No Shouts or Cheers!

poem by Janeen Brian , illustrated by Ross Morgan

Focus Question:

How can authors influence the way audiences experience genres?


Learning Intention:

I am learning about the genre conventions of ballads in traditional bush poetry so that I can analyse and compare stanzas from a range of ballads and use these as inspiration for my own poetic stanza.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify key features present in a range of poems from the same genre
  • I can compare a range of poems and make judgements about the stylistic choices
  • I can utilise the style and structure of the ballad genre to write my own stanza.



Essential knowledge:


For more information about genre, view The School Magazine’s video on Genre.

For more information about bush ballads, read the article What is Australian Bush Poetry? On the Twinkl website.


Understanding text:


Read the poem aloud, or if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio.

If you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive ‘Identifying figurative language’.

Write the following statement on the board:

‘Poetry is meant to be read out loud.’


Ask students to raise their hand if they agree. Count the raised hands.

Ask students to raise their hand if they disagree. Count the raised hands.

Ask students to raise their hand if they do not know or are unsure.


Read the poem ‘No Shouts or Cheers’ out loud again. Then ask students what makes this poem a good poem to read aloud and/or to listen to. (It has a strong regular beat and a regular rhyming pattern.)


Explain to students that this style of poetry is a ballad. Ballads were popular in the 1890s when poets like Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson were writing and publishing their popular poems. This particular genre of poems is designed to be read aloud for enjoyment. They always had a strong beat and a well-structured, regular rhyming pattern.


Preparation for the group activity is required before the lesson. On separate pieces of paper print out one copy of the first stanza from each of the following poems. Each person in the group will need a copy of their group’s poem. Group size should be approximately five students, so print five copies of each stanza.


The Old Bark School by Henry Lawson

The Ballad of the Drover by Henry Lawson

A Bush Christening by Banjo Paterson

Mulga Bill's Bicycle by Banjo Paterson

The Man from Ironbark by Banjo Paterson

Clancy of the Overflow  by Banjo Paterson


Students are to work in small groups to complete a jigsaw activity.

First organise the class into 6 small groups. Assign each group the first stanza from one of the poems listed above.


Tell students they are to become an expert about their stanza. Give groups the following questions to use as prompts:

  • How many lines in the stanza?
  • What is the rhyming pattern?
  • When it is read aloud, is there a strong regular beat?
  • What do you notice about the words used in the poem? Are there any unfamiliar words?
  • What is the poem about?
  • Does the poem include any stereotypical Australian plants, animals or landscape features?


Now organize the class into new groups. The new groups must have one member from each of the original groups.

Give the second group a chance to take turns at reading their stanzas to the group. Then the group can use the following questions as prompts for their discussion:

  • What is similar about the poems you have read?
  • What is different?
  • When you look at these poems next to the poem from this issue of Touchdown, are there any common features?
  • Do you think Janeen Brian, the poet who wrote ‘No Shouts or Cheers’ has read some bush poetry before she wrote the poem? Why/Why not?
  • Would you place the poem ‘No Shouts or Cheers’ into the same genre category as the poems you have shared with the group (Bush poetry/ ballads)? Why/Why not?


Gather the whole class together to repeat the earlier activity relating to the statement: ‘Poetry is meant to be read out loud.’

Discuss whether anyone has changed their answer and why.


Creating text:


Have students choose a typical part of their life as the subject for a one stanza poem written in the ballad style of the bush poets.

The features to include:

  • An even number of lines (4-6 is ideal)
  • A rhyming pattern
  • A strong beat or rhythm when read aloud
  • References to Australian life/plants/animals


Assessment for/as learning:

  • Students complete a self-assessment by answering the following question in their workbook: Which features of traditional ballads/bush poetry have you included in your own stanza?