How To Wash a Woolly Mammoth by Robinson and Hindley

cover   We have been on the lookout for a book that has a good set of instructions for KS1 and look what turned up from Amazon this evening!

This set of instructions sets out how to wash a woolly mammoth with a great sense of humour.  I love the back cover with the bottles of shampoo and soap such as Tusk Whitener and Antibacterial Hoof Wash.

The instructions reassure the owner of the mammoth that they can wash the animal with a few clever tricks.  Step three just says ‘Add mammoth.’ and is then followed by a series of images showing ways in which the mammoth can be encouraged into the bath using a broom or a spooky mask.  This page lends itself to children writing a series of sentences to explain what is happening in the images.

The voice of the text is informative ‘ Don’t forget to wash behind those ears….’ and ensures the owner   undertakes this task successfully ‘CAREFUL – a mammoth’s tummy is terribly tickly!’

hairdoI love the hair styles that the little girl makes when she washes his topknot – a mammoth mullet anyone?

I wondered about using this book with The Night Zookeeper where children could make their own imaginary animal and then write a set of instructions about caring for it in some way.  This could be washing it but it could also be feeding, exercising or clipping it. Maybe that last one isn’t really for KS1 children! I was getting carried away by the TV programme that showed competitive poodle clipping and colouring.

This is one title that will end up in our Teaching Sequence subscription service based on the new national curriculum.  These are the titles that we have written teaching sequences.  More will be added to the list as we write them.

A new illustrator/author

I read a lot off instructions written by children and love to find different ways of presenting this writing as it can lack variety on occasions.

In fact I thought I never wanted to see another set if instructions for a cup of tea until I found Alice Melvin’s wonderful little book  Fancy a Brew? a guide to the perfect cuppa

What I love most about this book is that it is about paper folding, writing and illustrating (that’s just about everything about the book).

The book is made out of out of 2 pieces of paper folded in the middle with a cardboard cover sewn on.  The front and back cover open out to show what is needed to make the perfect cuppa, a table where you can fill in where and when you had a perfect cuppa and then at the end a tea bag stapled in to make a cuppa with.

The writing is uncomplicated and the illustrations are beautiful.  Similar illustrations could be created with a black felt pen and one other colour.

This is just a fantastic way to present your instructions.  The book reminds me of Paul Johnson’s book Literacy Through the Book Arts which is all about paper folding and pop-ups as a way to stimulate and present children’s work.

I am waiting for a copy of her latest book The High Street to arrive.  It looks like it might be a contender for our texts that teach books.

Did you get any good books for christmas?

A Recipe for Inventing

Everything comes from something else; nothing comes from nothing.

Anthony Browne, Children’s Laureate in Books for Keeps January 2010

Inventing texts is a way of showing children how to bring together everything that they know about writing to create something of their own.

I have been doing a lot of work recently on plastic carrier bags and inventing – they are an easy thing to carry around the county!

So here are my instructions for inventing:

  1. Take one carrier bag and show children a letter written to you from Tesco asking for suggestions to make the bag more suitable as a school bag.
  2. Ask children to ‘see’  what they would put into this carrier bag to take to school.  As each item goes in imagine how the bag feels and looks. (Imaging)  Quickly write these objects as a list.  Share with a partner and make one list of all the items that you intend to take.
  3. In pairs take each object and explore what adaptations you would need to carry that item safely. (Expanding an idea)  Sketch each adaptation quickly on a separate piece of paper. (Mapping)
  4. Choose 3 objects that you would like to tell Tesco about and place them into an order that you feel would be best to tell them. (Sequencing map)
  5. Find your formal voice and start to talk your letter to Tesco.  It is at this part you will need to support children in suitable language and detail.DSC00577

Here is the map that I modelled.  Idea number one, internal padding to protect my laptop and a lock to keep it safe.  Number two wheels as I always seem to carry a lot around and number three longer padded handles.

Whenever I am questioned by children they always ask, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’  I always reply, ‘The same place you get yours – things that have happened to me, particularly when I was a child, stories I’ve read, films I’ve seen, paintings and dreams.’

Anthony Browne

What has been happening?

So much has been happening recently that I thought  I would highlight some of the best resources that have been shared with me recently.

The first idea is from a school that is looking at writing instructions.  We decided to cook (and write) like Jamie Oliver and so looked for video clips that could be shown in school.  Here the Sainsbury’s advert for fishcakes gives a taste of what he is like.   When you read Jamie’s recipes it is the verb choice that really stands out.  Verbs that you might expect to find are cut, chop, slice, mix and pour.  What you find is something a little different, e.g. pile up, tear, chuck in, smear and glug.  These were in the Jamie Oliver in Italy.  For other recipes look here.  I like the introduction to each recipe.  These make a great model for children to use.  I’m looking forward to cooking in the style of Jamie!

Stories of the Dreaming is a wonderful Australian storytelling site.  After each video is a transcript of the story and a commenting section.  This would be a great way to introduce children to australian storytelling and commenting on sites.  Well worth a visit.

And finally, a word game to use with KS2.  DeepLeap the fast-paced time wasting word game.  The letters look like scrabble and children can call out the words they can see for you or another child to type in.  Let us know what your highest score is.  The Devon Primary ScITT trainees achieved 785.

Great Video for the Literacy Classroom

This has to be my all time favourite video to be used as a model for children to create their own instructional videos.

How To Make Folding Machine TshirtClick here for more blooper videos

I love the way it uses still images to show what you need and that these are are inside the film rather than as a list at the beginning.  The music gives it a jaunty, easy to do rather comic feel and the end product is just so good!

More great videos to use in the literacy classroom