Giraffes: They're Tall, But That's Not All

poem by Rebecca Gardyn Levington , illustrated by David Legge

Learning intention 

I am learning to develop criteria for establishing personal preferences for literature so that I can understand reasons for my preferences.  

Success criteria 

  • I can identify facts included in a poem.  
  • I can identify factual information included in an article.  
  • I can discuss reasons why each type of text might be useful for presenting factual information.  
  • I can identify my preferences for types of texts, providing reasons for my choices.  

Ensure students are aware that the poem, Giraffes: They’re Tall, But That’s Not All, includes factual information about giraffes. Discuss factual information about giraffes included in the poem. Sample responses include:  

  • They only need to sleep for five minutes and they sleep standing up 
  • They have the biggest heart of any mammal  
  • Calves stand up on their own after only a few minutes 
  • The pattern on their spots is unique to each giraffe  
  • They can eat a hundred pounds of leaves and branches each week 
  • They can go for days without any water 

Read Hey, What’s Up? Giraffes! on pages 20 to 23 of this issue of Countdown. Discuss the information included in the article, ensuring students note that it also includes factual information. Discuss examples of factual information included in the article, such as:  

  • Mother giraffes give birth while standing up and their babies crash to the ground 
  • Newborn giraffes can stand up after thirty minutes 
  • In a few hours, the newborn giraffes can run around 

Discuss reasons for choosing either a poem or an article to inform readers about factual information. Sample responses include:  

A poem: 

  • A poem is a quick and easy way of communicating ideas  
  • Reading facts in a poem or any rhythmic texts can make the ideas easier to remember  

An article: 

  • Featuring the information in an article allows the writer to include more in-depth detail 
  • Information in an article can be grouped under sub-headings to make it easy for readers to locate specific information  

Discuss which of the texts students prefer and instruct them to share reasons for their choice. Provide an example, such as, I prefer the article, Hey, What’s Up? Giraffes! as it provides more in-depth information.  

Place students in groups. Tell students to discuss their preferences, sharing with their group whether they prefer the poem, Giraffes: They’re Tall, But That’s Not All or the article, Hey, What’s Up? Giraffes! Instruct students to share reasons for their choice. Remind students to refer to the ideas identified earlier for suggestions of reasons.  

Instruct students to use the questions below to compose a statement about which text they prefer and why. Use the sample answers provided to share an example with the students before writing. 

  • Which text did you enjoy more? (e.g. Giraffes: They’re Tall, But That’s Not All) 
  • Which text made it easiest for you to remember key factual information? (e.g. the poem as the rhyming pattern helped me to remember the ideas) 
  • Which text are you most likely to read again? (e.g. the poem as I enjoyed it) 
  • Can you make generalisations about which type of text you prefer reading, poems, or articles? (e.g. I prefer reading poems as they are easy to read and understand)