I'll Take Anything

poem by Bill Condon , illustrated by Christopher Nielsen

Learning intention

I am learning to identify the way modal and expressive verbs are used to determine preferences, so that I can use more exact language to express opinions in my writing.


Success criteria

  • I can determine order of preferences in a text based on the language used
  • I can identify more purposeful words and phrases for expressing opinions
  • I can compose a short poem about my opinions and preferences on a particular topic.


Before reading the poem, discuss the students’ understanding of the meaning of the phrase ‘I’ll Take Anything’. There may be different interpretations of this phrase without the context of the poem. Read through the text, or you can play the audio version if you have a digital subscription, then revisit the question. Students should identify that the narrator of the poem would like to be any type of animal that doesn’t go to school and will take any option possible.

Ask students if, despite the title, they think the narrator has any preference of what he would like to be out of all the animals mentioned. Remind students that some words and phrases demonstrate stronger feelings (e.g., ‘I’d love to be’ suggests a stronger desire than ‘I’d even be’).  Direct them to look for language clues and have them ‘think, pair and share’ to discuss. Though there is not a set preference order, as some words and phrases are fairly interchangeable (e.g., I’d like to be / I’d gladly be), students should identify that the language throughout the poem has different levels of certainty.

Ask students to identify the words and phrases used by the narrator that indicate the level of conviction they feel about being different animals. These should include:

  • I’d like to be
  • Maybe
  • Would do
  • I’d love to be
  • I’d be
  • I’d even be
  • I’d gladly be

Write the following statements on the board:

I would absolutely adore some pizza. I wouldn’t mind some chips.

Ask students to identify the key phrases and words that define your feelings about each item of food (absolutely adore / wouldn’t mind). Have students think, pair and share to discuss other language to more clearly define the difference in their feelings or preferences. Tell them to be creative as possible. Write students’ answers on the board to create a collection for them to reference later. Suggestions may include:

  • Would delight in
  • Would be OK with
  • Could give or take
  • Am desperate for
  • Would quite enjoy

Inform students they will be writing their own short poem to express their preferences on a particular topic and should use the answers on the board to help them as needed. Topic suggestions may include:

  • Foods they would like to eat
  • Activities or games they would like to do
  • Places they would like to visit.


Model a poem on the board, such as:

I am desperate to try surfing

I’d be super keen to ski

I wouldn’t mind bungee jumping

But sky diving’s not for me


There’s no way I’d abseil

I’d give snorkelling a go

I’d enjoy some scuba diving

But parkour is a great big no!


Students may wish to work independently or with a partner for this activity, and if time allows, poems can be shared with the class.