poem by Jenny Blackford , illustrated by Craig Phillips

Learning intention:

I am learning to consider word choice in a text so that I can extend my vocabulary and create a contrasting view of the poem.


Success criteria:

  • I can investigate unfamiliar words looking at their meaning, etymology, phonemes, and syllables.
  • I can create a new poem with different word choice that creates a contrasting feel to the poem Viking
  • I can compare and contrast the success of the original poem to the innovated poem by making clear statements identifying which had more effective word choice.
  • I can use this information in my own writing.


Essential knowledge:

Discuss with students that codes and conventions include an author choosing the right words to create meaning. View the English Textual concepts video Codes and conventions with the students and consider the impact that an author has when they choose the right words for their text.


As a class, read the poem Viking.

After reading the poem, create a word bank on the board including adjectives that were used in the Viking. Discuss the image portrayed by the author's choice of words, with answers including golden, god like, magical, beautiful, ethereal.

Using their workbook, ask students to select words from the text and research their meaning, etymology, find a synonym and an antonym and record the phonemes and syllables. Words could include: slender, torque, strong, glinting.

To assist students they may;

To investigate the power of word choice further students are going to participate in an innovation on the original text. Students can select words from the poem, Viking and create a completely different feeling by substituting the words with those found during the students’ investigation. This may mean, using a different synonym for each word or creating a completely different feel to the poem using an antonym that they discovered.


Co- construct an example based on the original piece by Jenny Blackford:


Slender, clad in white,

With her golden plaits

over her shoulders, and

wearing a torque

of twisted silver,

She looks at the stars

and thinks of a Viking

in his longship,

tall and strong,

the light of sunrise

glinting on his helmet

     and his sword.


Example of Co-construction with class:


     Round, dressed in black

     With her dark plaits

     Over her shoulders and

     Wearing dull straight metal,

     She looks at the stars

     And thinks of a person

     In his small boat

     Short and weak

     The darkness of the sunset

     Reflecting on his helmet and sword.


Compare and contrast the success of each poem. Ask children to make statements about:

  • Which poem is more appealing to the audience. Remind students to be prepared to follow up their initial response with “Why they preferred the poem?”
  • What emotions are experienced as the poems are read? What aspects of the poem solidify this emotion? Give evidence form the text.
  • Reflect on what impact this will have on your own writing?


Finally, in pairs or individually (as preferred by students) set children the task of writing their own innovation on this text. Reminding them to think deeply about word choice and the impact it will have on their audience. Remind them to purposefully choose words that are going to support the way they want their audience to feel.