James Bond and the Past Perfect: teaching grammar through poems

As I was organizing things for the first class of the year yesterday, I found a gem from the archives. We had been learning about the past perfect tense and how weird it is to try to write in it in any extended way. Instead of just blabbing at the kids about this, I had them write a group poem. The rule: everything had to be in past perfect. It gets weird, as group poems do, but the first line and ending are priceless. I love that the class not only answered to the prompt but found the potential humor in the stiffness of the tense. Please read in a serious, Bondish voice.

My name had been Bond. James Bond.

I had eaten and swum all day.

It had been a dark, stormy night

And I had still eaten and swum all day.

I had hit the fallen tree with what I had eaten.

I had drunk frozen swingsets

After I had swum and eaten all day.

I had conquered the fallen chipmunks

After I had swum and eaten all day.

Now my name is Bob. John Bob.

And I still eat and swim all day.