You can use the teaching and learning outcomes in each phase to support your unit planning and help you plan for the children's learning across the unit.
The teaching sequences model good practice. You will need to tailor and develop this unit to match the needs of your pupils and the curriculum of your school.
- Phase 1: Familiarisation
Around four days
Prior to teaching the unit, whole-class collections of fantasy or science fiction texts are established to support independent reading for pleasure. Texts could include films, comics, picture books, television programmes and written texts. One particular text could be chosen as the whole-class novel for children to experience how a narrative builds over a period of time.
- As a whole class, read, share and discuss different fantasy or science fiction texts. Investigate the themes of the narratives and identify the key elements of the narrative structure using an interactive whiteboard (IWB) to create a framework for a story skeleton plan. The framework can be printed out as a template plan for children later in the unit.
- Compare and contrast settings from the texts. Display the text using the IWB and use the IWB tools to highlight how the author created mood and atmosphere. Note the findings on the IWB setting and atmosphere comparison grid.
- Children read descriptions of other fantasy settings to identify and discuss the atmosphere evoked. Children compare the settings to find common techniques for creating different atmospheres and highlight evidence in the text.
- During the plenary, collate children's findings on the IWB grid to decide which atmospheres are most commonly associated with which settings.
- In shared reading, return to the IWB comparison grid. Explain that, for children's writing to be successful, the atmosphere of the setting influence the characters' reactions. Different characters may react in different ways. Revisit the texts from previous sessions and model how to highlight evidence that illustrates how the author has communicated to the reader the thinking and feelings of different characters, for example, descriptions of their facial expressions, body posture, speech and behaviour.
- Divide children into groups. Each group focuses on one of the texts used in the previous sessions. Ask each child in a group to focus on one particular character, for example, the main character or the main character's best friend. Children locate and highlight evidence in the texts that demonstrates how the author has shown what a character is thinking and feeling in response to a setting.
- During the plenary, explore the range of responses displayed by characters, using the emotional response scale on the IWB. Identify the range of reactions displayed by characters in response to a setting and record the findings on the comparison grid.
Children can express opinions about an author's intended impact on a reader.
- Phase 2: Capturing ideas and planning
Around seven days
A range of photographs is needed to create children's fantasy settings using photo editing software. Children could source the images on the Internet or take their own digital photographs using the local environment.
- Remind children about the need to have settings that create a particular atmosphere. Explain that children are going to use the filters and cutting tool in photo editing software to create their own fantasy settings to support their writing. Model how to add filters to a photograph of a landscape. Experiment with the filters and discuss how, for example, changing the colour saturation can make the image appear warm and welcoming or cold and hostile. Save the different examples of enhanced images in a central folder for children to access later.
- Arrange children into pairs. Ask them to take four of the images they have sourced and alter the images using the software program. Children keep notes of the filters or effects they have used to create particular atmospheres so that the process can be repeated at a later date or shared with peers. Ask children to save the images in a central folder using an appropriate word to describe the atmosphere of the image.
- During the plenary, ask each group to choose one image to share with the rest of the class. From their notes the group describe which filters were used and what atmosphere these are intended to communicate to a reader. Other members of the class can provide feedback on the effectiveness of the filters used. Time will be needed to enable children to make adjustments to their images in response to the feedback.
- In the shared session, project one of the images made in the previous session onto the IWB. Ask children to refer back to the notes made during reading about characters' responses to settings. Discuss how the image could make the characters feel and decide on appropriate facial gestures and body postures to reflect their inner thoughts. Freeze-frame children in front of the images showing various responses to the settings. Take digital photographs of the freeze-frames to record the ideas and for later use to support children's writing.
- Return to the story skeleton plan on the IWB created in phase 1. Insert onto the page the four altered images of fantasy settings made in phase 2 and discuss which of the four settings would be most suitable at different stages in the story. Experiment with the order of the images, alternating threatening environments with calmer places of safety. Explain to children how alternating the setting in this way gives the reader a period of rest and increases the impact of the next dramatic encounter.
- Each group repeats the ordering process with their own images. Encourage children to copy and paste the images into different orders so that the different alternatives can be kept for future reference and to enable discussion and comparison.
- Encourage the children to critically reflect on the different order of their images to assess which sequence of settings would have the most impact on a reader, creating the feeling of tension followed by a breathing space.
- Use modelled and shared teaching approaches to demonstrate how to use the planner and the image sequences as a support for telling an oral version of a fantasy narrative. Small-world role-play figures could be used to provide a stimulus for the main characters. Remind children that each box on the story planner will be equivalent to one paragraph of their final narrative.
- Children follow the example set in the shared session and work in pairs or small groups to re-tell their narratives. Encourage children to use appropriate language to describe the characters' reactions to the settings and to develop the narrative in paragraphs using the boxes as a support to structure their ideas.
- Ask children to add brief notes to their paragraph planner to remind them of ideas gained from the oral storytelling.
- To extend the use of adverbs and conjunctions within paragraphs, use the original text examples and identify key words and phrases used by the authors. Use the IWB to create a word bank. Drag and drop words onto the planner and model how to include the words in a second oral draft of the narrative. Keep the word bank on display to support children in adding appropriate adverbs and conjunctions to their own plans. Children then perform their second oral draft with their peer, making sure that they have included the cohesive words and phrases.
- Encourage children to add notes of the vocabulary used in the session onto their planner.
Children can tell a story orally based on their role-play using the organisational and language features of the text type.
- Phase 3: Writing
Around seven to nine days
- Use modelled, shared and supported composition to write a first draft of the narrative. Refer back to the word bank, plans and oral versions of the narrative to model, drawing on a range of sources to support the writing process. Make explicit reference to organising the ideas from each box on the paragraph planner into written paragraphs. Using supported composition, children suggest different options for connecting the ideas within a paragraph using their oral storytelling and the word bank created in previous sessions.
- Extend the writing process over an appropriate number of days to suit the pace and confidence of the children. Assess the progress of the writing against the success criteria of the text type at appropriate intervals in the writing process. Provide time for children to revise and adapt their drafts based on the assessments against the success criteria.
- Review the use of adverbs and conjunctions to create cohesion within a paragraph. Use supported composition to re-draft the whole-class narrative on the IWB ensuring that the ideas flow naturally for the reader.
- Ask children, working in pairs in the shared session, to review their work and revise the cohesive devices that link the ideas together within and across the paragraphs.
- During the plenary, ask children to identify three successful cohesive devices they have used and one area of the narrative that needs a stronger link between ideas. Share the top three ideas from the children as a class and provide time for children to use the ideas to alter the area they identified as a possible weakness.
- Publish the work in an appropriate format. Children's narratives could be word processed with the images created as part of the planning and inserted as illustrations. Additional illustrations of the main characters could be created and added by scanning in children's drawings or using photo editing software.
Children can write a narrative using paragraphs to organise ideas maintaining cohesion within and between paragraphs.