Monday, March 21, 2022

"See Saw Margery Daw": A Read-Aloud-Rhyme

Parents and teachers can read these rhymes aloud, and encourage little ones to repeat and even memorize them (I did when I was a kid!)

This rhyme may once have been used when children played on an actual seesaw (teeter-totter). You can "hear" the rhythm of the rhyme as children swing up and down. It might also have been used as a work song as men sawed wood by hand using a two-man saw.

See Saw Margery Daw,
Jack shall have a new master;
Jack shall earn but a penny a day,
Because he can't work any faster.

Meaning: Neither "Margery Daw" nor "Jack" refer to real people, but it may be that Margery ("Daw" means a lazy person in some dialects) had to go to work sawing because Jack--who can't work very fast--got fired ("shall have a new master"), and his new job pays poorly ("a penny a day").


Some words to talk about:

  • master: a boss
  • a penny: the smallest coin; very, very little money



Children can hold hands and "see saw" (lean forward and backward) as they recite the rhyme (or sing it! Check YouTube for melodies).

Discussion: Do you think it's fair that Jack only gets a penny a day? Is it fair that "lazy Margery" has to go to work? How could Jack work faster?

Please leave a comment - I can't WAIT to hear from you!