Sentences written by my tefl classes of 10-12 year olds organised into free verse by me. Starting word: Don’t… Activity inspired by Michael Rosen. Their Words. My Verse.

Things our teachers say

Don’t do that
Don’t shout
Don’t stand up
Don’t stand up without permission
Don’t talk
Don’t talk when I’m explaining
Don’t talk when I tell you not to
Don’t talk when a classmate is speaking
Don’t talk when a classmate is saying the answer
Don’t speak so loud
Don’t speak in the exam
Don’t copy in the test
Don’t say bad words
Don’t hit your friend
Don’t chat with your friends
Don’t run in the classroom
Don’t play with soap
Don’t play games
Don’t throw paper balls in class
Don’t make paper planes
Don’t hit the table
Don’t sit on the table
Don’t dance on the table
Don’t make funny noises
Don’t be silly
Don’t laugh
Don’t play with your pencils
Don’t look out the door
Don’t play with the lockers
Don’t eat sweets (dippers)
Don’t sleep
Don’t daydream
Don’t do that

The President

Irregular verbs used: (be, beat, become, begin, bite, blow up, break down, build, buy, catch)

It was last Thursday that
I beat the competition
and became president.
I began changing the world,
bit my lip and blew up some enemies.
I broke down walls and built bridges between countries.
I bought presents for everyone.
I could do anything!
But then I caught a cold and
needed to stay in bed.

34 Last Letter First Letter

The last letter of the previous word is the first letter of the next…

Carriages stop platfom
Madame escalades
Scarf falls
She establishes seat
Then! Neckwear returned.
Dashing Gentleman!
Not talkative enough
Her reddening
Giving gratefulness
Suddenly young gentleman not there.
Subsequent time: exchanging grins.

On Monday…

Asked my students to complete the sentence On Monday…. Their words, My 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

On Monday

33 Reverse lipogram

A reverse lipogram is a type of constrained writing where each word must contain a particular letter. In this text each consecutive word has the next letter of the alphabet. First word must contain a. Second word must contain b and so on.

After daybreak, carriages stand beside platform. Gloomy overhead, wintry.
Majestic, striking lady climbs onboard looking rapidly, quickly for seat.
Gentleman, unanticipated, arrives with extremely, curly, fuzzy hair bestowing scarf
dropped moments before. Thanking the samaritan justly, pinkness gently blossoms on
woman’s aspect. Quietly, bestower dawdles, wanting communication, however, walks expeditiously away, dazed. After daybreak (succeeding day) they fling glowing honest smiles.

We Live…

Asked my 10/11 year olds to complete the sentence We live… using various prepositions. These were the best: Their words, My verse

We live under the sky
We live next to Cádiz
We live between buildings
We live with our families
We live without sadness
We live on top of the world
We live opposite Africa
We live to be the best
We live inside our houses
We live near the beach
We live on the earth
We live in San Fernando

32 The Letter D

Daylight. Dreary, dismal.
Direction downtown does downtime.
Dame’s dress: dusty drapery. Dame dashes, discovering davenport.
Duly, Don delivers dropped drape direction dame.
Dame directs delight, demonstrates demure diffidence.
Don doesn’t declare diddly, dilly-dallies, disappears.
Daylight. Dame, Don dealing delectation.

Run 09

It’s been weather for ducks during the night as with the early birds, I spread my wings and run up, down and around, under heavy skies, the gentle slopes of the duck park.


a focus on the past tenses

By the time I was one
I weighed more than my mum
By the time I was two
I’d eaten nine tonnes of food
By the time I was three
I had supports on my knees
By the time I was four
I couldn’t walk anymore
By the time I was five
I had a huuuge backside
By the time I was six
I’d scoffed a million chips
By the time I was seven
I could roll like a melon
By the time I was eight
I had such excess weight
that by the time I was ten
I never moved again.
What a terrible shame
that was then.

31 No Verbs

The 8:08 train to London, at the platform, under a wintry sky.
A woman, in a beige overcoat and black boots, on the train, on a seat.
Then a man, with curly hair, her scarf in his hand.
Her words of thanks.
The man, silent, awkard.
Her face, carmine.
The man, all of a sudden, absent.
The next morning, smiles.

In the river

a focus on the present continuous tense (for something that is happening at the moment of speaking)

I am feeling very cold
I am starting to shiver
because I am not sitting in my boat
But drowning in the river
I’m worrying quite a lot
as the current’s getting quicker
but this overhanging branch
getting nearer and nearer and nearer
is offering me a flicker

of hope

We are from…

This poem is inspired by ‘Where I am from’ by George Ella Lyon. With the help of my brother and sister we put together some memories growing up and i put it into verse.


We are from mince and mash
from Mr Sheen and the gold carriage clock

We are from bonfires in the back garden on Saturday night
from fir trees with bobbly seeds and sweets on Sunday.

We are from Snapdragons, Forsythia and Cherry Blossom
from cycling around the block and footballs hitting fences

We are from sitting by log fires in the living room
from Saturday lunch in the kitchen and pheasants hanging in the garage

We are from up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire
from brush those pegs and Father Mother God, guard me while I sleep

We are from dinners ready!
from suet sponge and I beg you pardon Mr Arden

We are from musicals and music
from oh gentle presence and halfway down the stairs

We are from Dennis Dennis find that ring
from Song for Guy and London trips to the King Singers

We are from the weather thermometer at the bottom of the stairs
from the heavy green toolbox and the name of the left hand side of a boat

We are from making camps
from dressing up and pillow cases full of christmas presents

We are from calamine lotion
from crab apple trees and eggy bread with sugar

We are from from Oliver and Castle
from Goldsmith and Kincaid

We are from wonders that will never cease.

Run 05

They are repainting the green bicycle lanes down on the Ronda Del Estero (ring road) and everyone is finally back to school, including me later today. Time for me to stop painting the town red.

30 The Letter C

Cold clouds covered creation.
City compelled carriages ceased.
Cream-clad chick climbed carriage-wards covering chair.
Curly-cut chap comes clutching clothing, cream-clad chick conceded.
Crimson cheeked chick conveys credit.
Chap’s chops closed; can’t converse.
Changes cold condition: canters.
Consequent commute chap casts contentment concerning chick, chick correspondingly casts contentment concerning chap.

29 Relative Clause

The 8:08 train, which was bound for London, stopped at the platform, which was full of people, under a sky, which was wintry.

A woman, who was dressed in an overcoat, which was beige, and boots, which were black, got onboard and moved quickly into the carriage, which was full but where she found a seat, which was vacant.

Upon sitting down on her seat, which was comfortable she was confronted by a man, who had hair, which was curly and who was holding her scarf, which she had dropped. She, who blushed a little, said thank you. He, who lingered but didn’t speak, soon walked off.

The next morning, which was the following day, they were seen on the platform, which was busy again and where they were seen exchanging smiles.


(take, teach, tell, write, think, understand, wake up, wear, win)

I woke up and wore the usual clothes to school
I took the usual route to school
They taught me things at school
They told me things at school
I wrote it all in my book at school
I thought I understood it all
Later I won a game of basketball
Then I went home and forgot it all
(Except the basketball)

The book

(pay, put, read, ride, ring, run, say, see, sell, send)

She said she saw it and read about it on the internet.
She said it was on a website that sold books.
She said her older sister paid for it.
She said the book was about a woman who rode a horse.
She said they sent it in the post.
She said when the dooorbell rang she ran to the front door to get it.
She said she put the book on her shelf and said it looked shiny and great.
She said she hasn’t read it because she doesn’t like reading.

28 Past Simple and Past Continuous

As The 8:08 train pulled into the station a woman was waiting to get on. When the train stopped, the woman got onboard as the doors were still opening. Just as she was sitting down a man approached her. While she was wondering what he wanted, he handed her her dropped scarf. She offered thanks as the train doors were closing. While he was standing there like a lemon she blushed.
It looked like he was going to speak but he didn’t and walked off. The next morning while they were passing on the platform they exchanged smiles.