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Copyright Agency: ConnectiingAuthors and Illustrators with SchoolsGrimsdon

Read, write and talk about plot development

Detail from Grimsdon cover with flying machine over skyscrapers in the sea

A unit of work for students in Middle to Upper Primary years

Author: Deborah Abela

Random House | ISBN: 9781741663723

Publisher's synopsis: Grimsdon is in ruins. Three years ago a massive wave broke its barriers and the sea flooded this grand city. Most were saved, others were lost and some were left behind. Isabella Charm and her best friend Griffin live with three other children in the top of an opulent mansion. They've survived with the help of Griffin's brilliant inventions, Isabella's survival skills and their vow to look after each other.

But what will happen when a thrill-seeking newcomer arrives in his flying machine? When bounty hunters attempt to capture them? When Byron P. Sneddon, the self-appointed protector of the flooded harbour, demands obedience? What if the danger is even greater? Something they can't see coming — something below the floodwaters?

Additional: Author's Grimsdon teaching support kit

Key skills, knowledge and understandings developed in this unit

This unit focuses on specific strategies used to teach plot development in narrative writing. Students will learn how to link scenes and events using concise, effective language choices, avoiding word redundancy and repetition; create purpose through effective event transition and sentence structure; embed appropriate tension, suspense and engagement in the storyline; use illustrations and diagrams for purpose and to add meaning; and utilise ICT to draft and edit work samples, focusing on engagement and plot transition.

Teaching and learning sequence (below)

Lesson 1: Assessment for learning | Preparation for reading

Lesson 2: Predicting genre and storyline | Exploring families and flying machines

Lesson 3: Reading Grimsdon | Exploring climate change

Lesson 4: Brainstorming siginificant words | Exploring word choice and meanings

Lesson 5: Plot and suspense | Assessment as learning | Drama and language

Lesson 6: Readers theatre | Video conference with Deborah Abela Part 1

Lesson 7: Drafting a narrative — Assessment for learning | Editing and publishing

Lesson 8: Video conference with Deborah Abela Part 2 | Class wiki and book trailer

Video note: This unit resulted from a collaborative project between PETAA and the Copyright Agency. The unit links to videos recorded live at Gymea Bay Public School using the NSW DEC videoconference network. The videos are presented as recorded with minimal editing.

Australian Curriculum: English Year Levels  Year 4   Year 5

Content descriptions

Language: Expressing and developing ideas Year 4 – Understand that the meaning of sentences can be enriched through the use of noun and verb groups and prepositional phrases ACELA1493. Year 5 – Understand the use of vocabulary to express greater precision of meaning, and know that words can have different meanings in different contexts  ACELA1512

Literature: Responding to literature Year 4 – Use metalanguage to describe the effects of ideas, text structures and language features of literary texts ACELT1604. Examining literature Year 4 – Discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension ACELT1605. Year 5 – Recognise that ideas in literary texts can be conveyed from different viewpoints, which can lead to different kinds of interpretations and responses ACELT1610. Creating literature Year 4 – Create literary texts that explore students’ own experiences and imagining ACELT1607. Year 5 – Create literary texts that experiment with structures, ideas and stylistic features of selected authors ACELT1798

Literacy: interpreting, analysing and evaluating Year 4 – Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning to expand content knowledge, integrating and linking ideas and analysing and evaluating texts ACELY1692. Year 5 – Identify and explain characteristic text structures and language features used in imaginative, informative and persuasive texts to meet the purpose of the text ACELY1701. Navigate and read texts for specific purposes applying appropriate text processing strategies, for example predicting and confirming, monitoring meaning, skimming and scanning ACELY1702. Creating texts Year 4 – Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts containing key information and supporting details for a widening range of audiences, demonstrating increasing control over text structures and language features ACELY1694. Use a range of software including word processing programs to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements ACELY1697. Year 5 – Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience ACELY1704. Use a range of software including word processing programs with fluency to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements ACELY1707.

Source for content descriptions above: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

NSW English K–6 outcomes

Learning about Talking and Listening — Context and Text: TS3.3 Discusses ways in which spoken language differs from written language and how spoken language varies according to different contexts. RS2.6 Uses efficiently an integrated range of skills and strategies when reading and interpreting written texts.

Learning to Read — Skills and Strategies: RS3.6 Uses a comprehensive range of skills and strategies appropriate to the type of text being read. RS2.7 Discusses how writers relate to their readers in different ways, how they create a variety of worlds through language and how they use language to achieve a wide range of purposes.

Learning About Reading — Context and Text: RS3.7 Critically analyses techniques used by writers to create certain effects, to use language creatively, to position the reader in various ways and to construct different interpretations of experience. WS2.9 Drafts, revises, proofreads and publishes well- structured texts that are more demanding in terms of topic, audience and written language features.

Learning to Write — Producing Texts: WS3.9 Produces a wide range of well-structured and well-presented literary and factual texts for a wide variety of purposes and audiences using increasingly challenging topics, ideas, issues and written language features. WS2.10 Produces texts clearly, effectively and accurately, using the sentence structure, grammatical features and punctuation conventions of the text type.

Learning to Write — Skills and Strategies: WS3.10 Uses knowledge of sentence structure, grammar and punctuation to edit own writing. WS2.12 Uses joined letters when writing in NSW Foundation Style and demonstrates basic desktop publishing skills on the computer.

Learning to Write — Skills and Strategies: WS3.12 Produces texts in a fluent and legible style and uses computer technology to present these effectively in a variety of ways. WS2.14 Discusses how own texts have been structured to achieve their purpose and the grammatical features characteristic of the various text types used.

Learning About Writing — Language Structures and Features: WS3.14 Critically evaluates how own texts have been structured to achieve their purpose and discusses ways of using related grammatical features and conventions of written language to shape readers’ and viewers’ understanding of texts.

Assessment for learning

Australian Curriculum: English sub-strand: Literacy – Creating texts

Review previous narratives written by students using the following  criteria. Student is able to:

  • Create a sustained and engaging plot line
  • Develop characterisation through the use of effective language choices
  • Develop setting through the use of effective language choices
  • Create cohesion in a narrative by using appropriate transitions
  • Write a variety of correctly constructed sentences
  • Construct a text that is grammatically accurate
  • Punctuate a narrative correctly, including dialogue punctuation
  • Spell words of varying difficulty correctly.

Students will: Students review own work against the given criteria and set goals for further writing.

Preparation for reading

Australian Curriculum: English sub-strand: Literacy – Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

Display the front cover and use visual literacy concepts (for example,  angles, framing, colour, salience, demand and offer, reading paths, composition and layout) to support students to decode the images and  meanings on the cover.

Students will: Students discuss images, using the vocabulary of visual literacy, and the impact of various choices made by the illustrator.

Note: If students are not familiar with these concepts and terms,  provide explicit teaching and modeling — introducing several  concepts at a time.

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