Monster Treat

poem by Suzy Levinson , illustrated by Christopher Nielsen

Learning intention:

I am learning the social conventions of turn-taking so that I can successfully cooperate and build on other’s ideas.


Success criteria:

  • I can listen to others.
  • I can take turns to speak in a group setting.
  • I can respond to other’s ideas to build my own thoughts.


Essential Knowledge:

  • More information about types of texts can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Genre.


Read the poem as a class. Ask students why the ending was surprising (the poem builds up the expectation that the monster is trying to trick the narrator into going in their lair, but the narrator ends up eating the monster). Ask students the following questions:

  1. Can you name any stories where the ending surprised you?
  2. What makes a surprising ending?
  3. How does knowing the genre guide your expectations?
  4. What happens if the author changes what you expect?


If you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive activity Match the Genre! (Elise – this is in Touchdown issue 3’s learning resources titled The Children of Yesterday)


Print and cut out the table found below, shuffling the pieces and randomly giving one piece to each student (double up if necessary). Ask students to find their group, matching the tropes with a genre. (There are three tropes per genre, correct answers across the row. Genres are in bold - tell students not to worry about the extra phrases on the genre pieces yet.)


(In the middle of the ocean)

X marks the spot A man wearing an eyepatch The high seas
Monster Horror

(On a dark and stormy night)

A vampire turning into a bat A haunted house A mummy come to life
Fairy Tale

(Once upon a time, far from here)

A princess locked in a tower A big, bad wolf A wicked witch

(Late one night in the city)

A man wearing a cape Secret identify A sidekick
Sci Fi

(Within the city of a far-off world)

A robot Futuristic technology Aliens
Wild West

(It was a stinking hot day)

A cowboy hat A saloon with swinging doors Riding a horse through the desert

Once students have found their groups, explain that we know things about certain genres, which helps stories feel familiar to us even if we haven’t read them before.


Keep students in their groups and have them sit in a circle. Remind the class of the rules to follow when having a group discussion (e.g. Listen respectfully to the speaker, don’t interrupt, give everyone a go). Using their genre and trope cards, groups are to orally tell a story, with the student holding the genre card to start off. They can use the beginning phrase on their genre cards to prompt them. Each student will have thirty seconds to tell a part of the story. Use a timer for fairness. When their time is up, the student to the storyteller’s left will pick up the story and continue to tell it. Each student in the group gets thirty seconds to continue the story, with the final student finishing the story in a way that is expected of the genre.

Explain to students that they’ll be repeating the exercise, but this time they need to give their story a twist in the same way Monster Treat ends in an unexpected way.

Time permitting, students can share their second stories with the rest of the class.