This is especially great at Halloween or for poetry themes, but can be used anytime of the year. They really get involved in writing poetry and you can make this more or less detailed as your needs require.
FIRST, I give the class many samples of hilarious rhyming epitaphs. I also write one or two about myself and that gets them laughing. Of course, sensitivity for younger students, and discourage meanness (a real problem with my middle school students!) Usually the two sentence poems start with "Here lies..." but I always give the students space to get really creative.
"Here lies Ms. Watson, colder than cold, too bad she thought she would live to be old."
"Here lies the star of the school soccer team, he lost the big game and he ended up in the stream."
"Here lies Arther Martholameu Blake, he stepped on the gas instead of the brake."
"Your dreaming a dream while six feet underground, I hope you don't wake up to find me around."
NEXT: I give them a half a sheet of paper that has the shapes of two tombstones along with the letters R.I.P. Students fill out their poems on these. They read them alound and it's really hilarious. The class picks the top 20 and these go in the "Graveyard" = a piece of black bristleboard with the class name and number on the top. I also print out "They will not be missed" and place this on the bottom - good for a laugh.
From the land of beavers, Canada. Currently teaching in Korea..
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