Non-fiction

English Year 2 Spring Information Texts

Follow the Moon Home

Read ‘Follow the Moon Home’ and a book of Sea Creatures. Pick a sea creature to describe. Read biographies of Jacques Cousteau and write about the diver’s life.

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 Unit: Distinguish non-fiction from fiction and prepare a factual text
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Comprehension
-- Listen to, discuss and express views about a wide range of … stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently.
-- Be introduced to non-fiction books that are structured in different ways.
-- Discuss and clarify the meanings of words, linking new meanings to known Vocabulary.
-- Understand both the books that they can already read accurately and fluently and those that they listen to by: drawing on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher.

Spoken Language
-- Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments.
-- Participate in discussions…

Word Reading
-- Continue to apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words until automatic decoding has become embedded and reading is fluent.

 

Composition
-- Write for different purposes; Write down ideas and/or key words, including new vocabulary.
-- Write about real events.
-- Consider what they are going to write before beginning by planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about, and by encapsulating what they want to say, sentence by sentence.
-- Make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by:
evaluating their writing with the teacher and other pupils.
re-reading to check that their writing makes sense…
-- Proof-reading to check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation [for example, ends of sentences punctuated correctly].
-- Read aloud what they have written with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.

Handwriting
-- Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another.
-- Start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left un-joined.
-- Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters.
-- Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.

You Will Need

Texts
Follow the Moon Home. A tale of one idea, twenty kids and a hundred sea turtles by Philippe Cousteau/Deborah Hopkinson
The Usborne Big Book of Sea Creatures by Minna Lacy

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read and enjoy Follow the Moon Home: A tale of one idea, twenty kids and a hundred sea turtles, by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson. Teach chn to distinguish between fiction and non-fiction texts and to then use their knowledge and understanding to identify Follow the Moon Home as a fiction text.
Activity
Working in mixed-ability groups, children have a large selection of books on the sea and sea creatures. Discussing the books in turn with friends, they decide whether each should be categorised as fiction or non-fiction.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children the remaining part of Follow the Moon Home. Explain their task for the next few days: to research, draft and write out in best an information page about a sea creature of their choice. Model reading simple texts to discover useful information about a sea creature and recording this in note form.
Activity
In ability related pairs, each child selects a sea creature they would like to write about. They research it using a variety of sources of information. They record as notes the facts and figures about their creature that intrigue them.

Day 3 Teaching
Read children pages from The Usborne Big Book of Sea Creatures and identify key text and layout features of non-fiction writing in the book. Model converting your research notes about a loggerhead turtle into full sentences. Give examples to show how draft sentences can be rewritten and amended to improve accuracy, quality and effect.
Activity
Working independently or in small groups, children convert the notes they made yesterday about a chosen sea creature into a draft information page. As their work is non-fiction, they ensure that their sentences are factual and are in the present tense.

Day 4 Teaching
Teach children how to successfully compose ‘best copy’ versions of their draft information pages. Model using correctly formed and joined letters to produce high quality handwritten sentences. Emphasise the importance of appropriate sized spaces between words and accurate sentence punctuation. Stress the importance of continuously re-reading work to check for errors and omissions.
Activity
Working independently, children produce a ‘best copy’ version of their draft sea creature information text. They use their best handwriting, punctuation and word spacing to do so. They look for ways to enhance their text as they write.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Conjunctions: coordinating and subordinating
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Composition
-- Write narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real and fictional).
-- Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence.

 

Grammar
-- Learn how to use: subordination (using when, if, that, or because) and co-ordination (using or, and, or but).

You Will Need

Texts
The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce children to the life and work of Jacques Cousteau and read the first part of The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino. Ask children to discuss the gadgets and gear Cousteau used on his dives. Use the provided PowerPoint to introduce children to co-ordinating conjunctions and then model composing sentences about Cousteau’s diving equipment that contain examples of co-ordinating conjunctions.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They discuss Cousteau’s gadgets further. They use and, but or or to compose two-clause sentences about his gadgets and gear. Some use a wider selection of co-ordinating conjunctions to do so, while others simply select a co-ordinating conjunction to join given independent clauses.

Day 2 Teaching
Finish reading The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau and discuss the different boats, submarines and undersea bases that Cousteau used in his work. Remind children of their work on conjunctions and use the PowerPoint to teach the class about subordinating conjunctions. Emphasise that subordinating conjunctions can come at the beginning of a sentence as well as between two clauses.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children complete exercises that help them to identify and use subordinating conjunctions. They write sentences about Cousteau’s craft incorporating subordinating conjunctions. Some use a wider variety of conjunctions.

Day 3 Teaching
Re-read sections of The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau and listen to children’s thoughts about the various oceans visited by Cousteau and the creatures and plants he saw. Remind children of when and how to use co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions. Model writing a short passage about Cousteau’s voyages of discovery that incorporates conjunctions and descriptive writing.
Activity
Working independently or in small supported groups, children create Jacques Cousteau mini books. They write about Cousteau’s voyages of discovery using co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Coordinating and subordinating conjunctions
Children learn how to join clauses using co-ordinating conjunctions and how to add subordinate clauses using subordinating conjunctions.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension and SPAG: Read for understanding; also identify apostrophes
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Word Reading
-- Continue to apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words until automatic decoding has become embedded and reading is fluent.
-- Read most words quickly and accurately, without overt sounding and blending, when they have been frequently encountered.
-- Read aloud books closely matched to their improving phonic knowledge, sounding out unfamiliar words accurately, automatically and without undue hesitation.
-- Re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence in word reading.

Comprehension
-- Be introduced to non-fiction books that are structured in different ways.
-- Understand both the books that they can already read accurately and fluently and those that they listen to by.
-- Checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting inaccurate reading, and making inferences on the basis of what is being said and done.
-- Answer and ask questions.
-- Explain and discuss their understanding of books, poems and other material, both those that they listen to and those that they read for themselves.

 

Grammar
-- Develop understanding of the concepts set out in English Appendix 2 by: learning how to use both familiar and new punctuation correctly (see English Appendix 2), including… apostrophes for contracted forms and the possessive (singular).

Spelling
-- Learn the possessive apostrophe (singular) [for example, the girl’s book].

Composition
-- Develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing by: writing for different purposes.
-- Consider what they are going to write before beginning by: encapsulating what they want to say, sentence by sentence.
-- Make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by re-reading to check that their writing makes sense.

You Will Need

Texts
Follow the Moon Home. A tale of one idea, twenty kids and a hundred sea turtles by Philippe Cousteau/Deborah Hopkinson
Manfish: a story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne

Group Readers
Whale Words

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Re-read Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson and introduce children to Philippe’s grandfather, Jacques Cousteau. Use both the book and the provided short biography of the diver to reinforce children's reading strategies. Help children to identify ‘biography’ as a specialised form of non-fiction writing.
Activity
Children work in ability-related groups to read a variety of texts related to the oceans and marine life. Children use the reading strategies taught in the whole class teaching to decode their texts, discussing with friends whether they have read a fiction or non-fiction text or a biography.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children the first part of Manfish: a story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne and Éric Puybaret, confirming that the book is a biography. Revisit the reading strategies explored in yesterday’s lesson and then model reading and answering a series of comprehension questions about a short extract from the book.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children read either further extracts either from Manfish or the provided potted biography of Cousteau. They answer a series of referential and inferential comprehension questions about their texts.

Day 3 Teaching
Finish reading Manfish to the class. Introduce children to the two forms of apostrophe – contractive and possessive, identifying examples of each in a short story like those written by Cousteau as a child.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They complete exercises that ask them to create contractions using apostrophes and to use the possessive apostrophe correctly for singular nouns. They search for examples of contractive apostrophes in class books.

Day 4 Teaching
Re-read short sections from both Manfish and Follow the Moon Home and ask children to explain which book they have preferred and why. Returning to the book review of Manfish read yesterday and then reading children a further review of Follow the Moon Home, teach children to compose a short book review of their favourite of the two titles.
Activity
In ability-related pairs, children compose brief books reviews for either Manfish or Follow the Moon Home. Their reviews state whether their chosen book is fiction, non-fiction and/or biography. Children summarise book contents and suggest others who might enjoy the title.

Group Readers

Whale Words
This text, with its stunning illustrations, is the perfect accompaniment to a teaching session on information texts. Guaranteed to capture a child’s imagination, it is nevertheless simple enough to be read by those just starting their reading journey.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Progressive form: present and past tense
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Composition
-- Planning or saying out loud what they are going to write, writing down ideas and or key words.
-- Re-reading to check that verbs indicating time are used correctly/consistently, incl using verbs in the continuous form.
-- Write narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real and fictional).
-- Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence.

 

Grammar
-- Learn how to use: the present and past tenses correctly and consistently including the progressive form; the grammar for year 2 in English Appendix 2 (Text: Correct choice and consistent use of present tense and past tense throughout writing.
-- Use of the progressive form of verbs in the present and past tense to mark actions in progress [for example, she is drumming, he was shouting].
-- Use and understand the grammatical terminology in English Appendix 2 in discussing their writing (verb, tense – present, past).

You Will Need

Texts
Dougal’s Deep Sea Diary by Simon Bartram
Whale Words Hamilton Group Reader

Optional Texts
The Usborne Big Book of Sea Creatures, by Minna Lacy. Illustrated by Fabiana Fiorin
OR could use another information book about sea creatures

Presentation
SPAG: Present and Past Tenses, including Progressive Form

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children the first part of Dougal’s Deep-Sea Diary by Simon Bartram. Establish with children that it is a fiction text by comparing it with the non-fiction information text, The Usborne Big Book of Sea Creatures. Drawing on both books and on the Hamilton PowerPoint: SPaG: Tenses – Present, Past and Continuous, teach children to distinguish between the simple present and simple past tenses of verbs.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. Most identify verbs as simple present or simple past tense and convert examples of each into the other tense. They write examples of their own for both tenses and note the recurrence of the -ed suffix in many simple past tense verbs. Some also note the relationship between text type and tense.

Day 2 Teaching
Continue to read children Dougal’s Deep-Sea Diary. Using extracts from the book and returning once more to the Hamilton PowerPoint: SPaG: Tenses – Present, Past and Continuous, teach children to recognise and use the progressive form of both present and past tenses.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children turn sentences written in the simple present tense into their progressive present and progressive past tense forms. Some are supported to do this as a group working with adult input while others go further and explore the use of the present and past progressive in fiction and non-fiction texts in the school library.

Day 3 Teaching
Re-read children parts of Dougal’s Deep-Sea Diary and look at the whales depicted in the story. Compare the writing about whales in Deep-Sea Diary to that in both The Usborne Big Book of Sea Creatures and the Hamilton Group Reader, Whale Words. Shared read the latter and use it to model writing sentences in the simple past and progressive past tense about whales.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children select a whale of their own to write about. They do so using sentences written in the simple past and progressive past tenses. Some do this as apart of a group with adult support.

Day 4 Teaching
Re-read further parts of Dougal’s Deep-Sea Diary and get children to look carefully at the textual and linguistic features of diary writing as seen in the book. Confirm children can write sentences using the simple past and progressive past forms. Model composing sentences for a diary entry based on the adventures in Dougal’s Deep-Sea Diary.
Activity
Children work independently. They write entries for the diary of a deep-sea diver, ensuring that they use both the simple past and progressive past forms of verbs in their writing. Some children will write more than others, while a few will write as apart of a group with adult support.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

SPAG: Present and Past Tenses, including Progressive Form
Revise present and past tenses, then understand how we can also use the continuous form: progressive present and progressive past.

Group Readers

Whale Words
This text, with its stunning illustrations, is the perfect accompaniment to a teaching session on information texts. Guaranteed to capture a child’s imagination, it is nevertheless simple enough to be read by those just starting their reading journey.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Write a biography based on what has been read
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Listen and respond appropriately to adults and peers; Ask relevant questions to extend understanding and knowledge.
-- Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments.
-- Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.

Comprehension
--
Be introduced to non-fiction books that are structured in different ways.
-- Participate in discussion about books, poems and other works that are read to them and those that they can read for themselves, taking turns and listening to what others say.

Composition
--
Plan or say out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Write down ideas and/or key words, including new vocabulary.
-- Write narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real and fictional).
-- Write about real events; Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence.

 

-- Re-read to check that their writing makes sense and that verbs to indicate time are used correctly and consistently, including verbs in the continuous form.
-- Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence.
-- Re-read to check that their writing makes sense and that verbs to indicate time are used correctly and consistently, including verbs in the continuous form.
-- Proof-read to check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation [for example, ends of sentences punctuated correctly].

Grammar
-- Use the present and past tenses correctly and consistently, including the progressive form.
-- Use subordination (using when, if, that or because) and co-ordination (using or, and or but).

Handwriting
-- Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another.
-- Start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left un-joined.
-- Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters.
-- Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.

You Will Need

Texts
The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, by Dan Yaccarino
Manfish: a story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne. Illustrated by Éric Puybaret

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Re-introduce children to the life and work of Jacques Cousteau. Confirm children's understanding of ‘biography’ as a type of non-fiction writing and look again at the key features of the form. Explain that children will plan and write a short biography of Cousteau during this Unit.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability groups and learn as much as they can about the life of Jacques Cousteau. They rotate around three reading stations and have different books about the diver read to them. They discuss the texts they hear and begin to think about what information they will include in their Cousteau biographies.

Day 2 Teaching
Re-read extracts from the three Cousteau texts, and model selecting information of interest from the different sources. Show how you record information on a planning sheet. Teach the advantages of noting information in jottings rather than full sentences. Emphasise the importance of considering proper chronological order when writing a biography.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children discuss the parts, firstly of Cousteau’s childhood, and then secondly of his adult life, that they want to include in their biographies. Children record the information they are interested in in note form on their Planners. Some use numbering to record their information in chronological order.

Day 3 Teaching
Teach children to convert notes and jottings into finished sentences in a draft of their biographies. Develop children's understanding of the role of the simple past and the progressive past tenses in biographical writing.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They write a series of full sentences based on the notes and ideas they recorded on their planners yesterday. They ensure that they use the simple past tense correctly when writing. Some will also use the progressive past tense, while others will write fewer sentences and draw on adult support to complete their drafts.

Day 4 Teaching
Model creating an appropriate title for a biography and teach children to convert a draft version of a text into a finished, ‘best copy’ piece of writing. Emphasise the role of best handwriting, word spacing, capitalisation and punctuation in producing finished work. Teach children to employ co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions in their writing.
Activity
Children work independently and give their biographies a suitable title. They write out their draft biographies in ‘best’, incorporating a range of co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions into their draft sentences as they do so.