poem by Stephen Whiteside , illustrated by Rosemary Fung

Learning intention:

I am learning to expand my knowledge of word meanings and spelling using homophones and homonyms so that I can incorporate word play into my writing.


Success criteria:

  • I can discuss my understanding of homonyms and homophones and identify the difference between them
  • I can categorise words based on their spelling and meaning
  • I can create my own short poem using a homonym or homophone.


After reading the poem, discuss the author’s use of ‘waves’ and its different meanings in the poem. Talk about students’ understanding of homonyms (words with the same sound and same spelling but with different meanings) and homophones (words with the same sound but with different spelling and different meanings) and ask students to identify which one of these categories the word ‘waves’ falls into (homonym).

Give students a list of clues, such as the one following, to help them guess the word. Once they have guessed the correct word, they should also indicate whether it is a homonym or homophone. Keep a list on the board for them to reference later.



  • Two of the same / Fruit that grows on a tree (pair / pear – homophone)
  • Small juicy fruit / To put something in the ground and cover it (berry / bury – homophone)
  • Not the truth / Horizontal position (lie – homonym)
  • Belongs to us / Sixty minutes (our / hour - homophone)
  • Something we do with a vehicle we’ve finished using / An open space where children play (park – homonym)
  • Die / Dye (cease to exist / change colour – homophone)
  • The outer layer of a tree trunk / The sound a dog makes (bark – homonym)


Students should then choose either a homophone or homonym and write a single stanza poem, attempting to follow the same style and rhyme scheme as the text (ABCCB). You may wish to model one on the board such as:

I row my boat out to an island

Looking to go and explore

But a row of angry frogs

Are perched on a row of logs

So I turn and row back to the shore


Once students have completed their draft, they should publish their poem with an illustration to accompany the work.