Slithery, Slimy Earthworm

I had an earth worm
A slithery, slimy earth worm
I had an earth worm
For my fish bait

So I took the earth worm
The slithery, slimy earth worm
And put it on the hook
To await its fate

I cast the earth worm
The slithery, slimy earth worm
Beneath the murky surface
To catch some fish

I wiggled the earth worm
The slithery, slimy earth worm
Until a fishy gulped it
But it was too late

I don’t have an earth worm
A slithery, slimy earth worm
But I have a fish for dinner
Mom thinks that’s great.


  • Explore the timbre of body percussion and found sounds to interpret language.
  • Distinguish between steady beat and rhythm through performance.
  • Discuss and practice the meaning of the word “duet” as the class simultaneously performs beat and rhythm.


Shared reading: builds fluency when students read with an underlying pulse.
Language sequence: students recreate the sequence of the poem through using word cards or sentence strips.
Vocabulary development: focus on word rhyming word families; introduction to alliteration and descriptive language.
Modelled Writing: using the poem to create a writing template.

Teaching Process:

1. Teach the poem by rote alternately keeping the steady beat and the rhythm.
2. Hide the words in your head and only perform the rhythm
3. Perform the piece with half the class keeping the steady beat and half the class playing the rhythm using different body percussion or non pitched percussion instruments.
4. Divide the class in groups and assign them to marked words. Perform the poem with each group taking responsibility for their assigned word or words.
5. Allow the groups to decide on a “body sound” to represent or replace the word.
6. Perform the poem again with the body percussion, hiding the words in their heads. Replace the body percussion with non pitched percussion.
7. Perform the piece again using only non-pitched percussion. Create an introduction and coda.
8. Teach the melody that goes with the poem. Add the instrumental accompaniment. Record the class singing the piece and burn it to a CD to be used in the listening center.

Language Extensions:
1. Language Sequence: Divide students in small groups. Give them sentence strips or word cards and put the poem back together.

2. Rhyming words: find the rhyming words in the poem. Create a wall chart and brain storm more words that rhyme with “bait. Extend this activity and explore other word families. Create charts to go with them.
3. Descriptive words: Identify the alliterations in the two poems. Create a wall chart of alliterations to use in future writing. It is helpful if the students know which noun they are describing
Earth worm – slithery, slimy
Loose tooth – wiggly, wobbly
4. Modelled or shared writing: Write a new poem using the attached template. Begin by modelling the writing for the children. Using a “think aloud” model the process of examine the form of the poem for rhyme scheme, use of repeated language, descriptive language. Draw upon the charts that were created by the children. Another day, do a shared writing with the children. Finally, divide students in small groups and allow them to write their own poem. Students may wish to publish their work and create shared books that can be used in the listening center.

5. Reading fluency: Record the two poems provided with this lesson or poems that have been written by the class. Burn these to CD’s and use them in your listening center to create “read along” resources for students needing practice with fluency.
6. Language Centers – Using the poems written by the class or student groups, allow students to select instruments to perform the marked vocabulary. After practicing students could present their work to the class, or record their work for the listening center.