People Interested in Zippy and ZAny Zcribbling

PIZZAZ has been an Online Resource since 1995 from Leslie Opp-Beckman
For Scribblers and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)


Description for Limericks: A humorous poem with 5 lines using rhyme scheme... aabba.

ESOL student level:
These activities scale well to beginner through advanced level proficiency and can be used with all ages.

For more activities:
Return to PIZZAZ!

Warm-Up Activities

Students work in pairs or a small group. Each group receives a limerick that has been cut into strips (along with its accompanying illustration if there is one). They then put the strips of paper into what they think might be the correct order.


  1. Across the top of a blank sheet of paper, each student writes 5-6 places s/he's lived or visited.... cities, provinces/states, countries, addresses, etc.

  2. Choose the 2 places that are easiest to rhyme (this may take some experimenting and more than one try). Students can help each other "brainstorm" rhyming words which they then write in columns underneath the place names. This can be done using only the last syllable of the name.

    Beijing: bring, fling, king, Ming, opening, ring, sing, sling, sting, thing ...

  3. Using one or both of the templates, students write limericks by filling in the blanks with their own rhyming words. Use past tense. Example:
    There once was a man from Beijing .
    All his life he hoped to be King .
    So he put on a crown,
    Which quickly fell down.
    That small silly man from Beijing.

Template A:
There once was a ______________ from __________________.
All the while s/he hoped _______________________________.
So s/he _______________________________.
And _________________________________.
That ___________________ from ___________________.

Template B:
I once met a _________________ from ___________________.
Every day s/he _______________________________________.
But whenever s/he ______________________.
The _________________________________.
That strange ___________________ from ___________________.

Follow-Up Activities

  1. Students' work can be compiled into a class anthology or wall display for reading, autographing, souvenirs, and so on.
  2. Students can illustrate poems with hand-drawn or computer-generated images.

© 2010, Leslie Opp-Beckman, Ph.D., Distance Education Coordinator and ESOL Instructor
Email: leslieob@uoregon.edu
URL: http://www.uoregon.edu/~leslieob/
5212 University of Oregon, Linguistics Department, American English Institute Eugene, Oregon 97403-5212 USA
Permission to copy and distribute for educational, non-profit use only.
This page last updated: 18 March 2010
University of Oregon