Dog Camouflage

poem by Diana Murray , illustrated by Christopher Nielsen

Learning Intention:

I can discuss ideas and refine skills by working cooperatively with my peers so that I can give and receive feedback and consider the ideas of others.


Success Criteria:

  • I can share my ideas about a text
  • I can take turns in a group setting
  • I can reflect on and discuss the ideas and interpretations of my peers and use them to inform my own opinion.


Oral language and communication:

Have students read the text silently to themselves and ask them to reflect on which emotions they felt were expressed by the narrator. Answers may include those such as confusion, sadness, worry and relief. Make a list of emotions on the board that were suggested by the class and add any that you feel are also relevant.

Divide students into small groups and allocate one emotion per group. Each group should then experiment with reading the whole poem in the emotion that was designated to them. Ensure that each student in the group is having a turn of reading, whether that be a whole stanza or certain number of lines, depending on group sizes. Students should practice tone and expression to effectively project the emotion they have been assigned.


Assessment for/as learning:

Once groups feel confident, they have mastered their readings, bring the class back together and have groups take turns of reading the poem aloud in their designated emotion. Once all groups have had their turn, pose the following questions to students to guide a class discussion:

  • Was there one emotion that suited the tone of the whole poem?
  • Were there emotions that captured different parts of the poem more effectively?
  • Which emotions were relevant to which parts of the poem?
  • What indications are there in the poem that led us to attaching tone and expression to convey particular emotions to them (e.g. punctuation such as an exclamation mark may indicate a heightened emotion, a question mark may suggest confusion, words such as ‘I worry that he’s wandered off’ indicates how the narrator is feeling).

Have students write out the poem in their books and use highlighters or coloured pencils to allocate the emotion that they feel best conveys the emotion depicted in each line of the poem (e.g. lines that indicate worry may be highlighted purple, lines that indicate joy may be highlighted orange). Have students create a colour key for their highlighted poem.