Trying to create a realistic scenario students can act out where they might naturally use the grammar "I mean the man reading a newspaper." isn't so easy. Instead of trying to force it, I decided we should write a poem instead.

The man trying to look busy.
The ladies sharing gossip in huddles of office chairs.
The computers shedding heat into the stuffy room.
The B.O.E.

Basic Info

Time: 20 mins
Level: Junior high, grade 3
Works with: I mean the man reading a newspaper.
Class size: Medium to large

You will need:

  • One sheet of scrap paper for each group


The poem follows an easy to replicate form. Descriptions of things in a place. Three things with descriptions (note that they should be "~ing" descriptions for this target grammar) then the place. Example:

The water (the thing) running softly (the "ing" description).
The fish (the thing) swimming (the "ing" description).
The boy (the thing) fishing (the "ing" description).
The river (the place).

Activity Description

  1. Students make groups of 4.
  2. Each group receives a sheet of paper.
  3. Students work together to write the poem.
  4. Groups present their poems to the class.

How to Write the Poem

  1. Decide on a place (for the last line).
  2. Think of a thing in that place (3x).
  3. Describe that thing with movement/action (3x).


  • Start by writing a poem as a class and then reading it all together. This will best show how to write it. First, think of the place (you may have to provide this yourself to get things started). Then ask students to think about things you see at this location. Then think about what those things do there (looking to describe with an "~ing" word.
  • You may also wish to provide a few examples of locations, to show students the variations.
    • Nature: mountain, river, rice field
    • City: mall, train station, juku
    • Community: school, club, pool
    • Event: sports day, baseball game


  • This activity requires creativity and a decent grasp of junior high English, so probably wouldn't work well as an individual activity.


This activity is challenging but doable for all groups. Key is creating the first poem together. This activity works well in Sunshine 3 Program 6 Section 1.

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