The Queen's Revenge

poem by Kerry Gittins , illustrated by Hannah Seakins

Learning Intention:


I am learning to create literary texts that adapt ideas from texts I have experienced so that I can build on the range of creative ideas I can draw from when composing text.


Success Criteria:


  • I can use my own experience to infer meaning in a text.
  • I can identify a character from a familiar text and consider their habits/traits.
  • I can consider elements of a game.
  • I can identify how my chosen character might react when playing a game.
  • I can include my ideas in a poem.


Essential knowledge:


Discuss what students know about the game of chess. Display the following questions. Discuss responses or view the page Chess from Britannica to locate the answers.

  • Which piece is more valuable in chess, the Pawn or the Queen? (The Queen)
  • What is the game played on? (A board)
  • What does ‘checkmate’ mean? (One player is unable to make a move so the other player wins the game)


Oral language and communication:


At the beginning of the lesson, before explaining the task, discreetly talk with two students and tell them that they should cheat in the upcoming game. Play a game students are familiar with such as silent ball (where students are required to pass a ball to one another without dropping it, while remaining silent) or heads down thumbs up (where the majority of students place their heads on their desk and close their eyes, while four students sneak around the classroom and tap their thumbs, then the students who have been tapped have to guess who tapped them).

Tell students that today you will be playing a little differently as two people will be cheating. Inform students that their goal is to identify who is cheating. Explain how the students might cheat, depending on the chosen game. In silent ball, this could be two students agreeing to pass the ball back and forth only to each other and in heads down thumbs up students may not tell the truth if other students correctly guess they were the ones to tap them. Play the game and instruct students to try to identify who was cheating.

Discuss the following questions:

  • What are some ways you could tell who was cheating? (They might giggle, look uneasy or hide away)
  • How did those students react when they were accused of cheating? (They might deny it, giggle, or look embarrassed)

Inform students that this activity will provide them with some insight when reading the poem The Queen’s Revenge.


Understanding text:


Read The Queen’s Revenge or listen to the audio file if you have a digital subscription. Discuss the following to check students' comprehension of the poem:

  • What are Rabbit and Alice doing? (Playing chess)
  • What does Alice accuse Rabbit of? (Cheating, by swapping a pawn for a queen)
  • How does she know what Rabbit is doing? (Rabbit’s ‘feet lightly tap and ‘lips become thinner’)
  • How does the Queen react when she discovers she wasn’t invited to join the other characters to play the game? (She is angry, she sends the board flying and she declares ‘checkmate’ meaning she has won the game by ordering that they have their heads chopped off)

Note: If students are familiar with the story of Alice in Wonderland, that the characters in the poem are based on, briefly summarise it. Inform students that the story focuses on Alice, who arrives in a strange world filled with unusual characters, and that is ruled by the Queen of Hearts. Inform students that the idea of a monarch ordering someone to have their heads chopped off is based on actions of kings and queens from history.

Creating text:


Inform students that they will be composing their own poem that features fictional characters from a story they are familiar with. Scaffold the activity by planning the ideas collaboratively first. Discuss characters students are familiar with and briefly consider some of their key habits/traits. Note ideas on the board, for example:

  • Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Loves inventing unique treats
  • Harry Potter: Is learning to be a wizard
  • Goose from The Wild Robot: Loyal and protective of their family
  • George from George’s Marvelous Medicine: Concocts strange and unusual mixtures
  • Another character from a novel that has been read in class together.

Inform students that they will be selecting a character and including some of their key habits/traits into the poem. Gradually release responsibility by composing an example together first.

Select a character, such as George from George’s Marvelous Medicine. Discuss games students like to play and note these on the board in a separate area to the list of characters. Sample ideas include:

  • Monopoly
  • Handball
  • Tennis
  • Uno

Select a game, for example Uno. Use a pair and share to identify features of the game before noting ideas on the board. For example: The game includes cards in red, yellow, blue and green, the cards usually feature numbers, there are special cards, you play by placing a card of the same colour or number on the pile, the goal is to get rid of all your cards. Discuss how the chosen character might behave whilst playing the game. For example, George might keep dashing off and missing their turn to add more ingredients to their medicine mixture.

Collaboratively compose an example of a poem, that includes how the character might play the selected game. Inform students that they can choose to make their poems rhyme or not. A sample poem is:

The game of Uno was really exciting,

That is til George did something frightening,

For he’d just thought of more for his mixture to do,

And missed his turn, when we were playing on blue.

I’d nearly got rid of all of my cards,

Till George was off searching for worms in the yard.

And when he returned, I had to skip a go,

He played his last card, the number was low.


Place students with a partner and remind them of the stages for completing their poems:

  • Select a character and identify their habits/traits
  • Choose a game and note down vocabulary associated with the game
  • Compose a poem about the character playing the game.

Allow time for students to complete their poems. Students may work independently on this task if they prefer.


Assessment for/as learning:


View the video on the RISE Model. Inform students that they will be using the RISE model to provide feedback in small groups. Tell students that the groups will be discussing each of the poems and sharing their thoughts on them.

Discuss sentence stems that could allow students to provide feedback, based on the RISE model, and display ideas on the board. During the first time of using this process, students may need more support with constructing the sentence stems. Ideas include:

When providing their own feedback:

  • The poem made me think/feel… (Engaged/it made me laugh/I related to the character’s behaviour in the game)
  • What I liked the most was… (The humour/vocabulary/ideas)
  • I think the poem could be developed further by… (Considering further how the character might react when playing the game)

And when building on the ideas shared by other members of the group:

  • I relate/concur/disagree with… because... (I relate to what my peer said, as I too found that the poem would benefit from more humour)
  • What affected me most was… because of my perspective... (What affected me most was what my peer said about the character’s reactions, as from my perspective, I believe the character would act differently, for example...)