An elevenie (German Elfchen – Elf "eleven" and -chen as diminutive suffix to indicate diminutive size and endearment) is a short poem with a given pattern. It contains eleven words which are arranged in a specified order over five rows. Each row has a requirement that can vary.


The typical structure of an elevenie is as follows:

Row Words Content
1 1 A thought, an object, a colour, a smell or the like
2 2 What does the word from the first row do?
3 3 Where or how is the word of row 1?
4 4 What do you mean?
5 1 Conclusion: What results from all this? What is the outcome?

Use in educationEdit

The elevenie is mostly taught in primary school, but also in secondary school as well as in language teaching, including German as a Second Language, and religious education. The pedagogical objective of the elevenie is to develop creativity and communication through writing poetry, and for best results it is taught in a playful, interactive way. It is also used as an alternative to brainstorming to introduce a new topic or facilitate discussion.


The three elevenies together can be seen as a poem, with each elevenie a verse in the larger poem.


  • P. Hiebel, C. Stopfel: Elf Wörter brauchst Du nur. In: Grundschulmagazin. (3) 1998.
  • I. Weigel: Motivierende Schreibanlässe im zweiten und dritten Schuljahr. In: L. Blumenstock, E. Renner (Hrsg.): Freies und angeleitetes Schreiben. 4th edition, Basel 1996.
  • U. Marbot, Pfr. S. Stucki: Mit Freude schreiben – Tag für Tag. 2012. (Content: Examples of elevenies and writing guidelines)

See alsoEdit

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