Non-fiction

English Year 1 Spring Information Texts

Night-Time Animals

Use non-fiction texts to research fun facts about nocturnal animals. Join clauses using ’and’, rehearse sentence punctuation, prepare presentations and produce books on a chosen creature.

Start with the core unit to introduce key texts. Then select from comprehension, SPAG and composition units.

Core
Unit 1 Core: Read about and research nocturnal animals
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Any non-fiction texts about nocturnal animals

Optional texts
Night Animals by Susan Meredith

Group Reader
The Owl and the Night

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Consider children’s thoughts and feelings associated with the dark. Display and read The Moon. Identify nocturnal animals from the poem. Say nocturnal animals are active at night. Explain children will use non-fiction books to discover which animals are nocturnal and which are not.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability groups of three. Give each group a selection of non-fiction books about animals. They read through the texts and enjoy discovering facts about each animal. Children focus on discovering which animals are/aren’t nocturnal.

Day 2 Teaching
Show the front cover of Night Animals. Explain it is a non-fiction book about nocturnal animals. Select and display pages. Begin to read but struggle on difficult words. Children suggest strategies to read unfamiliar words. Read the information again and model using each strategy.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs. Give each pair a copy of The Owl and the Night. They use the strategies from the Input to read the text. Children identify an interesting fact and use it to compose a sentence orally.

Day 3 Teaching
Remind children non-fiction books share information. Display and read the contents page of Night Animals. Select a heading and read it aloud. Identify which nocturnal animals are cited. Explain children will write a list of different nocturnal animals. Children orally prepare a list. Listen to suggestions and model writing a vertical list.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs. Give each pair a strip of paper. They identify different nocturnal animals and record their ideas as a vertical list. Children browse a selection of non-fiction books to search for additional nocturnal animals, which they add to the list.

Day 4 Teaching
Read a list of nocturnal animals. Discuss each animal and invite children to share facts. Say children will choose a nocturnal animal and research information about it. Select an animal. Locate facts about the animal in a non-fiction book. Read the information. Compose a sentence to identify an interesting fact.
Activity
Children work independently. Give each child a slip of A3 paper. They choose a nocturnal animal to research. Children browse a selection of non-fiction books and read information about the animal. They orally compose and write a factual sentence about the animal.

Group Readers

The Owl and the Night
The Owl and the Night, by Ruth Merttens, is a simple story in which the narrative is carried partly by the striking illustrations. The text is kept simple for beginning readers and the children will want to know whether Owl succeeds.

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

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Identify and write questions and exclamations
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Bats by Megan Cullis

Websites
About Bats from bats.org.uk

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read questions and ask children to match them to correct answers. Show the contents page of Bats. Read the headings. Select one. Children orally compose questions they would like to answer using the book. Model finding the appropriate pages of the book and finding the information to answer questions.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs. Give each pair a set of questions and answers. They read each sentence. Children correctly match each question and answer.

Day 2 Teaching
Discuss what facts children know about bats. Explain children will write questions to discover more information about them. Display and read the question prompts. Children work in pairs to compose and rehearse a question. Listen to their ideas and use correct punctuation to write them.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs. They orally compose and rehearse a range of questions about bats. Children select their favourite question/s and use correct punctuation to write them.

Day 3 Teaching
Read and identify question and exclamation sentences. Highlight the punctuation marks. Show information about bats. Use what or how to compose exclamations orally. Use correct punctuation to write suggestions.
Activity
Children work independently. Give each child a set of question and exclamation sentences. They read each sentence aloud and decide if it is a question or exclamation. They highlight questions one colour and exclamations another.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Read and present information about nocturnal animals
(suggested as 4 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Say children will choose their favourite nocturnal animal and research facts about it. List nocturnal animals. Select one. Open a webpage and model navigating the page to find information. Choose pertinent facts and orally prepare notes to remember the idea/s. Write notes.
Activity
Children work in groups, based on the animal they want to research. Give each group a tablet/computer and a writing frame. They navigate the Internet and read information about their chosen animal. Children identify interesting facts and write notes to remember them.

Day 2 Teaching
Watch a video and then listen to an audio clip about owls. Consider which excerpt children liked best and why. Say that when writing a presentation authors must select words carefully. Display the notes from Day 1. Explain children will read their notes, select a fact and orally convert it into a sentence. Rehearse different ideas. Select one suggestion and use correct punctuation to write it.
Activity
Children work in groups, based upon the animal they have researched. Give each child the notes they wrote on Day 1. Children orally convert the notes into a fun fact about their animal. They use correct punctuation to write the sentence.

Day 3 Teaching
Display the sentence from the Input of Day 2. Read it aloud and check it. Say children will use neat handwriting to copy the sentence. Display a speech bubble template. Demonstrate how to hold a pencil comfortably. Use neat and fluent handwriting to copy the sentence. Emphasise the punctuation marks.
Activity
Children work independently. Give children the sentence they wrote on Day 2 and a speech bubble writing frame. Children use neat handwriting to write the sentence onto the speech bubble. They read the sentence and check it makes sense.

Day 4 Teaching
Display the fun fact written during the Input of Day 3. Read it aloud badly. Read it aloud confidently. Discuss which was the better performance and identify why. Record strategies for an effective performance. Say children will work in groups to prepare a presentation of the sentences they have written.
Activity
Children work in groups, based upon the animal they have researched. Give each child the fun fact they wrote on Day 3. They agree an order to the presentation and a noise to represent their chosen animal. Children use the strategies from the Input to prepare and rehearse a presentation.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Joining clauses with ‘and’
(suggested as 4 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Say children will share interesting facts they know about nocturnal animals. However, they must be concise and only share one fact in each sentence. Read Night Animals and watch a video about nocturnal animals. Identify each animal and orally prepare suitable facts about it. Explain children will match factual sentences to the correct nocturnal animal.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs. Give each pair a set of statements and list of nocturnal animals. They read each sentence and orally discuss which animal it applies to. Children look at each animal picture and read each statement and match them correctly.

Day 2 Teaching
Say children will explore how to join together two facts about badgers. Watch Badgers. Randomly display facts about badgers. Read them. Notice each sentence includes one main idea. Explain that children can use ‘and’ to join two ideas together into one sentence.
Activity
Children work in ability pairs. Give each child a writing frame. They read each sentence and orally explore how to join two of them together, using ‘and’. Children orally prepare and rehearse a range of different sentence. They select their favourite sentence/s and use correct punctuation to write it.

Day 3 Teaching
Display a picture of a badger. Share facts about badgers. Listen to suggestions and write single clause sentences. Say children will compose a sentence that includes two pieces of information. Remind children to use ‘and’ to join together two independent clauses.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs. Give each child a writing frame. They discuss the information they know about badgers. They orally prepare a sentence with two clauses, joined together using ‘and’. Children select their favourite sentence and use correct punctuation to write it.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Research and write a non-fiction book about owls
(suggested as 5 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Watch a video about where owls live. Read a selection of pages from Owls. Explain children will discover information about a specific type of owl. Display the writing frame and read the headings. Children identify facts about the type of owl. Listen to ideas. Record their suggestions as notes.
Activity
Children work in groups. Group children together who want to research the same owl. Give each child an appropriate writing-frame. Children use books or an Internet search to find information about their chosen owl. They read the information and record ideas as notes.

Day 2 Teaching
Explain children will begin writing a non-fiction book about owls. Show the notes from Day 1. Demonstrate how to convert the notes into factual sentences. Select, prepare and rehearse a fact to describe an owl’s appearance. Use correct punctuation to write it.
Activity
Children work independently. Give each child the research from Day 1 and a blank booklet. They use their notes, plus additional facts they know about owls, to orally compose a sentence about an owl’s appearance. Children use correct punctuation to write the sentence.

Day 3 Teaching
Children will add two further facts to the non-fiction book they are writing. Explain they will write facts about where owls live and what food they hunt. Show and read the notes from the Input of Day 1. Select suitable facts and orally prepare sentences. Use correct punctuation to write each sentence.
Activity
Children work independently. Give each child the research from Day 1 and the non-fiction book they began on Day 2. They use their notes to orally compose a factual sentence about where owls live and what food they hunt. Children use correct punctuation to write each sentence.

Day 4 Teaching
Display the non-fiction book from Day 3. Read the book aloud, using suitable intonation. Say children will choose and write one last fun fact about owls. Display and read the notes from Day 1. Select a fun fact and orally prepare a sentence. Use correct punctuation to write the sentence. Read the whole book aloud and edit it, if necessary.
Activity
Children work independently. Give each child the research from Day 1 and their non-fiction book from Day 3. They orally compose a final fun fact about owls, not already included in the book. Children use correct punctuation to write the sentence.

Day 5 Teaching
Read the non-fiction book from Day 4. Notice some words need to be explained. Define a glossary. Explain children will add a glossary to the non-fiction book. Display particular words and their definition. Select words and stick them in the glossary. Add a front and back cover to the non-fiction book.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs. Give each child their non-fiction book from Day 4 and a glossary. They identify which words from the glossary they have used in their book and cut them out. Children add words to their non-fiction book. They design a front/back cover.