The Classiest Slug

poem by Suzy Levinson , illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Learning Intention:


I am learning to analyse literary devices and messages in texts so that I can create my own literary text.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify poetic and literary techniques in a text.
  • I can identify how juxtaposition affects the message of a text
  • I can experiment with poetic and literary techniques create a poem.


Essential knowledge:

For more information about messages in texts, view The School Magazine’s video on Theme.

For more information about lenses in which we view the world, view The School Magazine’s video on Perspective.


Oral language and communication:

Have students complete the following sentence:

I think slugs are _____________

Invite students to share their answers with the class.

Read aloud the title of the poem The Classiest Slug. Pose the following questions to discuss as a class:

- Based on the title, how do you think the content of this poem might challenge the general perception of slugs?

- What sort of perspective do you think the author has about slugs?

- What theme or message do you expect from this poem?

- What poetic devices - such as rhythm, rhyme and alliteration - do you expect from this poem?

- What vocabulary might we find in this poem?


Understanding text:

Read through the poem as a class, or, if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording. In pairs, students write down any poetic devices, vocabulary and thoughts they have about the poem. Some examples:

- The personification of bugs (wearing clothes, having opinions)

- wriggles and waggles (alliteration and similar word endings)

- sliding and gliding/wiggles and squiggles/squirms and worms (rhyming within the line)

- vocabulary such as gloppiest, tentacles, ooze and gooey convey a gross feel

- the juxtaposition of classy aspects like a gown put together with the gross vocabulary highlight difference and make for farce


After a class discussion, ask students what they think the author was trying to say with the poem. If they need guidance, the following prompts could be given:

- How do you think the theme relates to the way the author used juxtaposition?

- The author used personification, making this classy slug act human. What sort of person do you think the slug represents?

- What might the author be saying about classy people?

- The other creatures think the slug is sublime. What might the author be saying about how we perceive others?


See if students can identify the poem’s theme. Some examples:

  1. Some people thinking they’re glamorous and important, but really, they’re no better than anyone else.
  2. Other people can believe that social class is admirable, when it doesn’t change who someone is underneath


Creating text:

Explain that students will be creating their own poem using one of the themes identified from The Classiest Slug. Ask them to think about:

- What appropriate animal could represent people in your poem?

- How can you juxtapose two opposing ideas?

- What sort of vocabulary can you use to show this juxtaposition?

- What sort of rhyme and rhythm will you use?

- How will you convey the way others perceive your chosen animal?


Give students time to brainstorm and draft their poem.


Assessment for/as learning:

Students swap their work with a peer, who illustrates the poem according to the words. When they swap back, students should consider whether their poem was clear enough for their peer to convey what they were trying to say and make note of what they would change to enhance the text.