More Play with Poetry

I can’t resist offering another idea that makes use of holiday poetry. There’s a wealth of material online, and as soon as I see a few verses, the wheels in my head start turning. So many poems, especially those written for children, lend themselves to ESL/ EFL instruction. Just look, for example, at the poems shared on Almost every one has instructional potential. I’ll list a few ideas.

  • To engage and lead into a lesson on “used to (be)”:

Hang this on your
Christmas tree,
To remember how
I used to be.
To remind you of me
Now and then,
And bring fond memories
Back again.

Retrieved from

  • To engage and lead into a lesson on phrasal verbs with three parts:

It’s hard to think of anything
But Christmas in December.
There’s so much to look forward to
And so much to remember.

Retrieved from

  • To work on rhythm and develop phonemic awareness/ awareness of spelling patterns:

“Come Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen.
Come Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.”
Santa said, “My reindeer number eight.
We need to go. We can’t be late!
It’s dark this Christmas Eve night.
We need someone to carry a light.
Rudolph, of course you’ll be fine.
Now my reindeer number nine.”

Retrieved from

Copy the poem on the board and omit Blitzen, late, light, nine.  Scramble the four deleted words and present them one at a time. Ask students to indicate where each word fits best. Once they complete the poem, do a choral reading (listen-repeat). Finally, underline the following phrases and challenge students (in pairs) to supply their own original verses. You can help by brainstorming other rhyming words.

1. Omit: “We can’t be late!” > Find another rhyme for “eight”: wait, gate, ate, fate > Example: “Don’t make me wait!”

2. Omit: “We need someone to carry a light.” > Find another rhyme for “light”: bright, tight, height, sight, site, white > Example: “Let’s find a way to make our path bright.”

3. Omit: “Now my reindeer number nine.” > Find another rhyme for “fine”: line, whine, sign, mine > Example: “If we place you first in line.”


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