One-Man Band

poem by Heather Kinser , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning intention:

I am learning to describe the purpose and structure of an exposition so that I can create an argument for representations in a text.


Success criteria:

  • I can describe the structure and purpose of an exposition.
  • I can work collaboratively to present an argument for representation in a text.


Essential knowledge:

  • Information about point of view can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Point of View.
  • More information about representation can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Representation.


As a class, read aloud One-Man Band and give students time to examine the illustration. Ask students to consider how the one-man band is represented. One at a time, students write down a single word on sticky notes to describe the one-man band and put it on the board. The trick to this activity is that students can’t repeat what someone else has said. This means the first students may start with something like “noisy” then as the activity progresses there will be answers such as “piccolo” and “creative”.


Ask students whether the words on the board are mostly positive or negative and give them time to reflect on the answer. For example, ask whether “noisy” is positive or negative. Encourage debate on the answer.


Explain that the class is going to pretend they are on a town council and have received this poem in the form of a flyer advertising the one-man band. He is visiting their town and they are either going to argue for or against allowing him to perform. Students must use the flyer to interpret the one-man band as either a positive or negative experience for the townspeople then work in a team to create a convincing argument to present to their fellow council members. Explain that this presentation will be a formal argument, so every student needs to speak but they may read off a script.


Write the word “Purpose” on the board and ask students what the purpose of an exposition text is (answer: gives reasons for a point of view to try and convince others of it). Write the answer on the board. Then write “Features” and ask students what features they’ll need to include in their argument.


Some suggested answers:

Begins with a sentence that gives a point of view on a topic.

Lists the arguments giving reasons and evidence for them.

Uses convincing language (high modality words) e.g. ‘will damage’ instead of ‘may damage’.


Separate students into groups of three or four and assign each group either FOR or AGAINST allowing the one-man band to perform. Give them time to brainstorm, plan and write a script.


Questions to ask students as they’re planning:

How can our vocabulary brainstorm from the beginning of the lesson help you with the task?

What evidence do you have in the flyer that the one-man band is going to be good or bad for the townspeople?

How can you interpret vocabulary like “blare” to help your argument?

What convincing language (high modality words) can you use?


Assessment of learning: Peer assessment

Groups present their arguments to the class. Feedback can be given through peer review using a checklist like the one below.

Did the group clearly state their point of view? yes/no

How well did the group use evidence from the flyer? /5

How well did the group use convincing language to help their argument? /5

How convinced are you by the group’s argument? /5