Animal Talk

poem by Charles Ghigna ,  illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning intention:

We are learning to identify and explain deeper meaning in poetic language.

Success criteria:

Students identify reasons different animals make noises

Students speculate on what animals communicate with each other about

Students create a conversation between two animals from the poem

Write a conversation between two of the animals from the poem.

After reading this poem, ask students why they think animals make these noises. Discuss the different reasons for these noises. For example, bees’ buzzing is caused by their wings as they fly, wolves howl to communicate with each other, and dogs may bark to get our attention or protect themselves or their family.

Ask the students to imagine what different animals may be saying to each other or trying to say to us. Use examples from the poem, such as what cows may be talking about in a field or what ducks may be saying to each other in a pond. Would they be making small talk about the weather and their kids, or maybe arguing over food, or warning each other about predators?

Tell students to consider factors such as the environment, surroundings and family structure different animals have.

Based on their ideas and the discussion, students should make up a conversation between two animals to ‘translate’ what is being communicated in animal language. They should either write a conversation in their book, or they may even pair up and plan, rehearse and perform a conversation in front of the class.