A Vampire's Dilemma

poem by Neal Levin , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning Intention:


I am learning to plan, create and deliver a presentation that outlines my personal perspective about a topic so that I can develop my skills with creating a cohesive argument.


Success Criteria:


  • I can identify a topic where I have a personal opinion.
  • I can identify the benefits of my chosen topic.
  • I can conduct research into my chosen topic.
  • I can include my ideas in a presentation.
  • I can develop a cohesive argument to explain my personal perception of the topic and how this may differ from others.


Essential knowledge:


View the video Perspective from the English Textual Concepts. Ensure students note the following:

  • Perspective shapes what readers see in a text and the way they see it
  • Perspective can be influenced by readers’ experiences, their attitudes, values and beliefs
  • Authors have their own perspectives
  • Authors’ perspectives are revealed through ways such as the language they choose to use, what they have included or left out of a text, and how they structure a text.


Oral language and communication or Vocabulary:


Display the following question:

  • Is there anything you know is good for you or for the environment but that you do not like?

Sample ideas include vegetables, spiders, bees.

Instruct students to discuss the following questions with a partner and record their responses on individual whiteboards or in their workbooks. Encourage students to use their own knowledge to identify at least one positive attribute of their chosen topic. Students may form small groups if they find this challenging in pairs.

  • What is your chosen topic?
  • What are some positive features and attributes of your chosen topic? (Bees pollinate plants, including a significant amount of the fruits and vegetables we eat, they produce honey)
  • What don’t you like about them? (Their sting hurts)

Emphasise that while we can appreciate the positive attributes of a topic, this may not be reflected in our personal perspective of a topic.


Understanding text:


Do not allow students to access the poem in the magazine initially. Instead, read the poem to students, stopping before the final stanza. Discuss the ideas presented about garlic in the text, for example:

  • That garlic is delicious and nutritious
  • It includes vitamin C
  • It improves hypertension
  • It has an excellent flavour.

Discuss what students assume is the narrator’s perspective of garlic. Most likely students will conclude that the narrator loves garlic. Continue reading to the end of the poem. Discuss the author’s perspective (that garlic for them is taboo). Reveal the page of the magazine and use the illustration to identify the reason behind the narrator’s perspective (They are a vampire, and vampires are known to be repelled by garlic).


Creating text:


Inform students that they will be creating a presentation about a topic where the general opinion of it differs from their own perspective. Tell students that they can develop the topic they discussed earlier in pairs/groups or think of a different one. Inform students that they will need to conduct research to both identify further positive attributes of their chosen topic and to further explain the reasons behind their perspective.

Discuss an example based on the idea of garlic from the poem. Inform students that they would need to include further detail about the benefits of garlic and additional information such as recipes garlic can be used in. Tell students that they should then include further information about their perspective and why they dislike garlic. If using the ideas in the poem as an example, this might include why vampires cannot eat garlic (or why they personally don’t like it) and additional information, such as potential allergies to garlic and ways to avoid it.

Display the following criteria for the presentations:

  • Should include at least four slides (Two that focuses on the benefits, two that outlines the reasons why the student’s perspective differs)
  • Must feature additional information gathered through research
  • Should include images/videos or audiovisual elements to make the presentation appealing.

Provide the following list of sites students may use for research. Emphasise that this list is by no means exhaustive and that students can identify their own reputable sources.

Britannica Kids


National Geographic Kids


The Discover and Learn section from The Australian Museum

Instruct students to work in pairs/small groups to prepare their presentations. While they are working, conference with the groups to ensure the information they identify through research is relevant.


Assessment for/as learning:


Match pairs/groups to form two pairs/groups. Inform students that they will be presenting to the other pair/group and that they will be peer-assessing the presentations. Discuss criteria that might be used when peer assessing. Refer back to the list of instructions for inspiration. For example:

  • Should include at least four slides (Two for the benefits, two for the reasons for the student’s own perspective)
  • Must feature additional information gathered through research
  • Should include images/videos or audiovisual elements to make the presentation appealing.

Instruct students to perform their presentations to each other and to provide feedback using the criteria as a guide.

Allow time for students to edit their presentations based on the feedback if they wish.