Using the writing game on questions and answers described by Sandy Brownjohn in To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme?
(Hodder, 1994), ask the children to think of 'big picture' open questions that need answering: 'Where does God come from?'; 'What's inside a cloud?'; 'Why is thunder cross?' They can be on any theme, or a variety of themes. A good source of these is Why do the Stars come out at night?
by Annalena McAffee (Red Fox).
Model to the children with shared writing the kind of question you think works best, and ask them to suggest them to you. Children then work in pairs (not necessarily grouped by ability), where they write a question down for each other, swap papers, then write an answer; then swap papers again, and do another question, and so on, until they have a good list.
A good target to aim for is 10 lines (5 questions and 5 answers). The resulting writing can then be manipulated to create new poems. Words can be changed, lines moved around, themes developed.
Look again at the shared writing of statements made by the children in the first lesson. Can it be added to or expanded? Then do a class reading of Michael Rosen's poem, 'Chivvy', which is a list of statements made by 'grown-ups'.
Using the poem as a model, suggest other list poems containing speech the children might make: e.g. 'what teachers say'; 'what dads/mums/sisters say'; 'what newsreaders say' etc.
Another way of developing this is to suggest the concept of times and places where we say particular things, e.g. 'things we say in the morning'; 'things we say watching football'; 'things we say at the dentist's', etc.
Children to work individually, in pairs or in groups to create poems.
Look again at the characters in the poem. How does the poem read if we change their names? Derek Drew could become: Barry Bore, or Timmy Twee; or Sharon Stare or Tracey Tease. Elicit responses to these new characters' names. How would a stanza sound or go if we put a new name in instead? Model for the children, and attempt a class poem, using shared writing. This could lead on to children writing stanzas with new names in pairs, or individually, depending on age, ability and experience.
Children to learn and perform the poem using different vocal effects.
Other poems by Allan Ahlberg
and 'Heard It In the Playground' by Allan Ahlberg; 'Chivvy' and 'Why?' by Michael Rosen.