Fiction

English Year 4 Spring Myths and Legends

Legends of the Sea

Using captivating mythical stories of selkies and mermaids, children use higher level reading skills and write their own sea myths. Set out and punctuate dialogue and use paragraphs.

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

Core
Unit 1 Core: Reading tales about mythical creatures: selkies and mermaids
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Selkie by Gillian McClure
Can You Catch a Mermaid? by Jane Ray

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read the start of Selkie by Gillian McClure, until Peter is following the path of sticks across the sand. Talk about what might happen to him and discuss the characters that have been introduced so far.
Activity
Use an information sheet and the internet to research Selkies and Merfolk. Read the end of the story and use Book Talk Questions to talk about it.

Day 2 Teaching
Re-read Selkie by Gillian McClure and talk together about how the characters develop in the story. Summarise the plot together and model using your summary to re-tell the story. Make a list of tips for story-telling.
Activity
Make own summaries of the story and use them to re-tell it to partners and to the rest of the class. Watch and discuss a video of the author talking about the inspiration for her book.

Day 3 Teaching
Read the start of Can You Catch a Mermaid? by Jane Ray. Talk together about the feelings of Eliza at various points in the story. Work as a class to role-play a public meeting to discuss Freya and the problems that she has brought the village.
Activity
Discuss reasons for and against Eliza returning Freya’s mirror. Write Eliza a letter giving her advice and trying to persuade her. Read to the end of the book to find out what she actually did!

Day 4 Teaching
Make a summary of Can You Catch a Mermaid? by Jane Ray. Use it to begin to make comparisons with Selkie, using formal phrases for spoken comparisons.
Activity
Complete or make a comparison chart, comparing Selkie and Can You Catch a Mermaid? according to various features. Share personal preferences. Which book is your favourite and why?

SPAG
Unit 2 SPaG: Writing dialogue using correct punctuation and layout
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Text
Can You Catch A Mermaid? by Jane Ray

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Discuss the relationship of Eliza and Tom from Can you Catch a Mermaid? Hot-seat the two characters. Speculate about what they might be saying to each other at the end of the story. Use the SPaG Presentation to show how to punctuate direct speech.
Activity
Read sentences with direct speech from Eliza and Tom. Identify and add the correct punctuation. Look at the direct speech given to Tom in the book and see how the author shows his character through it.

Day 2 Teaching
Discuss the character of Freya. Look at the direct speech that she is given in the book and notice its characteristics. Use the SPaG Presentation to teach the use of capital letters and commas when punctuating direct speech.
Activity
Role-play a conversation between Eliza and Freya. Write this conversation, applying what has been learnt about punctuating direct speech. Look at the way that the author shows differences between Eliza and Freya in the way that they talk.

Day 3 Teaching
Discuss the character of Eliza and how she is changed through the story. Talk about her four new friends inventing their names and characteristics. Model writing a dialogue between the five children. Use the SPaG presentation to teach about starting a new line for a new speaker.
Activity
Write a paragraph of dialogue between the five children, using punctuation for direct speech and a new line for each speaker. Discuss the last page of the book together and use the SPaG Presentation to check children’s understanding of dialogue punctuation.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Dialogue Layout and Punctuation Presentation
Children revise the use of speech marks, how to layout dialogue clearly and the type of punctuation used to separate reporting clauses.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Exploring the Seal Children by Jackie Morris
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Text
The Seal Children by Jackie Morris

Texts from Unit 1
Selkie by Gillian McClure
Can You Catch a Mermaid? by Jane Ray

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Look in detail at the start of The Seal Children by Jackie Morris. Watch a video where she explains the setting and see how this matches her illustration. Annotate the descriptive paragraph, showing and explaining memorable phrases. Read the first part of the story.
Activity
Annotate further paragraphs, to show and explain memorable words and phrases. Keep these for future writing. Make predictions about how the story will develop.

Day 2 Teaching
Work in role to imagine the villagers’ response to the stranger and his news. Talk about their dilemma and think of reasons for and against them leaving their village.
Activity
Work in small groups to research and discuss emigration and the inspiration for this story. Make further predictions about what the villagers might do and how the seal-children could help.

Day 3 Teaching
Read to the end of the story, discovering how the seal-children help the villagers realise their dream. Talk about the story together, using book-talk questions.
Activity
Work with a partner and use talking points to discuss the story, thinking about characters, the themes, the language and personal responses. Look at Jackie Morris’s first draft for the ending and compare it with the actual ending of the book.

Day 4 Teaching
Re-read the whole of the story and use the comparison chart from Unit 1, to compare this book with Selkie and Can You Catch a Mermaid? Talk together about personal preferences and organise to make a display about The Seal Children.
Activity
Work on pieces of art and writing to create a class display about The Seal Children. Share your display with others. Listen to Jackie Morris reading the story herself.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPaG: Using paragraphs
(suggested as 2 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Can You Catch A Mermaid? by Jane Ray
Selkie by Gillian McClure

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read sentences from a report about Grey Seals and work together to organise them into sections. Use the SPaG Presentation to teach about using paragraphs in non-fiction.
Activity
Use cut-up sentences from a report about the Northern Isles of Scotland. Group these into sections and compare decisions with others. Read a report together about the Mermaid of Zennor and make jottings to sum up the content of each paragraph.

Day 2 Teaching
Read a version of the story from Selkie by Gillian McClure. Teach children the proof-reading mark for paragraphs and use this to split the story unto paragraphs, making jotted notes about the contents of each paragraph. Compare your decisions with another version.
Activity
Work together to divide a version of the story from Can You Catch a Mermaid? into paragraphs. Compare decisions made with other pairs of children. Look at how paragraphs are used in the original books.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Paragraphs Presentation
Children revise paragraph use, looking at non-fiction and adding headings to make the distinctions clear, and then looking at fiction, where the decisions are more personal.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Writing a story based on Can You Catch a Mermaid?
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Text
Can You Catch a Mermaid? by Jane Ray

Texts from Unit 1
Selkie by Gillian McClure
The Seal Children by Jackie Morris

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Re-tell the story of Can You Catch a Mermaid? Use a Story-Planner based on the structure of the book to model how to plan a new story. Discuss and decide the audience for your stories.
Activity
Use the Story-Planner to create plans for a new story. Talk with others about the main characters that have been invented.

Day 2 Teaching
Read three examples of direct speech from Can You Catch a Mermaid? Notice how the direct speech is used to portray characters or to move the action on. Use these examples to recap rules for punctuating direct speech. Model how to create a Paragraph Plan.
Activity
Create three or four pieces of dialogue for characters. Make a written record of this dialogue and share it with a partner. Complete a Paragraph Plan and talk it through with another partner.

Day 3 Teaching
Look together at six examples of memorable words and phrases from ‘an You Catch a Mermaid? and make a list of how they have been made memorable. Look at the opening sentences from the stories we have read. Model how to start a first draft of a new story.
Activity
Begin to draft stories using Paragraph Plans and prepared dialogue. Share writing with a partner, make suggestions for improvement and make those changes straight away.

Day 4 Teaching
Look at an example of a redraft from Jackie Morris, a professional writer. Talk about the changes that she has made to her writing. Work together to redraft an example piece of writing from a child. Talk through the writing stages of proof-reading and publishing.
Activity
Complete first drafts and make re-drafting improvements. Work with a partner to proof-read writing and then make a final version for publication. Share your new stories with your chosen audience.