Small Talk

poem by Jenny Erlanger , illustrated by David Legge

Learning intention:

I am learning to adapt onomatopoeia from literary texts so that I can create multimodal texts.


Success criteria:                       

  • I can identify onomatopoeia in a text.
  • I can use onomatopoeia in my own writing.
  • I can combine voice over and visual aspects to create a multimodal text.


Essential knowledge:

  • More information about onomatopoeia can be found on the NSW Education Glossary.


Listen to the digital recording of the poem or read it out loud to the class. Ask students to find the sounds mentioned in the poem (answers: cluck, quack, cock-a-doodle-doo, moo). Explain that words that are pronounced the same as the sounds they make are called onomatopoeia. Ask students if they can think of any other words that represent sounds. As a starting point, encourage them to think of sounds to do with water (slosh, splash, drip), eating (munch, crunch, gulp), or other animal sounds (woof, meow, chirp). Write students’ answers on the board so there are a variety of examples for students to draw from later. If you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive activity called Add the Onomatopoeia.


Explain to the class that they will be writing their own poem with onomatopoeia. They can use words from the word bank on the board or think of their own. It can be free verse or rhyme – the emphasis is using onomatopoeia correctly. Encourage students to use repetition if it works for the poem (e.g., Drip drip drip went the rain).


After writing their poem, students will then publish it using a digital program such as PowerPoint, Canva, Microsoft PowerPoint Online or Audacity. These programs will allow students to combine their typed poem (and image, if time permits – students can find a visual to accompany their poem) with an audio recording of them reading their poem aloud. A guide on how to add audio recordings to a PowerPoint can be found on the Microsoft Support Page. Students can either use a recording device or record their reading within the PowerPoint program.


Extension: Students combine their voiceover with sound effects and music.