St. Patrick's Day Old School Limerick Writing

Bring in Poetry Month a little early with a little St. Patrick's Day rhythm and rhyme.

By Alicia Johnson

St. Patrick's Day shamrock


April is National Poetry Month. Get your young poets into the mood with a St. Patrick's Day limerick writing warm-up. When I introduced limerick writing to my eighth and eleventh grade classes for St. Patrick's Day, I was very surprised how much fun all ages and all skill levels had with limerick writing. It serves as a reminder to both grade levels to notice patterns in poetry.  It also gives them a fun way to practice sticking to a pattern to create a particular style. Your classes will love joining other writers that have created the treasured limerick for centuries! I also think it is a little nostalgic for students to be able to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the higher grade levels. 


Limerick Writing Extravaganza

Here are just a few easy steps to create an experience that your classes will talk about with a sparkle in their eyes:

  1. The first thing I do prior to the limerick-writing extravaganza, is to buy some sparkly shamrocks from the dollar store and hang them all around my room. Watch how the kids' faces light up when they enter your classroom.
  2. Next, I ask the art teacher for a big piece of green paper. This is the kind of paper that is about 3 feet high and 10 feet long. After school, I hang it up on one of my walls. This is where I post all the limericks from the day's writings.
  3. Limerick day is here! As each class comes in, I wish them all a happy St. Patrick's Day and let them know we are going Irish for the day with some limerick writing. I present the Limerick Power Point and of course, provide them with a handout. After going over the basic patterns that make up a limerick, I let the pupils create limericks. Their final version will be turned in to me (see worksheet).
  4. At the end of the school day, I post the limericks on the big green paper with some glue sticks. When my wee writers return the next day, they can spend the first few minutes reading the posted limericks. I assign a student to be in charge of collecting votes for the top limerick. 
  5. Finally, the next day I award wee prizes for the winner(s). I get the prize from an after-St. Patrick's Day-sale.  

Limerick writing gets addictive. I cannot remember a single student who only wrote one limerick on St. Patrick's Day.

If you are worried about meeting Common Core Standards, fret no more. I'm sincere when I say this helps to mentally and emotionally prep my classes for National Poetry Month. Working with limericks produces the fun and creative aspect of writing that we want to foster in all of our future poets.

Connect to the Common Core

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

Reference: Common Core State Standards Initiative:

If you want to take a different approach to St. Patrick's Day, here are some lessons from the Lesson Planet website that may suit your needs. Whatever you choose, Ádh mór ort (Irish Gaelic for "good luck to you!").

More Resources:

Pot of Gold Craft

Maybe you are an art teacher looking for a hands-on craft with a St, Patrick's Day theme? This project lists the supplies you will need. It also provides directions and a photograph of the finished project. I image this would be a great project for homeschoolers that could then be given as a gift to a special friend or relative. With spring right around the corner, it could also be used as a planter.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Dance

For the PE teacher wanting to try a change of pace, this lesson gives step-by-step directions on how to do an Irish Dance. It would also benefit pupils doing research projects on traditions in other nations. After learning the traditional Irish dance, it might be fun to discuss dance trends in the United States. You could help them make a Harlem Shake video in class!

English Guide

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Alicia Johnson