If….This is the World

(Submitted by Heidi Wood – SD 41 Burnaby)

Poem: If….This is the World
Source: Taking the Names Down from the Hill
Poet: Philip Kevin Paul

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Listen critically to understand and analyze ideas and information, by visualizing and sharing; making inferences and drawing conclusions.
  • Recognize and apply the features of oral language to convey and derive meaning, including text structure and nonverbal communication.
  • Read fluently and demonstrate comprehension and interpretation, including:
    • poetry in a variety of forms.
    • stories from Aboriginal and other cultures.
  • Select and use various strategies during reading and viewing to construct, monitor, and confirm meaning, including:
    • making connections.
    • visualizing.
    • reading selectively.
  • Create meaningful visual representations for a variety of purposes and audiences that communicate a personal response, information, and ideas relevant to the topic.

Goals of the Lesson:

  1. Use visualization, sequencing, and inference making using poetry to demonstrate comprehension.
  2. Create success for all levels of readers and writers.


  1. Complete a cloze poem activity.-
    share and discuss their word choices.
  2. Read the original poem If This is the World by Philip Kevin Paul.- Take turns reading the original in pairs/two voices/round etc.- Discuss tools and questions to promote inference making and visualization.
  3. Create a visual interpretation in four squares to show the stages of life (see examples).
  4. Create an original poem in the same structure to reflect the visual interpretation (see examples)
  5. Share criteria for assessment and evaluation

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Teachers questions the students using Georgia Heard’s “Poet’s Toolbox”.

Predict and Question:

Teachers ask students to consider the following questions while completing the poetry writing/reading tasks below:

Before Reading:

What do you think of when you hear the word “World”?

What is a sequence?

During Reading:

What image do you have when you read the line: “A pine tree, its hands raised.”

What is it called when a non-human object has been given human traits?

In Coast Salish traditions, when you are giving thanks or honouring someone, you raise your hands towards the sky.

After Reading:

What does the title make you think of? Why does the poet use the word “If” as opposed to just “This is the world”?

What words have been used that help you visualize the sequence of events?

What is the purpose behind the way the poem has been written with extrea spaces between words and stanzas and the structure of line breaks?

In your opinion, to what is the poet making references to?

Reminders for Meaning and Understanding

Basic/literal understanding (Minimally meets expectations)

will recognize the four times of day: morning, noon, evening, and night

Metaphorical level (Meeting expectations)

– will recognize the stages of a storm/weather

Inferential level (Exceeding expectations)

– understanding will make reference to the stages of life: birth, childhood, adult/senior, death

To achieve the inferential level of understanding it is useful to bring in pictures that represent the stages of a flower/plant: seedling, bloom, wilted, dead.

The poem is typed with extra spaces between words and stanzas to highlight selected areas of importance or to highlight the importance of silence.

Demonstrate Understanding

Refer to the assessment/evaluation checklist included. (the one included was developed with student input during class discussion)

Reflect on Learning

What did I learn through my visualization? Did this change from my initial reaction to the poem? Why?

Extended Learning Activities

Rewrite the poem with a visual clue from the perspective: This is the World.