Teaching notes

30th September 2005 at 01:00
Exploring places

Sit the pupils down in front of a white screen. Project an OHT of a garden, preferably with a beehive and apple tree clearly visible. Ask them to identify what they notice in the picture. In pairs, set up a Guided Tour situation. For this activity, one of the students needs to imagine that they know the place well and, using the picture, are to take their partner on a Guided Tour of the garden, describing and commenting on some of the things that they can see around them. The other student keeps their eyes closed and allows themselves to be guided around, listening to the description and asking appropriate questions if necessary.

After a few minutes ask the pupils to explain what they were shown as they made their way around the garden. Set the pupils off on the Guided Tour again. Tell them that when you shout "freeze", you want them to stop exactly where they are and listen to what is said. As they begin the Guided Tour introduce some music. Stop them and read from the text, 'The room seemed like a black-and-white movie set... the green of his grapevines in his vineyard. He certainly loved colour.'

Writing - placing the text

Refer to the text at the beginning of the extract. Sculpt Grandma, the writer and two other mourners in to the picture at this point. Take a piece of paper and place it in Grandma's hand. Ask what they think would be on the piece of paper. Then, hold a blank piece of paper up in various positions within the scene while you ask the pupils what they think would be on the piece of paper. Depending on where the piece of paper is positioned they will make different suggestions. The pupils are then asked, in pairs, to create a piece of text that could appear in any of the places in the scene. It is important that they create two identical versions of this piece of text. When the pupils have completed the pieces of 'text', set up the sculpted characters again and ask the pupils to place one copy of their text where they think it would be found in the scene. Once all the pieces of text have been placed, the sculpted characters gradually come to life and look at or open the pieces of text, one at a time. As they come across each piece of text, they freeze and the pupil who has produced the text reads it out from the identical copy they have retained. The drama continues but stops at each piece of text while different pupils read them out. Use music to guide the pupils when to begin reading. When all the pieces of text have been read, the sculpted characters freeze and you read, 'that was when I truly said goodbye to Granddad, the house and his almost musty honey and candle wax smell'

About the author

Elena, who was 12 when she wrote this, goes to The Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton, Middlesex. As well as reading and writing fiction she enjoys drama for which she has been awarded Grade 4 with distinction.

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