Non-fiction

English Year 2 Spring Instructions

Instructions by Neil Gaiman

Using Instructions by Neil Gaiman, explore reading, giving, planning and writing instructions. Learn about different sentence types and revise sentence punctuation.

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

Core
Unit 1 Core: Reading and writing instructions
(suggested as 4 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children the first half of Instructions by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. Teach children the definition of an instruction. Model finding instructions in a short text.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They re-read the first part of Instructions. They highlight the instructions they find and write down some examples on strips of paper for display in class.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children the second half of Instructions. Teach children where the verb is placed in an instruction sentence. Help children to find verbs within instructions and to differentiate between instructions and other forms of sentence.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They read a series of sentences and confirm which of the set are instructions. In each, they highlight the position of the verb. They rewrite the non-instruction sentences in an instructional form.

Day 3 Teaching
Show children a video of Neil Gaiman reading aloud his own story. Recap the features of instructions. Model write a series of humorous instructions to go with an illustration from Instructions.
Activity
Children work in mixed-ability groups. Working together, children find examples of instructions. They compose additional instruction sentences that would fit the image and text of the page they have been given. They record these, swap pages and repeat.

Day 4 Teaching
Reshow children the animated version of Instructions. Prompt the class to discuss instructions they might encounter if visiting the book’s magic cottage. Model composing these instructions, including some in which the imperative verb is not the first word in the sentence.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They discuss instructions they would like visitors to their bedrooms to read and follow. They write these out as a poster for display in their rooms. They ensure their instructions contain bossy verbs and otherwise fit the criteria for instructions that they have been following through the Unit.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: identifying and using different types of sentence – questions, statements, commands and exclamations
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Instructions by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Re-read Instructions by Neil Gaiman. Using lines written about events in the text, teach children to identify question sentences and to form question marks correctly. Establish the grammatical differences between questions and statements.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They read a series of questions with jumbled answers and then link each question to its proper answer. Children then copy out their favourite of the questions and provide their own responses.

Day 2 Teaching
Read a short biography of Neil Gaiman and use the text to confirm children’s understanding of question and statement sentences. Go on to teach children to recognise and write commands, emphasising once again the placing of the imperative verb within a command sentence.
Activity
Children work in mixed-ability trios. They decide on a character from Instructions that they would like to meet. They role-play an encounter with that creature, making sure to include questions, statements and commands in their talk. Trios perform their encounter for the rest of the class.

Day 3 Teaching
Read a short book review of Instructions. Ask children to identify questions, statements and commands in the text. Introduce children to the grammatical features of exclamation sentences and to the exclamation mark. Model write a short passage in response to Instructions that includes all four forms of sentence – questions, statements, commands and exclamations.
Activity
Children work independently or in ability-related pairs. They write about magical eagle’s feathers using questions, statements, commands and exclamations. They use correct sentence punctuation, including question and exclamation marks. They read their work aloud, asking listeners to spot the four types of sentence used.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Composition and comprehension: Reading and writing instructions
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Instructions by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess
Fairy Land Instructions (in resources)

Group Reader
Dream On by Ruth Merttens (provided below)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Re-read Instructions by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. Teach children the reading strategies they need to decode new and tricky words when reading to themselves. Read children the instructions How to Catch a Dragon, emphasising the placement of bossy verbs at or near the beginning of instruction sentences.
Activity
Children work in ability-related reading groups. They shared-read sets of ‘fairy land character’ instructions, employing the reading strategies discussed earlier to do so. They note new and tricky words for discussion with the rest of the class.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children the Hamilton Group Reader, Dream On by Ruth Merttens. Ask children to compare the story with Neil Gaiman’s Instructions. Show children that the sentences in Dream On do not fit the criteria of instructions.
Activity
Children work in the same, reading ability-related groups as yesterday. They re-read their ‘fairy land character’ pages and the story of Dream On, comparing the two and discussing which they prefer. They identify all the instructions they can find in the texts and note the total number of instructions in each.

Day 3 Teaching
Re-read Dream On and then show children a reworked version of the story’s opening in which the text has been converted into a series of instructions. Model rewriting further sections of the story as instructions, emphasising the need to place a bossy verb at the beginning of an instruction sentence.
Activity
Children work in ability related pairs. They re-read simplified versions of Dream On and then convert the events of the story into a series of instructions. Some go further and also mimic elements of Instructions in their retellings the story.

Group Readers

Dream On

Children will develop their imagination with this charming and fantastical tale. Powerful imagery and description are used to help support the children's own writing as children are encouraged to explore the magical contained in the everyday. The beautiful hand-drawn illustrations help to support emerging independent readers as they follow the story.

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

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: sentence punctuation; apostrophes in contractions and for possession
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Instructions by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children the letter sent to the class by the Mayor of Fairy Land. Using the letter and other documents from Fairy Land, review the use of full stops, question marks, exclamation marks and capital letters in demarcating sentences.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They read sentences from which all the punctuation and capital letters have been removed. They discuss which letters should be capitalised and which punctuation marks should be added. Children then rewrite the sentences in their best handwriting.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children the short text, Today in Fairy Land. Use the text to revise sentence demarcation with capital letters and punctuation. Teach children the two uses of the apostrophe – to indicate missing letters in contractions and to show possession. Give children practise in locating contractions and explaining which letters have been missed out.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They locate contractions in ‘Fairy Land’ sentences, saying which words are involved in the contraction and which letters have been missed out. Some children also turn given pairs of words into contractions, correctly placing the apostrophe to indicate the missing letters.

Day 3 Teaching
Using a further short ‘Fairy Land’ text, confirm children’s understanding of the use of apostrophes for contractions. Teach children how the possessive apostrophe is used to indicate ownership. Revisit the basic punctuation and capitalisation needed to demarcate sentences successfully.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They read sentences from which capitals and sentence-end punctuation is missing, adding in the correct punctuation. They convert highlighted phrases into words with possessive apostrophes. Some add apostrophes to contractions.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Write instructions to accompany a fairy-tale map
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Instructions by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess

Group Reader
Dream On by Ruth Merttens (provided below)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Prompt children to comment on and compare the fantasy landscapes they have encountered in Instructions by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess and in Dream On by Ruth Merttens. Show the class a map of a fantasy landscape. Read children a set of instructions on how to design and draw a fantasy landscape map of their own.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs. They re-read instructions for creating their own fantasy landscape maps. Following the instructions, they draw their maps and use talk to describe the features, creatures and characters to be found in their landscapes.

Day 2 Teaching
Show children the map of a fantasy landscape once more and model selecting a set of places on the map that a traveller might visit. With children’s help, brainstorm ideas for the challenges or tasks that the traveller could undertake at each place. Show how ideas and plans can be captured in note form on a simple planning sheet.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They decide which places on their own maps a traveller might visit and what task or challenge they could undertake in each when there. They record their ideas in note form on a planning sheet, ready for writing out as instructions tomorrow.

Day 3 Teaching
Model writing out full, punctuated instruction sentences drawn from the ideas gathered together in yesterday’s lesson. Teach children how to use adverbs and expanded noun phrases to extend and enrich sentences.
Activity
Children continue to work in ability-related pairs. They write a set of instruction sentences out in draft, some using adverbs, expanded noun phrases and other features of ‘story writing’ to make their texts more engaging and more precise.

Day 4 Teaching
Model using high quality handwriting and word spacing to write out draft instruction sentences in ‘best’. Teach children to re-read their own writing at regular intervals in order to spot errors and to take advantage of opportunities to improve their work.
Activity
Children work independently. They write out their draft map instruction sentences in best, using accurate sentence punctuation. They then read other children’s instructions, using small world figures to ’travel’ across the landscapes children have designed.

Group Readers

Dream On

Children will develop their imagination with this charming and fantastical tale. Powerful imagery and description are used to help support the children's own writing as children are encouraged to explore the magical contained in the everyday. The beautiful hand-drawn illustrations help to support emerging independent readers as they follow the story.

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