poem by Trevor Harvey , illsutrated by Peter Sheehan

Learning intention:

I am learning to vary my handwriting so that I can convey expression and meaning in texts.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify the author’s perspective of a text.
  • I can identify choices made by the author to convey that perspective.
  • I can vary my handwriting to create meaning when writing texts.


Essential knowledge:               

  • More information about perspective can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Perspective.


Focus question:

How can authors use different forms of expression to share their perspective?


Before reading Time, explain to students that poets:

- select their words with care when composing texts

- choose specific vocabulary to convey their ideas

- use imagery to create meaning


Ask students to pay special attention to the word choices the poet has made while listening to the poem. Read the poem aloud or listen to the digital recording several times to give students a chance to take notes on their ideas. Display a digital copy of the poem on a smartboard if you have a classroom digital subscription or alternatively, have student paper copies available for each child.


Discuss students’ ideas as a class. Students may note things such as the choice to capitalise certain letters, the mention of several ways to tell the time, the imagery of the sun and moon, that the shape of the poem is an hourglass. Ask students what they think the author’s point of view is about time. Encourage them to find an example of the text to back up their answers. Students may note the lines:

They all show how Time

Is unwilling to stay—

And how quickly Tomorrow

Turns into Today.

Guide students towards the idea that the use of the word “quickly” and the phrase “unwilling to stay” suggests the author finds that time is passing too quickly and is lamenting that fact. Explain how the short lines and lists of things also gives the sense of speed, as opposed to long, descriptive lines that spend more time on analogies.


Explain to students that they will be rewriting the poem with a catch – they must consider how their handwriting can convey the author’s perspective. Remind students their handwriting must be legible and neat throughout the poem. Ask students for ideas on how handwriting can convey an idea. Encourage them to think about size, font, variations and colour. Students may realise that, to convey the idea of speed, they could make their handwriting narrow and close together. They may also consider creating a shape with the words of the poem, such a spiral, to show that time is swiftly going down the drain. Ask what colour could convey the author’s perspective, for example red for alarm or green for a swift “go” signal. Encourage creativity and careful thought behind their choices and inform students that they should be able to explain their choices when questioned.