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

The content description links on this page have been updated in line with Version 9.0 of the Australian Curriculum. Use this guide to compare codes across versions.

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 AC9E4LA06. Year 5 – Understand the use of vocabulary to express greater precision of meaning, and know that words can have different meanings in different contexts  AC9E5LA08

Literature: Responding to literature Year 4 – Use metalanguage to describe the effects of ideas, text structures and language features of literary texts AC9E4LE02. 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 AC9E4LE03. Year 5 – Recognise that ideas in literary texts can be conveyed from different viewpoints, which can lead to different kinds of interpretations and responses AC9E5LE03. 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 AC9E5LE05

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 AC9E4LY05. 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 AC9E5LY03. Navigate and read texts for specific purposes applying appropriate text processing strategies, for example predicting and confirming, monitoring meaning, skimming and scanning AC9E5LY04. 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 AC9E4LY06. 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. 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 AC9E5LY06. 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.

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

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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