Good Morning, Spring!

poem by Kate Rietema , illustrated by Shelley Knoll-Miller

Learning Intention:

I am learning to analyse illustrations to examine how character gaze is used to direct a viewer’s attention so that I may experiment with this in my own illustrations.

Success Criteria:

  • I can analyse an illustration to identify how gaze is used to direct a viewer’s attention.
  • I can experiment with using character gaze in an illustration.
  • I can compose a poem about the view a character’s gaze is focused on.



Ensure students are familiar with the following vocabulary:

  • Gaze: The direction in which a character is looking within an image
  • Composition: Where objects are placed within a frame


Understanding text


Read Good Morning, Spring! or listen to the audio file, without allowing students to view the accompanying illustrations.

Discuss the following questions with students:

  • Where do you think the character is? (If students are unclear, prompt by asking them to think whether the character might be inside or outside)
  • Where is the character’s attention focused? (Outside their window)
  • What clues in the poem helped you to identify this? (Good morning, sun, shining down on me, Coming in my window)
  • Where do you think their gaze might be focused on in an accompanying illustration? (Outside)

View the accompanying illustration and identify where the character’s gaze is focused (outside).

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Analyse the illustration further by discussing the following:

  • Where is the eye drawn to first? (The view through the window)
  • Why is the viewers eye drawn there? (The character’s gaze is facing that way, the view through the window is lighter and brighter than the view inside the room)
  • What can you see in the illustration, inside the room? (A bed with rails, a ‘Get well soon’ banner)
  • What do the elements in the image make you think of? (That the character is in hospital, perhaps recovering from an illness or an operation)
  • Why might the character be gazing out the window? (To think about what is outside their room)


Creating text:


Inform students that they will be experimenting with creating an illustration that shows a view through a window before composing a poem about that view. Inform students that they will be using a character’s gaze to direct viewers’ attention. Inform students that first you’ll be experimenting with an example collaboratively.

Tell students to look out the classroom window and discuss anything they can see, for example, trees, classrooms, the playground. Sketch a rectangular frame on the board for the window then sketch these elements inside. To the left of the window, sketch the students, gazing towards the window. Discuss how you might use colour to direct the viewer’s gaze (the view through the window would be lighter and brighter than the scene inside the classroom).

Discuss key vocabulary to describe the view through the window and jot this on the board, for example: benches, asphalt, skipping ropes, classrooms, the canteen shutters, ibis, overflowing rubbish bins.

Refer back to the poem and discuss the style, ensuring students note that the phrase ‘Good morning…’ has been repeated throughout the poem. Discuss the rhyming structure, ensuring students note that it features rhyming couplets. Identify rhyming words for the vocabulary discussed, for example:

Benches: trenches

Skipping rope: hope

Classroom: broom

Canteen shutter: butter, gutter

Bins: tins

Collaboratively compose a poem to accompany the sketch on the board, using the vocabulary identified and the repeated phrase, ‘Good morning’. For example:

Good morning playground, so big and wide,

So many places to play and hide.

Good morning colourful skipping rope,

Playing soon with friends I hope.

Good morning canteen covered by shutters,

Where I’ll soon go and buy, bread and butters.

Good morning birds, cawing and squawking,

Looking for worms, quietly stalking.


Place students with a partner and instruct them to create their own illustrations that use character gaze to direct viewer’s attention, and accompanying poems, by completing the following steps:

  • Choose a view through a window, either real or fictional (Students may need further scaffolding for ideas, if so, discuss scenes that might be viewed through a window)
  • Sketch the view, placing the scene on one side, framed by a window
  • Sketch a character gazing out through the window
  • Use colour to direct the viewer’s attention
  • Identify vocabulary to describe the view
  • Note rhyming words
  • Construct a poem about the scene through the window


Assessment for/as learning:


Instruct students to swap their illustrations and poems with another pair. Tell students to use the list of instructions to act as criteria they can use to assess the work of their peers. Instruct students to award one point for each of the criteria their peers successfully meet. Allow time for students to workshop the students’ illustrations and poems, providing oral feedback and adapting their work where necessary.