What Noses Know

poem by Neal Levin , illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Learning Intention:


I am learning to create images to match the style of a text so that I can consider how images can be used to support ideas.


Success Criteria:


  • I can analyse elements within an image.
  • I can construct an image of my chosen sense.
  • I can draw on ideas of other illustrators when creating images.
  • I can compose a poem that matches my illustration.


Essential knowledge:


Sketch a rectangle on the board (drawn vertically) and use horizontal dotted lines to divide the shape into thirds. Sketch something in the centre of middle third, such as a cat. In the top third, off to one side, draw a sun. In the bottom left, draw a flower. Discuss which images viewers eyes are usually drawn to, ensuring students note that our eyes usually travel to the centre of the mid-third first before viewing elements in the upper or lower thirds. Discuss the fact that elements in the centre are usually viewed before those on either the right- or left-hand sides. Inform students that designers think carefully about where to place elements within an image to direct viewer’s attention.


Oral language and communication:


Prior to providing students with copies of the magazine, read What Noses Know to students or listen to the audio file if you have a digital subscription. Do not allow students to view the accompanying illustration for now. Discuss the following:

  • Does your nose get rosy/sore when you smell? (Probably students will state that they’re noses get sore only when they have a cold or flu)
  • Who might this be an issue for? (Animals that sniff on the ground)
  • Who do you think might be the subject of this poem? (Most likely students will predict an animal such as a cat or a dog)


Understanding text:


View the illustration that accompanies the poem and discuss who the poem is about (a dog). Use the following discussion questions to analyse the illustration:

  • Where is the dog placed within a frame? (In the centre of the middle third of the frame)
  • Does the dog appear to be still? (No, it appears to be moving)
  • What elements in the illustration make it appear as though the dog is moving? (The yellow lines that come out from the dog, the word ‘sniff’ written at different angles and the lines around the dog’s tail that imply it is wagging)
  • What mood does the illustration create? How? (Busy and frenetic through the movement of the dog, and tense through the rabbit’s expression which appears to infer fear/shock)


Creating text:


Inform students that they will be creating their own illustration and accompanying poem, to communicate about a different sense. Discuss further senses, such as hearing, sight, feeling or taste. Take a walk through the playground and instruct students to work with a partner and note down on blank paper or in their workbooks the things they hear, see, feel and taste. Sample responses include:

  • See: Trees swaying gently in the breeze, play equipment standing empty
  • Hear: The rustling of the trees, students chattering quietly in classrooms
  • Feel: The breeze on their skin, the hard playground underfoot
  • Taste: Salty air (Note: This sense may be more challenging to identify responses for)


Once back in class discuss students’ responses. Inform students that they will be selecting one of these senses to feature in their illustration. Tell students that they should consider the placement of the elements within the frame, so viewers' eyes fall on the most important features first. Inform students that their illustration should feature themselves and that it should imply movement, showing them walking through the school. Refer back to the illustration that accompanies What Nose Know to remind students of how the illustrator made it appear the dog was moving. Note these on the board and discuss further suggestions, adding these to the list.


  • Jagged lines shown around the character
  • Words such as ‘sniff’ or ‘stomp’ noted on the image
  • The facial expressions of the other characters
  • Using a blurred outline for the character
  • The setting appearing to be moving, through ways such as the leaves floating in the air, apparently disturbed by the character, or dust being kicked up by the person’s feet as they walk


Place students in pairs and instruct them to decide on which sense they wish to portray before composing an illustration of themselves experiencing this sense. Remind students that putting the most important features of the image in the middle of the frame helps to guide viewers eyes to the key elements. Students may use digital programs such as Canva or Microsoft Paint or paper and coloured pens/pencils.

Allow time for students to compose their illustrations before discussing poems that might accompany them. Refer back to What Noses Know, to identify the rhyming scheme (AAB,CCD).

Discuss how the poem begins and ends, emphasising that it begins and ends with the lines, ‘I don’t know, What noses know, for I am not a nose,’ (except the final line differs slightly as it ends with the word ‘nosy’).

Tell students that they should aim to use the same rhyming scheme and to use similar lines to begin and to end their poems as those used in What Noses Know. Compose an example together, such as:


I don’t know,

What taste buds know,

For I am not a taste bud.

But I know for sure,

When I explore,

It’s salty chips I taste.

Muddy breeze,

And leaves from trees,

All settle in my mouth.

But I don’t know,

What taste buds know,

For I am not a taste bud.


Instruct students to compose a poem with their partner to accompany their illustrations. Once students have drafted their poems, they can publish them with their illustrations or on a separate piece of paper.


Assessment for/as learning:


Display the illustrations with the poems around the classroom. Conduct a gallery walk, inviting students to view the work of their peers. Discuss the following questions and instruct students to respond to them in their workbooks:

  • The illustration that stood out most to me was…
  • I particularly liked this illustration because…
  • The artist used the positioning of the elements in the frame to guide viewers eyes by…
  • The artist showed movement in the image by…
  • The accompanying poem made me think…

Alternatively, edit a digital Gallery Walk Template for digital feedback responses.