This week we are going to use The Pirates Next Door to help in writing a story. This is much harder than you might think. There are so many things to think about at the same time - how the story is going to progress; using description to keep the interest of the reader (explaining what’s in the writer’s head - a tricky concept to appreciate that the reader doesn’t have the knowledge that the writer does); making sure each sentence makes sense; punctuating sentences (including capital letters); spelling; handwriting.... So the week is set up to help with some of that. By describing the boat, the children will be able to use what they write to feed into their story. By planning, they can know how they want their story to progress and have a clear beginning, middle and end. By editing after writing, they have chance to look back and check it makes sense and address spelling errors. It is quite tricky to add in full stops at this point, so when your child is writing their story it is important to support them in thinking of a sentence at a time.
I have included some word mats to help with vocabulary ideas and spellings which may be useful on days 2, 4 and 5.
Day 1: Look at the image of the Jolley-Rogers’ ship. Ask: How could we describe the ship? Write down (either you or your child could write) words and phrases to describe the boat to begin to build a word bank. Play the sounds of a boat on water (you could use this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNSGz1Zt0g0 start after about 30 seconds) – ask your child to close their eyes and imagine being there. Thinking about different senses, once again ask your child to describe what they can hear, what it feels like, etc and record words and phrases for the word bank. Ask: How could we describe the journey on a boat? Finally, ask your child to use the word bank they’ve created to write sentences describing the Jolley Rogers’ boat and what it’s like to travel on it.
Day 2: Look at the last page of the book again, especially the letter from Jim Lad to Tilda. Ask: When do you think he wrote it? How do you think Tilda will feel when she receives the letter? Imagine being Tilda, waiting on the wall and fishing for bottles with notes. Ask: How do you think she feels? How do you think she feels once she has got the letter from Jim Lad? What will she do? Will she want to go? Will her parents let her?
Explain that they will be writing a story on day 4 and that today they will plan it. Ask: What adventures might Tilda and Jim Lad have if she went on the boat with him? What might happen? Talk through any ideas your child has. If ideas are slow in coming, talk about how stories need something to happen, a problem (in The Pirate Next Door it was that they weren’t liked) which is sorted in the end (everyone liked them and missed them when they left). Perhaps Tilda and Jim Lad find something, go somewhere unusual, meet someone or something…
Once they have an idea, ask them to plan it out by drawing a story map (they’ve done these before), making sure they have a beginning (Tilda going on the boat - where they can use their descriptive writing and word bank from yesterday and how she feels from today's discussion), a middle (the problem) and an end (how the problem is resolved).
Day 3: Spelling investigation and spellings (included on the same sheet this week) – recapping and embedding our work on adding vowel suffixes
Day 4: Today they can write their story, but first use their story map to tell you their story. Encourage them to add detail - ask questions like, how did she feel, what did it look like, etc. In class, we often write parts of the story at different times, as writing for an extended period of time is tricky, so you may need to do this too. Ask them to write the beginning then take a break. They may then be able to write the middle. Again break and possibly write the end. Or you may want them to write those the following day.
Day 5: You may want to use this session to complete the story from yesterday. If possible, it’s a good idea to spend some time editing - checking it makes sense, looking at spellings, etc.