poem by Anne Bell , illustrated by Hannah Seakins

Learning Intention:

I am learning to create literary texts that experiment with ideas and stylistic features of selected authors so that I can develop my skills in adopting a variety of literary styles.

Success Criteria:

  • I can analyse a poem to identify how an author has chosen to express unique ideas.
  • I can consider a fresh perspective of an item we often take for granted.
  • I can present my ideas in a poem.

Essential knowledge:

Display the following sentence:

A girl walked into the room.

Discuss other, more descriptive verbs that might be used instead of walked and how these change the mood and the meaning of the sentence, for example:

  • A girl crept into the room.
  • A girl sprinted into the room.
  • A girl meandered into the room.

Oral language and communication:

Place students with a partner and provide them with paper for them to trace around their feet. Tell students to imagine their drawing is a footprint and instruct them to note any ideas they have about footprints around their sketch. Students can also use digital programs such as Google Jamboard for recording their ideas.

Use the following questions to prompt responses:

  • Where do you see footprints? (In sand, in mud, in movies when police assess a crime scene)
  • What do they make you think of? (Making a mess of a freshly mopped floor, walking at the beach)

Discuss students' responses.

Understanding text:

Read Footprints or listen to the audio version if you have a digital subscription. Discuss the following:

  • Which ideas presented in the poem did you and your partner also identify? (Student responses will vary)
  • Which did you not identify? (Student responses will vary)
  • How much thought had you paid to footprints before reading the poem? (Most likely students won’t have paid much attention to footprints until now)
  • How does reading about something you might often overlook, such as footprints, impact reader engagement? (It makes the poem interesting and engaging as it presents interesting ideas)
  • What feelings are evoked in readers towards footprints? (Empathy/sadness for the fact they are overlooked and that they disappear)
  • What methods does the author use to evoke emotion in readers? (The narrator expresses sympathy for footprints and empathy for them ‘never knowing the thrill’ of being first up the hill, which encourages readers to agree with them, using expressive verbs, such as, ‘never running’ and ‘trudging along behind’ which both make readers imagine a lack of joy)


Creating text:

Take a walk around the school or observe things in the classroom and make a list of items we often overlook and that we take for granted, for example:

  • Markings on the asphalt
  • A basketball hoop
  • The shutters for the school canteen
  • A flower’s petal
  • A stack of paper
  • A recycling bin

Inform students that they will be composing their own poem, presenting unique ideas about what life might be like for one of these objects.

Gradually release responsibility by composing an example together. Display a three-column table and discuss the following:

  • Observations of the item
  • Emotions, either that the narrator feels towards the item or that the item might feel
  • Expressive verbs or vocabulary that might be used to evoke emotion.

A sample response based on the line markings on the asphalt in the playground is:

Observation Emotion How to evoke the emotion
Fading/patchy in places Melancholy

Knowing their time is limited




Use these ideas to collaboratively compose a brief poem about the item. Inform students that they can choose to make their poem rhyme or not. Tell students that they will need to use the opening line, “Oh, I feel sorry for…’ from Footprints. For example:


Oh, I feel sorry for the fading lines on the asphalt,

Knowing their time is running out,

All alone, soon to be forgotten,

No longer knowing the joy,

Of children making use of their boundaries,

to guide their games of handball.

Place students in pairs. Instruct them to plan their ideas using a table like the one above before composing their poems.

Assessment for/as learning:

Match pairs together to form groups of four. Inform students that they will be peer-assessing each other’s work. Discuss criteria students might use for assessing the poems, for example:

  • Includes an observation of the item
  • Features an emotion
  • Evokes the emotion effectively.

Allow time for students to read each other’s work and to provide oral feedback. Students can choose to edit their poems based on the feedback.