Monday 13th July - Session 16: Discussion and Debate, ‘Tell Me’ – Booktalk
Watch the film up to the point at which Alex sees the submarine emerge from the water.
Ask the children: Is watching a film the same experience as reading a book? Is their emotional response the same? Ask the children who is telling the story? Is it the same in the book and the film? What can the film do that the novel can’t (for example, using music as a device)?
Explain to the children that in his preface to the 2006 edition of Stormbreaker Anthony Horowitz writes: ‘Imagining something when you read is even better than seeing it when it’s been filmed… forget the film for a moment. As you turn these pages Alex Rider belongs to you.’
Ask the children to discuss this statement in pairs and to make notes for and against it. You could hold a mini debate on this topic.
Ask the children to formulate their own personal response to Horowitz’s statement and to write it up in their Notebooks on p16.
Tuesday 14th – Friday 17th July - Sessions 17-20: Visual Approaches, Illustration, Reading Aloud and Rereading
Finish reading the novel and after you have finished reading the novel, watch the rest of the Stormbreaker film.
Discuss as a whole class the similarities and differences between the two, and in particular, draw out in discussion what makes this story an effective thriller.
Introduce the children to the graphic novel version. Display the first chapter of the graphic novel with the children and hold a whole class discussion on how the graphic novel differs from both the film and the novel versions of the text.
Reread The School Bully and explain to the children they are going to be recreating this chapter as a graphic novel.
Give the children copies of the text for The School Bully (or one of the other chapters further on in the text) and ask them, in pairs, to mark up the text to make into a graphic novel version.
Over the next two sessions, give the children time to create their graphic novel chapters, encouraging them to focus on the moments of most action, and ensuring the images work alongside one another, with one image leading on to the next.
Once they have finished, share the different approaches to creating the graphic novel, and also compare the children’s choices for the chapter with those of Kanako Damerum, who illustrated the graphic novel.
As part of Thursday and Friday's sessions, it suggests watching the Stormbreaker film. If you can't find it (it's available on a few streaming services), you can go on YouTube and just find some clips from the film to compare with elements of the story. It's worth knowing that the film was pretty awful! There's a new Amazon series of the story which looks more promising (and has more involvement from Anthony Horowitz).
Monday 6th July - Session 11: Reading and Rereading, Comparison Grids
Comparison Grids - A comparison grid is a visual way of recording similarities or differences in style, language or content.
Before this session, ensure you have read aloud the chapters Looking for Trouble, Night Visitors and Death in the Long Grass.
Discuss with the children how the near misses and Alex’s eventual capture and escape serve to keep the reader in suspense.
Reread the chapters (this could take a couple of sessions, depending on time available) and ask the children to complete the suspense grid on p12 of their notebooks, stopping after each chapter to compare notes with each other.
Add further detail to the children’s role on the wall for Alex and discuss how he is developing as a character – what have we learned about him that we did not know from the earlier chapters?
Tuesday 7th July - Session 12: Shared writing, Reading Aloud.
Shared Writing - Shared writing is one of the most important ways a teacher can show children how writing works and what it’s like to be a writer. Acting as scribe, the teacher works with a small or large group of children to create a text together, enabling them to concentrate on their ideas and composition.
Reread Looking for Trouble.
Discuss the secret note as a whole class – ask the children what they think this note represents?
Explain that we often see spies in books and on films filing reports to their superiors.
Share writing the opening lines of a secret note which Alex is going to send back to Blunt about his observations so far. What does Alex think of Sayle? What does he suspect is going on at this point in the text?
Ask the children to complete the secret note to Blunt on p13 of their notebooks.
Wednesday 8th July - Session 13: Text marking
Reread the section in Night Visitors from Growing ever more curious to Why would the Stormbreaker project need a man like that?
Ask the children to read this passage of text to each other in pairs, and then to mark up the text for the short sentences using a highlighter. Ask them to consider what the effect of the short sentences is and how it affects the pace of the text.
Ask the children to practise reading the text aloud, paying attention to the pacing.
Ask the children to create their own passage of text, about an encounter with a wild animal, using shorter and longer sentences to affect the pace of the piece, using short sentences to ramp up the speed of the reading at a key point in their passage.
Thursday 9th and Friday 10th July - Sessions 14 and 15: Comparison charts, Visual Approaches – Visualisation and Illustration
Visualisation - Asking children to picture or visualise a character or a place from a story is a powerful way of encouraging them to move into a fictional world. Children can be asked to picture the scene in their mind's eye or walk round it in their imaginations. Finally they can bring it to life by describing it in words or recreating it in drawing or painting.
At this point in the sequence, we’ll leave the novel momentarily, and concentrate on the film, noting the similarities and differences between the two forms and the choices made by the producers and directors of the Stormbreaker film that makes it different from Anthony Horowitz’s novel.
Reread the extract in which we are introduced to Blunt (p.15-18) and remind the children of the character sketch they created in their Notebooks.
Watch the corresponding scene in the film three times through. The first time, ask the children just to watch the clip. The second, ask them to discuss with a partner the differences and similarities between the film scene and the scene in the novel. On the third time through, ask them to make notes on the similarities and differences between the two on p15 of their Notebooks.
Discuss the main similarities and differences as a whole class. Ask the children whether the actor playing Blunt lives up to their expectations, and ask them to give reasons for the opinions they offer.
In Session 15, ask the children to do a similar activity, though this time with an action scene. Reread them the section of the novel in which Alex has to escape the wrecking yard. Ask them to visualise this scene in their heads, to discuss what they know about the setting from the
text with a partner, and then to create an illustration for the wrecking yard, using charcoal on white paper.
Watch the same scene in the film and ask the children to compare their visions of the wrecking yard with that in the film, and to discuss as a whole class how the two differ.
Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th - Sessions 6 and 7: Writing in Role, Debate and Discussion, Reading Aloud
Debate - debating ideas calls for a more formal and objective response to the story and helps children begin to analyse how the writer has made us feel this way. Teachers can structure debates inviting 'for' and 'against' arguments around particular statements arising from a book.
Read Double O Nothing aloud.
Hold a short class debate about the issue of asking children to do the work of an adult. Is it ever acceptable to put a child in danger? Split the class into two groups and ask one group to prepare arguments. Ask the children to prepare their notes on p6 of their notebooks.
In Session 7, ask the children to take the role of Alex, writing a secret letter to Jack, as his closest friend, explaining to her what has happened since he started his training.
Recap on what we know about Alex so far – what evidence do we have about his character – create a whole class role on the wall for Alex to use when writing in role as him, to give authenticity and refer to when deciding how Alex would write and what he would choose to write about.
Read aloud to the end of Toys Aren’t Us and ask the class to consider Blunt’s point of view. What do they think Blunt should do? Send him in or let him go?
Ask the children to add more details to their role on the wall for Blunt in their Notebooks, based on this new information about him.
Wednesday 1st July -Session 8: Reading and Rereading, Debate and Discussion.
Re-read Toys Aren’t Us from the line “I have something that might cheer you up”.
Ask the children to make notes on the different gadgets Alex is given.
Ask the children to complete the gadget grid on p8 of the Notebook, and to create a further two gadgets that could help Alex with his mission.
Hold a brief whole class discussion about MI6’s decision not to give Alex a gun. What do the children think of this decision, and why do they think they decided this would be the case? What reasons would they give for Alex not being allowed to take a gun with him, even though they are sending him into a dangerous situation?
Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd - Sessions 9 and 10: Story Mapping, Reading Aloud and Rereading
Storyboards - A storyboard is another way of helping to map out key scenes in the story through drawing and annotation. Originally used to plot scenes in film or moving picture work, it is particularly useful for marking out the key scenes in a story within a given number of frames (usually six or eight), or for focusing in on the next few moments in a sequence.
Read the chapter Physalia Physalis aloud.
Explain to the children they are going to be storyboarding this section of the story for a film, splitting the action in this chapter into a maximum of eight key scenes.
Reread the chapter and ask the children to note down in pairs, what they consider to be the key scenes in the chapter.
Ask each of the pairs then to compare their eight chosen scenes with another pair.
Ask the children, individually, to create their own storyboard on p9 of their notebooks.
In Session 9, you will start to put more detail onto the sections of the storyboard.
Give the children a range of extracts from the text about Alex, from the earlier chapters, through to Physalia Physalis to use as reference.
Ask the children, in pairs, to fill in the grid on p10 in their notebooks, to create a character study of Alex, which would be useful for an actor playing the character in a film version (you are going to be comparing the book to the film, so this exercise will be useful later on).
For a homework task, ask the children to research the jellyfish Physalia Physalis (p11 in their notebook). Remind the students not to simply copy the text, but select and organise the information, for example in an information web format, as a mindmap, or as an information leaflet or briefing note that could be given to Alex.
Monday 22nd June – Session 1: Reading aloud
Read aloud the first sentence: “When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.”
Discuss in pairs/whole class, how this opening line impacts on the reader/listener. What predictions does it set up for them about what genre this is e.g. might this be a thriller? Do the students think they will enjoy reading this book?
Hand out the Stormbreaker Notebooks and ask the children to note down their initial responses on p2 of the notebook.
Continue reading aloud up to bottom of p10 ‘…so sorry’, and ask the children to listen for any indications this might be a thriller. Collect together on a flip chart or board the indications this story is going to be a thriller on the board (you may need to reread the chapter to this point again in order for the children to collect the clues they are looking for).
Before reading on, discuss with class what they think might have happened to whom, using the information in the text (be aware some of the children may already be familiar with the book or the film).
Continue reading to the end of the chapter.
Ask the children to discuss, in pairs, what questions they have that are unanswered by the first chapter.
Ask the children to add their questions to their Stormbreaker Notebooks.
Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th June – Sessions 2 and 3: Booktalk, Writing in Role, Drama and Role Play: Hot Seating
Read aloud up to the end of Heaven for Cars.
Ask your class to consider the questions Tell me, what do you like about the story so far? What do you dislike about the story so far? What puzzles do you have about this chapter? (add to the children’s puzzles and questions from the previous session). What connections can you make with other novels or films? Ask the specific questions: Who do you think the men in the yard are? Who might these people work for and what is their aim? What does Alex think has happened at this point? What does he suspect? What should he do now?
As the children to recap in pairs on the events leading up to Alex’s escape from the wreckage yard. Ask them to formulate questions they would like to ask Alex at this point in the story.
Ask one of the children to hot seat the role of Alex and ask the other children to pose the character of Alex their questions (you could have several children take the role as Alex, leading to a range of different potential answers).
In Session 3, ask the children to take the role of Alex and write a short secret journal entry about events up to this point, after he has been shot at and escaped from the wreckage yard (there is a page allocated to this in the Stormbreaker Notebook).
Read aloud the chapter Royal & General before the next session.
Thursday 25th and Friday 26th June – Sessions 4 and 5: Drama and Role Play – Conscience Alley, Role on the Wall
Read aloud to the end of the chapter So What Do You Say? to the line ‘There was a long pause’.
Ask the children to discuss in small groups whether or not they think Alex trusts these people and whether they think he should.
Ask them then to consider individually the advice they would give to Alex at this point. Should he? What should he do? What do the methods chosen by Blunt suggest about him as a character and the organisation he represents?
Asking one child to act as Alex, and the others to form two lines down the room, ask the character of Alex to walk down the centre of the line and for everyone else in turn to whisper their advice for what he should do at this point. When Alex gets to the end of the conscience alley, ask him what his decision is going to be and what has made his mind up about this.
Ask the children to consider what Alex would be thinking, and to write a short reflective piece, in role, on his thoughts on what he has been asked (p4 of the Stormbreaker Notebook).
Read to the end of the chapter and ask the children how they would feel if they were Alex at this point, pressured into making this decision, and what might happen as a result of him deciding to go along with Blunt’s plan.
In Session 5, ask the children in small groups to discuss the character of Blunt – What do we know about him so far? What do we think of him as a character? Reread the sections of the previous two chapters in which we are introduced to Blunt and we see him acting and speaking.
Ask the children to fill in the roll on the wall for Blunt in their notebooks, with comments about both his physical appearance and his character, backed up by evidence from the text.
Session 18: Conscience alley and writing to persuade
Read ‘Preparing the James Caird’ to ... ‘’the most treacherous in the world, known for its deadly gales.
Discuss what Shackleton is going to do. Ask the children whether they think he should take the risk – share ideas.
Ask the children to form a conscience alley – one side telling Shackleton why he should stay and the other telling him why he should go.
Ask Shackleton to walk slowly down the conscience alley whilst the crew members give him reasons to stay or go. Ask Shackleton if there were any really convincing reasons given by crew members for either argument.
Give children a sheet of reporters pad type paper and ask them to write a note to Shackleton, giving him advice on what he should do and reasons for this action in role as their crew member.
The child who is Shackleton could write a memo to the rest of the crew telling them his decision to go and the reasons for this.
Hotseat Shackleton and ask the children to read their messages to him, asking him to respond with reasons for or against their advice.
Read to the end of the chapter. Children record their thoughts in role in their log book.
Read to ‘Stromness Whaling Station to ...then immediately reached out to the men and took them inside’
Ask the children to think about how Shackleton and the others would have felt, discuss feelings of safety – what makes us feel safe?
In groups of four ask the children to script this meeting between the crew members and
Mr Sorelle. What would they each have said? How would they have reacted to each other?
Once the scripts have been written ask the groups to perform their scene. Stop them at a particular point (freeze frame) and ask individuals to say what they are feeling / thinking at this point.
Take photographs of the freeze frames and print out immediately if possible, children can then add speech, thoughts or feelings to the photo to record the session or ask the children to record the scene drawing with coloured pencils in the style of William Grill.
Display the text from ‘Rescue’ and ‘Departure’ and ask the children to pick out the main information about the rescue. Tell them that they will use this to write a newspaper report on the rescue giving eyewitness accounts from the crew members.
Children could create a story map as a plan for their report to help them sequence events and research quotes from crew members about their rescue and homecoming.
Publish the newspapers using a publishing package on the computer. These can then be added to the museum exhibition.
Session 22: Writing a summarising quote for effect.
Read ‘Home at Last’ and look at the quote from Shackleton – discuss what the children think this might mean, how powerful is it – what makes it powerful?
Tell the children that we are going to take a black and white (or sepia) group photo of our crew; it would be great if the children could dress in role for this, and we will need our own crew quote to put on a plaque beneath it.
Ask the children to think of the story - in groups ask them to think of a quote that would summarise the journey and experience of the crew and write a short quote that summarises this.
Share the quotes from each group and as a crew agree on the most appropriate.
Allow children time at the end of this session to complete their log books.
Ask children to think about leaving their home for a long time – discuss what they would miss and who they would leave behind, how would this feel? How would the person left behind feel?
Ask the children to imagine they are saying goodbye to a member of the crew, in their pairs ask the children to role play the conversation they might have as a crew member and a loved one. Children swap and reverse roles so that they can experience both points of view.
Tell the children they are now going to make a ‘bon voyage’ card (to give to their partner) – this could be done using a publishing program on the computer or hand draw - which may be more authentic.
Ask children to write a message to their partner’s crew member from a loved one; wife, brother, mother, father etc, remembering what they have said in their role play.
Children then present their cards and good luck charms to their partner in role and role play saying goodbye.
Tuesday 2nd June
Session 13: Exploring an illustration and writing poetry
Read ‘From England to South Georgia’ and look at ‘Expedition Map’ discussing the route that the expedition took.
Scan image on page 19 (hide the text) and stick in middle of a sheet of A3 paper. Ask the children, in pairs, to write down phrases and words that come to mind when thinking about what they see and how it makes them feel.
Ask the children to write their favourite words and phrases on strips of paper (aim for around 5 words and 5 phrases) – one strip per word / phrase.
Ask the children to arrange these words and phrases into a poem with a structure of phrase, word, phrase word etc.
Once they have done this, ask them to read the poem out loud – How does it sound?
Ask them to rearrange the strips of paper to give best poem – This is a great way of getting the children to edit their work.
Ask the children to perform their poems to the rest of the class, thinking about how to emphasis different words using intonation.
Once the poems have been performed they can be displayed in the class - children will then have access to a wide range of vocabulary as they begin to study this topic.
Read ‘Into the Weddell Sea’
Children can then record in their Log Book the journey so far.
Read from ‘Isolation’ to end of ‘Sailing to Elephant Island’
Show children the image on the next page and ask them how it makes them feel. What can they see?
Discuss what a blizzard is.
Listen to the sound of the storm (see below)
In groups physically recreate the shape of the ship with their bodies, in a large space such as the hall with 3 children making the mast and sails, one person steering the ship, some crew members on deck and others creating the body of the boat.
This will allow them to learn some of the technical vocabulary for the parts of the boat and they could then think about and make the sounds of the storm, (boat creaking, dogs barking, men shouting, waves crashing, wind howling) movements and feelings of being on board.
Using their role play to draw on, children will now write in role as their characters, to a loved one. Through a letter or telegram describing the environment and the impact of the weather on them?
Sessions 6 & 7: Writing a CV/personal statement in role
Children will need to understand what a CV / personal statement is before undertaking this session to give them an understanding of what needs to be included in this type of writing it would also be useful to the children to revisit the job advertisement from previous session.
Read ‘Funding and Recruitment’ aloud to the children.
Tell the children that over the next few lessons they will be applying for our job on the crew of Endurance
Ask children to look at the information they have entered into their fact files and think about what would be relevant to use to write information for a CV/personal statement.
Once children have gathered the important information they can use this to write a personal statement / CV as part of the application process, saying why they will be a good crew member, what qualities they can bring and any ‘unusual’ talents they may have.
Give children time to write their CV / personal statements – use response partners to give feedback and advice that could improve the application further.
Children edit their writing responding to feedback and noting grammar and punctuation.
In role as Shackleton and Wild (whichever children have these roles) ask them to think of interview questions to ask the interviewees.
Allow the other children to practise their role e.g. time to prepare and answers and things they might like to promote about their character.
In role ask children to conduct the interviews.
You may wish to give another activity to the children so they do not spend too much time just waiting for their turn. They could spend some time researching Antarctic animals, environment or finding/ photographs or making artefacts for the museum.
Once all children have been interviewed discuss how it felt to be the different characters.
Children now write letters confirming their place on the crew from Shackleton, or an acceptance.
Ask children to consider what they may have taken on the journey, something from a loved one, something to remind them of home, a good luck charm .
Discuss why it would not be possible to take TV, console games, mobile phones etc.
Discuss the small amount of space that each man would have had on the ship (refer back to Equipment and Supplies) and the fact that anything they took they had to carry.
Tell children that today they are going to make a good luck charm to give to the crew member from a partner, to bring them luck on the expedition.
Ask children to think about their character and what he may have been given from a loved one.
Give children a variety of resources to make their good luck charm – clay / play dough would work well and allow them to make a small item that the their partners crew member could carry with them always.
Ask children to make their first entry into their log books about setting sail in role as their character.
All materials for your learning are organised day-by-day below with resources for each session.
Monday 11th May
Session 1: Cover study
- Look at the front cover of the book.
- Hide the title from the children.
- Ask them to make comments about what they can see and any questions they have.
- Ask children to write these comments on post it notes and place them on a large copy of the illustration on display – these could also be placed in a reading journal.
- Children could then use the recurring pattern idea to produce an image that contains the same features e.g. men, boats, animals around a central figure. They could produce these images in a variety of medium such as pastels, paints, coloured paper (mosaic), pencils or printing.
Tuesday 12th May
Session 2: Writing recount
- Ask the children if they have ever been on a journey? What was the purpose of the journey? Ask the children to talk to a partner and share information about a journey they have been on.
- Once they have discussed their journeys ask the children to brainstorm information they remember about the journey.
- Ask the children to share some of the journeys they have been on. Were they good / bad? What made the journey memorable? Why did they take the journey? Were there any outcomes from the journey?
- Ask the children to write a short recount of their journey using the brainstorm as a plan for their writing.
Wednesday 13th May
Session 3: Character Profile
- Read the introduction to the book, asking the children to note any dates and information that help them begin to understand Ernest Shackleton.
- Discuss with the children what they now know about Ernest Shackleton. What did he do? When was he born? etc.
- Ask children to draw a picture of him, and around the outside write known facts. This will be added to as the children find out more about him through the book.
- Ask children to think about the inside as well – e.g. What kind of a man was he? Can they add much to this yet?
- Allow children time in this session to research the Antarctic and what was happening in the world in 1914 – e.g. WWI, technology etc. This will allow them to understand the challenges that lay ahead for the crew.
- Children could write questions that they wish to answer on post it notes, these could be added to a class working wall to be answered when the information is discovered.
Mr Ousby reads the Introduction
Thursday 14th and Friday 15th May
Sessions 4 and 5: Researching the crew and writing a fact file.
- Look at Shackleton’s original advertisement to recruit crew members to set scene and context for writing that follows?
- Look at page 5 and 6 and ask the children to pick a character (or select according to your children) . Whoever the children pick will be the character that they will write in role as for the duration of this sequence.
- Once all of the names have been selected children should be given time to research their crew member and the job that they did on the expedition.
- Children can then write a character fact file for their individual crew member noting their job, skills that are useful for the expedition, previous experience they may have had and any ‘extra’ information the children discover about them.
Shackleton's Original Advert
Introduction to Emily Dickinson Week 1
An introduction to this more free-form approach to learning about Emily Dickinson.
Introduction to Week 2
Some ideas on how to move on with your Emily Dickinson learning.
Here is the first part of the book that we've read in class (as of Monday 16th March). Use it to remind yourself of the story so far before you dive in to the readings with questions and activities to follow.
Every single time I get to this word in my reading, I mispronounce it and need to edit it out. Here's one of the MANY times I messed it up for your amusement.
Thursday 23rd April - Chapters 37-41
Friday 24th April - Chapters 42-46
David Almond talks about writing SkelligHe discusses how he wrote the book, where some of his inspiration came from and how the story has evolved into stage-plays, a film and an opera since it was published in 1998.
I'll also be assigning activities for you on Reading Eggspress. You can also continue your own reading activities on there.
Reading EggspressAssigned activities will appear when you log in. After you've done these, carry on with your reading as normal.
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