Meet the Heat (or, The Wicked Chillies Ballad)

poem by Geoffrey McSkimming , illustrated by Greg Holfeld

Learning intention

I am learning to communicate effectively for a variety of purposes using increasingly challenging ideas so that I can share my ideas and justify my opinions.

Success criteria

  • I can identify the opinion put forth in a poem.
  • I can discuss my ideas with my group.
  • I can provide reasons for my choices.
  • I can present my opinions in a poem.

Prior to reading Meet the Heat (or, The Wicked Chillies Ballad) discuss students’ views about eating chilies. Students will most likely love or hate them. Allow time for students to share ideas in favour of and against eating chilies.

Read Meet the Heat (or, The Wicked Chillies Ballad). Identify the opinion put forth in the poem (that people should eat chilies as they are a delicious treat). Discuss how the poet presents this information (by using humour, an informal style and personification). Identify examples of language that reveal the style, for example:

-we’re a sizzling, sensational treat

Put us in your salad
for a searing and interesting meal.

Listen to the song Avocado by Vegetable Plot. Emphasise that this is another example of a humorous text that features a fruit. Discuss other types of food that students may have strong feelings about, such as fish, pickles, broccoli.

As a class select one of these ideas, for example fish. Inform students that they will be composing a poem to be performed orally to share their opinions about eating fish. Discuss factual information about eating fish, for example, it contains omega 3, it is a healthy protein source, it contains many vitamins and minerals.

Discuss students’ opinions about fish, reminding students that it is important to respect the ideas of others when sharing our own opinion. List reasons why students like and dislike eating fish on the board. Ideas include: it is tasty, it’s great with chips, it is nice in sauce and for reasons why students may dislike eating fish, it smells strange, it tastes odd, it is a funny texture. Tell students that they do not need to follow a rhyming pattern and that instead the focus is on outlining the ideas of their group in a fun way. Collaboratively compose a poem outlining one view on eating fish, for example that it is not tasty. A sample response is:

Oh fish, why are you on my dish,

You taste so bad, like rubbish,

If only my mum would look away,

You’d end up in the bin, hooray!

Place students in groups with others who hold similar views. Instruct students to work with their group to compile a list of reasons why they feel they like/dislike eating fish. Tell students that once they have discussed their ideas that they should compose their own poems about eating fish, to outline their opinions.

Once complete, allow time for students to share their poems with another group.