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Day 18 - Icebergs (creative ideas for teaching English and maths at home)

For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 7) choose a stimulus that drives the learning. We hope that you enjoy the blog and can take some inspiration from what we love doing - making learning as engaging as possible!



I love the fact that the boys are so enthused about exploring the natural world through our blog. I have always been fascinated by natural beauty over man-made beauty and I revel in themes such as this. Our thanks to Roslyn, Laura and Hannah from Australia for the theme. We hope you enjoy!


English / History

  • Recount

  • Drawing upon the senses

  • Feelings and emotions

Having explored a whole wealth of poetry over the past three weeks, today was a perfect opportunity to put some of this into practise. The plan, to draw upon our previous senses poetry (see the session on the beach) but this time, turn it into a short narrative.

With icebergs as the theme, today was all about turning the clock back to the 14th April 1912 - the day the Titanic found out the true power of these ice giants.

We began by researching the Titanic and watched a few YouTube clips to understand how the 'unsinkable' sunk.

We then looked at a series of photos of the Titanic sinking and imagined what it must have been like watching this from the safety of one of the life rafts. To help the boys capture their ideas, they completed a senses grid, jotting down what they saw, heard, tasted, smelt

and felt.

With the ideas banked, we then launched into the shared writing. The model was simple:

  1. Begin by seeing the scene through the character's eyes (e.g. I looked at the catastrophe before me.)

  2. Describe what you can see.

  3. Then, describe what you could hear.

  4. Add in a taste or a smell.

  5. Finally, finish with a final reflection on how the character feels.

Here is the shared model (with colour coding to show the tools).

Clambering into the lifeboat, I looked back at the chaos behind me. The Titanic slumped into the sea, wounded from battle. Victorious, the vast ice giant stood triumphant, unmoved. As the lights plunged into darkness, all that was left were the helpless screams of those left behind, their fate sealed. A bitter taste suddenly rose up and stung my throat as uncontrollable tremors surged through my body, paralysing me. It was over.

© Jamie Thomas 2020

And here are the boys' efforts:

Clambering onto the life boat, I looked back at the chaos behind me. There, in the distance, an iceberg monster appeared from the darkness. Tall and towering, it created shadows over all the people, desperately swimming for their lives. I could hear classical music trying to calm people down. The noise was unbearable. The salt from the ocean stung my tongue and burned my eyes. As we rowed away from the wreckage, the shock made me burst into tears.

Archie, 7

The unthinkable happened. I couldn't believe my eyes. I looked back in shock but all I saw was darkness. Under the glistening stars, I could see thousands of people swimming in the cold. Some had turned to ice and had sunk to the bottom of the ocean and hit the sea floor. The sound of people screaming and shouting brought tears to my eyes. I cried. I could taste despair and I felt the cold wind screaming in my face.

Joshua, 9



  • Equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages

One of the fascinating things about icebergs is that proportion of ice that lies beneath the surface.

We began by talking revisiting some key knowledge, such as what a % means and how to convert between percentages, decimals and percentages.

Currently, we are working on recognising the equivalence amongst quarters, halves, three-quarters and wholes.

The first thing we brainstormed was the key information:

  • 25% = 25/100 = 1/4 = 0.25

  • 50% = 50/100 = 1/2 = 0.5

  • 75% = 75/100 = 3/4 = 0.75

  • 100% = 100/100 = 1/1 = 1

We then turned this into a little pairs matching game. I apologise for how poor our iceberg representations are - we were getting tired 😂.


If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please do follow us. Alternatively, you may like to follow me on Twitter: @JamieWTSA.

We are so thankful to those of you who have inundated us with stimulus requests. We have made a list and will do our best to explore as many as we can. Do tune in tomorrow, when our stimulus is a Friday favourite:


My thanks to Pie Corbett and Talk for Writing for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.

Our thanks to Roslyn, Laura and Hannah from Australia for the theme.

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