Summer Nights

poem by Lisa Varchol Perron , illustrated by Rosemary Fung

Learning Intention:

I am learning to relate the ideas of a text to my own life so that I can better understand how to compose texts based on my own experiences.

Success Criteria:

  • I can connect different aspects of a text to my own experiences
  • I can organise my ideas into a plan
  • I can use my experiences to compose a poem.

Essential knowledge:

Ensure that students understand how to compose acrostic poems. The definition for acrostic poems can be found in the NSW Department of Education glossary.


Create a table on the board with the columns titled ‘See’, ‘Smell’, ‘Feel’ and ‘Do’. Deconstruct the text by having a class discussion to decide which parts of the poem should be allocated to each column. You should end up with a table similar to the one below.

See Smell Feel Do
a star-filled sky above The earth smells sweet beheath our feet still, we sweat racing through the yard
the light of bugs in flight breathing fast and hard side by side our arms spread wide; we spin 'til we're unsteady
The air is thick and heady We topple down on grassy ground


Creating text:

Have students take a few minutes to consider what their own summer nights are like. Ask them to think about what kind of things they may see, smell, feel and do. Discuss their ideas and experiences and use them to create a collaborative table to model this planning strategy.


See  Smell  Feel  Do
trails and bursts of light from sparklers food cooking on the barbecue crunch in our hair from sand and saltwater running around outside
Stars in the sky on a clear night wet summer grass happy and relaxed going through the sprinklers
Mosquitoes flying around warm, moist air eating dinner and dessert outside


Assessment for/as learning:

Inform students that they will be composing an acrostic poem to represent their own experience using the words ‘SUMMER NIGHTS’. Explain that they should begin each line using the letters of these two words and that rhyming is not necessary. Students should also understand that lines can have different lengths and number of syllables.

Model an acrostic poem, such as the one below to help students understand how to transfer their ideas into a text.

Sparklers burst through the dark sky

Underneath the blanket of stars

Mosquitoes dance around us, following the light

My hair is wet and crunchy from swimming all day

Everyone is laughing

Running through the soft grass


Night air is warm and moist

I dance through the sprinklers

Grandma brings me a towel

Hamburgers are cooking on the barbecue

Time to eat dinner on the back deck

Strawberries and ice cream afterwards for everyone


Have students create a plan based on their own ideas and experiences. They should then use this to create a draft of their poem and publish it.