Telling tales with animals

20th June 2003 at 01:00
I find this literacy-based activity really challenges pupils' imagination: it helps them move from writing from their own perspective to writing from that of another creature. I use it with children in Years 3 or 4.

We begin by looking at a story that features an animal. Children then decide on an animal they want to focus on, which may not be the one in the book. They work in small groups and using a digital camera take pictures of the school and, perhaps the grounds, as their animal might see it. So for example if they are a cat they will be viewing things from very low down; if they are a giraffe it will be from high up. One group chose a lizard that could roll its eyes up into its head, which gave an interesting perspective!

You can give them a storyline, for example "you are an animal on the loose in the school", or they can make up their own story and work on that. The pupils decide themselves what to photograph and the pictures become part of a picture story to which the more able can add text - the less able might just use pictures to talk about the story. Children really enjoy the activity and it makes them think about the lives of other creatures.

Nick Flesher, deputy head, St Stephen's CE primary school, Lambeth

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