Shore success

16th May 2008 at 01:00
Imagination and practical skills are essential for island adventures. Michelle Dexter sets sail
Imagination and practical skills are essential for island adventures. Michelle Dexter sets sail

Primary Cross-curricular

An island can be a curious and inspiring place for children, so I decided that our Year 2s would do a range of activities based on the Katie Morag picture book series by Mairi Hedderwick.

These follow the adventures of a little girl, Katie Morag, and her family on an island called Struay. The activities - covering literacy, numeracy, geography and PSHE - teach pupils about island life.

We started with literacy. In Katie Morag and the Two Grandmothers, Katie borrows Grandma Mainland's perfume and hairspray and uses them on Grandma Island's sheep, so I had the children writing letters of apology to both old ladies.

Moving on to geography, we created tourist information leaflets about coming to visit Struay, and the children drew maps of the island, creating their own features. We then played I Spy using the interactive whiteboard's spotlight tool and a map of the island. We discussed the island's transport - bikes and tractors - and how it compared with the mainland's buses and cars.

Next, the children looked at the different types of buildings and land on the island: post office, school, farmland. The story map was again key to this activity and by making close observations, the pupils discovered what the land and buildings were used for.

They then moved on to a numeracy lesson on creating and describing journeys, based on Katie Morag Delivers the Mail. In pairs, they were given maps of the island and devised their own directions for their partner to follow.

Michelle Dexter is geography co-ordinator at Manor Leas Infant School in Lincoln

You know the lesson is going well when the children are starting to get into character. This happened when we got on to a PSHE-based lesson where they took on roles, debating how the building of a new pier connecting the island to the mainland would affect them (based on Katie Morag and the New Pier).

With the school caretaker taking the role of the Struay councillor, and with a few initial prompts from me, the children began to empathise with their characters. "I don't want people coming over and trampling on my crops," said Grandma Island. "I don't want even more litter outside my shop," said a character in the post office.

For more information on the books, plus downloadable activities and a map of the island see

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today