A Perfect Country Night

poem by Lisa Varchol Perron , illustrated by Gabriel Evans

Learning Intention:  

I am learning to explore doing and saying verbs and to experiment with using them in my own writing so that I can become familiar with using them when I write.   

Success Criteria:  

  • I can identify verbs in a poem.  
  • I can distinguish between doing and saying verbs.  
  • I can compose a poem about my perfect day.  
  • I can edit the verbs to make them more specific.  
  • I can use a mixture of doing and saying verbs.  


Essential knowledge:  

Ensure students know verbs are words used to show an action, occurrence or a state of being.  

Check students understanding of tense. Ensure students are aware that the tense reveals when the action of the verb occurred, either in the past, present or future.  

Learning resource:  

Read A Perfect Country Night. Collaboratively identify the verbs in the first stanza (‘is’, ‘stitched’, ‘huddle’, ‘wrap’). List these on the board. Discuss the tense these are written in (most are written in the present tense apart from ‘stitched’ which is written in the past tense).  

Place students with a partner and instruct them to identify further examples of verbs used in the poem. Sample responses include:  

  • swirls 
  • toasting 
  • lick 
  • sip 
  • spins 
  • to be 
  • lifts 
  • say 
  • ending 

Add the verbs students identify to the list on the board.  

Ensure students know the difference between doing verbs (‘is’, ‘stitched’, ‘huddle’, ‘wrap’, ‘swirls’, ‘toasting’) and saying verbs (‘spins’ when used in the line, ‘and Grandpa spins his stories’ and ’say’). Sort the verbs used in A Perfect Country Night into those that are doing verbs and those that are saying verbs.  

Inform students that they will be using the skills they have learnt to compose their own poem about their ideas of a perfect day.  

Discuss students’ thoughts on what makes a perfect day. This can be tailored to suit the local area surrounding the school, for example, ‘The perfect day at the beach’ or ‘The perfect day in the city’. Select one example, such as ‘The perfect day at the beach and discuss elements that make the day so special. Suggested ideas include: 

  • warm sunshine 
  • playing with friends 
  • swimming 
  • ice-cream 

Collaboratively compose a poem featuring these ideas. Initially don’t worry too much about including specific verbs. Strive to include descriptions of what is done and what is said on this perfect day. A sample response is:  

Being in warm sunshine,  

Talking with friends,  

Swimming in icy water,  

Eating ice cream. 

Refer students back to A Perfect Country Night and emphasise that the verbs are specific, and that the poem includes a mixture of both doing and saying verbs. Draw students’ attention to examples such as ‘swirls’, ‘toasting’, ‘sip’, ‘spins’ and ‘say’ from A Perfect Country Night. Inform students that they will now be editing the poem, to make the verbs more specific and to include a mixture of doing and saying verbs. Discuss suggestions for each of the verbs and edit where appropriate. For example, change ‘being’ to ‘frolicking’ and ‘talking’ with ‘joking’. 

Frolicking in warm sunshine,  

Joking round with friends,  

Swimming in icy water,  

Ice-cream and make pretend. 

Reread the poem with the improved verbs.  

Inform students that they will now be constructing their own poems. Inform students that it is up to them whether their poems rhyme or not. Instead, the focus is on using specific verbs and on using a mixture of doing and saying verbs. Allow time for students to construct their poems, before creating small groups for students to share their poems with their peers.