Visual metaphors – animals and emotions


Having completed a unit looking at picture books and story telling, my year 9 class submitted their assessment task and we had a bunting lesson. Students were required to write an allegory and create a picture book with a positive moral.
Several lessons were devoted to exploring the impact of images and illustrations and the interaction between these and the language of a story. Bullying, and associated emotions, was a popular idea which led me to create these activities. Let me explain.

At Moss Vale High, the English faculty has agreed to work with one class each week to create bunting for display outside our classrooms. The idea is to enjoy literacy learning and use language in different ways to support skill development. Students also reflect on their participation, their creative process, what they have learned and how this might help in the future.

The ‘visual metaphor’ bunting lesson wrapped up our unit and also allowed me to explore positive ideas about mental health. During class, we thought of an animal or creature to link with a specific emotion. One student suggested we watch Matthew Johnstone’s animated book, which was created in collaboration with WHO to mark World Mental Health Day in 2012. Titled I had a black dog, his name was depression, more information on the book can be found at

I followed this with a more upbeat video from a recent post on the ABC’s MentalAs week of programming. Here, Triple J’s ‘Doctor’ shares tips on how to stay mentally fit.

This was a successful and engaging lesson – we chatted, laughed and created our bunting in a supportive learning environment. The perfect way to end a unit of work.

Please enjoy some examples and reflections. Some where cliched, yet beautifully executed


today I enjoyed this lesson as I learnt of many animals that could represent many different emotions

some were Halloween inspired


and others developed a well known idea


 with the wolf of loyalty it symbolises that wolves hunt in packs and look after one another and everyone is fed

See more at


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