On the Back Porch

poem by Lisa Varchol Perron , illustrated by Amy Golbach

Learning Intention:

I am learning how a message of a text can be shared across genres and cultural perspectives so that I can recognise how context can impact on the exploration of a theme.

Success Criteria:

  • I can recognise the theme of a text.
  • I can explain how a variety of texts are linked by a particular theme.
  • I can compose my own text that explores this theme.

Essential Knowledge:

More information about how social and cultural factors influence the construction of a text can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Context.

More information about how texts are grouped together according to form and function can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Genre.

More information about how the concept of theme should be addressed in Stage 3 (including constructing thematic statements) can be found on the English Teachers Association’s page on Theme.

Guiding Question:

How are themes shared across genres?

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

After reading, ask students to work out the thematic statement of the poem. For more information on what a thematic statement is, and how to construct a thematic statement, review the learning resource for the story ‘Got to Dash’ (this issue).

There are multiple thematic statements that could be drawn from this poem. Some examples of thematic statements include:

  • Recognising the beauty of nature in the many small details that make up an ecosystem.
  • The wonders of nature often become most apparent as night falls.
  • The importance of protecting nature because it is intrinsic to our own wellbeing.

Present students with a range of texts that explore the topics of nature and sustainability. Aim to include texts from a range of genres and cultural perspectives. Some suggested texts include:

  • ‘My Friend Earth’ by Patricia MacLachlan (picture book)
  • ‘The Hunt’ by Narelle Oliver (picture book)
  • ‘Welcome to Country’ by Aunty Joy Murphy (picture book and visual art)
  • ‘The Bunyip’ by Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Hand students a Venn Diagram. An interactive Venn Diagram is available on the Graphic Organiser page of the Digital Learning Selector. Divide the Venn Diagram into three sections using horizontal lines. Then allocate each section one of the following headings: genre, context, content.

Ask students to compare the poem with another text, from a different genre and cultural perspective. They need to complete the structured Venn Diagram based on their understanding of both of these texts.

After completing the Venn Diagram, students should write a thematic statement that applies to both of the texts. For example, if students were comparing the poem to ‘My Friend Earth’ the thematic statement might be as follows:

The theme of these texts is that nature is magnificent. The beauty of nature can be seen in its multiple small details. Nature’s beauty shifts according to time, for example the time of day or the season.

Finally, ask students to compose a text based on the thematic statement they have constructed. It could be in a variety of modes – an image, poem, short story etc.