Bedtime for Monsters

poem by Kate Rietema , illustrated by Ana María Méndez Salgado

Learning Intention:

I am increasing my speed and efficiency using word processing programs so that I can make deliberate choices when composing multimodal texts.

Success Criteria:

  • I can understand the purpose of different fonts in a word processing program.
  • I can recognise the symbolism of particular colours, font styles, size and use of bold text.
  • I can combine the features of font, colour, text and images to create a multimodal text based on the poem.

Essential Knowledge:

More information about communicating through symbols can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Code and Convention.

Prior to reading the poem, ask students the following questions. These make connections between the students' background knowledge and the content of the poem:

  • What are common bedtime routines for children? (Answers may include bath, book, bed.)
  • What are common ways that children try to avoid going to bed? What are reasons children give to stay up a little later? (Answers may include bedtime is scary, being hungry or thirsty, needing to go to the toilet.)
  • What words do you associate with bed or bedtime? (Answers may include warm, cozy, cuddles, sleepy.)

As a class, read the poem and review its content: a little monster and her mother are getting ready for bed. The monster gives lots of reasons why she isn’t ready to go to bed – she is scared, hungry and thirsty. Eventually after a snack, a drink and a book, Little Monster agrees to go to bed.

Extension: You may wish to connect the style of ‘Bedtime for Monsters’ with the poem ‘Change of View’ (this issue). Both poems use the technique of incongruity: using words that seem out of place or ridiculous. Ask students to recognise examples of incongruity. They can be compiled in a table, such as the one below:

My bedtime routine Little Monster’s bedtime routine
Cozy PJs Mouldy PJs
Small, tasty snack Rotten eggs and crunchy froggy legs
Warm milk Pig snout slime
Afraid of monsters Afraid of girls and boys

After students have a thorough understanding of the content of the poem, explain the task. Using a word processing document (such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs), students will use the colour and font features to emphasise key words and phrases in the poem.

Provide students with a definition of the word font and explain their purpose. The term font refers to a specific style of words, numbers and characters that appear on a written or typed page. Fonts create different moods and atmospheres and provide visual clues for the reader about the important parts of a text. Word processing documents have tools that enhance fonts, such as bold and underline which can be used for emphasis.

Provide student with a range of examples of fonts and ask them what mood is associated with each example. Students may recognise that the Chiller font creates a scary mood and Curlz MT creates a light and positive mood.

Distribute an electronic copy of the poem. Ask students to choose key words and phrases that they wish to emphasise. You may wish to link this to the incongruity task. Students should choose a font that matches the mood of each of these phrases. For example, a student might choose to use the Chiller font for the phrase: “But bedtime scares me”.

Finally, explain the concept of colour symbolism. Colours are associated with certain moods and objects. For example, the colour green is associated with envy and the environment, among other things.

Instruct students how to use the highlight function in the word processing tool. Then ask students to highlight they key words and phrases with a colour that matches the mood of the quotation. For example, the phrase, “But bedtime scares me” may be highlighted red, to indicate Little Monster’s fear of going to sleep.

To conclude the activity, students can interview each other about their design choices.