I racconti, le poesie, le filastrocche, gli articoli, del maestro Ercole Bonjean

Com'è bello scrivere! Da quando sono in pensione lo posso fare in ogni momento: di giorno, di notte, ogni occasione è buona. Questa passione nasce da esigenze didattiche per poi sfociare in un mia esigenza personale. Scrivere racconti, poesie, filastrocche, è diventato un momento piacevole della giornata. Dai dati di Google in mio possesso ho scoperto che i miei scritti hanno superato, in questi anni, le cinquecentomila visualizzazioni di pagina a riprova dell'interesse delle lettrici e dei lettori del sito per il mio lavoro. Ho quindi pensato di creare un apposito link con tutti i miei scritti a cui se ne aggiungeranno spero ancora molti altri. Non mi resta che augurarvi buona lettura. Racconti e descrizioni : Sogno di Natale La descrizione di un fenomeno naturale: "La bufera" (The storm) - La metafora nel testo descrittivo Perché si dice "Chi dorme non piglia pesci"? Perché si dice: "Tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino" Perché si

Outlines for narrative, essay-style or descriptive texts.

Outlines for narrative, essay-style or descriptive texts.

The website www.ercolebonjean.com is rich with writing material for elementary schools and the relative working structures. This consists of over 200 essays to read, save and print if needed, which could be useful as starting point for classroom work. Here are some examples:

Writing a description of a person

My teacher
  • Character presentation
He is so funny he is like a clown. Yes, I am talking about my teacher, Ercole Bonjean.
  • Physical description
My teacher is of strong build; his hair is grey and white, and his eyes are bright blue, full of joy. He has an aquiline nose, very funny, a thin and narrow mouth, which is often smiling, all contained in a plump face.
  • Personality and behaviour
My teacher behaves and acts just like a teacher. Ercole is very, very generous, vivacious, and cheerful with us; sometimes when we disobey he is very strict, but also calm. Ercole is at ease in his environment and in any situation. My teacher makes me feel happy and cheerful.
  • An episode
At the beginning of the year, the teacher began to explain planets to us: Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn, and he told us that they corresponded to days of the week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
  • Conclusion
To sum up, my teacher is amazing!

My mother
  • Character presentation
“What did you do today at school”: these are the first words that my mum says to me when I come home from school. My mum is called Paola.
  • Physical description
She has a slim figure and is of above-average height. She has dark chestnut hair with red highlights which curl at the end, her eyes are brown and so expressive that by looking at her you understand her mood; her nose is regular, but towards her nostrils it looks like a button nose. Her mouth is big, her upper lip is thin while the lower lip is fuller.
  • Personality and behaviour
She is fun because she likes to joke. Sometimes she is strict and when she is angry she is like an erupting volcano. She is very affectionate because before we go to sleep she gives me so many kisses. She is upbeat because when we are in the car she starts singing.
  • An Episode
One day I had forgotten to do my homework and I had already gone to catechism school. After a while my mum realised that I still hadn’t finished my math homework, so she told me to go and finish it, but since it was already time for dinner she wrote the calculations on a piece of paper. I then transcribed them on my notebook.
  • Conclusion
Since that day my mum showed me that she was also a good friend.

Essay taken from the book Il Maestro Sembra un Clown, (1996, CEI) published with the sponsorship of the Comune di Imperia.

Learning how to narrate an experience

I hadn’t done my homework and I was afraid that…

Alberto forgot to study a nursery rhyme by heart as he was assigned to do. On the day of the interrogation Alberto is afraid, but he finds the courage to tell Mr Bonjean right away. He understands and forgives him, and asks him to learn the nursery rhyme for the next day.
Back home, Alberto studies as hard as he can; and the next day he recites the nursery rhyme perfectly.
His smile returns, especially after writing down on his diary his great new mark for recitation.


Characters: Alberto, Mr Bonjean.
Environment: classroom 3B
Problem: Alberto hasn’t studied the nursery rhyme assigned.
Conclusion: Alberto gets a great mark for reciting the nursery rhyme and is praised by both teacher and classmates.

In the woods in autumn


Visual details: the colours of nature: the bare trees, the green, yellow and red leaves, and their shape. Sunrays filtering through the woods. Some birds jumping from branch to branch.
Auditory details: birds tweeting, leaves being shaken by the wind.
Sensations: pleasure of being in contact with nature in this particular time of year, my emotions while watching nature approach winter.

It’s autumn. In the woods the trees are shedding red leaves which are being led to the ground by the wind, like death, forming a carpet on the wet soil. I am looking at some sort of multicolour butterfly rain and I feel like taking some to remind me of the colourful autumn which is about to end. But my attention gets caught by a quiet squeaking: it’s a small brown squirrel taking an acorn to its hole on the tree. It’s so endearing. After a while a cool breeze lifts some leaves and makes them spin in the air. In the woods, silence falls. It’s a magical silence topped by a few sunrays filtering through the small tree leaves. It’s relaxing. But now it’s getting dark, and although I feel a great sadness while I leave the woods, I will never forget this day.

Textual analysis: King Smoke-eater
  • Environment
Once upon a time in a big ancient castle…
  • Protagonist
… there was a King called Smoke-eater who smoked too much.
  • Initial situation
One day, while the king was walking in the garden, his maid, without him knowing, replaced the good cigars with others which made whoever smoked them cough until death.
  • Problem
Smoke-eater came back from his walk, sat on his chair, lit up a cigar, and he hadn’t even finished the first drag when he started coughing.
  • Solution
The maid, seeing that the King was sick, told him:
“Your Majesty, I will give you cough medicine if you promise me you’ll stop smoking.”
  • Conclusion
The King accepted the medicine, and he never smoked again because he understood that smoking is bad, and he married the maid who helped him.

Constructing an essay-like text

Respecting nature


Introduction: nature is precious.

Arguments in favour: nature nourishes us, it gives us water, it gives us oxygen.

Arguments against: there are none.

Conclusion: I reaffirm what I said in the introduction.


Respecting nature.

Nature is a precious good and should not be exploited for useless activities like hunting. By exploiting it we damage ourselves because nature nourishes us, it gives us water and oxygen.
I hate men who hunt for entertainment or those horrible furs that people wear to be fashionable. We should not kill animals especially those at risk of extinction because in a few years they will not be there anymore.
Air is the most indispensible part of nature, because without air we would die as we would be unable to breathe. Unfortunately factories are severely polluting our air, and even cars are worsening air quality with the smoke coming out of their exhaust pipes. The air’s worst enemy is smog resulting from smoke pollution.
Water is the part of nature which helps us survive because without water we would die of dehydration.
Our waters are very polluted because factories, with their drainage pipes, throw away their waste in rivers and consequently, in seas.
Our waters have lost their transparency and are now of a greenish colour because of the following reasons: factories, oil tanker, and ships. In fact, if we looked at the river Po we would be horrified at how polluted it is.
Trees are fundamental for human survival because they produce oxygen and they give us fruit rich in vitamins that make our bodies strong and healthy.
Unfortunately many forests are being eradicated in order to build motorways, buildings, skyscrapers and big squares.
In the summer trees are even more useful because they protect us from sunrays and create shade. I repeat what I said in the beginning: nature is a precious good, and without realizing it we are destroying the planet.

Recounting your own experience


Characters: Lucrezia, Mr Bonjean, his wife Franca.
Environment: the teacher’s house.
Problem: Lucrezia is hungry and Mr Bonjean is asleep.
Solution: the cat understands she has to wake him up, and she succeeds.
Conclusion: the teacher feeds the cat.

Essay: A scary night

It’s the middle of the night. Only the passage of a few cars briefly breaks the silence of the house; Mr Bonjean sleeps soundly. Lucrezia, comfortably resting on an armchair, can’t fall asleep, she feels her stomach protesting its hunger: she wants to be fed. Slowly she goes into the bedroom and loudly meows. Mr Bonjean continues with his dreams as if nothing was happening, and indeed he covers his face with a blanket. The cat is now very hungry, so she jumps on the bedside table, gets ready… and jumps on the teacher’s head giving her very best meows. Mr Bonjean and his wife Franca shout at the top of their lungs: “Help! We are being robbed!” Having recovered from the sudden scare, they turn the lights on and understand what is happening. The little rascal is now smiling on the floor. “Ercole, you forgot to feed her… poor thing! Hurry up and give her the shrimp with salmon.”
Lucrezia is now satisfied, so she softly strokes her head against her “master’s” leg and finally lies on the couch as if nothing had happened.

Structuring an essay (working structure)

Topic: is homework really necessary?


Introduction: I introduce my argument with my opinion.

Arguments in favour:
  • It’s an exercise which helps us improve our understanding of the work we have done at school
  • It helps us go deeper into the topics covered at school.
  • By doing homework we realize what we didn’t understand during class.
  • Studying a lesson helps us understand what was explained by the teachers.
Arguments against:
  • Homework should not take up most of our free time.
  • Homework should be interesting.
  • According to us, punishment homework is not necessary.
  • Even if useful, sometimes it is a struggle for us.
Main body of the essay:
  • Homework is necessary because it helps us become independent, and learn how fend for ourselves.
Conclusion: I conclude with a comment that summarises what I said in the essay.


Teachers give us homework to make us memorize, expand on and study the topics we have covered during the day; sometimes teachers help us by giving us information that isn’t written on our books.
When we do our homework we realise whether we have made mistakes or if we haven’t really understood what the teacher explained.
Doing homework and studying our lessons help us memorize the concepts learnt in class, and it also helps us learn how to work independently, without the teacher’s or the classmates’ help.
It is important to have a homework schedule for the week so as to not leave tons of homework for the very last day, since that would take up the entire afternoon. Homework should not take up too much of our time because we also need time to play games or sports.
I can usually do my homework quickly, but if I find the subject too boring it takes me a lot longer. This year I have enjoyed doing research for History class because I can look up information on the internet with my mum and dad, which allows us to find a lot of trivia which is not written on books.
I don’t like punishment homework very much even if sometimes we deserve them, especially in Ms Loredana’s class.

Homework is undoubtedly necessary but sometimes it is a struggle for us: I have often had to stay home on a Sunday afternoon to study when I would have preferred to go out and play!

Translation by Chiara Amoretti


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