All About Animals: Secondary Teachers: Lesson Plan 1: What’s it all about?

How does this fit into the National Curriculum? Pupils should be taught to analyse and discuss alternative interpretations, ambiguity and allusion (EN2 1b); how ideas, values and emotions are explored and portrayed (1c); how language is used in imaginative, original and diverse ways (1g); to reflect on the writer’s presentation of ideas and issues and the overall impact of the text (1h)

Teachers’ Note: Photocopy this poem and hand it to the class. Read through it with them and steer a discussion about the poem, including:

  • What the poet feels about the value of life
  • How and why the grandmother feels differently
  • How the style of writing reflects the views of the poet
  • Why the poet chose to present the poem without punctuation
  • The impact that this text has upon the reader

‘i had a choice to make, between my grandmother & a cockroach’ by Coral Hull
when my grandmother asked me how i felt about her in relation to a cockroach, i said ‘i love you both the same,’ she was very offended & went off her head, i told her that i thought she had misunderstood, that i was naturally more attached to her than the cockroach, because she was of my own species, because she was a grandmother & because i liked some things about her personality that made her dear to me, furthermore that i was not particularly partial to cockroaches, & i had no idea what the cockroaches personality would be like, therefore i was not as attached to the cockroach, but that in reality they were both equal in the eyes of life & death, & that they were both the same, in that they were both worthy of my love & respect in the same way, but nanny never heard any of this, in her mind i had chosen the cockroach