Monday, May 24, 2010

Fun With Words

Do You Have Fun With Words?

Having fun with words is a necessary thing for writers. It acts as cross- training, causing us to stretch our thinking and writing muscles. When we experiment with words and phrases, we expand our writing horizons.

I feel that the same is true for students. Word play can enhance any study, helping students learn and express themselves with words and fun. When I tutor students for writing or language arts, I always include a little word play. Any student can benefit from this, because if nothing else, it encourages creativity, making them think.

I'm working with a 6th grader for reading comprehension, and our current studies include a project about sharks. Why? Because this is something that she is interested in. (That's another key element, and a topic for another day.) For the writing side of it, I've had her write a short report and shark similes. This past week, we also reviewed how to write a limerick.

I got about halfway through my preparations for the limerick lesson and thought, what am I doing? I dislike writing any kind of poetry! I don't mind reading and appreciating it, but writing it is just not my thing. By then, it was too late to change my plans, plus I'd already told her we'd write shark limericks. So I plodded through, and guess what? I stretched myself in the process. I'm glad I took time for my own word play in preparing the lesson, and I plan to do it more often. I highly recommend it; it was actually kind of fun. But don't look for a book of poetry by Karen Lange to come out anytime soon...

The Fun Part

Now you have permission to laugh at my attempt at a shark limerick. Bear in mind that this is not my forte, but I thought if I were brave enough to share it, it might encourage you to engage in some word play too. Here goes:

The Shark From Cancun

There once was a shark from Cancun,
Who could jump as high as the moon.
One night he took flight,
And had quite a fright,
When he leapt in a hot air balloon.

Okay, now it's your turn. Who is brave enough to write a limerick and share it here? Quick refresher:
  • A limerick has five lines
  • The rhyming pattern is AABBA
  • I trust you will keep it clean, as this is a family friendly blog :)
If you don't want to write a limerick, please share your thoughts on playing with words. What do you do for cross training to develop your writing muscles? Feel free to elaborate!

Don't forget that the Uprinting Business Card Giveaway ends today at noon EST. If you catch this before noon and would like to enter, leave your name and email address in your comment. Click here for ways to earn additional entries. Winner will be announced later today.

Happy writing!


Copyright 2010, Karen Lange. All rights reserved. No portion of this may be used without prior written permission from Karen Lange.


  1. Great post! I enjoyed your limerick.

    Will have to think hard about that one...

    Have a blessed day reading lots of limericks. xxx

  2. Cute limerick!! :-)
    I'm not even going to try. lol But thanks for reminding me to make writing interesting for my son.

  3. I love it, Karen. But I gave up poetry when my creative writing advisor in college told me I wrote "second rate poetry" and so I switched to journalism.
    Word play? My favorites are Scrabble and Boggle. If I can't get anyone to play with me I play on the computer.
    Also, teaching my little guys to read involves a lot of word play.
    Have a good week,

  4. This is fun and something I may come back and try when my eyes have opened more. I stayed up late watching LOST.

    I love to twist and bend words and sometimes they pop out at me and remind me of their diverse and playful meanings.

    My DD told a story about a shark that bit a house at dinner last night (she's 3). :D

    ~ Wendy

  5. Raymonde,
    Thank you. I'm interested to see if you give this a try:) Would love to read it! xo

    Thanks:) Writing is fun, and I think sometimes we get tangled up in our projects and forget that.

    I think that the advisor missed the mark, and I'm glad you kept writing, even if it wasn't poetry!

    Would love to hear your daughter's story. I bet it's cute. It's interesting to see what we come up with when we play with words.

    Thanks and blessings to you all,

  6. The biggest thing for me is reading. :)

  7. Karen:
    Let me think about this. I promise, I'll get back to you.

  8. Kristen,
    You are right, that helps so much!

    Am looking forward to it.

    Blessings and thanks to both of you,

  9. Great limerick! I love having fun with words too!

  10. I'm not much at poetry, although I did once meet a man from Nantucket. Does this count?

    Stephen Tremp

  11. I used to write a lot of poetry when I was younger. Never went in much for humor-- mostly angst and philosophical pondering. I should try some poetry again since I always enjoyed it.

    Tossing It Out

  12. Okay, here goes:

    To author a blog that is witty,
    You may think is so easy and pretty,
    But it can be quite scary
    When your thoughts never vary,
    And you come up with this corny ditty!

    I liked yours better, Karen. You do have a gift!

  13. Oh, my goodness! Your shark limerick was so cute!!

  14. Tyrean,
    Me too, it's a great way to stretch, isn't it?

    Yes, I'm thinking that it might!

    You really should! Post it on your blog for all to see, will you?

    Love it! You're appointed the official Write Now limerick writer:)

    Thanks! I was actually kind of pleased with it since I am such a non poetry writer:)

    Thanks and blessings to all of you for coming by,

  15. I love your poem! You may be my new favorite poet. ;) Emily Dickinson certainly never tried such a daring theme.

    You know, on of the most fun ways I've found to expand my knowledge of words is watching British movies. Particularly their classics. No only do they use some interesting words, the tend to have more fun with words in general. Their sentence structures alone leave me smiling.
    ...Plus it's hysterical when, after watching them with me, my brother suddenly starts saying things like, "My day was absolutely horrid." LOL
    Hope you're having a chocolaty week. ;)

  16. I used to love to write these when I was in high school. It's funny but since I stated writing, I hate to do poetry! But you did a really good job:) I bet your students love you.

  17. Haha, cute limerick! I haven't tried my hand at structured poetry in ages. Maybe I'll have to fiddle around with a limerick and get those rhyming muscles flexing...

  18. Emily,
    Well, I don't know if I'll make anyone's fave poet list! :) That's a great idea about watching movies; I think even old American ones have some interesting words and phrases.

    Thanks! Would love to see if you decided to give it a try again. You'd probably do well.

    Thanks:) You should stretch those rhyming muscles! I think you'd be good at it.

    Thanks and blessings to all of you for stopping by,

  19. I thought your shark limerick was very well done! There is probably a children's story in there! I kept trying to do one with "China" since that's where Patti Lacy (my boss and friend) is right now, but I'm just not poetically inclined.

    Thanks for sharing; it made me smile on an otherwise dreary day.

  20. Is it cheating to share the one I did as my entry for the One Word Carnival on self-control? I'm not sure it's the perfect AABBA formula.

    There once was a writer from Michigan
    Whose mirror revealed the shape she was in.
    M&M's in a bowl
    And with no self-control
    She emptied it faster than any man.

    The writer then realized her sin.
    The temple the Spirit lived in
    Had gone all to pot
    And healthy was not
    Good-by M&M's, hello thin.

    Now the writer was bought at a price.
    For honor she'll overcome this vice.
    She'll pray ev'ry day
    M&M's stay away
    And chocolate will no longer entice.

    Here's the link with pictures:

  21. This is a great post. The love for words a writer feels I think is nurtured very young.

  22. Thank you, Lindsey. I appreciate your thoughts and support:)


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!