Non-fiction

English Year 1 Summer Letters and Postcards

Letters: Dear Greenpeace

Read and write letters inspired by Simon James’s Dear Greenpeace and Hamilton's Group Reader, Boris and Sid Meet a Shark. Explore sentence punctuation and extension.

We recommend that you start with the core unit, the heart of this English block of study. This introduces key textual material and sets the tone for any further units you wish to teach. These can be selected on the basis of the needs of your class – look at the green icons to identify the unit’s particular focus: SPAG, Composition or Comprehension. Whichever units you choose, we suggest teaching them in order, as there is a built-in progression indicated by the numbering.

‘UNIT PLAN’ gives you a text version of all parts of the unit to use in your school planning documentation. ‘DOWNLOAD ALL FILES’ gives you that unit plan plus all of the associated documents.

Core
Unit 1 Core: Read, discuss and apply letter-writing conventions
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Listen and respond appropriately to their peers.
-- Articulate and justify answers and opinions.

Word Reading
-- Read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge.

Comprehension
-- Link what they read or hear read to their own experiences.
-- Participate in discussion about what is read, taking turns and listening to what others say.
-- Make inferences.
-- Predict what might happen.

Transcription
-- Begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place.

 

Composition
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing it.
-- Re-read what they have written.
-- Say out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Read aloud their writing clearly enough to be heard by their peers and the teacher.

Grammar
-- Leave spaces between words.
-- Punctuate sentences correctly, using a capital letter and full stop.
-- Use a capital letter for the names of people and the pronoun ‘I’.

You Will Need

Texts
Dear Greenpeace by Simon James

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Identify different methods of written communication. Discuss which the children have sent or received. Display a range of example letters. Read them and consider their features. Sort them into two groups, based on if they are written with a formal or informal tone.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability groups of four, with a range of different types of letters. The children read the letters, identify their features, notice patterns and then sort them into two groups, based on their tone.

Day 2 Teaching
Read the beginning of Dear Greenpeace, until page 12. Notice the story develops through Emily’s letters. Compare and contrast the tone of each letter writer. Look at the first three letters of the story and discuss why the author sent them.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs, with the first six letters from Dear Greenpeace. Children read the letters, discussing why each letter was sent; they record ideas as words or phrases.
Easier: Children match the purpose to the correct letter (see resources).

Day 3 Teaching
Read Dear Greenpeace, until page 16. Notice how the authors begin and end each letter. Discuss what the children think is in Emily’s pond. Demonstrate using correct punctuation to write a letter to share ideas.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs. They discuss what they think is in Emily’s pond, providing a reason for their opinions. The children also orally rehearse a range of potential questions to ask the recipient of the letter. When confident, they write their letter to a friend in the class.

Day 4 Teaching
Read Dear Greenpeace, except the final letter. Consider how Emily cared for the whale. Say that the whale is grateful to Emily for looking after him and wants to write a Thank You card. Orally prepare a short message and model writing it.
Activity
The children work independently to prepare an appropriate message of thanks orally to Emily, from the whale. Children then write the message using correct punctuation and a neat and fluent style of handwriting.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Sentence building and punctuation
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Articulate and justify answers and opinions.

Word Reading
-- Read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them to use other strategies to work out words.
-- Re-read books to build their fluency and confidence in word reading.

Comprehension
None for this unit

 

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing it.

Grammar
-- Begin to punctuate sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark.
-- Use a capital letter for names of people, places and the person pronoun ‘I’.
-- Leave spaces between words.

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Show the first letter from Dear Greenpeace. Read it aloud and pause in an exaggerated way, at each full stop. Highlight how each of the sentences begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop. Notice that a line of writing it not the same as a sentence.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs, each with a range of unpunctuated sentences. They read each sentence, agree on the missing punctuation and then edit the writing to correct the sentence.

Day 2 Teaching
Show the letter on page 9 of Dear Greenpeace. Read the letter aloud with appropriate expression. Highlight each question sentence. Remind children that question marks end question sentences. Write a statement and model converting it into a punctuated question.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs, each with an animal factsheet. They read through the factsheet and discuss how to convert the statements into questions. Children write a range of correctly punctuated question sentences.

Day 3 Teaching
Show the final letter from Dear Greenpeace. Notice the punctuation marks used to end each sentence. Explain that exclamation marks are used to show strong feelings, surprise or a loud voice. Use PowerPoint: Punctuation to rehearse end of sentence punctuation.
Activity
Children work independently, each with a range of sentences where the final punctuation is missing. They read each sentence and add the missing punctuation marks. Children rehearse reading the sentences aloud, using a suitable cadence.

Day 4 Teaching
Read Dear Greenpeace. Say that the names of people, places and the personal pronoun ‘I’ begin with a capital letter. Display unpunctuated sentences. Read and add the missing punctuation. Explore ways of organising the sentences, to create an effective letter.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs, each with partially punctuated sentences. They read each sentence and add the missing punctuation marks. Children cut out each sentence and explore different ways of combining them, to produce an effective letter.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Punctuation
Read each sentence and choose the best punctuation mark to go at the end.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Reading and writing animal encounter letters
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.
-- Articulate and justify opinions.
-- Use spoken language to develop understanding through imagining and exploring ideas.
--Participate in discussions and performances.

Word Reading
-- Read aloud accurately books with are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge.
-- Re-read books to build their fluency and confidence in word reading.

Comprehension
-- Link what they read or hear read to their own experiences.
-- Check that the text makes sense to them as they read and correct inaccurate reading.
-- Draw on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary.

 


-- Explain clearly their understanding of what is read to them.
-- Predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far.

Transcription
-- Form lower-case letters in the correct direction.
-- Form capital letters.

Composition
-- Say out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing it.
-- Sequence sentences to form short narratives.

Grammar
-- Leave spaces between words.
-- Punctuate sentences using a capital letter, full stop, exclamation mark and a question mark.
-- Use a capital letter for names of people, places and the personal pronoun ‘I’.

You Will Need

Texts
Dear Greenpeace by Simon James

Group Readers
Boris and Sid meet a Shark

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Display the cover of Boris and Sid Meet a Shark. Say Boris and Sid are going to the beach. Children describe their experiences of the beach. Discuss strategies to read unknown words; model using each strategy to read the beginning of the text.
Activity
Children work in mixed-ability pairs, each with a copy of Boris and Sid Meet a Shark. They read through the book, using the strategies from the Input to read unknown words. Children discuss the story together.

Day 2 Teaching
Read Boris and Sid Meet a Shark. Identify what the characters enjoy doing at the beach. Say that Boris and Sid will write a postcard to share their experiences. Model writing a postcard to share three interesting activities Boris and Sid did at the beach.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs, each with a postcard template. They discuss which ideas they will include in the postcard and orally prepare each sentence. Children record their ideas as correctly punctuated sentences.

Day 3 Teaching
Read and enjoy Boris and Sid Meet a Shark. Display the final page of the story. Consider how Boris and Sid felt when they saw a shark. Say that feelings influence how characters behave. Predict what will happen next. Help the children to use because to justify ideas.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability groups of three. Together the children speculate on what happens when Boris and Sid meet a shark. They plan and prepare a short scene to predict the next part of the story. Help children to rehearse the scene several times.

Day 4 Teaching
Display the final letter in Dear Greenpeace. Notice the letter is longer and more detailed than a postcard and that it is formatted differently. Say the children will write a letter from Boris and Sid to say what happened when they met the shark. Model how to write this.
Activity
Children work independently. They reflect on the role-play they performed in Day 3 and orally prepare and improve a range of sentences to recount their meeting with a shark in the form of a written letter.

Group Readers

Boris and Sid meet a shark
An account of a short holiday in which these two child-like characters meet a variety of weird and wonderful sea creatures. This very simple and pleasing text can be used alongside many non-fiction texts.

You can purchase printed copies of this Group Reader from Hamilton Education.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Sentence building: extending ideas using because
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Listen and respond appropriately to peers.
-- Articulate and justify answers and opinions.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Participate in discussions about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say.
-- Explain clearly their understanding of what is read to them.
-- Link what they read to their own experiences.
-- Draw on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher.

Transcription
None for this unit

 

Composition
-- Say out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing.
-- Re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense.
-- Read aloud their writing clearly enough to be heard by their peers and the teacher.

Grammar
-- Leave spaces between words.
-- Punctuate sentences using a capital letter and full stop.
-- Understand how words can combine to make sentences.

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Dear Greenpeace. Discuss Greenpeace and display a picture of the Rainbow Warrior. Discuss captions for the Rainbow Warrior; help the children extend their ideas using because. Model writing correctly punctuated sentences.
Activity
Children work independently, each with a range of pictures and captions. They read each caption and match it to the correct picture.

Day 2 Teaching
Remind children that Greenpeace are a global organisation that help look after the planet. Consider different ways the children could care for the environment; help them extend each suggestion using because to provide a reason for their opinion.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs to consider how they can support wildlife and protect the local environment. With each suggestion, they use because to provide a reason for their idea. Children write a list of their ideas, using correct punctuation.

Day 3 Teaching
Discuss ways children can help protect the environment. Say that providing a reason for an opinion helps people understand why they should do something. Model writing a letter from Greenpeace, suggesting strategies Emily can use to help protect the environment.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs, each with a letter-writing frame. They discuss the opening, content and ending of their letter; ensuring they prepare and rehearse each sentence before writing it. Children present their ideas as a correctly formatted letter.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Write letters in the style of Dear Greenpeace
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and build vocabulary and knowledge.
-- Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Draw on what they already know.
-- Participate in discussion about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say.
-- Link what they hear read to their own experiences.
-- Draw on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher.

 

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Say out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing. Sequence sentences to form short narratives.
-- Sequence sentences to form short narratives.

Grammar
-- Punctuate sentences using a capital letter, full stop and a question mark.
-- Leave spaces between words.

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Share Dear Greenpeace. Say the children will plan a similar story, told by letters. Select a different animal that comes to visit. Draw it on the whiteboard and write words, phrases or sentences to annotate the picture.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs. They discuss different animals to include in their story. They select one animal, draw it and annotate the picture with information about it.

Day 2 Teaching
Tell the children you have seen a gorilla. Discuss and write questions about gorillas, modelling punctuation. Today, children will write a letter to the WWF, asking for information about the animal in their story. Demonstrate how to do this.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs. They discuss a range of questions they would like to ask the WWF about the animal they have chosen for their story. Children write a correctly formatted letter requesting information.

Day 3 Teaching
Read the letter written in the Input of Day 2. Tell the children they will pretend to be the WWF and reply to the letter, explaining why it is impossible for a gorilla to be living in the garden. Orally prepare then write a response.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs. Each child reads aloud the letter they wrote in Day 2 and orally prepares an appropriate response. They then write a letter in the role.

Day 4 Teaching
Tell the children the gorilla has vanished. Say the children will write a final letter to the WWF, explaining what has happened to the animal. Remind children how to use exclamation marks. Orally prepare and write a correctly formatted letter.
Activity
Children work independently. They orally prepare a final letter, explaining they have seen their animal for the last time. Children then write correctly punctuated sentences to explain what has happened to their animal, how they feel and what they did next.