Fold-up poem

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Fold-up poems work in the same way as the game consequences, and can be used to activate taught vocabulary or grammar. There are a few different variations which change the tone of the outcome and suit different levels. The following activity and its variants can be combined and modified as required:


Students need paper and a pen(cil)


  • Instruct students to divide their sheet of paper in half 3/4/5/6 times to produce 6/8/10/12 rows divided by creases.
  • Students sit in a circle facing outwards, or sit facing away from others so they are not distracted.
  • Explain that they are to write a poem collectively and that the activity is silent.
  • When the class are relaxed and quiet, instruct students to write a verse (which could be a sentence, clause, stamement, question or interjection) that comes into their head (but it must be complete e.g. not "A whistle was what", but "A whistle was what I heard").
  • After 60-90 seconds, ask the students to fold the sheet of paper so that their sentence is hidden and then to pass it to the person on their left.
  • Tell the students to write another sentence and again fold the paper and pass (the sentence needn´t be related to the first one they wrote).
  • This process is repeated until all the rows are full.
  • Students unwrap their poem and read it, correcting any spelling errors and making any minor changes to render it readable.
  • The students mingle and read the poems, perhaps voting for the funniest, most random and most poetic to be read out to the whole class by volunteers.

Variation 1: partner poetry[edit]

The above procedure is followed, but pairs pass between themselves rather than around the group.

Variation 2: limited length[edit]

The teacher dicates numbers to write in the margin of each row, and the verses must contain the corresponding number of words e.g.

2 I am
4 Revenge of the lawn
6 You have two cows which moo
8 Do you think you can pass the test?
7 Welcome to the world of endless boredom
5 Not all eagles can fly
3 Nice mint tea
1 Lennon

Variation 3: target language[edit]

The teacher dictates, or the students choose, (studied) grammatical structures or vocabulary items, which are written beside each row and must be used in the verses e.g.

agree I don´t agree with this at all
has/have got We have got to write a poem
knowledgable Some animals are knowledgable
keen on Esteban seems keen on Andrea
stopped The pen stopped writing
quietly Butterflies fly quietly
time to There´s no time to talk
will be -ing Will she be dancing at the club later?

See also[edit]