Since we came back 2 weeks ago, Year 3 have been engrossed in reading Ice Palace, by Robert Swindells.
It’s a fantastic story, full of danger and bravery, and treads a fine line between being scary enough, but not too scary. As we’ve discovered the story bit by bit in our Literacy lessons, my class have been absolutely enthralled, desperate for the next part, wanting to find out whether Ivan will save the little brother stolen by cruel Starjik.
I love teaching this sequence – the planning originally comes from our year taking part in the CLPE’s Power of Reading project, which encourages a very drama and art based approach to engaging pupils with a text – you very often spend the first lesson or two just looking at the front cover, or the first sentence, to fully emerge pupils in the world of the text. It’s a great opportunity to pupils to do short, focused writing in character, as well as to create poetry about a story.
As I said, my class have loved this, and although we have now reached the end of the book, the journey’s not over. I asked them today what work they might like to do to round off this unit. The ideas flew thick and fast, among them:
- recreate the story as a picture book
- write a book review
- carry on the story – what happened next?
- use the story as a model for another story – the same plot, but with different characters in a different place
- make clay models of the characters
- make masks of the characters [I presume to then act out/play the story]
- make models of the various settings, especially the ice palace itself
- tell the story from the point of view of one of the characters
The only one I had to put the kibosh on was making models out of clay, simply because we haven’t any in school. As for the rest, we’ll see what happens. I haven’t really tried giving a class quite this much freedom before, but hopefully with careful planning, preparation and managing of expectations, we’ll get there. I plan to update later in the week…wish me luck!