These lessons have helped even my most reluctant writers play with words and revise their work. I have three sections: the original Nursery Rhymes, the Nursery Rhymes with blanks so students change the nouns, and the Nursery Rhymes where students change the verbs. There are several original examples on the last page.
For beginning writers, I would begin with the Mad-lib like pages marked “Just Add Nouns” and “Just Add Verbs”. I noticed as I worked with these rhymes that many of them are written in the passive tense and this could be an opportunity to talk about strong verbs. I substituted “Jack and Jill” for “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” in the verbs section, because there was only one verb in the latter.
With more experienced writers, I simply pass around a few copies of the original Nursery Rhymes and have them begin their revisions. I encourage them to begin by copying the original, but start to make revisions as they go.
Another variation is to have students use a thesaurus to change the words without changing the meaning.
I hope you enjoy these activities with your students.
I have been teaching for more than twenty years in the same school district I attended as a student. I have taught kindergarten through sixth grade. The teaching resources I sell were created and used with real children. I hope you enjoy these activities with your own students.