poem by Jonathan Sellars , illustrated by Anna Bron

Learning Intention: 

I am learning how ideas can be sharpened through the use of verbs to indicate elaborated tense so that I can experiment with these grammatical concepts in my own writing.   

Success Criteria: 

  • I can recognise the “to be + going” form of the future tense and use it in my own writing.  
  • I can think critically and creatively about time in a text.     

Essential Knowledge: 

More information about the grammatical function of verbs can be found on the NSW education website.  

Read the poem with the class and discuss its meaning. On a literal level, students should recognise that the speaker of the poem is planning on completing a series of amazing feats in the future but is too tired to currently complete the tasks. Students may also interpret the poem on a figurative level. The feats (facing dragons, turning nightmares into dreams, moving mountains) may be symbolic and represent the challenges that we encounter daily in life. Alternatively, the poem may represent the active imagination of the speaker, and the speaker’s need to have a good night’s sleep so that they can continue to come up with creative tales in the morning.  

Explain to students that the poem creates meaning by shifting between two tenses: the present tense (in the second stanza) and the future tense (in the first stanza).  

Explicitly teach how to construct sentences in the future tense. The formula for simple future tense is will + [root form of the verb]. For example, tomorrow I will go to the shops. However, the more common structure for future tense uses the to be + going, often expressed as I am going to [root form of the verb]. This is how the future tense is constructed in the poem, for example:  

Tomorrow I’m going to face dragons 

Tomorrow I’m going to take nightmares 

Tomorrow I’m going to seize power      

Play the game “Mystery Bag”. Sit students in a circle. Using an empty brown paper bag, cloth bag or similar explain that when students hold the bag, they must think of an object that would fit inside it. They then ask the person to their right, “Why do you have an _________ in your bag?” This student must explain their plan for their object, phrasing their sentence using the to be + going future tense construction. A sample exchange may go as follows: 

Why do you have three limes in your bag?  

Tomorrow I am going to cure three pirates of scurvy! 

If students cannot think of an item that would fit in the bag, come up with a response to the student’s question or construct a sentence using the future tense then they are out of the game.  

Record student responses. At the end of the game display them on the board.  

Using the responses as a guide and inspiration, students write their own version of the poem ‘Tomorrow’, ensuring that they use the to be + going construction of the future tense.   


Assessment as/of learning:  

Use the success criteria from the lesson to give students individual feedback on their learning.