John Stephen Pendlebury

poem by Bill Condon , illustrated by Aśka

Learning intentions:

I am learning to understand, interpret and experiment with rhythm and composition of poetry so that I can create texts that include these features.


Success criteria:

  • I can discuss the content of a poem, including aspects such as subject matter and structure
  • I can use the format of a poem to explore and showcase my own ideas


Have students close their eyes as you read the poem out loud, or if you have a digital subscription, you can listen to the audio version. Ask students to picture what is happening in the poem as they are listening.

Discuss how John Stephen Pendlebury uses his imagination to take him to places near (the corner shop) and far (the Milky Way) and how we can all use our imagination to take ourselves to places that we find interesting and exciting. Have students talk to a partner about the kind of places they would love to go and how they can use their imaginations to get there.

Students should then compose a poem about themselves taking an imaginary journey as they drift off to sleep. Model an example on the board, such as:


When Charlotte Mia Leighton at night goes to bed

She dreams of all the places she can go in her head

She can zoom through the ocean in her blue submarine

And follow the trails of whales that show where they’ve been

She can talk to the dolphins and glide with the sharks

She can play with the sea lions and mimic their barks

But she’s shaken awake just as she touches the sand

And has to return to her life back on dry land


Point out that both the example poem and the text in the magazine contain rhyming couplets (AA BB) and they should aim for the same rhyme scheme in their poems.

Students should start by brainstorming where they would like to go in their poem and then writing keywords based on what they would see and do at the place in their imagination. From there they can look for opportunities for rhyming words and build their couplets.

Remind students that their name should be included in the first line of the poem!

If time allows, students should publish their poems with an illustration which may be displayed in the classroom.