poem by Diana Smith , illustrated by Sarah Davis

Learning intention

I am learning to experiment with making deliberate word choices so I can express more than one way a topic might be perceived when composing texts.

Success criteria

  • I can identify extracts to show the author realises a topic might be perceived differently depending on the audience.
  • I can identify a topic of interest to me.
  • I can consider how others with a different opinion to me might perceive it.
  • I can identify vocabulary that expresses my awareness that perception may differ.
  • I can include this vocabulary in a poem.

Essential knowledge

View The School Magazine video Perspective. Ensure students note that our perspective influences how shape what we see in texts and the way we see it. Emphasise that our perspective depends on our personal attitudes, values and beliefs.

Inform students that when constructing texts, authors will often consider the perspective of others, to enable them to communicate their message in a way audiences will respond to and that they can connect with.

Read the poem Gerenuk or listen to the audio file. Draw students' attention to the final stanza, and note the following word choices the author has made:

My world seems harsh when others look, but not to me, a gerenuk.

Discuss what this stanza reveals (that the author is aware others may perceive the topic differently from the gerenuk). Instruct students to consider how this enables the reader to connect to the topic (instead of there being the opportunity to feel the gerenuk’s perception is too different from their own, they are invited into the gerenuk’s world and are more likely to connect with them).

Re-read the poem and discuss further examples where the gerenuk is aware that their perception may differ from those of others. For example:

That leaf up in the ficus tree, too high for most but not for me.

Emphasise that the author demonstrates through careful selection of the words they choose that they are aware creatures experience the world in their own unique ways.

Discuss things the students enjoy, for example, the board game Monopoly or playing basketball. Instruct students to share what they like about their chosen topics and note ideas on the board. Sample responses include:

  • Monopoly: It is a game of strategy, requiring full concentration
  • Basketball: It requires hours of practise to become good at shooting the ball in the net, it is a game of skill

Discuss people who may not feel the same about the student’s chosen topic, such as younger siblings or their parents. Instruct students to share how these people may perceive the activity, for example:

  • Younger siblings: they may find it too challenging to concentrate for long enough for a game of Monopoly, or they might find it challenging adding up the money that is won during the game.
  • Parents: might find it difficult to find the time to practise shooting hoops in basketball to get good at this skill.

Inform students that they will be composing their own poem about a game, sport or hobby they love. Tell students that they should make deliberate word choices to demonstrate that they are aware others may not share their love for the chosen topic. Gradually release responsibility, completing an example collaboratively first, by completing the following:

  • Select a topic (Basketball)
  • List reasons why the students love it (It’s fast paced, it requires great skill, it keeps you fit and agile)
  • Discuss who might have a different perception of the topic (A younger sibling)
  • Discuss how they might perceive the topic (The hoop is too high, they might dislike taking long shots, they could all the running around timing)

Refer back to Gerenuk and examine how the poem is structured, by discussing the following questions:

  • How many lines feature in each stanza? (Two)
  • What is the rhyme scheme? (Rhyming couplets, with pairs of lines that rhyme)

Inform students that they can choose to follow the same style or to make adaptations, for example using a different rhyme scheme in their poem. Prior to composing the poem, discuss vocabulary students might include to show they are aware the topic can be perceived in a way different to their own viewpoint. Identify rhyming words using a thesaurus or an online rhyming dictionary for the vocabulary identified. For example:

  • Shooting hoops: loop, droop
  • Run: fun, sun
  • Basketball court: fort, snort, wart
  • Drills: skills, kills
  • Face pace: race, space

Use the ideas and the vocabulary to compose a collaborative poem, for example:

Nothing better than shooting hoops,

Round the court I like to loop.

Taking part in regular drills,

For some it might really kill.

I feel at home on the court,

But my younger brother says it’s like a wart!

Playing basketball is such fun,

Even if some don’t like to run.


Instruct students to compose their own poems by completing the following:

(Note: students may work independently or with a partner for this task)

  • Select a topic
  • List reasons why you love it
  • Identify who might have a different perception of the topic
  • Consider how they might perceive the topic
  • Identify vocabulary that relates to your chosen topic
  • Identify rhyming words (if you wish)
  • Compose a poem that expresses your perception, and the fact others may perceive the topic differently.


Assessment for/of learning:

Instruct students to respond to the following exit ticket question in their workbooks:

Perception depends_______ (On our personal, values, experiences and beliefs)

Considering how readers might perceive texts_____ (allows me to consider how others might feel about my chosen topic.

Effective Feedback from the NSW Department of Education has more information on the types of feedback.