Night Music

poem by Amy Dunjey , illustrated by Matt Ottley

Learning intention:  

I am learning to identify the purpose and effects of different language features so that I can refine my writing and make it more descriptive for my audience. 

Success criteria: 

  • I can identify the effects of the language used in the poem 
  • I can identify keywords in a text to determine a topic 
  • I can use language clues, such as rhyme and context, to piece the poem together 

Essential knowledge: 

More information about the effects of language can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Code and Convention.  

Arrange students into groups of four (if possible) and ask each group to cut a piece of scrap paper into sixteen strips large enough to write a sentence on. Without giving copies of the poem to students, read them one line at a time, but out of sequence. If you have a digital subscription, you can use the interactive sorter to complete this task. As you read each line, each group should write it onto one of their strips. 

Following each line, identify and discuss any language features and their effects. Answers may include: 

  • The use of the noun phrase ‘a melody of night’ helps us imagine musical sounds in the darkness. 
  • ‘While frogs call to the moon’ creates imagery of a frog looking up at the sky while croaking. 
  • ‘While the whisper of the wind’ is a metaphor that describes the sound and feeling of a gentle breeze. 

Once all have been written down, ask students what they think the poem is about, based on the lines they now have in front of them. Students should identify clues through keywords such as: 

  • chorus 
  • evening 
  • melody 
  • serenade 
  • twilight 
  • tune 
  • birdsong 
  • night 
  • dawn 
  • light 

Inform students that the poem follows an ABCB and that their challenge is to now use their strips of paper to put it in the correct order. They should start by finding lines that rhyme (e.g. rises through the sky / breathes a gentle sigh) and use the language clues to help them figure out which lines should complete each stanza. 

Once all groups have completed the challenge, read the poem aloud to determine if any groups successfully pieced together the poetic puzzle. If you have a digital subscription you can also play the audio for students to listen to and check their guess.