Updated: Jun 1
For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 8) 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!
Every great story has a truly great villain. Some are exceedingly sly and cunning, some are malicious and evil, and some are just troublemakers. Villains are wonderful for character work - hence the focus of today's learning.
We hope you enjoy!
Poetry to prose
This is, without doubt, my favourite English lesson of all time. It has never failed and I absolutely love it. I have been waiting to share it with the boys and it did not let me down!
We began by talking through all the villains we could think of. I asked the boys if they could name a story without a villain and they struggled. That is because stories need villains for good to triumph over evil. We therefore talked about our favourite villains and why we loved them so much.
Having each chosen a villain to describe (although the boys chose mine), we then launched into the poetry. This is a really simple pattern to explore with children. In essence, you just focus on one element of a character and say you are it. Then extend the idea with action or detail. For example: I am the eyes, staring menacingly at my next victim.
The simple pattern and structure really helps the children to focus on their language choice, whilst bringing something specific to life.
Here is my 'I am' poem, based on Voldermort:
I am the eyes, filled with anger,
glaring with malicious intent.
I am the mouth, rotten to the core,
poised with fatal words to attack.
I am the nose - snaked slits,
sensing impure blood and weakness.
I am the pallid skin, void of warmth,
tainted with bleached spite.
I am the gnarled fingers, twisted in hate,
charged with greed.
I am the mind, sinister and severe,
© Jamie Thomas 2020
Once you have the poetry, the trick is to then hang the story on top of it. Imagine you are there, facing this villain; see the story unfold in front of you. Here is the model wrote for the boys. I have underlined the lines magpied from the poem.
Finally we found ourselves face to face, locked in a deathly stare. His eyes were filled with anger, glaring with malicious intent. A vile smile spread across his face as fatal words swelled inside - poised, rotten to the core. His pallid skin was void of warmth and tainted with bleached spite. He sniffed the air with snaked slits, enjoyment surging through him. I watched as his gnarled fingers twisted in hate and toyed with his wand. Waiting. Anticipating. The sinister mind plotting devastation. Then he struck.
© Jamie Thomas 2020
Here are the boys poems and narrative paragraphs, as well as recordings:
I am the hair,
as black as soot.
I am the moustache,
curved like a crescent moon.
I am the snaked hook,
reflecting the light.
I am the eyes,
I am the eyebrows,
a night terror flapping its wings.
Out of nowhere, Hook jumped out, raising a snaked hook. His hair was as black as soot and bubbled into a ponytail. His crescent moon moustache curved and shook as his eyes stared viciously at me. Above his eyes, two night terrors flapped their wings. The gold treasure around his neck shone.
I am the eyes, full of flames,
I am the mouth,
screaming fireballs of anger.
I am the volcanic skin,
erupting in hatred.
I am the fierce fingers,
exploding with lava.
I am the smoke
that darkens the night sky.
Teka rose out of the rocks. Her eyes were full of flames, flickering ferociously. Suddenly, she opened her mouth and shot a fireball of anger. I noticed her volcanic skin, erupted in hatred, and fierce fingers, exploded with lava. Then a cloud of smoke billowed out of her head, darkening the sky.
properties of number / shape / etc.
Our villain maths was an after dinner game. Each person has to name three numbers, one of which is the villain. The villain is a number that should not be at the table - they are uninvited.
For example, 3, 9 and 11
11 is the villain as it is not in the 3x table
or 16, 25 and 30
Whilst you could say 25 is the villain as it is not an even number, the villain was in fact 30 as it is not a squared number.
This was a fun way to revisit some quick mental skills.
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Do tune in tomorrow for:
My thanks to Pie Corbett, Julia Strong and the Talk for Writing team for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.