Right Way Up

poem by Sarah Ziman , illustrated by Gabriel Evans

Learning intention

I am learning to make connections to the cultural experiences of characters represented in texts so I can consider how texts are influenced by the author’s perspective.

Success criteria

  • I can identify the language that reveals the perspective of characters.
  • I can discuss the cultural values represented in texts.
  • I can identify things I value.
  • I can represent what I value in a text.

Essential knowledge

Watch Representation from The School Magazine. Ensure students note that representation refers to how we depict things or ideas when we compose a text and that we are influenced by our interests, beliefs and cultural backgrounds.

Discuss the context we are viewing texts from (from Australia).

View the video Perspective from The School Magazine. Ensure students note that our perspective influences how shape what we see in texts and the way we see it. Emphasise that our perspective depends on our personal attitudes, values and beliefs.

Prior to reading Right Way Up, discuss the geographical position of Europe compared to Australia (they’re pretty much at opposite sides of the globe). Inform students that often there is jovial debate over which continent is the right way up and which is the wrong way up. Ensure students note that the sides people take in this debate usually depends on their perspective, based on which continent they reside in. Inform students that being the wrong or the right way up also refers to timing, with the two continents being opposite each other in terms of what time of day it is.

Read Right Way Up. Ensure students identify that Ally is most likely somewhere in Europe (revealed through the fact she cannot get hold of Milo cereal), and Jo is in Australia (shown through the fact she was woken by cockatoos). Identify references to each of the characters’ perspectives that the other is the wrong way up, both in terms of geographical position and the time of day:

For geographical position:

Just imagine if jumping at the same time, caused a crack to open up between us!

I know we’re ‘Down Under’ but you’re the ones walking on the ceiling!

I guess we’re like a playing card, each of us the right way up from our angle.

For time of day:

But wait—your tomorrow has already arrived!

You are probably still asleep though, which is funny to think about, as while you are snoring away.

…so that’s something that matches, even if we are at the opposite ends of the day.

Hmm, maybe you’re actually a cockatoo, crashing around up there at the crack of dawn.


Discuss the perspective each character is viewing the others home from (from an outsiders’ perspective). Identify language that reveals this, for example:

…pouring your Milo cereal that we don’t get here.

Inform students that the ideas represented in texts often reveal the cultural and social contexts they are written from. Discuss the following questions, encouraging students to refer back to the text where necessary:

What does each character value? Note: inform students that some of these ideas might be explicit, based on what the characters include in their emails, and some may be inferred based on their actions and the comparisons they make.


  • The sunshine, with her commenting on the fact she likes it getting dark later,
  • Cricket as she compares the sun to a cricket ball
  • Food, with her mentioning her eating spaghetti bolognaise and the fact she can’t get Milo cereal there.


  • She longs for her own phone, but Mum won’t let her get one until she goes to high school.


  • Their friendship, as they are taking the time to email each other.


What further information does the representation of ideas reveal about the cultures the characters reside in?

  • Ally leaves for school at 8:30
  • Jo eats dinner at 6:30pm

Inform students that they will be composing their own text that represents their values and culture. Gradually release responsibility by completing an example together first.


Discuss things students value, food they eat, activities they enjoy and any other elements of their life they view as important. For example:

  • They eat Vegemite
  • Their favourite meal is Nasi Goreng
  • They play netball
  • They collect Pokémon cards.

Place students with a partner and instruct them to note their own ideas of things they value in their workbooks to assist them with composing a text shortly.

Inform students that they will be creating a text in a similar style to Right Way Up. Refer back to the poem and discuss the following:

  • What style is the text written in? (Emails)
  • What are some of the elements of this style? (They might include the sign off ‘love’, and an X for a kiss)
  • What is unique about this style? (It provides an insight into the personal thoughts of the characters)
  • Although it is a poem, written in lines, it does not follow a set rhyming scheme.

Select ideas from the students notes to compose in an email. Students may address their email to Ally as she is in a different country to the students. Tell students to include the idea that they are on opposite sides of the world to each other, both geographically and in terms of time. A sample response is:

Dear Ally,

I keep thinking about how you are tucked up in bed right now,

while I’m preparing for netball training.

If only you were the right way up too,

Then we’d be the same.


I bought some new Pokémon cards this week,

using my pocket money.

Would you believe I actually got two rare cards in the pack!

I felt like a queen.


Mum made me Nasi goreng for dinner again,

Hmmm, my favourite!

It’s a little different from your spaghetti bolognaise,

At least we both have ice cream for dessert.


What do you put in your sandwich,

If you can’t buy Vegemite?

I have to know; I’ve been wondering for hours.


Enjoy your sleep and I’ll email soon,

Catch you later x

Instruct students to use the notes they made on the things they value to compose their own emails to Ally.

Assessment for/as learning:

Discuss criteria for students to use to self-assess their emails. For example:

  • Included elements students' value
  • Wrote in the style of an email
  • Included references to being upside down/the right way up.

Display the following sentence stems and instruct students to note their responses in their workbooks:


In my email, I did well with_________ (Responses may vary)

I would like to improve____________ (Responses may vary)

The way authors represent ideas in texts depends on____________ (their experiences, beliefs and their cultural backgrounds)

Allow time for students to edit their emails, based on their observations in the self-assessment.

Effective Feedback from the NSW Department of Education has more information on the types of feedback.