Dandelion Hill

poem by Lisa Varchol Perron , Illustrated by Shelley Knoll-Miller

Learning intention

I am learning to experiment with making deliberate language choices so that I can compose texts in a particular style.

Success criteria

  • I can identify how language impacts the mood of a text.
  • I can identify imagery.
  • I can compose a poem that utilises language features to convey a mood.


View the video Style from The School Magazine. Ensure students identify that style refers to the personal approach of a writer and the language features they include.

Ensure students are familiar with the term imagery by viewing The School Magazine video, Connotation, Imagery and Symbol. Ensure students note that imagery means using language to create an image in their readers minds. Tell students that metaphors are one example of imagery.


Display the following poem:

Dandelions dying,

The field is dry,

Hot sun beating down,

High in the sky.

The dandelions are parched,

If only it would rain,

The clouds dry as a crisp,

It’s such a pain.


Discuss the following questions:

  • What is the topic? (Dandelions, the dry weather)
  • What are examples of language that helps you to form an image of the scene in your mind? (Dying, dry, hot sun, beating)

Note: Inform students that ‘dry’ and ‘hot sun’ are examples of adjectives and noun groups/phrases and ‘dying’ and ‘beating’ are examples of verbs.

  • What examples of imagery are in the poem? (Hot sun beating down, the dandelions are parched, the clouds dry as a crisp)
  • What mood does the poem convey? (Somber, melancholy)


Read Dandelion Hill or listen to the audio file. Discuss the same questions from earlier. Sample responses include:

  • What is the topic? (Dandelions)
  • What are examples of language that helps you to form an image of the scene in your mind? (carpet, beneath my feet, gentle yellow, pounding heat)

Note: Inform students that ‘carpet’, ‘beneath my feet’, ‘gentle yellow’ are examples of adjectives and noun groups/phrases and ‘pounding heat’ is an example of a verb group/phrase)

  • What examples of imagery are in the poem? (A dandelion carpet, a gentle yellow welcome, as I race the setting sun)
  • What mood does the poem convey? (Joyful, hopeful, uplifting)


Inform students writers make deliberate choices with vocabulary to help them convey a particular mood. Inform them that writers select specific adjectives and metaphors to assist them with this.

Tell students that they will be composing a poem, using deliberate word choices to convey a specific mood. Inform them that first you will be composing a poem collaboratively.

Take students outside to the school field. Alternately, show them pictures of fields/parks in the surrounding areas. Discuss how students feel about the location. Emphasise differences between the students’ responses and inform them that their opinions are a personal choice. Sample responses might be that the students feel calm and relaxed in the location or that they feel hot and uncomfortable. Once back in class, note vocabulary students identified on the board for them to refer to later.

Collaboratively decide on a mood such as relaxed. Underline vocabulary on the board that helps convey this mood and discuss further examples, such as: floating, calm, peaceful, relaxed, daydream. Use this vocabulary to compose imagery or metaphors that might feature in the poem.

Remind students that metaphors convey a feeling by comparing two items. Sample metaphors include:

  • My limbs are cooked spaghetti (Comparing limbs to cooked spaghetti to convey the meaning that they’re feeling loose and relaxed)
  • My hair a flapping kite (Comparing hair to a kite conveys the idea that it is flapping in the wind)

Collaboratively compose a poem to convey the chosen mood. Inform students that they can choose to make their poems rhyme or not. A sample poem is provided below:

Floating across the school field,

My limbs cooked spaghetti,

It’s like I’m flying high above,

My hair a flapping kite.

I have nothing to worry about,

My shoulders drop,

My arms feel light,

I’m totally relaxed.


Read the poem with the students. Refer back to the list of vocabulary composed earlier and draw students' attention to words from the list not featured in the poem, for example: calm, peaceful, daydream. Edit the poem to include more of this vocabulary, emphasising that students should aim to make deliberate word choices, for example:

Floating across the school field,

I’m in a daydream,

My hair a flapping kite.

The world is still and calm.

I feel at peace,

My shoulders drop,

My limbs cooked spaghetti,

I’m totally relaxed.


Place students with a partner and instruct them to complete the following:

  • Select a mood you wish to convey
  • Identify vocabulary that conveys this mood
  • Compose a metaphor using the vocabulary
  • Use the vocabulary in a poem
  • Edit the poem to ensure you have made deliberate word choices


Assessment for/as learning:

Instruct students to swap poems with another pair. Tell them to use the criteria above to score the poems, providing one point for each of the criteria, with a maximum score of five. Allow time for students to provide each other with oral feedback, suggesting ways the poems might be improved.

Effective Feedback has more information on the types of feedback.