poem by Lisa Varchol Perron , illustrated by David Legge

Learning Intention:


I am learning to create literary texts that represent different perspectives, so that I can develop my skills with composing texts in a variety of styles and that are interesting and engaging to readers.


Success Criteria:


  • I can identify the point of view of a text.
  • I can consider a unique perspective.
  • I can compose a poem written from a unique perspective.


Essential knowledge:


Discuss key features of poems, ensuring students identify that:

  • Ideas are represented in lines and stanzas
  • Often lines may rhyme or follow a rhythmic pattern
  • Poems may feature playful or poetic language.


Oral language and communication:


Display the first stanza of the poem, without allowing students to access the magazine or to see the accompanying illustration for now.

We’ve spent the summer day at play,

now night is drawing near—
the perfect time to search for creatures

known to venture here.


Discuss the following questions:


  • Who do you think is searching for creatures? (Most likely students will think humans)
  • What type of creatures might they be searching for? (Nocturnal animals such as wombats, possums or bats)



Understanding text:


Read Dolphins or listen to the audio version, this time allowing students to view the poem on the page of the magazine.

Discuss the following:

  • Whose point of view is the poem written from?
  • What surprised you about this?
  • When do you learn whose point of view it is from? (The final line)
  • Why do you think the author has waited till then to reveal who the narrator is? (To make the ending surprising, to perpetuate the incorrect inference that the poem is written from the point of view of a human)
  • What information do we learn about the narrator of the poem? (They have been playing all day, they enjoy searching for humans, they spend leisure time with their mother)
  • How did the fact the poem was written from this point of view impact your enjoyment and engagement with the poem?


Creating text:


Discuss further animals who might experience encounters with humans and how they might perceive us, for example:

  • Domestic cats might view humans and perpetual waker-uppers, who constantly interrupt their sleep
  • Foxes may view humans as a disturbance to their nightly exploits
  • Sheep might view humans as strange creatures that drive past fields in weird metal boxes (cars)


Inform students that they will be composing a poem based on the unique way an animal views humans. Gradually release responsibility by composing a collaborative example first. To do this, select one of the ideas above, for example that cats view humans as perpetual waker-uppers.

Refer back to Dolphins and discuss when the reader discovers the subject matter of the poems is humans (the final line). Discuss the structure and the rhyming scheme. (Two stanzas, each with four lines and an ABCB rhyme scheme). Inform students that they can choose whether to follow the same structure or to compose their own. Emphasise that the focus is on providing a unique point of view of humans, with the reveal of this occurring in the final line of the poem.

Discuss ideas further ideas about how cats may view humans. To do this, first identify key attributes of cats, such as:

  • Graceful
  • Stealth-like
  • Sleepy
  • Aloof

Use these ideas as comparison to inspire discussions around how cats may view humans. For example:

  • Clumsy
  • Banging and crashing around
  • Always running about
  • Overly friendly

Use these ideas to collaboratively compose a poem, for example:


Here they come again,

Banging and crashing about.

You think they’d learn to whisper,

But they only holler and shout.


I’m woken up again,

By these overly friendly beasts,

But at least these owners of mine,

Are the humans I despise the least.


Place students in pairs and instruct them to complete the following:

  • Select an animal and identify a unique way they might view humans
  • Identify key attributes of these animal
  • Use these to compare them to humans
  • Compose a poem where you only revel the subject matter at the end.


Assessment for/as learning:


Allow time for students to compose their poems. Match the pairs into groups of four and inform students that they will be peer-assessing the poems. Discuss criteria students may use to assess the poems, for example:

  • Provides a unique perspective about humans
  • Only reveals the subject matter at the end of the poem.

Instruct students to assess each other’s poems and to provide oral feedback using the criteria as a guide. If time allows, students may edit their poems based on the feedback if they wish.

For more on assessment, view Assessment for, as and of Learning.