• Inspirational English

Never built a snowman?

Updated: Apr 8

winter ESL activities

After doing the lesson THE LITTLE SNOWMAN with my younger students, it turned out that most of them had never had the chance to build a snowman. So I was really happy that my visualisation which I shared in the last blog post has inspired them to draw some really cute snowmen.

With the current consequences of global warming which we are all witnessing, it is not surprising that a snowy winter is not on the horizon for many regions. A fellow teacher from Belarus commented under my blog post SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF WINTER:

“It might be especially useful this year when instead of winter snow we are having spring showers and growing green grass.”

That´s why I consider my cousin´s boys, who live in America, to be quite lucky because during their holiday in Bulgaria they DID build a snowman. Here they are with their finished snowy creation.

So this week I want to share with you six ideas on how you can use Josie Whitehead´s beautiful poem POOR OLD SNOWMAN.

Poor Old Snowman

I'm a poor, lonely snowman alone on the slope

With not one crumb of comfort and no kind of hope.

The snow came so suddenly last Monday morning.

It caused many accidents for there'd been no warning.

Next day the sun shone. Children came out to play.

I was very soon built in much less than one day.

My battered old hat is too small for my head

And instead of a pipe there’s a stick there instead.

See the scarf round my neck and my little black belt?

Oh, they've gone now; it’s warmer. I'm starting to melt!

Now my head's almost gone and my friendly cold smile

And you’ll very soon find all my clothes in a pile.

My time in this world was so short but so happy.

The children all said: 'What a nice little chappie.'

Goodbye to your world. I’ve enjoyed my time here,

But now all that is left is just one little tear.

You can find the original as well as the poet´s recording on her new website here.

Idea 1

Swap the places of some key vocabulary and ask the students to correct them.

Idea 2

Play the poet’s recording and ask the students to repeat after her, paying attention to their diction, intonation and pronunciation

Idea 3

Remove key vocabulary and ask the students to find the right gap

Idea 4

Remove the rhyming words from the poem and ask the students to pair them. Then they have to place the words in the right line.

Idea 5

Recital contest

Put the students in groups of 4. Ask the students in each group to learn a verse by heart. Then set a recital contest

Idea 6

And my students' favourite task:

Tweak the poem

The poem begins with:

"I'm a poor, lonely snowman alone on the slope" so challenge the students to change the snowman´s mood. For example, the snowman could be "happy" instead of "poor and lonely". Then ask them to make necessary changes in the text so that it fits with the new mood.

Other options could be: cheerful, excited, angry, frustrated.


How would you use the poem with your students?

Leave a comment below or drop me a line via the contact form here.


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Truly grateful,

Marusya Price

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