poem by Vanessa Proctor , illustrated by Matt Ottley

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify how vocabulary can convey meaning in texts so that I can describe how vocabulary is used to express mood and a point of view.


Success criteria:

  • I can compare the use of vocabulary in two texts.
  • I can identify how vocabulary creates mood.
  • I can select appropriate vocabulary to convey a specific mood when creating texts.


Essential knowledge:               

  • Information about point of view can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Point of View.


Prior to the lesson, if you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive activity Vocabulary and Mood as a class. Alternately, watch the English Textual Concepts video Connotation, imagery and symbolism up to 1 min 52sec (looking at connotation), then discuss the difference between the sentences “The reading nook is cosy” and “The reading nook is cramped.” Explain that the choice of vocabulary changes the way the reading nook is perceived.


Before reading, explain to the class that you will be studying two poems with similar topics. Ask students to consider the mood of each poem as they listen. First, read aloud Rain Falls, Night Falls Too on pages 10-11 of this issue of Orbit. Then read Hailstone aloud to the class. If you have a digital subscription, you can listen to the recordings instead.


Do a Think-Pair-Share discussing the moods of each poem. Students might recognise that Rain Falls, Night Falls Too is gentler than the violent descriptions in Hailstone. In pairs, instruct students to draw up a T-Chart and list vocabulary from each poem that helps convey the different moods. A sample answer is below.

Rain Falls, Night Falls Too (Gentle) Hailstone (Violent)












Icy strength

Immense power

As a class, discuss how the choice of vocabulary in each text contributes to the mood. Students should recognise words such as flakes, splashed and dropped convey softness, while words such as missile, hard and hurtling have painful and aggressive connotations.


Explain that students will be writing their own scenario, choosing a mood and carefully selecting vocabulary to convey that mood.


Have students choose a scenario from the following (capable students can create their own):

At a funfair/circus In a haunted house Having dinner with royalty
On a cruise ship At a sports carnival In a forest
Moving into a new house Meeting a celebratory On a aeroplane

Next, students choose a mood, such as happy, sad, angry, scared, frustrated, excited, relaxed.


Students then brainstorm vocabulary that would match both their setting and mood. Ask students to write down lists of things they would see, hear, smell, taste and touch in their chosen setting. Students can then use a thesaurus, either online or in the classroom, to find the best synonym for their chosen mood. Give an example, such as the sounds of people on a rollercoaster. The description would change based on the mood, for example:

Happy – the joyful cries

Sad – the distant screams

Angry – the constant shrieks

Scared – the high-pitched cries


Assessment for learning:

Once students have a range of vocabulary in their individual word banks, they can begin writing their scenario.


A checklist for students to follow while writing their story:

  1. I have clearly described my setting using the five senses (sensory imagery).
  2. I have chosen a mood for my scenario.
  3. I have used specific vocabulary to convey my chosen mood.


The School Magazine’s Imaginative Texts Marking Rubric can also be used for planning and assessment.