I Have a Cat

poem by Amy C Losak , illustrated by Christopher Nielsen

Learning intention

I am learning to adopt the stylistic features used by the authors of texts I have read so that I can experiment with using different styles.

Success criteria

  • I can identify elements of an author’s style.
  • I can plan vocabulary to use in a poem.
  • I can compose lines of repeated language.
  • I can incorporate a variety of style features into a poem.


Essential knowledge:

View the video Style from The School Magazine. Ensure students identify that style refers to the personal approach of a writer and the features they include.


Read I Have a Cat or listen to the audio file. Discuss the following questions:

  • Are there any repeated words or phrases? (I have a cat)
  • What rhyme scheme does the poem follow? (ABCB)
  • What conclusions can we draw about the poet’s style? (They like to use repeated language and to follow a set rhyming scheme)


Inform students that they will be composing a poem in the same style as that used in, I Have a Cat. Briefly summarise the main style points from I Have a Cat and note these on the board:

  • Uses repeated language
  • Features an ABCB rhyming pattern.


Gradually release responsibility by first composing an example with the students. Discuss things that are important to students, for example their pets, plants or favourite toys. Place students in pairs and instruct them to decide on one or two of these to discuss in more detail Provide students with post-it-notes or individual whiteboards and instruct them to list vocabulary to describe the animal or item they have chosen. Google Jamboard is a good digital alternative to physical post-it-notes. Provide examples, such as fluffy, white, fur, shaggy, excitable to describe a dog.

Allow time for students to discuss their ideas before sharing responses. If students have recorded their ideas on post-it-notes compile them and attach them to the board. Sort the vocabulary into groups depending on the subject matter. For example, group all the vocabulary that describes dogs together. Select a subject matter for the collaborative poem, such as dogs.

Discuss the vocabulary students have identified to describe dogs and select examples students find most descriptive. Note these on the board.

Refer back to the list of style features from I Have a Cat and draw students' attention to the first item on the list, repeated language. Collaboratively compose a line that could be repeated throughout the poem. Inform students that they can use the repeated line from I Have a Cat for inspiration, choosing a line such as ‘I have a dog’, or that they can create a completely new and innovative line, such as ‘My dog is the absolute best because…’

Next, refer students to the second item on the list of style features, the rhyming scheme ABCB. Draw students' attention back to the list of vocabulary they compiled and identify rhyming words for as many of the words as possible. An online rhyming dictionary or a thesaurus might be useful for this. For example:

Fluffy: huffy, puffy

White: bite, fright, kite

Fur: purr

Use these ideas to compose a poem collaboratively, for example:

My dog is the cutest because,

He’s cuddly and so fluffy,

I once took him running,

But he got so puffy.


My dog is the cutest because,

His fur is gleaming white,

Sometimes we wash him,

The water does give him a fright.


Place students with a partner and instruct them to compose their own poem by completing the following:

  • Identify something that is important to you
  • List vocabulary to describe it
  • Decide on a phrase to repeat
  • Identify rhyming words for the vocabulary
  • Compose a poem.


Assessment for/as learning:

Match the pairs together to form groups of four. Instruct them to read each other’s poems. Tell them to assess the poems, using the style features as criteria for assessment, such as:

  • Uses repeated language
  • Follows the rhyme scheme ABCB.


Tell students to use two stars and a wish to provide feedback to their peers, for example, I love that you have followed the style of the poem when it comes to the rhyme. Next time, perhaps experiment with using other types of repeated language.

Effective Feedback has more information on the types of feedback.