Dolphins Eat Sushi

poem by Stephen Whiteside , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning Intention:

I am learning to research and create a presentation that expresses ideas with authority so that I can ensure my ideas are deemed trustworthy.

Success Criteria:

  • I can analyse texts to identify how to express authority.
  • I can research a topic and create a presentation.
  • I can communicate with authority.

Essential knowledge:

View the video Authority from the English Concepts.

Discuss the ideas presented in the video and ensure students understand that authority refers to how trustworthy a text is. Discuss how the authority of a text might be demonstrated, such as whether:

  • An expert has written the text
  • It is written in the appropriate style
  • It is published by a reputable source

Discuss the fact that authority can also be over a text, in that it refers to who controls the message, such as editors, and any limitations of publishing, such as the word limit. Finally, ensure students note that readers also have authority over texts in the way they use their personal ideas and experiences when interpreting them.

Oral language and communication:

Display a visual of the poem Dolphins Eat Sushi and of the article Dolphin from Kids Britannica. At this stage, instruct students not to read either text. Inform them that the idea is to make a prediction based on how the texts visually appear on the page.


Discuss the following:

  • Which text do students assume will include factual information about dolphins? (The article due to it being the appropriate style for presenting factual information)
  • Which text do students predict will present ideas with the greatest authority? (The article as it is in the appropriate style, and it is published by a reputable source)


Understanding text:

Read both Dolphins Eat Sushi and Dolphin. Discuss the information provided in each text and record students' ideas using a table. For example:

Note: Some ideas in the table have been underlined. This is to reflect the responses to an activity that students will undertake later in this section.

Dolphins Eat Sushi Dolphins
Eat raw fish

Catch fish in their jaws

Probe the sea floor

Have a break

Eat crabs

Not afraid of sharks



Belong to a group called whales

Closely related to porpoises

Larger than porpoises and have longer, beaklike snouts

Over 35 species

Two groups- true dolphins and river dolphins

They live in salt or fresh water

Most widespread species are Common Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin

River dolphins live only in South America and Asia, and they prefer fresh water

2-3 metres long on average

Some can reach 4 metres

Have smooth, rubbery skin, in either a mixture of black, white or grey

Have two flippers/fins on side and a fin on their backs

Must come to the surface to get air

Breathe through blowhole on the top of their head

Intelligent and playful

Live in groups called schools

Use sounds to communicate

10 to 12 months after mating females give birth to a single baby or calf

Mother nudges their calf to the surface to take its first breath

Can live for 30 years

Discuss the following:

  • Which text appears as though it is written by an expert? (The article)
  • Which text communicates with greater authority? (The article)
  • How are the ideas presented in each text? (The poem uses less formal language and uses comparison to emphasise the differences between dolphins and humans whereas the article uses more formal language and more technical terms)

Underline ideas in Dolphins Eat Sushi that are not included in the article Dolphins. Discuss how these ideas might be developed into a text with greater authority than the poem. Ensure students identify that the ideas should be presented in the appropriate style and that they should be published by a reputable source.


Creating text:


Inform students that they will be developing the ideas in Dolphins Eat Sushi and researching further information about dolphins to create a presentation that communicates with authority. Gradually release responsibility by first composing examples of how to develop the ideas in Dolphins Eat Sushi into factual statements that have greater authority. Begin this process by identifying the title of the poem,


Dolphins Eat Sushi


Discuss the fact that this line reveals that dolphins eat raw fish. Remind students that when authors appear to be an expert on a topic, this increases the text's authority. Inform students that one-way authors do this is by being deliberate with the vocabulary they use and by communicating using formal language. Collaboratively compose a sentence that communicates with authority to express the first fact. For example: ‘Dolphins eat a varied diet comprised of raw fish.’


Inform students that they will be working with a partner to adapt the language used to express the remaining facts in the poem so that they can communicate with greater authority. Tell students they will also need to include information in their presentation obtained from research. Direct students to the following sites for research:

Instruct students to use programs such as PowerPoint, Google Slides or Canva to create their presentations. Tell students to include both images and text on their slides and remind them to write in an appropriate style to communicate with authority.


Assessment for/as learning:

Discuss criteria that could be used to peer-assess the presentations, for example:

  • Builds on the factual information included in the poem
  • Presents ideas identified through research
  • Communicates with authority by adopting the correct style
  • Includes images and text in the presentation

Place students in small groups and instruct them to present to each other. Tell students to assess their peer’s work against the criteria. Instruct students to use the Two Stars and a Wish strategy to share two strengths and one area for development in the presentations.