poem by Amelia Shearer , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning intention:

I am learning to discuss, clarify and interrogate ideas about a text in a group setting so that I can develop a text with a similar style.


Success criteria:

  • I can participate in and contribute to group discussions about a text.
  • I can explore personal reasons for my opinions.
  • I can develop and support arguments in group discussions.


Essential knowledge:               

  • More information about style can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Style.


As a class, read Incomplete or listen to the audio recording. Discuss the rules of group discussion etiquette such as taking turns, listening respectfully, giving reasons for disagreeing and making final decisions as a group.


Sort students into groups of three or four. Ask groups to discuss:

- what the final word of the poem is supposed to say (fade)

- what clues give them the answer (fade rhymes with made, which follows the rhyming scheme of the poem and because the text fades out, giving readers a stylistic clue).

- how effective they found this style (answers will vary – encourage discussion of personal reasons for differing opinions, such as students who enjoy creativity within text structures or students who simply liked the poem because they could relate to the subject matter)


Once groups have had time to discuss the poem, explain that each group will be creating a poem using the same style, where the reader will be able to figure out the last word through context and stylistic choices. Brainstorm a missing word that could suit the task, such as bold, shout, whisper, disappear, big, small, elephant, mice.


Scaffold the task by creating a poem as a class first. Select the word mice from the brainstorm list and ask students what the poem could be about (such as being very quiet). Ask students for a situation where they might be quiet (such as a library). Ask students for a list of words that rhyme with mice (such as lice, thrice, twice, ice, spice, splice, rice).


Create two stanzas with the class. Explain that the first stanza is to show the reader rhyming scheme and the second stanza is to set up the missing word. Encourage students to use the same rhyming scheme as Incomplete to make it easier. An example poem is below.


We’re always at the library,

Among the desks and books,

And when we make a lot of noise,

The staff all give us looks.


They don’t like us shouting,

They’ve told us once or twice,

So, we make sure that when we’re there,

We creep like little…


Explain that, as with Incomplete, this poem’s text will fade away before the last word, but if students were to use a word like bold or shout as their missing text, it would be better to make the preceding words thicker and darker.


Instruct groups to write their own poem on a sheet of A3 paper, following the steps below:

  1. Choose a word that will be missing (hint: make it easy to rhyme).
  2. Select a situation that will make it clear to the reader what the missing word is.
  3. Write two stanzas, the first to show the rhyming scheme, the second to set up the missing word (students can use a rhyming dictionary to help with their poems).
  4. Decide on stylistic choices that will assist the reader with filling in the missing word (such as fading text or bolding text).


Remind students of the rules of group discussion etiquette as stated above. Also remind them that should give reasons (such as rhyming ease) for what missing word they want the group to choose and to listen to other suggestions.


When complete, students present their poem to the class. A sample peer review checklist is below.

Assessment for/as learning:

  1. Does the first stanza’s rhyming scheme match the second?
  2. Is it clear what the missing word is supposed to be?
  3. Does the missing word have the correct rhyme?
  4. Is there a stylistic element to assist the reader with the missing word?