Joint action

6th July 2007 at 01:00
A while ago I wrote about the difficulties of finding interesting topics for explanatory writing. The next day, I found myself in Charlton Kings Junior School, in Cheltenham, where Stuart Gaston Nash, the literacy teacher, showed me his latest ploy.

His Year 6 children have been consuming the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz. The series is accompanied by a non-fiction book, Alex Rider's Gadgets. The book looks at technical gadgets. These are supplied by the Q figure, Smithers. Each item is shown as a labelled diagram, with the workings cut away, plus an explanation of how the gadget works. First the children looked at an example from the book in detail. They studied the diagrams and the explanation, turning it into a flow chart using one of Sue Palmer's skeletons (see www.literacytrust.org.ukpubs palmer2.html for details).

They then devised their own gadgets for Alex, from exploding toothpaste to razor wire shoelaces. The skeletons helped with planning the paragraphs, and the causal language had to be included to explain how their gadgets worked. Working in pairs, one child could be in role as Smithers, explaining to Alex how their gadget works before moving into writing

Pie Corbett is a literacy consultant

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now