Fiction

English Year 2 Spring Stories on a Theme

Stories about the Wild

Explore three stories – Fox, The Tin Forest, Whales’ Song – set in wild places and write your own. Study noun phrases and conjunctions of subordination and coordination.

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

Core
Unit 1 Core Unit: Read and compare Fox, The Tin Forest and The Whales’ Song
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks
The Tin Forest by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson
The Whales’ Song by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce the theme of books about the wild for the unit and read children Fox by Margaret Wild. Ask children questions about the setting, characters and themes of the book. Discuss the impact of the book’s illustrations, page layout and design on the story.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs. They select either Dog, Magpie or Fox, and then paint or draw a picture of their chosen character in the style of Ron Brooks’s illustrations. While they work, they discuss a number of questions about the book with their partner.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children The Tin Forest and discuss the setting, characters and themes of the book. Discuss the book’s plot and begin to sequence the story using Story Cards. Prompt children to retell parts of the story in their own words. Model writing brief captions to accompany Story Cards.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs or trios, children continue to use Story Cards to sequence the events of The Tin Forest. Some write captions to accompany the images. Some less confident children work as part of a larger group with adult support

Day 3 Teaching
Read children The Whales’ Song. Using a large Venn diagram, begin to sort and compare the three books children have read this week according to suggested criteria.
Activity
Children work in mixed-ability trios. They discuss Fox, The Tin Forest and The Whales’ Song and note points of comparison and difference between the three.

Day 4 Teaching
Model writing sentences that explain which book you feel is best and why. Teach children to employ powerful and varied adjectives when describing books. Focus on using well-joined letters and good word spaces when writing sentences.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children decide which of the three books they have read this week is the best. Depending on ability, they offer an increasing number of reasons in support of their choice. Following the lesson, children may share their views about their chosen book with another class or other audience.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Expanded noun phrases
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Noun Phrases

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Reread Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks. Revise the role of nouns in written texts with children using the Hamilton SPaG PowerPoint, Fox’s Noun Phrases. Teach children to identify adjectives and to understand their role in describing nouns. Remind children that adjectives do not always sit just before the noun they describe.
Activity
In ability-related pairs, children read one of two short texts related to the characters in Fox. They identify and highlight nouns, before then spotting and highlighting adjectives. They compare their discoveries with other pairs.

Day 2 Teaching
Review children’s understanding of nouns and adjectives. Using the Hamilton SPaG PowerPoint, Fox’s Noun Phrases, teach children to identify prepositions and to use these to compose prepositional phrases that extend expanded noun phrases.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They write expanded noun phrases about Australian wildlife and extend these with prepositional phrases.

Day 3 Teaching
Review the characters in Fox with children and explore using adjectives and prepositional phrases to compile notes about Fox himself.
Activity
In ability-related groups, children write notes about foxes, dogs or magpies using adjectives and prepositional phrases to modify nouns. They read aloud sections of the notes they have written.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Noun Phrases PowerPoint
Children learn how to use adjectives and also phrases starting with a preposition to add description to nouns.

Composition
Unit 3 Composition: Analyse and write about characters in a story
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks. Analyse the books’ three central characters and discuss their feelings and motivations at different points in the story. Help children to sequence the main events of the narrative.
Activity
Working in mixed-ability trios, children re-enact the story of Fox. Children take the parts of Dog, Magpie or Fox. They then role-play the interactions between the three animals, speaking ‘in character’ to capture the feelings and attitudes of each animal as the story unfolds.

Day 2 Teaching
Introduce children’s task for next two days: to plan and then write a letter from either Magpie or Dog to an Australian animal friend of theirs. Teach children to use abbreviations and short notes to capture good ideas.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children discuss who their letter will be from, which animal it will be written to, and what it will say. They use their own Planners to record ideas and possible vocabulary in note form.

Day 3 Teaching
Read a letter from Kookaburra to Dog and teach children basic elements of standard letter layout and formatting. Model converting notes into full sentences. Demonstrate using best handwriting. Teach children to re-read their work as they write to spot errors and omissions in spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Activity
All children write their letters from Dog or Magpie. Their letters explain what has been happening and how their creature feels about it. Children use their best handwriting when writing and reread their work to iron out errors and problems.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Subordination and Co-ordination: Conjunctions
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
The Tin Forest by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson

SPAG PDF Coordination: Conjunctions (see resources)
Children learn how to use conjunctions to join two independent clauses.

SPAG PDF Subordination: Conjunctions (see resources)
Children learn how to use conjunctions to add a dependent clause to a sentence.

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read The Tin Forest by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson. Introduce children to the role of the coordinating conjunctions and, but & or in linking independent clauses within a sentence. Make children aware that coordinating conjunctions cannot be interchanged indiscriminately.
Activity
In ability-related pairs, children practice joining independent clauses by using coordinating conjunctions. They complete provided clauses with conjunctions and further independent clauses and/or compose two-clause sentences of their own that incorporate coordinating conjunctions.

Day 2 Teaching
Reread The Tin Forest and use sentences about the book to teach children the grammar of dependent clauses and subordinating conjunctions. Rehearse selecting conjunctions to add a dependent clause to an independent clause. Look at how subordinating conjunctions can sit in different places within sentences.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children confirm their understanding of dependent clauses and subordinating conjunctions. They add conjunctions and dependent clauses to independent clauses they are given or compose their own two-clause sentences that use subordinating conjunctions.

Day 3 Teaching
Read children a short text containing examples of both coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. Children work in a team to spot these. Tell children that, when used simply to list items, and is not then a coordinating conjunction. Model composing descriptive sentences about the Old Man’s tin forest that employ both forms of conjunction.
Activity
In ability-related pairs, children write sentences about the tin forest. Some use a wider range of conjunctions than others. All use accurate sentence punctuation in their writing.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Write own version of a story based on one read in class
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
The Whales’ Song by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe

Group Readers
Wild Pets

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children The Whales’ Song by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe. Share strategies for coping with new and unfamiliar words encountered when reading alone. Compare The Whales’ Song to other books read in this Block; sequence the main events of the story.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs or small groups to read either The Whales’ Song, or the Hamilton Group Reader, Wild Pets. They answer comprehension questions on that text.

Day 2 Teaching
Reread Wild Pets and discuss the differences between wild and pet animals. Model brainstorming ideas for a new version of Wild Pets and capturing exciting ideas in note form for use later on.
Activity
In mixed-ability pairs, children share ideas for their stories. They decide on a character and pet for their tales, thinking of useful describing words and phrases for each. They plan what their pets will do during the day and what they will get up to at night.

Day 3 Teaching
Reread Wild Pets. Model converting notes into finished sentences. Remind children how to write expanded noun phrases to describe their characters and pets effectively. Look at the way comparisons can be use in descriptive writing.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs or independently, children write out a first draft of their story from the notes they made yesterday. They incorporate expanded noun phrases in their writing. Some also use comparisons to give descriptions of their ‘wild pets’.

Day 4 Teaching
Teach children to transcribe drafts of their Wild Pet story into polished, final versions. Model forming letters well and using appropriate word spacing. Remind children of how to punctuate sentences correctly using capital letters and full stops and/or other sentence-end punctuation.
Activity
Working independently, but alongside writing partners if desired, all children write their Wild Pet stories out in best. They use their best handwriting and accurate punctuation. They continually reread their stories as they transcribe them, looking for opportunities to improve their vocabulary choices and descriptive writing.

Group Readers

Wild Pets
Ruth Merttens’ lovely story Wild Pets imagines what happens when your unassuming pets indulge their wild side! The colourful pictures and gentle humour will delight younger readers. The structure and patterns of the text make a great starting point for inspiring children’s own writing.

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