YEAR 5 LITERACY
Here is a contents list of the Literacy units you can find on this page...
|Grammar & Punctuation Skills||CLPE Resources||Sci-fi Short Stories||Power of Picture Books||Poetry Time||Descriptive Settings|
|Harry Potter's Wizard World||Malamander!||The Hobbit||Greek Myths & Legends||Hear The Windrush||Black Lives Matter: A Letter to your MP|
Grammar & Punctuation Skills: a great daily warm-up!
Keeping up with your grammar and punctuation happens best through the writing process: beginning first of all with the most important step of reading good quality writing to see examples of great writing and effective grammar; then modelling and emulating good sentences, composing your own examples based on modeled examples; putting it to good use by doing great writing and trying to be varied in the kinds of sentence you compose; and finally reviewing your writing to improve, redraft and edit as you go as part of your writing process; and remembering that there is nothing wrong about talking with someone else, sharing and reading your work together.
Literacy Warmup Videos: Tune in at 9.45am each day for sentence stackers! Absolutely BRILLIANT for creative writing and uplevelling your sentences. Just click on the picture below...
Grammar & punctuation worksheets: Here is a small selection of worksheets on different aspects of grammar and punctuation to get you started. There is a wide range of printable worksheets and downloadable Powerpoint presentations for all areas of Year 5 grammar and punctuation are available here at this link on Twinkl for free.
I Can Write a Science-fiction Story!
Here you can find all of the power-points with support and advice for writing your very own science-fiction story about a mission to another planet! There are also support sheets with vocabulary, language and grammar to develop your writing. Find it all in the folders below!
The Power of Pictures: Publish your own Picture Book!
Last year, Year 5 were very lucky to take part in a national literacy project called Power of Pictures, run by CLPE (the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education). We read picture books and investigated how they work - then we wrote, designed and published our own! While you are at home, why not have a go at writing a picture book (or a comic or graphic novel - many of the strategies are similar) for yourself - or with a younger sibling? You will find all that you need below, including links to a picture book called Is There A Dog in This Book? by Viviane Schwarz, who supported our project personally and has given us her permission to use her resources to inspire our children!
CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) resources!...
The CLPE is one of the premier research organisations for reading and writing at primary level. They have a wealth of free resources for teacher, children and families, with many new ones added to support you during the pandemic isolation. As well as Viviane Schwarz, there are also e-books and online learning materials from many other famous children's authors.
CLPE Meet the Authors!
CLPE Author Videos & Learning Plans
CLPE Corebooks: Online Book Library
CLPE Poetry Videos & Learning Plans
CLPE: What We Knows Works: Writing
CLPE What Reading & Writing Look Like: Reading & Writing Progression
Writing poetry allows you to be creative with language! Use CLPE's Poetryline resources to read fantastic poems, listen to famous poets performing their creations, experiment with poetic features and forms, and write your own poems on all sorts of themes!
Listen to some great poems being read by the poets themselves to enjoy and inspire you: CLPE Poet Performances!
Read some poems, such as at: CLPE Poetryline Poems Library!
Memorise & Recite!
Pick a poem that you loved. See if you can memorise it and recite it to someone at home... or as a video for us!
Choose a theme that you like from the Categories in the menu and read some fantastic poems! Magpie some of your favourite words, phrases and lines and jot them down in a notebook or all over a piece of paper for ideation: CLPE Poetryline Poems Library!
Experiment with Language and Poetic Features!
Poetry is about exploring and playing with language beyond the rules of grammar and punctuation! Explore the many language features of poetry at the link, and try composing examples of your own to spark your creativity: CLPE Poetry Features: Examples of Poetic Forms & Devices!
Write out a favourite poem nicely on something, or illustrate it!
Think & Discuss your favourite poems!
Describe why you loved a particular poem, or what you like about reading and writing poems. Or make a list of your top ten poems!
What will you write a poem about? Use your ideas from earlier in the week and have a go! Remember our skill of composition: jot down ideas, words, phrases as they come to you, and think about structure later.
Some composing techniques:
- Cut-up Poetry: gather lots of great words and phrases you like, and then write them out/cut them out on different pieces of paper. Mix them around and put them together. What do you get? This technique was made famous by the poet William Burroughs.
- Variations: was there a poem that you really liked the sound of? Why not use it as a template, and adapt the words and phrases? This is a popular technique in classical, jazz and hip hop music.
- Thesaurus Hunt: Pick a word, and look it up using a thesaurus. What other words have similar meanings (synonyms) and which ones have the opposite meaning (antonyms)? Make a word bank.
- A Picture Tells a Thousand Words: choose a photograph. Imagine being in the photo. Describe what you sense and feel.
- Nonsense!: Your poem can be nonsense and make no sense at all!
- Shape of Things: Draw a picture of something - such as a big whale - and describe it, writing words around the shape of the drawing!
- Short and Sweet: Poems can be long, or they can be just one line!
Publish your poem and illustrate it! Share it with us!
Hold a poetry Performance! Read some favourite poems and your poem to your family... and get them to join in too! Send us a video if you like! Here are some poets and children performing to give you tips and confidence:
This week, the Oak National Academy have been practising their skills for describing amazing settings in stories. Watch their videos and try some of their warm-up exercises. Then choose a mind-expanding setting to describe! There is a selection of ideas to magpie from and spark your own imagination in the folders below. Follow our strategy of great authors: visualise the setting; do some ideation: write down and sketch ideas, do some world-building, word and phrase banks etc; compose sentences in draft; construct them into cool paragraphs with great first lines and hooks; revise your writing as you go; edit, publish and share it! Find some prompts to help you to imagine some amazing settings (pirate island, underwater world, fantasy kingdom or life on Mars) in the folder below. This unit links with this BBC Bitesize English lesson.
Videos, Tips, Warm-ups & Quizzes!
Watch all the videos and do the quizzes on the first day to warm up: Describing Settings Week with Oak National Academy
Have you thought of an amazing setting to imagine and describe? Try one of the ones below...
Describe a Pirate Island!
Describe a pirate island! Don't forget: visualise; magpie; bank words and phrases; then compose sentences and construct paragraphs; review and edit as you go.
Here is a online version of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, filled with piratical adventure! Also, video clips of the National Theatre production of Treasure Island! or listen to Bernard Cribben's read 'Old Sea Dog's Treasure!'
Describe a Fantasy Kingdom!
Describe a fantastical kingdom and find out more about the Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell! Don't forget: visualise; magpie; bank words and phrases; then compose sentences and construct paragraphs; review and edit as you go.
If you don't have a fantasy book for ideas, listen to Beyond the Deepwoods by Chris Riddell.
Describe a base on Mars!
Describe a futuristic Mars base! Use the Mission to Mars activity cards to decide what you would need to survive and why. Don't forget: visualise; magpie; bank words and phrases; then compose sentences and construct paragraphs; review and edit as you go.
Get more ideas about life on Mars by reading Jazz Harper: Space Explorer.
Describe an Underwater World!
Describe an underwater world! Don't forget: visualise; magpie; bank words and phrases; then compose sentences and construct paragraphs; review and edit as you go.
Try reading these short stories for inspiration:
Harry Potter & The Wizarding World!
This week, we are focusing in on a fantastic book to spark our creative writing: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Visit The Wizarding World page to find out about the stories and characters, and spark your imagination! It's currently also being read by the stars of the Harry Potter films chapter by chapter each week, starting with Daniel Radcliffe! So if you have never read the books, you can listen along!
There is a whole website about the wizarding world of these books, filled with interesting facts and fun activities to get your imagination warmed up. Then, over the course of the week or so, why not try some of these ideas for creative writing:
Conjure up a Wizard!: a new character is about to enter the wizarding world. Who will it be? What are they like? What are their hopes, dreams, secrets and ambitions? Where do they live? How did they learn magic? What kind? How do they do it? Most importantly: which House will they be in? Pick Hufflepuff - you know they're the best! Stuck for an idea for a character? Look at and think about this unusual one: The Jar Wizard by Sean Andrew Murray.
Cook up a Spell!: Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble! Read the Witch's Song from the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare.. and makeup your own magical spell poem with unusual ingredients and astonishing effects! In the Harry Potter books, they often use Latin words to cast their spells - see if you can find some to include in your poem to make it sound wizardly: Spells From Harry Potter books, English-Latin Translate. Why not also do some cooking like the three witches and make a 'magical' brew... of tasty and edible ingredients of course!
Want to know what the play Macbeth is all about, and what those witches are up to? Watch a cartoon summary of Macbeth for kids here! And there's more... a Year 4 class at Fairlight once studied the play and then filmed a rap video about it in 2014. I've just found it, so you can watch it here: Macbeth Rap by Fairlight Year 4 2014! MP4 Version
Summon a Creature!: From manticores and dryads to goblins to dragons, there are a myriad of mythical monsters and magical beings that could inhabit the wizarding world! Invent your own creature and draw and describe them to us! Here is a download of a book that gave me lots of ideas for fantasy creatures when I was young: Fighting Fantasy: Out of the Pit by Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone!
Build a World!: Where does your wizard live, and what strange places do your creatures inhabit? A tall tower, topped by crackling octarine energy brewing around the spire? A deep, dense forest that sways and speaks as if the trees were talking? A renowned wizard's school or a wise woman's cottage? Or does 'the breeze ruffle the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen'? Draw a map of your magical world, or do some descriptive setting writing!
Tell Stories!: Put your characters into your setting. What would they do next? Can you story map an adventure for them? Role-play it with your family? Write a story?
EAL & SEN Harry Potter resources!
MALAMANDER: Welcome to Eerie-on-Sea!
Each year, Year 5 read a book chosen to be Young City Reads Book of the Year. This year's book is Malamander by Thomas Taylor! It is set in a seemingly ordinary seaside town called Eerie-on-Sea. Everything appears familiar on the surface... but appearances can be deceptive, and even bigger mysteries await Violet Parma and Herbie Lemon, lurking under the sea! It's a brilliant book that mixes humour, detective mystery and gothic spookiness! This week's activities are all about this weird and wonderful book series and about storytelling in a world that is like the one we know... but stranger!
Read Malamander for Free!
The Brighton & Hove Library Service are offering Malamander as a free e-book download - for phones, tablets and computers - using their library app. Click here to visit the page for all the instructions for how to sign up to the Library, download their app and download the book!
An audiobook version can be found here.
The Young City Reads Special Online Event!
This week on Thursday 21st May at 10:30 a.m. is the Young City Reads Special Online Event featuring Thomas Taylor sharing amazing stories and answering questions! Go to www.youngcityreads.co.uk to watch!
Welcome to Eerie-on-Sea: The Website!
Find out more about your stay in Eerie-on-Sea at their wonderful tourist website, where you can explore the interactive map of all of the famous sights!...
The Characters of Eerie-on-Sea!
But, perhaps, you should also find some of the locals and hear what they have to say too... just in case!
Here is a video produced by a famous resident of Eerie-on-Sea, the noted antiquarian author and eccentric expert on the universe of the unknown, Sebastian Eels!
Meanwhile, local fisherman Blaze Westerley has a few words of warning to give you about the local legend of Gargantis!...
Become a Character from Eerie-on-Sea!
Do you like role-playing characters? Pick your favourite character from the town of Eerie-on-Sea, or imagine your own unusual and interesting person to be! Draw them, dress up like them, and pretend to be them! What would they talk about? What would they tell a visitor to their town? What strange stories might they have to tell you about the local legends? You could even make a video or audio blog like the ones above!
Storytelling Game: Role-play an Adventure in Eerie-on-Sea!
Role-playing games are storytelling games where you and some friends pretend to be characters in a story... and make up what happens in the story as you talk together. Often, one person is the games master or storyteller who has thought of a setting and some ideas of interesting things that might happen, to make the game exciting! But who knows what will happen once your characters start talking? Maybe they've also drawn a map of the place where the player characters can go on their adventures, like the one of Eerie-on-Sea! Sometimes, you can throw a dice to see if something your character tries to do succeeds or not.
Famous role-playing games include Dungeons & Dragons, for telling fantasy adventures, and the Fighting Fantasy choose-your-own-adventure books, where you can role-play by yourself. There is also a role-playing game for adventures in a world like ours but... stranger, called Tales from the Loop, where you play a group of kids looking for unusual adventures. You could make up a similar role-playing adventure about Eerie-on-Sea! You don't need expensive rule books or model figures: you just need a pencil and paper to draw and describe your character, perhaps a copy of the Eerie-on-Sea map to help imagine where your adventure takes place, some friends and family to tell a story with, ... and maybe a dice or spinner to throw so you can see if your character really can sink the Kraken with that rusty anchor you found in the old sailor's cabin on Eerie beach! Roll a 4, 5 or 6 to succeed!...but what happens next if you don't? YOU decide!
Make a Mysterious Map!
The map of Eerie-on-Sea looks normal enough... Hastings Haar, Dolphin Square... until you see places such as 'Finfolk Lane' and the wreck of the Leviathan! Find a map of Brighton and Hove online or go on Google Earth. Can you draw your own spookier map of where we live: change the street names to scarier versions, invent mysterious places and characters to live in them? Draw otherworldly monsters that lurk around the corner? 'Here be the kraken's lair! At the local swimming pool! It teaches water safety on Tuesdays!'
Write A Story of Stranger Things!
Making up a story based in a familiar setting, but with an unexpected twist, is a fantastic starting off point for creative writing. Find a strange tale, an unusual place name, an interesting building or place, and let your imagination do the rest! After all, you know the place where you live... don't you? What if the places we live in and know were not all that they seemed? For example:
- Is the i360 just a thing for tourists to go up and down in to take photos... or a crashed UFO, that scientists are secretly trying to fix to send into space?
- In the comic book Captain Britain & Excalibur, the West Pier is not really closed and broken down: it is the secret base of intergalactic bounty-hunters hidden behind a hologram!
- Your history teacher may have told you that the Royal Pavilion was built by the Prince Regent to just look like an Indian Palace... or did a mysterious Mughal magician teleport it here from Rajasthan as her magical lair?
- How did our school get its unusual name? Was it from the tale of a 'fair light' that a Spitfire pilot swore shone from the roof to protect it from falling bombs in the Second World War?
- Or is it because our school has truly been here for thousands of years, founded by ancient Greeks who escaped the burning of the library of Alexandria, and named after the Pharos, the lighthouse of that ancient city in Egypt?
- Were you walking on the beach after the high tide had washed things ashore, when you found... something?
- Or is there just a mysterious door somewhere near where you live, and you really, really wonder what is behind it?...
- "The children loved to play at the Patch, a narrow stretch of park that squeezed itself between people's back gardens. But they often wondered where the tunnel entrance at the end of the park led to. Even more so that night when, having snuck out to find out for themselves, they saw the ghost train steam past them and through the chained-shut doors..."
- "Jimmy was a lot of things: a teaching assistant who loved helping kids to read, a historian who knew hundreds of stories about the First World War, a rock star who sang and played guitar, and a school caretaker who checked that everything was clean and safe for the children to work and play at the school. But when the children had gone home, Jimmy had another job. He went to his office, and changed into well-worn brown overalls, with his name embroidered on the chest and a logo of a ghost embroidered on the arm. Then he lifted up his high-energy particle beam proton pack, and got to work, protecting the school and the community from supernatural phenomena! He ain't afraid of no ghosts!..."
Compose a Spooky Poem!
Maybe you enjoy being descriptive in a poem, and would like to describe a strange setting such as Eerie-on-Sea and the odd things that you might see, hear, smell and touch!
Draw Some Eerie-on-Sea Inspired Art!
What was your favourite place in Eerie-on-Sea? What was your favourite character or sea-monster? Did I say sea-monster? What, no I didn't! There ain't no sea-monsters round these parts! Don't know what you mean! Anyway, why not draw a picture of what you would like them to look like, and add your own ideas!
Simon Stålenhag is an artist who loves to paint the places where he lives in Sweden... but with a difference. He imagines mysterious creatures, dinosaurs, robots and spaceships where other people only see ordinary shops, houses and streets! If you like drawing, why not try sketching your house, the garden, or a picture of a place you know... but adding some mysterious things to it of your own!
Explore the famous book by the author J.R.R. Tolkien, and learn more about the incredible world-building techniques he used in his story-telling! read for yourself the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the Company of Thorin Oakenshield, rightful dwarven King Under the Mountain, as they go to challenge Smaug the Dragon!
The author JRR Tolkien was a fantastic world-builder. He loved using ideas from ancient myths and legends to create his own stories, and made up a history and maps of the imaginary world he named Middle-Earth. He also used real life places from where he grew up and real-life events that had happened to him as inspiration.
We can read and listen to the Hobbit and try out some world-building and storytelling exercises.
Listen to The Hobbit!
Andy Serkis, who played the role of Gollum in the films, recently completed a Hobbitathon: reading the entire book The Hobbit in one to raise money for NHS Charities Together and the charity Best Beginnings. It took over 10 hours! You can watch and listen to him reading the whole book at this link! Read along with your own copy or the graphic novel from the links below. Find out who the characters are in the next video clip. See the first Chapter, 'An Unexpected Party' scene from the film in the last clip!
Who Are The Characters in The Hobbit?
The Hobbit Chapter 1: An Unexpected Party
ConvertingPArt 1 PArt 2Parr
Read The Hobbit graphic novel!
I read The Hobbit for the first time in Year 5, and I remember loving the part with the three trolls arguing, and how Bilbo and Gandalf trick them! Every time I reread it, I discover new wonderful things in the story. Here is a way that everyone can start to enjoy this story: a graphic novel version of the story by David Wenzel & Charles Dixon. It uses much of the original text in boxes and speech bubbles, but also has pictures that make it easy to work out what is happening if some of the language is challenging. Read along while listening to Andy Serkis read the full book!
You can also download and read the full book for free with your Brighton & Hove library app. Click here for instructions on how to join Brighton and Hove Libraries online and how to download the Library BorrowBox app!
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Illustrated by Devid Wenzel, Adapted by Charles Dixon
Find the Features of Myths and Legends!
Tolkien's day job was a Professor teaching about how languages work and about ancient myths. When you read or listen to The Hobbit (or later the Lord of the Rings and his other books) you might notice that they include lots of the features of myths and legends. Use our Features of Myths & Legends Sheet and find out how many features you can spot! Will this give you ideas for your own myth stories? Read some of the ancient Greek Myths and Legends in our Reading Section and compare their features with the stories of Tolkien. Do you remember any characters from the myths and legends of the Saxons and Vikings that you read in Year 4? These were some of Tolkien's favourites, and he got lots of great ideas from them... particularly Gandalf, who resembles a certain chief of the Norse gods!...
The Great War and The War of the Ring
“But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.”
- Frodo, The Return of the King
Did you know that many of the scenes from Tolkien’s Middle-Earth are based upon experiences he had when he was a soldier in WWI? For example, he describes the battlefield of the Battle of the Somme in ‘The Two Towers’ when he describes the Dead Marshes of Dagorlad, while the whizz-bangs of mortar shells became the screams of the hooded Ringwraiths! Find out about how WWI influenced the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien here...
"Here at the End of All Things..."
Jonathan Rhys Davies (Gimli in The Lord of the Rings movies) introduces how WWI influenced J.R.R. Tolkien.
Tolkien & World War One
A short information film.
How a World War Inspired The Lord of the Rings
A closer look at how Tolkien was inspired by his real life.
Simon Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien's grandson,
describes what he learnt about his grandfather's experiences in WWI.
Adventurers (or burglars) Wanted! Write a persuasive advert and application letter!
"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone." - Gandalf the Grey to Bilbo Baggins
"I assure you there is a mark on this door - the usual one in the trade, or used to be. Burglar wants a good job, plenty of excitement and reasonable Reward..." - Gloin the Dwarf, father of Gimli
"If I say he is a burglar, then a burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him that you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself." - Gandalf
Bilbo ends up volunteering for an adventure even though at first he is not sure that he even wants to go! It takes a lot of persuading (and some clever trickery) by Gandalf and the dwarves!
Write a job advert for the Dwarves to join their perilous adventure!
The dwarves need someone to help them travel all the way to to the Lonely Mountain, sneak inside, defeat Smaug the Dragon, and get their treasure! What kind of qualities do you want in an adventurer on this quest? Bravery? Cunning? The ability to sneak about unseen? How will you persuade people to join you when there are so many possible dangers along the way?
Write a letter of application to join the incredible adventure!
In our world, people often have to write an application letter if they want to get a job that they want. What qualities do you think you could offer Thorin's company? How will you persuade them to let you join them on the adventure of a lifetime?
Riddles in the Dark!: Create a riddle!
In Chapter 5, 'Riddles in the Dark', Bilbo Baggins meets a creature known as Gollum. One thing they both love is telling and guessing riddles. It becomes a game for Bilbo's very life! below are some riddles to practice guessing. Can you make some riddles of your own? You may have done a similar activity when you learnt about the Vikings in Year 4 - they loved telling riddles too! The story of the tragic ancient Greek hero Oedipus ("ee-di-pus") has a riddle in too: the famous Riddle of the Sphinx (no - not the Egyptian sphinx, but another one that lived outside Thebes in Greece!)
The Riddles of Bilbo and Gollum... and the Sphinx of Thebes!
See if you and your family can solve the riddles from The Hobbit! Who will win?
What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up, up it goes,
And yet never grows?
Answer (highlight):[A mountain]
Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp,
Then they stand still.
Voiceless it cries,
An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face.
"That eye is like to this eye"
Said the first eye,
"But in low place,
Not in high place."
Answer (highlight):[The sun]
It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.
A box without hinges, key, or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid.
Answer (highlight):[An egg]
Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.
No-legs lay on one-leg,
two-legs sat near on three-legs,
four-legs got some.
Answer (highlight):[Fish on a table,
man on a stool,
cat gets the scraps]
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
The Riddle of the Sphinx of Thebes:
"What crawls on four legs in the morning; stands on two legs in the afternoon; and hobbles on three legs in the evening?"
Answer (highlight): [A human through their whole life: first a baby crawling, then a man walking, and finally an old person with a walking stick]
Tips for writing a riddle!
One of the skills a riddler finds useful is to know what similes, metaphors and personification are.
Similes are when you say a thing is like another thing, or as something as another thing.
A metaphor is when you say something is another thing, because they remind you of it, or just describe that other thing, letting the reader work out what you are really describing: the dragon's mouth roared and spat flame across the muddy fields of the Somme - I am describing a dragon, but really I am trying to describe what an artillery cannon is like in WWI.
Another useful poetic feature to use in riddles is personification: describe the object as if it was alive or a person. how would it behave if it were? This is what the sphinx of Thebes uses to tell their famous riddle to Oedipus.
Is "What have I got in my pocket?" a riddle?
Of course, Bilbo's last go, "What have I got in my pocket?" is not a proper riddle, and more of a question that Gollum must guess. Why did Bilbo cheat? Was it because he was nervous? Was it because he was afraid Gollum was going to eat him? Or was there something influencing his mind, already?...
Beyond our ken: write kennings to describe the characters of The Hobbit!
“Who are you and where do you come from, may I ask?” [said Smaug]
“You may indeed! I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my path led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen.”
“So I can well believe,” said Smaug, “but that is hardly your usual name.”
“I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number.”
“Lovely titles!” sneered the dragon. “But lucky numbers don’t always come off.”
“I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them again from the water. I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me.”
“Those don’t sound so creditable,” scoffed Smaug.
“I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider,” went on Bilbo, beginning to be pleased with his riddling.
“That’s better!” said Smaug. “But don’t let your imagination run away with you!”
In this scene from The Hobbit, the dragon Smaug wants to know Bilbo Baggins' name - but Bilbo tries not to tell him, and instead invents imaginative kennings - short descriptions of himself and the things he has done on his adventure. Can you spot them all? In the time of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, knowing someone's true name was supposed to give you magical power over them. Bilbo does not want that! Kennings were also a good way to flatter a proud king, queen... or dragon! Many rulers used kennings as extra titles to make themselves look important.
What kennings can you think of to impress Smaug?
How to compose your own kennings
Put a noun with a verb, often with a hyphen to connect them together: doughnut-eater, boxset-watcher!
Make a possessive noun: cat's cuddler, bedtime's awakener!
Use an agent noun (the name of someone when they do something): runner of marathons, jumper of skateramps!
How to build imaginary worlds like J.R.R. Tolkien!
J.R.R. Tolkien was perhaps the greatest fictional world-builder of all time - but you can become even greater, even more powerful! Just put on the Ring...my precioussss! Er, no! Stop! Don't do that! Just watch this video by author Kate Messner, as she describes the power of world-building in fiction writing, and some of the questions she thinks about to help her fantasies come to life! Then, try some of the world-building activities below that may help you to imagine your own fantasy world, or to imagine stories in Middle-Earth!
“In a hole in the ground, there lived a …”
In one sense, the idea for Tolkien's book began very simply. He was a professor at university, marking some essays, when a funny sentence drifted into his head. He grabbed a scrap of paper and wrote it down:
“In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit.”
He didn’t even really know what a hobbit was when he wrote this. It just sounded like a word the Anglo-Saxons used that he had learned in school: hol-bytla, a hole-builder. But he then began gathering ideas together and world-building, using old notebooks, poems, fantasy maps and stories he had written years before, adding to and expanding his story as he wrote!
Complete his famous opening sentence in your own way:
"In a ...., there lived a..."
Change the hole in the ground to a different kind of place. A cloud in the sky? A cave under the sea? An igloo in a frozen waste? Now, who might live there? Something you know? Something you made up a name for?
When some people try this method of ideation, they immediately say: "I can't think of anything!", throw their pencil in the air, flounce about huffing and sighing, slump in a sofa and stop doing any imagining at all. What a brilliant idea for a character! In a town like any other, where people were locked inside their own homes with just their own imaginations, there lived a person whose ideas were mysteriously disappearing! A good way around this is to make or use a list of random ideas to just pick from by rolling a dice or closing your eyes and pointing! Here is a link to an online Random Story Idea Generators for children. Or, pick up a book or dictionary, open a random page and see what word jumps out at you first!
“There And Back Again!” Sketch and map an imaginary world of adventures!
This is what Bilbo Baggins, the main character (‘protagonist’ in ancient Greek) calls his story when he begins to write it down at the end of The Hobbit. The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings both use the idea we explored in the book Malamander by Thomas Taylor: beginning in a familiar setting, when something strange starts to happen! In this case, the stories start in the happy land of The Shire, which is a place much like the English countryside where J.R.R. Tolkien grew up, before the characters have to leave and travel to far off places on an uncertain quest! And when Tolkien wanted to imagine a journey to wonderful places, he drew a map... lots of maps! And invented names for all the places... and languages for the place names... and histories of the places!
If you could go on a journey, where would be an amazing or unusual place that you might travel to, that is unlike where you live? How might you get there? Who do you think would travel with you? Do you think you would have the skills you need to make the journey? What obstacles might get in your way? Here are some ways that you might do this:
- Plan a map of the places along your character's journey.
- Sketch places and scenes you imagine on the way.
- Create a story plan of your ideas.
- Or, use some of Tolkien's amazing maps of Middle-Earth as an inspiration!
“Concerning Hobbits” How to create interesting characters that help you to write your story!
“My dear Frodo! ' exclaimed Gandalf. 'Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.”
- Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring
Imagining a character can be tricky. Often, I either think of a character that is so cool with special powers, that it's too easy for them to succeed… or a character is really boring with nothing interesting about them - just a name and that they 'like football'. I spend so long thinking about what colour hair they have, that I forget to think about how big their heart is, or what they care about! It's what's inside that counts!
Tolkien began with a character much like himself before he went to war: Bilbo (and later Frodo). But he didn’t just make them look like himself. He made the character feel like himself. What does he love and not love? What does he care about? What frightens him? What angers him? What are his most wonderful qualities? Bravery? Honesty?
Or, like real people, does the character have qualities that cause them trouble: secretiveness? Getting jealous of their friends? Not telling the truth all the time? Losing their temper?
What sound like things you don’t like or admire and want a character to be can actually help you to write a story: how would a character react to a dangerous dragon if they were often scared of things? Very differently to a warrior who has fought in many battles!
Throughout the books of The Lord of the Rings, the biggest danger Frodo - and Gollum - face is not the evil of monsters around them, but the fear inside them that they might be tempted to use the Ring's terrible power for themselves.
If you were creating a hobbit character or their adventuring friends, what would they be like?
Think of five positive qualities: kindness, bravery, calmness in a crisis, enthusiasm, curiosity, useful skills, perseverance, independence, creativity, risk-taking
Next, think of a flaw (or flaws) about them: jealousy, a bad temper, gossiping about other people, ignoring problems, blaming other people, not listening to advice, risk-taking without thinking about the consequences!
Think of a motivation for your character: wanting to leave home, worried about their family's safety, trying to earn enough money to live, revenge for a terrible injustice, feeling sad about an event, wanting to be famous and powerful at all costs, wanting to protect others.
Now, think of an event that would pose a problem for the character based on their positive qualities and their flaws: are they scared of heights? What would happen then, if their friend was trapped on a rock-face of a high mountain? Are they just trying to earn enough money to feed their family? What if an evil king offered them enough money... but they had to betray their friends?
“Nasty Hobbitses!” Create an antihero or antagonist character!
"Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature. I don't know where he came from, nor who he was. he was Gollum - as dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes in his thin face..."
- 'Riddles in the Dark' chapter, The Hobbit
We meet the character Gollum in The Hobbit asking Bilbo riddles, only to discover that Bilbo has found a precious ring that Gollum has ‘lost’. In The Lord of the Rings, we find out that there is much more to this ring than anyone realised…
Compare Bilbo and Gollum. They are nothing alike, are they? Or, are they? They both love riddles. They both love to eat. They both want and… lie about the Ring. Once, Gollum was a happy, hobbit-like character much like Bilbo was, until his life took a different path. Will Bilbo, and later his nephew Frodo, become like Gollum in the end?
Gollum is what is called an antihero (similar to an antagonist in ancient Greek). An antihero is a character that seems nothing like a courageous, brave hero, yet they too go on a kind of quest. Sometimes, they even end up doing something that helps others, even if they wouldn’t normally want to! An antagonist is a character that has a reason to disagree with the hero. They might act selfishly, or cruelly, but there is a cause deep down - much like people who bully might have been bullied in the past. Some antagonists are not even horrible and can even be noble and good - they just think the hero is making a mistake and think they should be stopped! In The Lord of the Rings, the character of Boromir is this kind of character: he thinks that the One Ring can be used to stop evil... he is wrong!
Look at your hero character that you have imagined. What might their antihero be like? Not a villain who is just ‘bad’ for no reason, but a character who in many ways is similar and with a similar life except for something that made them angry, upset, or disagree.
“One Ring to Rule Them All!” Design a magical item with a twist!
“Is it not a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing? So small a thing! And I have seen it only for an instant in the house of Elrond! Could I not have a sight of it again?"
Frodo looked up. His heart went suddenly cold. He caught the strange gleam in Boromir's eyes, yet his face was still kind and friendly. "It is best that it should lie hidden," he answered.
"As you wish. I care not." said Boromir.”
- Frodo and Boromir talk of The One Ring, The Fellowship of the Ring
'Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.'
- The Ring-verse, spoken by Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring
Imagine a magical item for a mythical story!
The magical ring that Bilbo finds in The Hobbit is very useful on his adventures, but he never tells the others what he has found… not even Gandalf. Later, Gandalf will discover the terrible truth about what the ring really is…
In myths, and legends, there are often magical items that can help heroes and solve problems. But they are also items of great power that come with a great price. Perhaps a curse to remain in a place forever as its guardian, or draining your strength or happiness to power the magic? Maybe turning the user into the thing they most fear! By the end of the Lord of the Ring, the character realise that they must solve their problems by not using the Ring at all, but their own strengths.
Did you know that, when he first wrote The Hobbit, Tolkien did not yet have the idea of what Gollum's ring really was?
He wrote the whole book as if it was just a ring that turned you invisible. It was years later, when he was thinking about the character of Sauron, the Dark Lord, making a magic ring to rule the world that he thought: what if that was the ring in Bilbo's pocket? Tolkien rushed to scribble down his idea... and then went back and revised part of The Hobbit to add in a bit where Bilbo lies to Gandalf about the Ring! so, never be afraid to return to your writing and revise things when you get a new idea - it might lead to something even better!
EAL & SEN Resources about The Hobbit!
Here are some links to activities that will support you with finding out about the book The Hobbit.
Greek Myths & Legends!
Explore the stories of ancient Greek mythology, and imagine and write your own!
Find out more about the beliefs of the ancients Greeks and how they saw the world around them, through how they imagined their pantheon of gods and goddess, herai and heroes, how they behaved in their myths, and what morals they put into them. Learn more about what myths and legends are, the way they are structured, and how they were told and retold. Discover how they influence stories we enjoy - even ones written today. Then, gather inspiration and ideas of your own to imagine, visualise, plan and write a myth or legend of your own!
Read and listen to ancient Greek myths and legends!
In the Reading section of this page, there is a wide selection of ancient Greek myths and legends to read, and also lots of stories told as animations too. We recommend reading different versions of the same myth or legend. Why? Because myths were spoken stories, not originally written down. The words, description - and even the details or the meaning - might change according to who was narrating the story. In one version of the myth of Perseus and Medusa, Medusa might be a cruel and dangerous monster, who must be destroyed before she turns all to stone! In another version, Medusa might be a woman cruelly cursed by the goddess Athene, whom Perseus kills without questioning why.
Tell a tale!
An old saying goes: "The tale is in the telling!" As you learn different myths and legends, retell them to someone else. Not only will this learn you to learn and remember the story, but it will improve your storytelling skills and powers of description. An audience will often tell you if they don't understand what is happening, or if you need to be more descriptive. You will also get the chance to decide for yourself how you will tell the tale: who is the hero, who is not? What is the moral of this story?
Find the features of myths and legends!
Many myths and legends from ancient Greece and around the world share similar features (the theory called the 'monomyth' or 'one story'). It's interesting to look for them as you read different myths and legends. For example, those three witches from Macbeth that I mentioned in our Wizarding World literacy turn up time and again, such as in the story of Perseus and Medusa. Use this Features of Myths and Legends Chart to spot the shared features and to note examples. You might even start noticing these mythical features in other stories, such as a certain space film series: "He's nothing but a crazy, old space wizard, Luke!" You might also notice that some of the features of myths and legends can be found in the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien such as The Hobbit!
Explore myths and legends from other parts of the world and different cultures!
Last year, you may have heard some of these same myths and legends as they were told by the Romans, who loved Greek ideas and borrowed lots of them... then changed the names to Latin! You might also have heard some myths and legends from the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings - Norse mythology about Odinn, Thor, Loki, the Frost Giants, Beowulf and Grendel and Ygdrassil, the World Tree!
But myths and legends are a form of story that all human cultures have told, and here are a few from West Africa about the owner of all stories, the trickster god Anansi! His stories have travelled the world as people who knew them were taken by force to the Caribbean Islands and to the Americas - but still passed the stories on from generation to generation. Some of you may even recognise some of the stories, but told with a character called Brer Rabbit, which is how Anansi stories were told by people enslaved in the United States of America who were banned from even speaking their own African languages or from learning to read and write to silence their culture. That's an example of how myths and legends can be changed in the telling, when someone is far from their old home, and not able to hear the original story told for many centuries, and they have to hide what they know so powerful people will not destroy it! But you can't outsmart Anansi forever, and his stories are told here!
Why All Stories Belong to Anansi!
Anansi and his Six Sons!
Anansi and the Tug o' War!
Anansi and the Pot of Wisdom!
Anansi and Turtle!
Imagine, plan and write a Greek-style myth or legend of your own!
In the folder below, you will find four powerpoints which can guide you through: learning about the features of myths and legends from ancient Greece and other cultures; imagining ideas for your own myth or legend story; and writing and editing your myth or legend.
It might at first remind you of when you wrote fairy tales, so if you start in this frame of mind it may help. These tales were told originally out loud by a storyteller, so in a Greek myth, the narrator is speaking to an audience, and you can write in this fashion (the 'chat' we sometimes warn you about!) - but the tricky part will be to make it sound as if you are an ancient Greek storyteller! Gather round, and I shall tell you a tale of long ago, when the gods themselves came down from yonder Mount Olympus on high and walked amongst our ancestors!...
How will learning myths and legends help me as a reader and a writer?
As you grow as a writer and starting to write your own stories and poems, a knowledge of myths and legends from around the world can be invaluable. It can inspire you with ideas for story structures - a story of a journey or quest for something important, or a tragic tale where a character makes a terrible mistake - even though the setting and events are not based in ancient Greece but in the modern world or outer space. It could even be fun to combine a different setting or story with ideas and characters from ancient myths: for example, as in the film Wonder Woman, where an Amazon, an ancient Greek woman warrior, finds herself in the trenches of the Great War. Many popular stories, comics and films of modern times are based upon or even borrow characters from ancient myths and legends! The more myths and legends from all cultures that you know, the more hidden references to them you will spot as you read stories. Captain America and Iron Man could not have defeated Thanos without help from mythological characters including Thor, Valkyrie and T'Challa the Black Panther - who represents a Yoruba god called Ogun, who in their myths gives the secret of iron to humanity! This is where Marvel got the idea for Wakanda and vibranium! Meanwhile, when Michael Morpurgo wrote the story of Joey experiencing the First World War, he knew of the legend The Iliad, and of the story of The Wooden Horse of Troy.
Hear The Windrush!
This week, our literacy activities are themed around the lives and experiences of British people who travelled to live in the United Kingdom from the Caribbean and other parts of the former British Empire. One of the most famous events in this part of history was the arrival of the ship Empire Windrush on the 22nd June 1948, carrying 498 passengers to begin a new life in London.
Learn the History of the Windrush Generation
To help you write about this topic, we have provided some resources to help you to find out more about the Black Britons who are known as the Windrush Generation. After you have watched the historical news reel (which would have been watched by people in cinemas before they saw the main film - most people in the UK did not have a TV to watch the news in 1948), study the Windrush powerpoint presentation. There is a Windrush Documentary film that we encourage both Year 5 and Year 6 to watch, which begins to talk about how people were treated by other British people they tried to make their new lives in the UK. There is also a news report about how the British Government tried to deport hundreds of the Windrush Generation in 2012, and how they tried to hide what they had done. This is important history to know, in order to understand our Topic work on UK Democracy.
|Windrush History Powerpoint||The Windrush Scandal 2012: How were the Windrush Generation treated by the UK Government?|
Choose the reading comprehension article that is suitable for your reading ability, and answer the questions using what you have read about the Voyage of Empire Windrush. Challenge yourself: see if you can then read the next level of text and answer the questions.
|Windrush Reading Comprehension (Simpler)||Windrush Reading Comprehension (Medium)||Windrush Reading Comprehension (Higher)|
Write a Windrush Generation Information Report
Using the information you have read and your own research, write a short report about the Windrush Generation. It is useful to organise a report into clear headings about different themes. For example, you could use some of these sub-headings: The British Empire & Slavery; The Voyage of the Empire Windrush; Life in the United Kingdom; The Windrush Scandal 2012; How We Celebrate Windrush Day 22nd June. We have provided some writing templates to download in order to publish your writing.
|Lined black and white portrait||lined colour portrait||Narrow line black and white portrait||Narrow line colour portrait|
Write a Windrush Poem
Read and listen to the poets John Agard and Grace Nichols perform some poems about being part of the Windrush Generation. You will find out how they feel about their experiences in their own words. Has this topic of history inspires some feelings and thoughts of your own? Could you write a poem about what you have learnt, and express your feelings? To help you, we have created three examples of how you could start off a poem about the Windrush Generation. You could use them as sentence starters, or carry the poems on, or think of your own way to structure your own poem. Use all of your creativity. If you need more poetry inspiration, go to CLPE Poetryline, and select one of the poetic features (e.g. alliteration, or metaphors) in the menu. It will give you poems with examples of that feature to practice with. We have provided some writing templates to download in order to publish your writing.
|Windrush Poetry Writing Prompts|
Checking Out Me History
There is lots more amazing Black British and Caribbean history to discover apart from the story of the Empire Windrush. In the poem Checking Out Me History, John Agard wishes he had learnt more about it at school in the UK. Read and listen to his poem. What famous Black British and Caribbean people does the poem mention? Can you find out more about one of them? Do some research and write a fact file about one of them!
"What are you up to, Bear?"
Something about the story of the Empire Windrush may have seemed familiar to you... but why? And why are you suddenly thinking of marmalade sandwiches?
It's because of Paddington Bear! Paddington was a story about a bear from Darkest Peru who comes to live in the United Kingdom and start a new life, like the Windrush Generation. He meets Mr Gruber - a man who escaped the Nazis as a child in the Second World War by being allowed to live in the UK as a refugee. Paddington often gets treated differently because he is a bear from a different place. Your final literacy task this week is to watch both Paddington films! Can you hear Lord Kitchener (the musician Aldwyn Roberts from the Empire Windrush) singing 'London Is The Place For Me'? in the first film? Do you recognise the boat that Aunt Lucy travels on in the picture book that Paddington dreams about in the second film? :-)
Black Lives Matter
Recently, you will have noticed that people around the world have been talking about the problem of racism, and protesting about how many black people find that society makes their lives more difficult and they are treated differently based upon how other people see them. This is the issue about which we are finishing our Democracy: From Ancient Greece to Today topic this year, to encourage our pupils to exercise the National Curriculum fundamental British value of participation in democracy. Before you write your Windrush poems, use the resources below to find out more about what Black Lives Matter means, and answer any questions or misconceptions you may have. Next week, our final literacy task will be to express how we feel about the issue of racism.
Write a letter to your MP and the Prime Minister!
Each year, we write a letter to our local Member of Parliament, who is called Caroline Lucas, about an issue we feel strongly about. This is an important part of our citizenship, the fundamental British value of participating in our democracy. This year, our topic is so important, that we also think it would be worth writing to the Prime Minister as well, to make sure that your views and ideas are heard by the people who exercise the power and can make a difference. Look on the From Ancient Greece to Democracy topic page to find out more about what Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister do!
Use the resources to: remind yourself how to write a letter; how to express your opinion and form a persuasive argument; and then either use the links to send your letter electronically; or send it to us to print and post!
Who To Send Your Letter To
Our local Members of Parliament:
The Prime Minister: