I See the Sea

poem by Jackie Hosking , illustrated by Caitlin O’Dwyer

Learning Intention:

I am learning to experiment with vocabulary and language features so that I can create a descriptive text from a specific perspective.

Success Criteria:

  • I can identify how word choice influences perspective.
  • I can purposefully select a point of view for a text.
  • I can use language features to describe a setting.

Essential knowledge:

For more information about lenses in which we view the world, view The School Magazine’s video on Perspective.

For more information on viewpoints, view The School Magazine’s video on Point of View.

For more information about connotations and imagery, view The School Magazine’s video on Connotation, Imagery and Symbol.

Oral language and communication

If you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive activity Perspectives of the Beach and discuss how word choice can convey a narrator’s feelings about a setting, rather than telling the reader outright.

Otherwise, discuss with the class how the following two sentences have the same general meaning but different connotations:

The sun warmed the tennis courts.

The sun scorched the tennis courts.

Ask students how the change in adjective changes the perspective of the tennis courts. Ensure they understand that the first sentence suggests the narrator is enjoying themselves, while the second sentence suggests the narrator is having a terrible time. Explain that when it comes to word choice, even with synonyms, the connotations are important when setting a scene.

Understanding text:

Read I See the Sea as a class, or, if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording.

Ask students to identify how the narrator feels about the beach (calming, soothing, happy), and what words suggest this. Answers: the colours being mixed with gemstones, unfurl, glinting, sparkling, foamy, caressing.

Brainstorm as a class who the narrator might be. Students could suggest a range of perspectives such as a child, painter, elderly person, crab, dog, rock formation. Ensure they understand that the gentle tone of the poem means a calm narrator, and that it’s set on the shore therefore can’t be a deep-sea creature.

Creating text:

Explain that students are to choose a perspective from their brainstorm and write a descriptive scene set at this beach from the narrator’s point of view. They are to keep the tone of their narrative the same as the tone of the poem. Ask students how they might use the descriptions in the poem to write their own imagery. Some examples are below.


The mention of unfurling waves could lead to a descriptive sentence such as: “The waves unfurled like a frond on a fern.”


The different shades described could lead to a descriptive sentence such as: “The ocean was an artist’s palette, mixing all shades of blue and green.”


The mention of soft foamy fingers caressing the shore could lead to a descriptive sentence such as: “The soft foamy fingers stretched out to touch my bare toes.”

Give students time to write their short story, using the below checklist to remind them what to do:

- Choose an appropriate point of view for the tone

- Keep the tone calm and gentle by selecting appropriate vocabulary

- Use imagery (language features) to describe your setting

Assessment for/as learning:

Use the RISE (Reflect, Inquire, Suggest, Elevate) model for peer feedback. More information can be found on the RISE model webpage’s guide to peer feedback.

The School Magazine also has a marking rubric for imaginative texts that students can use to guide their writing and/or for teacher assessment.