An Original Compare and Contrast Lesson from WritingFix
this writing across the curriculum assignment encourages deeper student thinking

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I Used to Be... But Now I... Poetry Lesson

Additional Samples for this Writing Activity

This Activity's Title:

I Used to Be...
But Now I...


This comparison/contrast lesson was created by NNWP Teacher Consultant Denise Boswell.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this writing across the curriculum lesson is the picture book When I Was Five by Arthur Howard. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.

Check out When I Was Five at

Washoe County teachers, click here to search for this book at the county library.

Then and Now
by Austin, fifth grade poet

I used to have a chubby face and a bowl haircut and be really short,
But now I have a thin face and dark brown hair.
I used to bite things with my razor sharp teeth,
But nowI ride my shiny bike, and play mind-numbing video games.
I used to hate the noisy shower,
But now I love you even more and I love the shower. Thanks for the
I used to be terrified of the horrifying dark, and the monsters under the bed,
But now I am afraid of pale white ghosts that go through the night.
I used to believe that murderous zombies were real,
But now I believe that 3:00 is the time of the evil demons.
I used to be unable to ride my bike,
But now I can. Thanks, Mom!
I used to get in trouble for throwing mud,
But now I get in trouble for being sassy.
You’re the best mom anyone can ask for!

by Adriana, fifth grade poet

Antes yo tenía corto cabello, y gordita,
Pero ahora yo tengo largo cabello, y soy flaquita.
Antes yo jugará en la cañeta,
Pero ahora yo soy porrista.
A mi no me gustaba espinacas,
Pero ahora no me gusta el chile.
Yo le tenía miedo de monstruos,
Y ahora yo le tengo miedo de arañas.
Yo crea en monstruos,
Pero ahora crea en Dios.
Yo no podía ser porrista,
Pero ahora todo lo Quero hacer es porread.
Antes me regañarán por meter me en el cañeta,
Pero ahora me regañarán se tengo mallos grados.

Additional Samples for this Writing Activity:

We are seeking additional samples of this writing assignment. If you have a finished I Used to Be poem to share, send it to us at

If we publish it here, we will send you a free publication from the NNWP's Publication Page.




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