Non-fiction

English Year 6 Autumn Recounts

The Day of Ahmed's Secret

Using the inspirational Town is by the Sea and The Day of Ahmed’s Secret, study verbs (perfect form) and adverbials. Consider the issues raised and write impersonal and personal recounts.

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

Core
Unit 1 Core: Introducing personal and impersonal recounts
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Talk about how we can find out about the lives of children in other countries then read and discuss a factfile about France.
Activity
Read and then, in a small-group, discuss factfiles about five other countries. Use reading to make comparisons between the countries. Evaluate factfiles as a type of writing, discussing the picture that they give us of the lives of others.

Day 2 Teaching
Introduce a third-person recount about a child who lives in France. Model making a spider-diagram to note information that we learn about this child. Explore the features of Recounts.
Activity
Read further third person recounts about children in the countries from Day 1. Make spider-diagrams, then talk in a small group about what has been learnt. Evaluate recounts as a type of writing, discussing what extra we learn about the lives of others.

Day 3 Teaching
Introduce and read The Day of Ahmed’s Secret. Talk together about personal responses to this recount. Model making a spider diagram to show what is learnt about Ahmed’s life.
Activity
Using extracts from the book, collect and record additional information about Ahmed. Use a list of Recount Features to discuss this piece of writing.

Day 4 Teaching
Look at how the writer adds interests to the everyday events described in The Day of Ahmed’s Secret. Introduce the idea of themes and discuss possible themes that run through the book.
Activity
In small groups, discuss some of the literary features of the book, some of its themes and the character of Ahmed himself. Compare this recount with the other two texts about Egypt and make evaluations about each.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPaG: Revising verb forms and tenses
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin

Presentations
SPaG PowerPoint: Verbs

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read the first page of The Day of Ahmed’s Secret and identify how it talks about events in the present and in the future. Use the presentation to revise present and simple past tense.
Activity
Re-write extracts from The Day of Ahmed’s Secret into the past tense and the third person. Note down irregularly spelt words and discuss these together. Look at how we use modal verbs to express future events.

Day 2 Teaching
Look at and discuss an image from The Day of Ahmed’s Secret. Read the extract related to this image and notice the tense that has been used. Use the presentation to revise progressive and perfect form of verbs and then model writing in these forms.
Activity
Write sentences about images from the book, using perfect and progressive forms. Look at the use of the progressive form in the book and discuss the effect that it has.

Day 3 Teaching
Read the description of Cairo from The Day of Ahmed’s Secret and notice the powerful verbs that are used. Model using a thesaurus to find synonyms and discuss these. Model writing a new sentence using these verbs, choosing the tense/form that is used.
Activity
Write sentences about everyday life using verbs from The Day of Ahmed’s Secret. Choose and control the tense that these sentences use.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Verbs Presentation
Children revise verbs, then consider present, past and future tenses. They move on to identify and rehearse present and past perfect form, and then the progressive forms of past and present tense.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Reading and comparing recounts
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin
Hurricane by David Wiesner

Websites
A reading of The Town is by the Sea from www.YouTube.com
Information about miners from www.YouTube.com
An interview with Sydney Smith from https://vimeo.com
Sydney Smith’s website from www.sydneydraws.ca
David Wiesner’s website from www.davidwiesner.com
Ted Lewin’s website from www.tedlewin.com

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Look at an illustration from Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and speculate about the family. Read the start of the book. Discuss mining, watching a video of miners at work and reading the author’s note.
Activity
Working in a small group, read four extracts from the book, looking at a particular question about language patterns; relationships or descriptions. Read up to the suspenseful illustration at the mid-point of the book. Make predictions about what will happen next.

Day 2 Teaching
Look closely at the wordless illustration that resolves the suspense from Day 1. Imagine the thoughts and feelings of the boy at this stage of the book and model how to start writing these in a first-person recount.
Activity
Write first-person recounts from the point of view of the boy. Share these with a writing partner. Enjoy reading to the end of the book and discuss it together. Read the author explaining her intentions for the book and discuss views on how successful she has been.

Day 3 Teaching
Look at Recount Features and consider which of these are present in Town is by the Sea. Talk about the use of these features in The Day of Ahmed’s Secret. Discuss other ways in which the two books are similar.
Activity
Complete or make a comparison chart, comparing Town is by The Sea and The Day of Ahmed’s Secret according to various features. Introduce and read Hurricane by David Wiesner as another example of a recount.

Day 4 Teaching
Re-read Hurricane and add to a comparison chart from Day 3. Model the use of sentence frames to make comparisons between two books.
Activity
In pairs, choose two books and decide the most important similar features. Practise presenting these in formal spoken sentences and make that presentation in a small group. Discuss, as a class, personal preferences towards these three books.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPaG: Revising adverbs and adverbials
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin

Presentations
SPaG PowerPoint: Adverbials

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Use the first page of The Day of Ahmed’s Secret to introduce adverbials. Use the presentation to revise adverbs, learning how they modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs and whole clauses and how they can be seen to answer questions.
Activity
Read sentence about Ahmed and highlight the adverbs in each. Make notes about which part of the sentence is being modified and which question is being answered. Look closely at examples to distinguish between adverbs and adjectives.

Day 2 Teaching
Use the first page of The Day of Ahmed’s Secret to focus on adverbials. Use the presentation to revise adverbials, their construction and how they are punctuated. Model sentence writing about an image from the book, using adverbials.
Activity
Write sentences about images from the book, using adverbials. Share writing with partners.

Day 3 Teaching
Read the end of The Day of Ahmed’s Secret. Think about how Ahmed’s family may have reacted to the news. Use the presentation to show adverbials can build anticipation and model writing sentences about Ahmed’s family.
Activity
Write a recount from Ahmed’s point of view about how his family reacted to his news, using adverbials. Share writing with a partner to analyse the use of adverbials.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Adverbials Presentations
Children revise adverbs, then identify and construct adverbials, phrases and clauses, and consider their position in the sentence, the questions they answer and the effect they produce.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Writing a personal recount
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin

Optional texts
Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith
Hurricane by David Wiesner

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Days by Phillip Larkin and discuss his question: Where can we live but days? Re-read The Day of Ahmed’s Secret or Town is by the Sea and discuss their events. Model using a Planning Sheet to plan and then draft a quick first version of a recount of an ordinary day.
Activity
Complete a Planning Sheet and discuss it with a partner. Write first drafts of these recounts. Discuss some of the ways that interest can be added to ‘ordinary day’ recounts.

Day 2 Teaching
Using examples from the two books, notice how the writers have described sounds and sights. Talk about the relationships that are included and discuss some of the memorable phrases that they have used. Mark where these could be included in own first drafts.
Activity
Write descriptions of sounds and sights; a relationship and some memorable phrases. Add these to own first draft.

Day 3 Teaching
Look at how tense is used in The Day of Ahmed’s Secret and the effect of its occasional use of progressive and perfect form. Read through own drafts, looking for any use of these tenses and finding places where they could be effective.
Activity
Complete first drafts, making final improvements and acting on feedback given. Make a list of possible titles for this writing.

Day 4 Teaching
Use a child’s writing to model proof-reading. Look at the illustrations from the three books and talk about how illustrations could accompany children’s writing. Finalise titles and set expectations for presentation.
Activity
Proofread writing and create a final version, adding illustrations. Share this writing with your chosen audience.