Snowman at the Beach

poem by Jesse Anna Bornemann , illustrated by Jake A Minton

Learning Intention:

I am learning to draw on the ideas of a range of texts so that I can take inspiration from them when composing my own story.


Success Criteria:

  • I can discuss the idea of a ‘fish out of water’ theme
  • I can explain how this style applies to the text
  • I can use my knowledge of this narrative style to compose a story about the character from the text.



Oral language and communication:

After reading the poem Snowman at the Beach, discuss the ‘Fish Out of Water’ theme with the class. Explain that this narrative type places characters in situations or environments that are unfamiliar to them and very different to their normal lives. Ask students if they can think of any books or movies that use this narrative style. These may include:

  • Alice in Wonderland (Alice follows a white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a strange land with fantastical creatures, leaving Alice to figure out how to get back home)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (Jack climbs a stalk to find himself in a castle in the clouds that belongs to a giant who he must escape from when Jack retrieves treasures that have been stolen from his family)
  • Elf (When one of Santa’s elves finds out he is a human and not an elf, he leaves the North Pole the track down his dad, who is completely different to him)
  • Enchanted (A princess is banished from her animated fairytale land by an evil queen and sent to New York where she falls in love, complicating her decision to return to her home)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (four siblings find a magical world through a portal in a wardrobe and must fight against the magic of the White Witch to protect themselves and others)



Understanding text:

Discuss with students how the snowman’s experience at the beach in this poem would fit a ‘fish out of water’ scenario (e.g. he is made from different materials than usual, he is in a different climate, he would encounter animals not found in colder areas). Ask students to consider what the snowman’s experience might be if the wave didn’t wash him away. Pose the following questions:

  • What might the snowman enjoy about being at the beach?
  • What may confuse or frighten him?
  • Who might he encounter?
  • What challenges might he face as someone who usually lives in a snowy environment?


Creating text:

Inform students that they are going to be writing a Quick Write  about the snowman at the beach. Using any of the questions above, ask students to quickly respond to the question you have chosen. This activity allows you to informally assess the children’s thinking, to develop writing fluency and a habit of reflection.

It can then be used later for an explicit lesson on the editorial process, whereby the teacher guides the students through the revision of sentence level grammar and punctuation.

Assessment for/as learning:

Provide time and opportunity for students to share their stories with the class via a Gallery Walk.