Gwynneth Bailey on how to use fiction across the curriculum
A satisfying tale of looming disaster and problems solved, with a hint of mystery. The illustrations add to the rhythmic, repetitive text (ideal for joining in).
HOW TO USE IT
* Stop reading at the penultimate page. Ask your class to tell the story at home, and guess what is in the triangular box. Write down their ideas next day: finish reading the story before starting related activities.
* In pairs, pupils discuss which character they would choose to be and why. In class groups, get children to tell of their partner's decision. Then discuss what present would be suitable for their own parent's birthday.
* Look for stories in the pictures that are not told in the text (for example, the mice, cats and birds).
* Look at adjectives describing the animals. In pairs, pupils make a list, either changing the describing word, or adding a second one: "Big Happy Pig".
* Make an adjectivenoun card game to teach pupils new words.
* Make a collection of stories about pigs.
* In groups, act and tell the story, perhaps adding the additional characters (birds, mice, cat).
* Make collection of pigs. Use for size, weighing activities.
* Count the eyeslegs of the five main characters. Record.
* Extension: include the 20 mice on page one, also the cat and birds. Record. Use calculators.
* How old was Big Pig? Record estimates then find out on final endpaper.
* Use the animals. Find different ways of making eight legs (two owls plus one crocodile). Can there ever be an odd total?
* Big Pig tore off the web in two-and-a-half seconds. With a partner, make two lists of "Things I couldcould not do in two-and-a-half seconds" (For example, blink eight timestie my shoe lace). Use a clock with a sweep second hand.
Find out about how spiders spin webs (some spin hammocks).
* From card, make a container for a triangle.
* From fabric, make a hammock to hold a small toy. Design and make supports for it.
* Try binding a small box with wool or string.
Make up a simple rhythmtune to represent each character.
Gwynneth Bailey is language co-ordinator at Aldborough county primary school, Norwich