poem by Jenny Erlanger , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify and make vocabulary choices so that I can understand and influence the mood of poems.


Success criteria:

  • I can give examples from the text of words that influence the mood of the poem
  • I can create a word list to influence the mood of my own writing
  • I can write a poem related to the text using my word list


Read the poem aloud then ask students to identify the mood of the poem. Suggestions may include:

  • Happy
  • Fun
  • Joyful

Discuss the way that our word choices influence the mood of our writing and the way readers interpret it. Ask students to identify word choices the author has made that help create the mood. Answers may include:

  • Wonderful
  • Best
  • Funfair
  • Whizzing
  • Love
  • Play
  • Fun

Discuss the way the character in the poem used a clothesline as a spinning ride. Ask students for examples of similar things they’ve done by using their imagination with household items. For example, they may have used a washing basket as a car, built a fort under the table, or pretended the floor is lava and used the lounges as islands.

Students should then consider which words they would use for their scenarios and how that may influence the mood of their poem. Words may include:

  • Dark
  • Scary
  • Dangerous
  • Exciting
  • Fast

Inform students they will be writing a poem about their own idea, whether it be something they’ve experienced or something completely from their imagination. Model an idea for them on the board, such as:

Darkness closes in

As we pull the blanket down

We can’t see anything

But there are noises all around

We fumble with our torches

Inside our table fort

And try not to panic

From all our scary thoughts

A monster’s shadow lurks outside

Is it coming in to get us?

We throw the blanket up and scream

But it’s just our poodle Gus!


Ask students to identify the words that influence the mood of the poem (darkness, noises, fumble, panic, scary, monster, shadow, lurks). Students should then brainstorm their own ideas in their books by first considering the mood they would like to convey in their poem, then writing a list of words that may help achieve this. They can then build the poem using their ideas.