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Write Alternative Versions of Nursery Rhymes

In this worksheet, students adapt familiar nursery rhymes to produce their own versions. The worksheet should be attempted after the student has completed the reading comprehension worksheets on rhyme and rhythm patterns in poetry.

'Write Alternative Versions of Nursery Rhymes ' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Writing: Composition

Curriculum subtopic:   Plan What to Write

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

A good way of writing poetry is to take a poem that you already know and make changes to it.

You may already know this nursery rhyme:

Mary had a little lamb,

It's fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went,

The lamb was sure to go.

 

Here is an alternative version:

Mary had a little lamb,

It played the clarinet.

It also played the violin,

Oh, what a clever pet!

 

The first line has been kept the same, and the rhythm is the same as in the original verse (DA da DA da DA da DA and so on). The second and fourth lines rhyme with each other (clarinet and pet).

 

In this activity, you can practise writing your own versions of nursery rhymes.

When you are writing an alternative nursery rhyme it is important to keep to the same rhythm pattern as the original.

 

Read Little Miss Muffet out loud, concentrating on the rhythm.

 

Little Miss Muffet,

Sat on a tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey.

There came down a spider,

Who sat down beside her,

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

 

 

Two of the following lines have the correct rhythm pattern and could be used instead of the last line.

Read all three out loud and concentrate on the rhythm.

 

Version 1) And invited her to go on a holiday.

Version 2) And said, 'Have a very nice day.'

Version 3) And asked her to come out and play.

 

Which version does NOT fit the rhythm pattern?

Version 1

Version 2

Version 3

Read this nursery rhyme:

One, two, three, four,

Mary at the cottage door,

Five, six, seven, eight,

Eating cherries off a plate.

 

 

The rhyme scheme is AABB (four and door rhyme, and so do eight and plate).

 

Now look at this alternative rhyme and choose the best final line to complete it. Don't forget about the rhythm as well!

 

One, two, three, four,

Mary sitting on the floor,

Five, six, seven, eight,

________________.

 

Version 1) Peter eating apples on a plate.

Version 2) Peter swinging on the gate.

Version 3) Peter sitting at the door.

Version 1

Version 2

Version 3

This time write your own alternative final line for this nursery rhyme in the answer box.

Try to get the rhythm and rhyme correct.

 

(In case you don't know this verse, the final line is really And he called for his fiddlers three.)

 

 

Old King Cole

Was a merry old soul,

And a merry old soul was he.

He called for his pipe,

And he called for his bowl

_____________________.

 

 

This time you are going to change the second and fourth lines of the nursery rhyme Yankee Doodle.

 

This is the original verse:

 

Yankee Doodle came to town,

Riding on a pony.

He stuck a feather in his cap

And called it macaroni.

 

Choose a different animal for Yankee Doodle to ride and then change the last line to rhyme with your animal.

 

For example, you could choose the rhyming words donkey and wonky:

 

Yankee Doodle came to town,

Riding on a donkey.

He stuck a feather in his cap

But then it went all wonky.

 

Write your version in the answer box below. Don't forget to think about the rhythm!

Now choose a nursery rhyme and write your own alternative version.

 

You don't need to change every line but try to write your own version of at least two lines.

Remember to keep the rhythm pattern the same and try to keep the same rhyme scheme as the original verse.

 

If you don't know any more nursery rhymes, you can use one of the examples from earlier in this activity. 

 

  • Question 1

When you are writing an alternative nursery rhyme it is important to keep to the same rhythm pattern as the original.

 

Read Little Miss Muffet out loud, concentrating on the rhythm.

 

Little Miss Muffet,

Sat on a tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey.

There came down a spider,

Who sat down beside her,

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

 

 

Two of the following lines have the correct rhythm pattern and could be used instead of the last line.

Read all three out loud and concentrate on the rhythm.

 

Version 1) And invited her to go on a holiday.

Version 2) And said, 'Have a very nice day.'

Version 3) And asked her to come out and play.

 

Which version does NOT fit the rhythm pattern?

CORRECT ANSWER
Version 1
EDDIE SAYS
Version 1 is too long and does not fit the 'da DA da da Da da da DA' pattern of the original.
Ideally, your alternative nursery rhyme should also have the same rhyming pattern as the original.
  • Question 2

Read this nursery rhyme:

One, two, three, four,

Mary at the cottage door,

Five, six, seven, eight,

Eating cherries off a plate.

 

 

The rhyme scheme is AABB (four and door rhyme, and so do eight and plate).

 

Now look at this alternative rhyme and choose the best final line to complete it. Don't forget about the rhythm as well!

 

One, two, three, four,

Mary sitting on the floor,

Five, six, seven, eight,

________________.

 

Version 1) Peter eating apples on a plate.

Version 2) Peter swinging on the gate.

Version 3) Peter sitting at the door.

CORRECT ANSWER
Version 2
EDDIE SAYS
The second version is the best fit.
In the first version the rhyme is correct, but the line is too long and the rhythm is wrong.
In the third version the rhythm is correct, but the rhyme is wrong.
  • Question 3

This time write your own alternative final line for this nursery rhyme in the answer box.

Try to get the rhythm and rhyme correct.

 

(In case you don't know this verse, the final line is really And he called for his fiddlers three.)

 

 

Old King Cole

Was a merry old soul,

And a merry old soul was he.

He called for his pipe,

And he called for his bowl

_____________________.

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award a maximum of two marks for this question (one mark if the line rhymes with 'he' and one mark if the rhythm fits the correct pattern).
A possible final line could be 'And he called for a nice cup of tea.'
  • Question 4

This time you are going to change the second and fourth lines of the nursery rhyme Yankee Doodle.

 

This is the original verse:

 

Yankee Doodle came to town,

Riding on a pony.

He stuck a feather in his cap

And called it macaroni.

 

Choose a different animal for Yankee Doodle to ride and then change the last line to rhyme with your animal.

 

For example, you could choose the rhyming words donkey and wonky:

 

Yankee Doodle came to town,

Riding on a donkey.

He stuck a feather in his cap

But then it went all wonky.

 

Write your version in the answer box below. Don't forget to think about the rhythm!

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award up to two marks for this answer (one mark if lines 2 and 4 rhyme and one mark if the rhythm of the final line fits the pattern of the rhyme).
  • Question 5

Now choose a nursery rhyme and write your own alternative version.

 

You don't need to change every line but try to write your own version of at least two lines.

Remember to keep the rhythm pattern the same and try to keep the same rhyme scheme as the original verse.

 

If you don't know any more nursery rhymes, you can use one of the examples from earlier in this activity. 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award a maximum of four marks for this question.
1) Award one mark if the rhymes fit the rhyme scheme of the original.
2 and 3) Award two marks if the rhythm pattern is correct. Award one mark if an attempt has been made to fit the lines to the correct rhythm.
4) Award the final mark for the originality of the new poem.
Try it ---- OR ----

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