poem by Jesse Anna Bornemann , illustrated by Sylvia Morris

Learning Intention:

I am learning to read and understand different kinds of texts by paying attention to how they are structured and the words they choose to include. I am also learning to connect my own feeling and experiences with what I read so that I can produce new ideas through my writing.

Success Criteria:

  • I can openly discuss the choice of words, the impact they have on me through they way they are structured within phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.
  • I can contribute to a class discussion relating to the idea of the text, sharing my thoughts and ideas about the purpose and perspective of the narrator.
  • I can connect my personal interests as meaningful themes to explore through writing.

Understanding text:

After reading the text, discuss the idea of pondering, ensuring that students understand that pondering means thinking carefully or deeply about something. Ask students when they do the most pondering. Point out that this is likely to be when our minds are not otherwise busy with tasks that require thinking, such as engaging in schoolwork, reading, or talking with our friends. Answers are likely to include quiet times when there are opportunities for reflection, such as in the shower, lying in bed or walking home from school.

Draw students’ attention back to the text and discuss the things the narrator ponders, pointing out that these are related to big concepts like galaxies and dinosaurs through to small, personal things like freckles. Ask students what kind of things they ponder in their quiet times and give them a few moments to think about (or ponder) their answer.

Ask willing students to share their thoughts and create a class ‘poster’ on the board by writing answers in the form of ‘I like to ponder…’ from the poem and drawing a simple illustration to accompany each one. For example, if a student says they ponder why dogs like to sniff each other, you might write ‘I like to ponder dogs sniffing’ and draw a simple picture of two dogs sniffing each other.

Creating text:

Once you have created a collaborative poster with some student examples, inform students that they are going to make their own personal one. To do this, they should think about more things that they ponder and write and illustrate at least ten on their poster. Explain that perhaps someone else’s answer during the class discussion has prompted them to think about something or they might want to take a few moments to look out the window or think about what else interests them and ponder something new. Encourage them to be as colourful and creative with their poster as they like. Once completed, have students read through their posters and look for opportunities to find answers to their ponderings. They might find these by asking questions or doing some online research if possible, allowing their minds to make room for more ponderings.

Assessment as learning:

Allow time for reflection on key learning from this lesson:

Provide an exit ticket for the students with the following question:

  • Why do you believe the author chose to write about this topic?
  • How can you use this concept to connect to the process of writing?
  • What are your personal interests?
  • Which of these topics do you feel motivated to write about?