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Marvelous Toy - Tom Paxton
Lesson plan by Michele Ben -
appropriate for up through 8th grade.

A great song for going over the past simple tense is "Marvelous Toy" by Tom Paxton. Here are the words:

Marvelous Toy (Tom Paxton)

When I was just a wee little lad full of health and joy
My father homeward came one night and gave to me a toy
A wonder to behold, it was, with many colors bright
And the moment I laid eyes on it it became my heart's delight

It went "zip" when it moved and "bop" when it stopped
And "whirr" when it stood still
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.

The first time that I picked it up, I had a big surprise
For right on its bottom were two big buttons that looked like big green eyes.
I first pushed one and then the other, and then I twisted its lid
And when I set it down again, this is what it did: (REFRAIN)

It first marched left and then marched right
And then marched under a chair
And when I looked where it had gone, it wasn't even there:
I started to sob and my daddy laughed, for he knew that I would find,
When I turned around, my marvelous toy, chugging from behind. (REFRAIN)

Well, the years have gone by too quickly, it seems,
I have my own little boy
And yesterday I gave to him my marvelous little toy.
His eyes nearly popped right out of his head
And he gave a squeal of glee,
Neither one of us knows just what it is,
but he loves it, just like me.

It still goes "zip" when it moves and "bop" when it stops
And "whirr" when it stands still
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.

While listening to the song the kids mark the verbs they find.
Listen twice.
Then the kids can make a chart: Regular Verbs - Present / Past Irregular Verbs - Present / Past
The eighth graders can add the V3 form of the irregular verbs to the chart.
Follow up creative activities:
  1. Draw the toy.
  2. Write the song in story form.
  3. Write a conversation between the boy and the dad.
  4. Write a conversation between the boy and a friend. The boy describes the toy to his friend.

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