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Paragraph Writing: The Marvelous Toy

Paragraph Writing: The Marvelous Toy
Submitted By: Miguel Míguez
Level: Elementary
Topic: Writing

Preparation & Procedure


  • Prepare the song, "The Marvelous Toy" by Tom Paxton (available on YouTube).
  • Make one copy of the lyrics for each student (lyrics below).



1. Students read and listen to the song, "The Marvelous Toy" by Tom Paxton. Elicit the main idea. 


2. In groups, students read the lyrics again and underline the different characteristics of the toy.

For example:

many bright colours, zip when it moves, bop when it stops, whirr when still, two big green buttons on the bottom, lid, no name, unique, everyone loves it, nobody knows what it is


3. Groups report back. Write a web with all the ideas and ask questions, such as "Does it have wheels?", "How do you start it?", "Is it remote controlled?", etc. in order for students to infer other features not explicitly shown in the text.


4. Tell students they are going to write a paragraph about the toy with the information they have. Explain what makes a good formal paragraph: 


  • topic sentence 
  • supporting details (revise connectors used to link ideas) 
  • conclusion


5. Write with students the topic sentence and one/two more sentences, asking them for ideas and discussing them. Model through the process, reminding them of the different features. 


6. Have students finish the paragraphs by themselves. Discuss the type of information the final sentence should include. 


7. Help students and proofread their writing. Have them read their paragraphs and discuss any differences. 


8. Students draw a picture of the toy according to the song. You may want to discuss what other features are left open for them to be creative (i.e., shape, pattern, size, material). Students then write a second paragraph independently including their personal opinion about the toy. 



Lyrics: "The Marvelous Toy" by 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 "Whirrr" 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
Cause right on the bottom were two big buttons
That looked like big green eyes
I first pushed one and then the other,
Then I twisted it's lid
And when I set it down again, here is what it did:


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 cry, but my daddy laughed
'Cause he knew that I would find,
When I turned around my marvelous toy
Would be chugging from behind.


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... (refrain)

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