
Now that really packs a punch
I can tell
I can smell
A smell to make me scream
Guess what I think I know I smell
Yes, - Sandra's got SARDINES !


Willy Watson
Kelly Cramm
Love their toast with pumpkin jam
A boy in my class
Henry Gish
Was hit in the face with a flying fish
Who cares ?
I care
Just look
Don't stare

Mary Murphy
Katie Cox
They hate wearing matching socks
A girl in my class
Sally Hirt
Made mud pies and ate some dirt
Who cares
I care
Just look
Don't stare


If you truly wish your poetry program to be energized and genuinely enjoyable, then you will need a variety of poetry books –so start collecting today. I spend a lot of book browsing time in the poetry section of bookshops. I am constantly adding to the treasury of verse that is my resource for ideas. I keep my poetry books in an old suitcase that originally belonged to my grandfather. I call it my poet’s playstation, or poet's suitcase.

It is a core library for ideas and reading enjoyment. Occasionally, I put some props inside and magically draw them out as a way of introducing a new poem I want to share with them. It creates a special aura around my suitcase of surprises. …I wander what he’s got in there, this time?

Another way to gather poems is to encourage children to contribute poems to a class anthology. Watch it grow as new contributions are added.

Poetry, or any other form of writing requires nurturing . It will not occur by chance. If you provide constant opportunities for the enjoyment of poetry to grow, where each new experience builds on the previous ones, then your students will grow to appreciate the unique qualities of poetry and its significance to them as language learners.

To Foster Poetry you should:

Continue to read poetry. Nothing promotes poetry more than to hear poetry read by an enthusiastic poetry lover.
Continue to work with words – the source of all good poetry.
Continue to encourage the development of the senses and the use of imagination.
Continue to encourage the writing and sharing of poetry.
Continue to find your own inspiration for poetry.

If we do these things we promote the idea that people are poets and poetry is accessible, enjoyable and important


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