Non-fiction

English Year 4 Spring Recounts

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears

Explore recounts through Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears (Emily Gravett), After the Fall (Dan Santat),The Dark (Lemony Snicket). Study adverbials and possessive apostrophes.

The planning and resource documents for each session in this English block are free to all users.

Core
Unit 1 Core: Introduction to recounts and discussion of fears and phobias
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Look at Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears and discuss its physical features. Share the title page and first few pages, exploring the tone and content of the book. Ask children to recall things they were scared of when they were younger and record.
Activity
Children discuss with a partner fears they had when they were younger. They make a list.

Day 2 Teaching
Read Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. Discuss the phobias and pick one. Speculate what may have happened to Little Mouse to initiate this fear. Model writing a simple recount of ‘what happened to Little Mouse that made him fear… ’, using adverbs of time.
Activity
In pairs, children choose one of Little Mouse’s fears and discuss ideas for what happened to start this fear. They write a brief recount to retell what happened, using adverbs of time.

Day 3 Teaching
Recap Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears, noting the Fear of Getting Lost. Look at the map and discuss, noting the words and how they describe feelings associated with being scared. Explain that children are going to recount a childhood fear.
Activity
Children write 3 paragraphs to recount a childhood fear. They then work in ability pairs to help each other improve their recount.

Day 4 Teaching
Today children will assemble their page for your class recount book. Look at the Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears and list some of the collage and other ideas that Emily Gravett has used. Model some ideas and talk about layout.
Activity
Children plan and make their page, based on their recount from Day 3, producing a neat version of Day 3’s writing. Remind them that they are using Gravett’s style for inspiration. They arrange their page, write any extra bits and draw pictures or diagrams before adding their recount.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Apostrophes for possession; recounting events in a story
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett
After the Fall by Dan Santat

Presentations
Grammar PowerPoint: Apostrophes for Possession

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Recap Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears and define the Greek word phobia. Choose fears children revealed in Unit 1 and write these using a possessive apostrophe, e.g. Harry’s fear of spiders. Repeat in the plural: The boys’ fear of spiders. Share Apostrophes PowerPoint (slides 1-12).
Activity
Children use Apostrophes sheet (see resources) to identify, insert and apply apostrophes in own writing.

Day 2 Teaching
Recap apostrophes using PowerPoint (slides 1-12). Introduce and share After the Fall and read to ‘I was terrified’ on page 22. What fear does Humpty have and why? Complete challenge slides on the PowerPoint (slides 13-16).
Activity
Children invent funny fears for friends/teachers (e.g. a fear of babies’ socks). They make a ‘phobia’ name and write about it using possessive apostrophes (e.g. Mr Tomlinson’s fear of babies’ socks makes it very tricky to dress his son in the morning).

Day 3 Teaching
Reread After the Fall, continuing to the end. Children discuss what actually happened in the end (Humpty hatched) and suggest the main difference between Humpty and Little Mouse (Humpty faced his fear and felt better as a result). Recap recount features.
Activity
Children write a third person recount to report how Humpty faced his fears and to inspire Little Mouse to face one of his. They use time adverbs and apostrophes for possession.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Apostrophes for Possession Grammar PowerPoint
Children revise the difference between plural and possessive -s before learning how apostrophes can be used to show possession, both singular and plural.

SPAG
Unit 3 SPAG: Adverbials; adding detail and creating tension
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett
The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Presentations
Grammar PowerPoint: Adverbials

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Revisit Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears and write ‘I worry’ on the whiteboard. Note the verb then use the PowerPoint: Adverbials to introduce adverbials, including fronted adverbials.
Activity
Children read Little Mouse recount sentences. They underline the verb and highlight the adverbials. Children also identify whether they tell more about When? Where? or How?

Day 2 Teaching
Introduce The Dark by Lemony Snicket and link to Little Mouse’s fears. Note that the writer has created atmosphere using adverbials. Recap and extend understanding of adverbials, using PowerPoint: Adverbials including use of prepositions.
Activity
Children try adding adverbials to the beginning and end of sentences from The Dark in order to change the impact. Children discuss a range of possibilities first before recording their ideas.

Day 3 Teaching
Reread the end of The Dark and compare with Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. Note that Laszlo faced his fear in order to defeat it. Discuss advice for Little Mouse, how to face some of his fears. Model building up the advice using adverbials to explain Where? When? How?
Activity
Children choose a fear from Little Mouse’s list. They discuss and build up sentences as with the teaching examples, giving advice and including details as adverbials.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Adverbials Grammar PowerPoint
Children learn how adverbials can modify verbs, giving information about time, place and manner. They understand that prepositions often open adverbials and that fronted adverbials are punctuated with a comma.

Comprehension
Unit 4 Comprehension: Recounts of scary events; differently structured texts
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Day 1 Teaching
Explore the Isle of Fright map in Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. Discuss the author’s ideas and intentions and help children to understand and enjoy the humour. Note that maps and diagrams can give the reader context for a recount.
Activity
Children read the ‘Visitors Map of the Isle of Fright’ and explore the vocabulary, jokes and the humour within it. They write a brief recount of what happens when Little Mouse is scared.

Day 2 Teaching
Explain that today you will explore a real-life recount of a scary event, written as a news report. Read and analyse the first few paragraphs of the news report, then recap on features of a recount.
Activity
Children read the report in ability-pairs and answer questions about the structure, language and content of the text.

Day 3 Teaching
Read the newspaper page in Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. Ask from whose perspective the story is written and how the mice are portrayed within the report. How do children think the report will end?
Activity
Children write a news report style recount based on the Three Blind Mice. The report is for the Mouse Times newspaper, so children will need to write their recount from a different perspective to that of the book.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Write a ‘narrow escape’ recount
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Essential Resources
All provided (see resources)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Explain that children are going to plan an imaginary personal recount by an animal that has had a narrow escape. Discuss ideas and recap features of recounts. Recap adverbials which will be useful when writing a recount.
Activity
Children discuss with a partner which animals they are going to write about. They plan their recount using key words and phrases that include adverbials.

Day 2 Teaching
Shared write a recount introductory paragraph based on one of the plans from Day 1. Discuss and model the use of language and grammar, noting that fronted adverbials are very good for building tension.
Activity
Children write an opening paragraph to draw their audience into their fictional recount. Challenge them to make it scary and exciting. Remind children to use fronted adverbials to build tension.

Day 3 Teaching
Ask volunteers to read their recount introductions. Celebrate correct use of tense and effective use of adjectives and adverbials. Suggest possible adjectives and adverbs/adverbials to be used. Refer to recount features.
Activity
Children finish their recount, thinking carefully about sequencing events and use of language. They check that they have included the main features of a recount and reread their work to check for sense and to ensure it flows.

Day 4 Teaching
Take an example of one of the recounts from Day 3 and look at ways to improve it.
Note effective use of language and highlight where adjectives or adverbials could be more effective.
Activity
Children edit their own work initially, checking for spelling and punctuation as well as improving the content. They swap with a partner who double checks their work. After editing, children then produce neat versions of their writing.