Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It

forgive-meProgram Plan:

Start off by sharing favorite poems while snacking on brownies, oranges, and lemonade.  (I tried to get plums in reference to the original “This Is Just to Say”, but there weren’t any at the store.  Bummer!)

Work together to write a few false apology poems.  If group can’t think of subjects, use some of the apology ideas below.  (Have books on hand for some of the sample ideas just in case the kids aren’t familiar with the stories.)  After doing a few as a whole group, split into mother-daughter pairs and write/illustrate one or more.  (Here’s a draft composition sheet with the rules and some blank frames for making pretty versions.)  Come back together and share favorites.

What Happened:

Four mother-daughter pairs attended.  Everyone – moms and girls – liked the book.  To start, everyone read a favorite poem aloud.  It was a little bit hard to find the poems within the book, since they all have the same title.  This makes the table of contents very funny.

I wrote the framework for the poem on the whiteboard and three of the girls took turns writing a poem that we wrote as a group.  (The fourth did not want a turn.)  I had cut up the topic suggestions and put them into a basket, so each girl chose a topic from the basket and we wrote the poem together.  We had trouble keeping the lines brief, but overall I thought they nailed it, especially the third “false apology” stanza.  Here are our group efforts:

This Is Just to Say

I huffed and puffed
blew down two houses
I ate
your two brothers

you are now
an only child
in your big
brick house

Forgive me
I love bacon
and I’ve always wanted
to be big and bad


This Is Just to Say

We sent you out
in the woods
all alone
with some bread

you found a gingerbread house
and a witch
who wanted to eat you
after roasting you

Forgive us
we ate
a lot better
when you were gone


This Is Just to Say

I broke into your house
when your parents weren’t there
and made a mess
with Thing 1 and Thing 2

I scared the fish
turned your house upside down
ripped your mom’s gown
and made you feel worried

Forgive me
I like making messes
and your house
was too neat


This took about 30 minutes.  For the next 10 minutes or so, the mother-daughter pairs worked on their own poems, which they shared with the group for the last few minutes.  Their poems were great, but I didn’t get copies, so I can’t share them.  They wanted me to send the group poems to Gail Carson Levine, so I will have to track down her contact info.

Update: one of the moms sent in the poem she and her daughter wrote from the stepsisters to Cinderella:

This is just to say
we made you clean
all day 
and forbid you
from going to the ball

which made you sad and 
us glad if it weren’t for the
fairy we would be in the 
castle right now

Forgive us
we all wanted 
to marry
the prince

Overall, this went really well.  There wasn’t really enough time to write the poems out nicely and illustrate them.  Two of the girls brought home frames to work on at home, and some of them took extra copies of the composition sheet.


Possible subjects for false apologies:

Gretel apologizes to the witch

Hansel & Gretel’s parents apologize to them

Wolf apologizes to the three little pigs

Cinderella’s stepsisters / stepmother apologize to her (or the other way around)

Goldilocks apologizes to the three bears

The Runaway Bunny apologizes to his mother

The Very Hungry Caterpillar apologizes to the person whose food he’s eaten

The Cat in the Hat apologizes to the kids for making a mess in their house

Max from Where the Wild Things Are apologizes to his mother (or the monsters)

The monkeys in Caps for Sale apologize to the peddler for taking his caps

Peter Rabbit apologizes to Mr. McGregor (or the other way around)

Curious George apologizes to The Man in the Yellow Hat (or the other way around)

Mayzie apologizes to Horton (Horton Hatches the Egg)

Laura apologizes to Nellie for the incident with the leeches (Banks of Plum Creek)

Frozen – Anna apologizes to Elsa (or Elsa to Anna, or Hans to Elsa)

The spider apologizes to Little Miss Muffet

The monkey apologizes to the weasel (“Pop Goes the Weasel”)

Farmer apologizes to the sheep for giving away his wool (“Baa Baa Black Sheep”)

The Dish and the Spoon apologize to the person they ran away from (“Hey Diddle Diddle”)

The sheep apologize to Little Bo Peep




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