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Year 4 Narrative Unit 4 – Stories that raise issues/dilemmas

Stories that raise issues/dilemmas (4 weeks)


  • Begin to read a short story that raises an issue or dilemma. Summarise the key points in each paragraph to produce an outline of the story structure.
  • Stop to predict the outcome of an issue or dilemma. Explore possible courses of action using improvisation. Children write own endings based on drama and discussion. Compare these endings with the original story ending and evaluate it.
  • Begin reading a longer story as a serial and continue through the unit. Use a journal to record the issues/dilemmas faced by the main character(s) and predict what they will do.
  • Watch an extract from TV or video which shows a character facing a dilemma; talk about how the mood and atmosphere are achieved with music, images and words.
  • Read another story (or link with the serial story) and focus on a problem faced by the main character. Identify and discuss evidence in the text that suggests the character's point of view and their possible actions. Discuss different characters and alternative views on the problem. In drama, children create scenes from the story and then explore characters' thoughts and motives using freeze-frame.
  • Children write in role as a character from the story, advising the main character about what they should do.
  • Present the children with a setting and characters and an issue or dilemma. They discuss the problem and possible solutions. This is used to plan a longer story arranged into chapters. Demonstrate how to write the opening part of the story to set the scene and consider ways to draw the reader in. Children write their own stories independently using the plans.

1998 Framework objectives covered:

Year 4, Term 3: T1 identify…issues…how characters deal with them…evidence in the text; T8 write critically about an issue…; T11 write a story about a dilemma; T12 write an alternative ending for a known story; T13 write own longer stories in chapters; T20 summarise a sentence/paragraph…; T24 summarise key ideas from paragraph or chapter.


  • cook 7.23 am, 7th April 2009

    I have the overview now. What about the phased units and the teaching sequence ?
    Where is it?

    • Loopyjump 11.12 am, 13th April 2009

      I agree with everyone - Why do they have to keep changing things. I;ve been teaching for barely 2 years, and seen so many changes already! Here's an idea, why don't the government invest money in reducing class sizes to around 20 kids, and then let us get on with teaching them! Maybe then scores, levels grades etc would go up because teachers can do what they actually want to do - TEACH!

    • lizcoombs 1.18 pm, 16th April 2009

      I'm not sure if there has ev e been much detail on the 'renewed' Framework for this unit, but there was certainly a very detailed and very useful sequence as part of the ols Standards site resources- a bridging unit for year 4/5 focussing on a George Layton story. it was so easy to search by year group and term for a wealth of resources- Literacy, maths unit plans etc... If anyone has managed to find any of these I'd be interested to hear.

  • cook 7.42 am, 7th April 2009

    All of this information not available on the Year 4 Narrative Unit 4 . It should be at the top of the page.............. tut, tut... all this money spent spoiling something which need not have been changed.
    2 Objectives
    3 Prior learning
    4 Teaching sequence phase 1
    5 Teaching sequence phase 2
    6 Teaching sequence phase 3
    PS if you have a Year 4 team can you ask them why we have no decent resources to support the units of work - short films which do not involve a shirt , for example.

    • Mr Mr 9.51 am, 7th April 2009

      It needed to be changed because there's a team of full time 'strategists' who after the last shake up of the framework had nothing to do. So they decided to change it again. It's a continous cycle. Basically people are employed to change things and if they're not doing that then they put their jobs at risk.

  • MRS MRS.. 11.30 am, 7th April 2009

    I didn’t like the original Primary Framework sight. It was difficult to negotiate around and sometimes near impossible to find resources if not book marked!
    We (the teachers) had just got used to using it and know our way around it and you go and shut it down for the new improved site!
    This site is better; I can find what I want in quite a few areas! But why did you shut down the old site when you clearly had not completed this site? It defies common sense! I think a period of overlap would have been more advantageous.
    Now we have to re-invent the wheel again. Please stop moving the goal posts, our jobs are hard enough as it is. Our time is precious and we haven’t got spare time to find new materials and guidance. We haven’t got time!!!
    Yours very frustrated
    Mrs Mrs..

  • patch 10.41 am, 8th April 2009

    why do they keep changing things? teachers have enough to do without making changes and giving us incomplete links. its too frustrating for words :(

  • PeterKelly 12.06 pm, 14th April 2009

    The second comment is so right. The site needs to be broken up into sections
    1 for teachers planning, laid out as Cook suggests
    2 general readers
    3 background material for trainee teachers, specailist groups etc
    At the moment the site seems to lack a focus about who will be using it for what aim, which makes it very cluttered for everyone.

  • cook 12.09 pm, 15th April 2009

    I have just received a reply re resources for Year 4 . I had a moan that there was very little in the way of resources and I have been spending time and money to resource Unit 4 , fiction Stories which raise issues. The excuse , sorry I mean reason , given is that giving the planning over completely to the teacher helps our professional development. As a teacher who has planned for Year 3 ,4 and is probably moving to Year 6 I am throughly fed up with professional development ( which gets you nowhere anyway). From an embittered teacher who has spent most of Easter planning.

  • MrA 12.36 pm, 15th April 2009


    I've just sent an email about this myself. I hadn't read the comments above before I sent it, but if I get a reply talking about 'professional development' I will be sending one straight back!


  • sar660 5.44 pm, 16th April 2009


    I am new to this unit. Has anyone got any recommendations for texts for this unit. I cannot find any useful tips on websit!

  • The National Strategies 2.41 pm, 20th April 2009

    Please refer to the ‘Why aren’t all the Primary Framework units exemplified?’ answer found in the Help section. The link is below:


  • kerryw 7.59 pm, 22nd April 2009

    I do find it extremely helpful that all the goal posts keep moving. It keeps me busy - why would I want to spend my evenings doing anything other than planning anyway!? (In case anyone is interested the texts Sam's Duck and Journey to Jo-burg can be useful in this unit.)

  • alkaff 12.40 am, 4th June 2009

    Wouldn't it help - and save HUGE amounts of trawling through the net, or even the school resource library - to give an initial list of suggested texts..it would at least give us a starting point?

  • jc0406 9.55 pm, 9th June 2009

    Does anyone else wonder how 7 bullet points becomes 4 weeks work?! What an amazing advance in school resources!

  • willow14 2.02 pm, 11th June 2009

    The teaching profession is one that is continually evolving which I think is positive for education.
    Teachers do not seem to like being given prescriptive planning so this is an opportunity for you to make the most of this and plan the activities you want to do with your children!

  • MrBee 10.48 pm, 22nd June 2009

    Finally willow14 the voice of reason. How disheartening that teachers are always fighting prescription but complain when they are given freedom. Teachers argue for their professionalism to be restored but find it too challenging to make simple informed choices about the text they will use or the right activities to use. There are plenty of sites that suggest resources/texts etc. Would you really want to be told exactly what to teach all of the time or would you rather use the available framework resources as a guide to tailor the curriculum to the pupils in your class? Is there really a one size fits all option? Is it the framework that you want to teach or the children?

  • theresae 2.53 pm, 2nd September 2009

    Here, here willow14 and MrBee. Teachers want freedom, but don't seem to enjoy it when it's given to them. Do your homework- the is what you are paid to do!

  • getoffmysteps 7.46 pm, 4th November 2009

    I doubt the 3 people above are teachers, If they were then they'd realise what other users are complaining about. The other units have a teaching sequence etc. This is not prescriptive planning but it provides the scaffold and learning objectives on exactly WHAT to teach.
    For some reason this has been removed from this unit, this is not giving teachers freedom, it is expecting us to mind read.
    Now please excuse me, having just got home from an SMT meeting at 6pm I now have books to mark, resources to prepare and so yes of course I also want to trawl around on the internet for 2 hours searching for stories in order to teach only 1 of the 12 subjects we have to prepare for each week in Primary. Go creative freedom.

    • suzm 10.08 pm, 23rd November 2009

      Oh yes they are - and they echo many others. It's not mind reading - just understanding attainment, progress and how to model it. If you want Level 4, model it in shared writing! We get bogged down by what texts when in fact the issue is the outcome we want and the key learning that we need to make happen. It's a challenge, but we would be in an office if we didn't want that. New curriculum will provide even more choice but spare us from the topic web 80's approach that had us planning everything on a web!

  • suzm 10.03 pm, 23rd November 2009

    I worry when teachers spend so long planning. It's to help with teaching and needs to adapt day by day to take account that we are teaching little humans and they don't know the script! I love to choose texts I like - what about Finding Nemo as visual literacy text? Supported by some other texts to show how good writers deal with dilemma. Or Bill's New Frock? Many good book shops will be only too delighted to help find texts for teachers - you just have to ask. The strategy can't provide a list of texts because the publishers simply won't let them! As teachers, yes we have to read. The narrative progression is useful - as is text type guidance.
    Also VLEs for LAs and schools to share ideas and texts, without publisher restrictions.

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