The Glow of the Moon on the Snow

poem by Stephen Whiteside , illustrated by Rosemary Fung

Learning Intention:


I am learning to understand why authors use imagery in poems so that I can experiment with using imagery to create specific effects.


Success Criteria:


  • I can experiment with composing examples of imagery.
  • I can use imagery when composing a poem.


Essential knowledge:

Ensure students are familiar with the term ‘imagery’ and that they understand imagery is descriptive or figurative language that allows the reader to form a clear picture in their minds.

Display the following examples,

  • The leaves rustled as the wind whipped through the trees.
  • The icy spray from the ocean felt like needles hitting my skin.
  • The light danced through the trees, creating a strobe effect.


Oral language and communication:


Display the following factual description of the moon:

The moon is large, approximately 3,475 km in diameter. Travellers have often described the moon’s power to light up the sky. In fact, it is the reflection of the sun on the moon’s surface that makes the moon appear bright at nighttime.

Discuss the type of information included, ensuring students note that it is mainly factual.


Understanding text:

Read The Glow of the Moon on the Snow or listen to the audio file if you have a digital subscription.

Discuss the following in relation to the factual description and the way the moon is described in The Glow of the Moon on the Snow:

  • Which provides the most factual information? (The factual description)
  • Which description creates a clearer image of the moon in your mind? (The description in The Glow of the Moon on the Snow)
  • Why do you think authors use imagery in poems? (To create effect and meaning by evoking feelings and emotional responses in readers)

Discuss examples of imagery in The Glow of the Moon on the Snow and the image they evoke, for example:

  • The moon’s soft glow (Describes the moon’s glow with the feeling ‘soft’)
  • Lands gently on the fields of snow (Evokes the image of the light being soft and gentle)
  • The heavens sparkle through the night (Creates an image of the light sparkling)
  • To reinforce the ghostly light. (Evokes an eerie mood through the use of the word ‘ghostly’)
  • Shine like jewels through the dark. (Describes the light on the leaves as being like jewels, which again creates a glittery, other worldly feel)


Creating text:

Tell students that many artists have examined the contrast between light and shade in images. Introduce students to the term ‘Chiaroscuro’ and inform them that this refers to artworks that show the juxtaposition between light and shade.

View artworks by artists such as or Tohby Riddle (TSM illustrator and former Editor)  Discuss how the artist has used light in their work to show the contrast between light and shade.

Tell students that they will be looking at the light around the school. Take students for a brief walk around the school and view both areas that are in direct sunlight and those that are in the shade. Discuss imagery that might be used to describe the impact of light in each of these locations. Sample responses include:

  • The white light beams down on the asphalt like hot rays from a laser.
  • The dappled shade provides refuge from the heat. Tall shadows dance across the floor.

Place students with a partner and tell them to select one of these locations. Instruct them to make notes on anything they observe about how the light impacts the view. Tell students to photograph their chosen location using iPads or digital software for them to refer to once back in class.

Return to the classroom and discuss how you might incorporate this imagery into a poem, just as The Glow of the Moon on the Snow does. Remind students that imagery seeks to create a visual description through the language used. Compose a poem collaboratively with the students. Inform students that they may choose to make their poems rhyme or not.

A sample poem about a sunny spot is:

White light beams down on the asphalt,

The sun’s warmth heats the Earth.

Hot rays from a laser searing the ground,

Determined in their unrelenting glare.

Instruct students to work with their partner to compose a poem about their chosen location. Remind students of the following:

  • To include imagery describing the light in their chosen location
  • To decide whether to make their poem rhyme or not

Students may like to use a thesaurus to identify synonyms and descriptive word choices.


Assessment for/as learning:

Match students with another pair. Instruct them to take turns to read each other their poems. Tell the students who are listening to their peer’s poem to make a sketch of what is described, based on the imagery.

Compare the sketches to the photographs students took of their chosen location. Instruct students to discuss the following in their groups:

  • Which elements of the photograph can be seen in the sketch?
  • How clearly did the imagery describe the use of light?

Ensure both pairs have the opportunity to read their poems aloud and to make a sketch.


Prior to the end of the lesson, display the following exit ticket question and instruct students to respond in their workbooks:

  • How do authors use imagery to create meaning and effect in poetry?