Non-fiction

English Year 6 Autumn Recounts

Blogs and Reports

Looking at website texts, revisit features of informal/formal writing including subjunctive mood, active/passive and question tags. Compose 'About Me' profiles and blog posts.

We recommend that you start with the core unit, the heart of this English block of study. This introduces key textual material and sets the tone for any further units you wish to teach. These can be selected on the basis of the needs of your class – look at the green icons to identify the unit’s particular focus: SPAG, Composition or Comprehension. Whichever units you choose, we suggest teaching them in order, as there is a built-in progression indicated by the numbering.

‘UNIT PLAN’ gives you a text version of all parts of the unit to use in your school planning documentation. ‘DOWNLOAD ALL FILES’ gives you that unit plan plus all of the associated documents.

Core
Unit 1 Core: Introduction to blogs; features of informal writing
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Identify/discuss themes/conventions in and across a wide range of writing.
-- Make comparisons in and across texts;.
-- Identify how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning.
-- Discuss and evaluate how authors use language, considering the impact on the reader.

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Identify the purpose of their writing, selecting appropriate forms, using other similar writings as models for own.

 


-- Note and develop initial ideas.
-- Draft by selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
-- Evaluate and edit texts by assessing the effectiveness of one’s own writing.
-- Choose the appropriate register for writing.

Grammar
-- Recognise the difference between vocabulary typical of informal speech and the vocabulary appropriate for formal speech and writing.
-- Propose changes to grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning.
-- Revise the use of apostrophes for contraction

You Will Need

Preparation
Before starting this block, it would be good to encourage children to share blogs that they already know and to visit blogs that they are interested in. You could begin a ‘Recommended blogs’ section on your Working Wall.


Essential Resources
Film reviews (see resources)
Example news posts (see resources)

Websites
How to Train Your Dragon film review from www.kidzworld.com More film reviews from www.commonsensemedia.org
Mexican spiders from www.bbc.co.uk Other websites (see resources)
Other websites (see resources)

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Formal and Informal
SPAG PowerPoint: Apostrophes for contractions

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce Blogs. Discuss Informal Writing in Non-Fiction: A Key Features Checklist. Explore audience/context/situation/vocabulary in greater detail using a PowerPoint Model analysis and annotation using How to Train Your Dragon review.
Activity
Put children in pairs, with three reviews and a copy of the checklist. They analyse and annotate the reviews. As a class, discuss what they have found and use the Scenarios and Situations resource to identify contexts for informal writing.

Day 2 Teaching
Revise Key Features Checklist. Use a PowerPoint to review the use of apostrophe of omission in written contractions. Look at the use of contractions in two Newsround articles (Mexican Spiders and Ice Cream for Dogs)
Activity
Individually, children practise using apostrophes for contractions using Apostrophe in Contractions exercises. As a class discuss the likely differences in use in fiction and in non-fiction. Consolidate skills using the ‘What is That?’ resource.

Day 3 Teaching
Revise Key Features Checklist. Examine examples of About Me profiles for Jennifer Gray and Julia Donaldson. Model writing an About Me profile.
Activity
Individually and in discussion with partners, children plan and draft their own ‘About Me’ profiles. As a class, look at a more formally written profile (Anthony Horowitz) and identify how this could be rewritten informally.

Day 4 Teaching
Share examples of draft writing so far and give feedback to one another. Continue modelling the writing of your ‘About Me’ profile, looking in particular about how you enhance your original ideas.
Activity
Children complete their profiles; share them and reflect on their learning.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Formal and Informal PowerPoint
This helps teachers explain the specifics of register, audience, context and vocabulary in relation to the differences between informal and formal writing.

Apostrophes for Contractions PowerPoint
Contractions are frequently used in informal writing. This teaches children the correct use of contractions in this context.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Use of active/passive voice
(suggested as 2 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Listen and respond appropriately to their peers.
-- Ask relevant questions.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
None for this unit

 

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
None for this unit

Grammar
-- Use passive verbs to affect the presentation of information in a sentence.

You Will Need

Essential Resources
Ten Naughty Things Dogs do (see resources)

Websites
Naughty Things Dogs do from www.timeforpaws.co.uk

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Active or passive voice
SPAG PowerPoint: Choosing active or passive

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Revisit Blogs and Informal Writing Features Checklist. Explore Active and Passive voice, revising verbs, clauses, subject/object using Powerpoint. Check children’s understanding by creating examples based on simple actions.
Activity
Children practise identifying and transforming active and passive sentences using Active and Passive Voice sheet. As a class, discuss and identify the reasons for choosing each form.

Day 2 Teaching
Revisit writing in Active or Passive voice using Powerpoint. Analyse an example blog (10 Naughty Things Dogs Do). Model re-writing first paragraph into more formal style with a particular emphasis on passive voice.
Activity

Children continue the re-write. They can prepare for this with a Formal Writing support that isolates some of the sentences and words that they may wish to change.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Active or Passive Voice PowerPoint
Teach the complex subject of identifying the differences between active and passive voices, then using these in their own writing.

Choosing Active or Passive PowerPoint
Revise the grammatical differences between active and passive voices in order to use these effectively in own work.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Features of informal and formal writing
(suggested as 2 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Identify and discuss themes and conventions in and across a wide range of writing.
-- Ask questions to improve understanding.
-- Summarise the main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph, identifying key details that support the main ideas.
-- Distinguish between statements of fact and opinion.
-- Retrieve, record and present information from non-fiction texts.

 


-- Explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read.
-- Provide reasoned justifications for their views.

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
None for this unit

Grammar
-- Recognise vocabulary and structures appropriate to informal and formal writing.

You Will Need

Essential Resources
Example sports blogs (see resources)

Websites
Challenging Stereotypes from www.open.ac.uk
Cardiff Team from studentblogs.cardiffmet.ac.uk
Netball Youth Camp from www.englandnetball.co.uk
Other websites (see resources)

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Formal and Informal Writing

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Revisit Blogs. Use the Informal and Formal Writing Powerpoint to revisit ideas of register, vocabulary and contractions. Introduce question tags. Look together at formal and informal features in example texts.
Activity
Children analyse up to four online texts. They consider the degree of formality, the use of vocabulary and the balance of facts and opinions. They write 2/3 sentences in the style of each text.

Day 2 Teaching
Look at a formal online article. Model answering comprehension questions about this article.
Activity
Children answer comprehensions about another online article.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Informal and Formal Writing PowerPoint
This comprehensive presentation explains the differences between informal and formal styles of writing in relation to register, contractions, question tags, vocabulary and when and how to ‘break the rules’!

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Formal/informal language including use of subjunctive
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Check that the text makes sense to them.
-- Ask questions to improve their understanding.
-- Discuss and evaluate how authors use language.

Transcription
None for this unit

 

Composition
-- Identify the audience for and purpose of the writing; note and develop initial ideas.
-- Selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary.

Grammar
-- The difference between structures typical of informal speech and structures appropriate for formal speech and writing; the use of subjunctive forms.

You Will Need

Essential Resources
Oxfam blog ‘If I were president’ (see resources)

Websites
If I were president from oxfam.org.uk

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint Subjunctive

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce two uses of the subjunctive form using Subjunctive Powerpoint. Establish subjunctive as a form used in very formal language.
Activity
Children practice writing in the subjunctive form. They identify the use of the subjunctive to make strong requests.

Day 2 Teaching
Analyse a formal piece of writing Applicant Information that includes the use of the subjunctive. Model writing an application, using formal features including the subjunctive.
Activity
Children write short formal applications. They discuss the idea of thinking ‘counterfactually’.

Day 2 Teaching
Share read and discuss more informal blogs on the same theme as yesterday.
Activity
Children write short informal blogs. They refine their ideas about the use of the subjunctive and finish the unit with the AA Milne poem, ‘If I were King’.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Subjunctive PowerPoint
This presentation teaches children about the subjunctive form of verbs in the context of formal writing. It provides examples and engages children’s interest in this difficult topic.

SPAG
Unit 5 SPAG: Clauses/conjunctions: writing a more formal blog
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Read and discuss a wide range of texts.

Composition
-- Identify the audience for and purpose of the writing.
-- Note and develop initial ideas.
-- Draft by selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
-- Ensure the consistent and correct use of tense throughout a piece of writing.

 


-- Select appropriate grammar and vocabulary.

Grammar
-- Recognise vocabulary and structures that are appropriate for formal writing.
-- Use commas to clarify meaning and avoid ambiguity in writing (clauses).
-- Use relative clauses
Revise from Y4
-- Extend the range of sentences with more than one clause by using a wider range of conjunctions, including when, if, because, although.
-- Use conjunctions, adverbs and prepositions to express time and cause.

You Will Need

Essential Resources
Antarctic blog (see resources)

Websites
Antarctic blog from bbc.co.uk

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Clauses and conjunctions

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Use Clauses/Conjunctions Powerpoint to introduce multi-clause sentence. Analyse a blog by Lizzie Greenwood for sentence structure in particular.
Activity
Consolidate understanding of multi-clause sentences. Work as a class to change sentences from single to multi-clause.

Day 2 Teaching
Revisit Clauses/Conjunctions Powerpoint. Introduce the Mass Observation context. Model writing a more formal blog post.
Activity
Children plan and draft blog posts. They read aloud as a strategy for checking the tone of their writing.

Day 3 Teaching
Model editing drafts from yesterday, revisiting features of formal writing.
Activity
Complete blog post and evaluate them. Discuss and make decisions about publication.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Clauses and conjunctions PowerPoint
Children are taught to differentiate single and multi-clause sentences and co-ordinating versus subordinating conjunctions. They learn how subordinate clauses can add information about time, place and cause.

Composition
Unit 6 Composition: Writing a non-chronological report
(suggested as 5 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
None for this unit

Composition
-- Identify audience and purpose for writing, selecting appropriate form.
-- Note and develop initial ideas, drawing on reading/research where necessary.
-- Select appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning.
-- Use a wide range of devices to build cohesion.

 


-- Assess the effectiveness of their own writing.
-- Propose changes to vocabulary and grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning.
-- Proof read for spelling and punctuation errors.
-- Perform own compositions, using appropriate intonation, volume and movements so that meaning is clear.

Grammar
-- Recognise vocabulary and structures appropriate for formal writing.
-- Use relative clauses.
-- Use commas as appropriate to clarify meaning.
Revise from Y4
-- Punctuate direct speech correctly.

You Will Need

Essential Resources
Are cats killing birds? (see resources)

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Clauses and Conjunctions
SPAG PowerPoint: Formal and Informal Writing PowerPoint

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Analyse a report: Are Cats Killing Birds? to introduce the features of a non-chronological report. Model the use of a Bubble Planner. Lead children to think of the subject for their reports.
Activity
Use Bubble Planners to plan content of report and ordering of paragraphs.

Day 2 Teaching
Model writing of an introduction to your report using The Writer’s Sandwich and PEDAL acronym.
Activity
Draft introductions and body of reports.

Day 3 Teaching
Look at the use of reported speech in formal reports. Model inventing some speech to be included in your report.
Activity
Draft a paragraph of invented speech for report. Consider how it will be introduced in the report.

Day 4 Teaching
Use The Writer’s Sandwich and PEDAL acronym to show how to write a conclusion to a report. Model the three levels of checks for children to carry out once their draft is complete.
Activity
Complete report writing and check for cohesion, for appropriate features and for spelling.

Day 5 Teaching
Introduce the idea of informal comments on online reports. Analyse some comments, noting their informal features.
Activity
Complete reports then write informal comments about one another’s writing.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Clauses and Conjunctions PowerPoint
Children are taught to differentiate single and multi-clause sentences and co-ordinating versus subordinating conjunctions. They learn how subordinate clauses can add information about time, place and cause.

Formal and Informal Writing PowerPoint
This comprehensive presentation explains the differences between informal and formal styles of writing in relation to register, contractions, question tags, vocabulary and when and how to ‘break the rules'.