National Poetry Month: Poetry Frame

The last activity for my poetry week is an activity I learned from a teacher I worked with several years ago.  I thought she was (and is) brilliant and want to be just like her!
We use the poem If I Were in Charge of the World  by Judith Viorst as a model and write our own version.

If I Were In Charge of the World
If I were in charge of the world
I'd cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

If I were in charge of the world
There'd be brighter nights lights,
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty eight inches lower.

If I were in charge of the world
You wouldn't have lonely.
You wouldn't have clean.
You wouldn't have bedtimes.
Or "Don't punch your sister."
You wouldn't even have sisters.

If I were in charge of the world
A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable
All 007 movies would be G,
And a person who sometimes forgot to brush,
And sometimes forgot to flush,
Would still be allowed to be
In charge of the world.
By Judith Viorst

Just as in the Grandmother’s brook poem we first read the poem two times.  Then we read the poem line by line and discuss.  Some things we discuss:
Who is the speaker?  How old is the speaker?  How do you know this?
Does the speaker have allergies?
Why would the speaker want brighter night lights?
What happened to the speaker’s hamster?
Why would the speaker want lower basketball baskets?
How does the speaker feel sometimes?
Does the speaker have a sister?  How does he feel about her? What makes you think this?

Then we talk about how to speaker really let the reader in to know his or her inner-most feelings and thoughts.  By reading the poem I feel like I actually know the speaker!

I show students the graphic organizer and I model how to fill in.   I send students off to their seats to fill in the graphic organizer.  We stop A BUNCH and so a mid-workshop share.  Students share whole class, with a partner, with their table groups and so on.  This is an activity in which the more students discuss the better and more thoughtful the responses are.

After students finish the graphic organizer I call students to the carpet and model how to fill in the poem frame. After students fill in the poem they can illustrate with their own pictures!



  1. Thanks for sharing! I am now following you:) Stop by and visit me...

  2. I did this poem with my 5th graders several years ago and they turned out fantastic! I love using a poem for them to mimic. They come up with such great things. Your brainstorm sheet and guide are SO much cuter than what I had before. Thanks for sharing! ~Amanda @ The Teaching Thief

  3. This is awesome! I love it.

    ~April @

  4. Thank you for sharing! This is a wonderful idea.

  5. I love your Poetry posts Mandy!!!
    I totally missed out on the celebration this year.
    I pinned them so I'm good and ready next year :)

    Hope your enjoying the weekend!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  6. Thank you for sharing! One of the first things I teach this year is poetry and I can't wait to use this!

    Teaching Chick

  7. I had a hard time downloading... I copied and pasted in Word, but I will have to retype it. Looks great!


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