When No One is Looking {An Entertaining Poem for Kids}

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need to take a break from expository, narrative, and opinion writing and introduce poetry to my students to capitalize on their creativity.  While poetry is a great way for students to express that creativity, sometimes students need a gentle nudge to get started.  That's why I love using different poetry forms with my students.  Today I'm here to share with you a very entertaining poem template that my students love: When No One is Looking.  

"Can a dog twirl a baton?"
"Would a dog order a pizza?"
"Did you know dogs also like to cross the monkey bars?"
"Have you heard that dogs love to ride bikes with their friends?"

These are just some of the questions I ask when I'm getting my students started.  Yes, they look at me like I have lost my mind, but the sillier the statements, the more engaged and ready your students will be to write!  I project the template up on the screen and students write the poems in their journals.

After some revisions and editing, I type the poems for my students onto a single piece of paper.  Then I give them a second sheet of paper to illustrate their poem.  Finally, we mount the pages and combine everything into one entertaining class book!  Here are some completed poems:



Another benefit to this project is your students can really go wild with the subject of their poem.  Most students will start with pets like dogs, cats, or fish.  Some students branch a little further out and write about wolves, cobras, or dolphins.  But, I should warn you that your most creative students will come up with some out-of-the-box ideas like fuzzies, germs, and even molecules!


I've honestly tried looking to see where this idea came from since I've been using it longer than most blogs and Pinterest have existed.  The closest reference I can find online is a book called "What Cows Do When No One is Looking" by Bruce Thompson, but I cannot find this book in print.

However, I found (and now own) this book:
When No-one's Looking On the Farm by Zana Fraillon & Lucia Masciullo
(Published in Australia)

I love the word choice, rhythm, and rhyme of the text.  The actions of the animals are not the most predictable, but your students will be begging to know what silly activity the animals will be up to next!

Here's what Amazon has to say: 


"What do all those animals on the farm do when no one is looking?
 The ducks in the pond
swim and paddle all day.
They dip-dive and swirl
in fountains of spray.
But when no-one's looking . . .
 The animals on the farm can swim, stomp, and run. But when no one is looking, they have all kinds of fun! A charming lift-and-reveal picture book perfect for young children playing on the notion that animals are up to funny and often absurd activities when no one is looking."


I hope this sparks some entertaining writing in your classroom.  If you try this with your students, I'd LOVE to hear what they come up with!



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