Flying V

poem by Cara Krenn , illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Learning intention:

I am learning to analyse and compose poems focusing on the rhyming pattern so that I can develop my skills with writing different types of poetry.

Success criteria:

  • I can identify the rhyming pattern in poems.
  • I can use letter notation to communicate the rhyming pattern.
  • I can compose my own poem.
  • I can edit my poem for rhyme.

Essential knowledge:

Ensure students are familiar with the term rhyme scheme (the pattern of rhyme at the end of each line or verse in poetry). Inform students that letters are used to show the rhyme scheme in a poem.

Prior to reading Flying V display the following poems and discuss the rhyming pattern in each, using letters to communicate the pattern, for example:


I wandered through the fluffy clouds,

And realised life had gotten loud,

It wasn’t that I couldn’t quit,

It’s just that I prefer to sit.

(Rhyming pattern AABB as the first and second, and the third and fourth lines both rhyme)


From The Line (this issue of Countdown, page 15)

A bluebird landed near a shed

and spied a painted sign.
‘Look at that. I’m first!’ she said.

The leader of the line.’

(Rhyming pattern ABAB) as the first and third and the second and fourth lines both rhyme)


From Dancing in Rainbows (this issue of Countdown, page 21)

The temperature’s rising,

busy fans spin and whir;

my ice block is dripping,

our dog sheds more fur.

(Rhyming pattern ABCB as the second- and fourth-lines rhyme)


Place students with a partner and instruct them to read Flying V. Tell them that they should identify the rhyming pattern (ABCB as the second- and fourth-lines rhyme). Discuss responses ensuring all students identify the correct answer.

Discuss the subject matter in Flying V (that birds fly in the same shape as the letter V). Emphasise that V is also the first letter of the narrator’s name.

Tell students that they will be experimenting with composing their own poems that use the shape of the first letter of their name as the subject matter. Discuss objects that might be a similar shape to the first letters of students’ names, for example a church spire or the point of a tall building for pointy letters such as A and M, the curved lines of the sunshine for letters such C and S.

Select one of these letters (for example the letter M) and collaboratively compose a poem before students are required to work independently. Choose an object that looks similar to the letter (for example mountains). Discuss ideas that might be included in the poem (mountains are formed of peaks, they climb up steeply just like the letter M and the point at the edge is very narrow). Collaboratively compile these ideas into a poem. For the first draft, focus solely on getting the ideas down, without worrying about the rhyming pattern. For example:

Mountains are like the letter M,

They are pointy,

The top is narrow,

And you can easily fall off.

Model editing the poem to follow the same rhyming pattern and rhythm used in Flying V, so that the second- and fourth-lines rhyme. Play around with the words ‘pointy’ and ‘off’ so that you can find two words that rhyme. Use a rhyming dictionary or a thesaurus to find alternative words (for example tip and slip). Edit the poem to include the new rhyming words. For example:

Mountains are like the letter M,

They rise to a tip,

The top is very narrow,

So, you can easily slip.

Tell students that they will be composing their own poems. Inform students that they may work with a partner or independently for this task. Remind students to follow the same steps as above, by completing the following:

  • select a letter for the subject matter of the poem (remind students that this should be one of the student’s names)
  • identify an object that looks the same shape
  • generate ideas about the object
  • include these ideas into a poem
  • edit the poem so it follows the same rhyming pattern as Flying V (ABCB)

Allow time for students to compose their poems. Once complete, students should illustrate their poems by sketching the letter and then writing the lines of the poem in the shape of the letter.



Inform students that lines in poems tend to have a similar number of syllables. Remind students how to count syllables by clapping each vowel sound in a number of words, for example,

Alphabet – counted as AL-PHA-BET

Carrot – counted as CAR-ROT

Telephone – counted as TEL-E-PHONE

Discuss the examples of poems examined earlier and identify the number of syllables in each line, for example:

Poem 1: 8 syllables per line

Poem 2 (The Line): between 6 and 8 syllables per line

Poem 3 (Dancing in Rainbows): between 5 and 6 syllables per line

Instruct students to identify how many syllables there are in each line in Flying V (6 syllables per line). Edit the poem composed collaboratively earlier so that it has the same number of syllables per line as are featured in Flying V (6). For example:

Mountains look like an M,

They rise up to a tip,

Their top is so narrow,

You can easily slip.

Instruct students to edit the poems they constructed independently so they have the same number of syllables per line as in Flying V.