Non-fiction

English Year 5 Autumn Instructions and Explanations

Changing Technology

Explore instructions and explanations with hover boards, doggie umbrellas & new-fangled escalators. Study the grammar of cohesion and create guides for futuristic travel.

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

Core
Unit 1 Core: Features of instructions, including imperatives & adverbs
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Essential Resources
Several packs of playing cards

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Adverbs for cohesion

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Discuss card games and how we use instructions to help us learn new ones. Read ‘How to Play Sevens’ (see resources) and discuss. Record instruction features on f/c (see resources for list ideas).
Activity
Distribute ‘Card Games’ sheets (see resources) to children in groups of 3-4. Children try one or two games, evaluating how easy the instructions are to follow and which features make them clearer. Children annotate sheets to note features and improvement ideas.

Day 2 Teaching
Display and read instructions, PowerPoint slide 1. Discuss text features for clarity: steps, numbers, bullets, arrows and time adverbs. Use PowerPoint (slides 2-6) to recap adverbs for time and extend to other adverbs for cohesion. Display ‘Instructions for Boarding a Bus’ (see resources), and ask children to improve these instructions, adding adverbs, imperative verbs, numbers or bullet points.
Activity
Children use activity sheets (see resources) to prompt writing clear, cohesive instructions.
HARD: ‘How to Use the Telephone’;
MEDIUM: ‘How to use an Escalator’;
EASY: ‘How to use an Escalator Safely’.

Day 3 Teaching
Recap features of instructions, checking children are secure in terms: imperative verb, person and concepts of audience and purpose. Add adverbs for time and listing to features list. Agree that we can use a features list to evaluate instructions.
Activity
Children read and compare instruction texts, thinking about structure & language, supported by prompt sheets (see resources).
HARD: ‘A guide to using twitter’; ‘Getting Started with your iPhone’ & ‘Thinking about Instruction Texts 1’.
MEDIUM: ‘LeapPad Instructions’; ‘Aeroplane Instructions’ & ‘Thinking about Instruction Texts 2’.
EASY: ‘Art Attack Instructions’; ‘Aeroplane Instructions’ & ‘Thinking about Instruction Texts 3’.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Adverbs for Cohesion PowerPoint
Show children how adverbs link ideas in a paragraph, indicating time, order, manner, cause and contrasts. Also address punctuation issues.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Features of explanations, including adverbs
(suggested as 2 days)

You Will Need

Websites
Research website from www.explainthatstuff.com

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Adverbs to link ideas in a paragraph

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Use PowerPoint: Adverbs for Cohesion (slides 2-4) to explore adverbs for cause and contrast. Display explanation text, ‘How Escalators Work’ (see resources), discussing purpose of this text type - to explain how or why something happens. Notice adverbs for cohesion; there are more for cause and contrast than with instructions.
Activity
Distribute ‘How Alexa works’ (see resources). Children edit or rewrite the pairs of sentences, adding appropriate adverbs. Challenge more able to find different places to add an adverb in the same pair of sentences.

Day 2 Teaching
Display and reread ‘How Escalators Work’ (see resources). Discuss language features. Compare static text with animated diagram, clicking on the link. Discuss and model how to use the text to answer the question ‘How do escalators work?’. Discuss summarising the key facts in note-form.
Activity
Allocate ‘Research Questions’ and display website (see resources). Children research and answer a question by reading an online explanation text, making notes and presenting information to a peer.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Adverbs to Link Ideas in a Paragraph PowerPoint
Show children how adverbs link ideas in a paragraph, indicating time, order, manner, cause and contrasts. Also address punctuation issues.

SPAG
Unit 3 SPAG: Writing explanations using parenthesis: brackets, commas, dashes
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Parenthesis

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read ‘A Guide to Using Twitter’ (see resources), noting use of brackets for parenthesis. Use PowerPoint (slides 2-6) to give more examples and challenge children to decide where brackets could be placed in a text.
Activity
In small groups, children use game sheets (see resources) to play a game, similar to Consequences, taking turns to add to the story, with extra information in brackets (see example sheet in resources). Children unfold the sheet when it has been completed and write out one of the scenarios in their books, correctly punctuated.

Day 2 Teaching
Briefly revise explanation features. New technology often requires instruction and explanation. Display Baby Cage pictures (see resources) and discuss/draft related instructions and explanations. Create or display a side-by-side lists of the features of instructions and explanations picking out similarities and differences.
Activity
In small groups, children use patent designs (see resources) to plan and present a three-minute presentation (pitch), explaining how the inventions work, in the style of Dragons’ Den. MEDIUM/HARD: Include adverbs for opinion in addition to cause and contrast.

Day 3 Teaching
Revisit explanation features, noting that their sequential, cause-and-effect nature distinguishes them from reports. Model presenting an everyday item as a fabulous new gadget. Model writing a short explanation of how it works, emphasising language features and punctuating parenthesis with brackets or commas.
Activity
Using notes from Day 2, children draft formal explanation texts which aim to explain and persuade, selecting a formal tone. Remind children how they can use brackets to add extra information which they want to stand out.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Parenthesis PowerPoint
Define parenthesis and model three common examples: brackets, commas and dashes. Show how and when to use each of these appropriately.

Composition
Unit 4 Composition: Extended writing: explanations and instructions
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Adverbs to link ideas in a paragraph
SPAG PowerPoint: Parenthesis

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Display ‘Transport of the Future’ (see resources) and discuss. Children will write a guide to a futuristic form of transport, which will include both instructions for use and explanations as to how they work. Children discuss ideas, based on pictures or ideas of their own. For those who need support, distribute ‘Transport of the Future! Ideas’ (see resources).
Activity
Children plan a guide for users of their invented transport, choosing an audience and considering their needs. Children plan their guide layout first, with boxes for introduction, explanation, instruction and a summing up sentence.
EASY: Use ‘Planning Support Grid’ (see resources).

Day 2 Teaching
Discuss ‘Cycling Helmets A & B’ (see resources). Children compare texts, discussing which is easiest to read and why (text is identical). Create a list of organisational features which children might choose to make their writing clearer today.
Activity
Children write first drafts of guides. Challenge children to use adverbs for cohesion and brackets for parenthesis.

Day 3 Teaching
Pick one writing aspect the class find tricky (e.g. lack of linking adverbs, misuse of commas etc.) Show how to tackle this, including some good examples of children’s writing. In pairs, children read their guides to themselves and then to partners. Discuss giving positive feedback and display areas of focus on f/c. Remind children how to use dictionaries and thesauruses efficiently.
Activity
Children complete and edit guides based on guidance given in whole-class teaching. Encourage children to use dictionaries for spelling and a thesaurus to improve vocabulary choices.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Adverbs to link Ideas in a paragraph PowerPoint
Show children how adverbs link ideas in a paragraph, indicating time, order, manner, cause and contrasts. Also address punctuation issues.

Parenthesis PowerPoint
Define parenthesis and model three common examples: brackets, commas and dashes. Show how and when to use each of these appropriately.