Adventure 2: A Wartime Tale
The new adventure started with an announcement by Neville Chamberlain: World War Two had begun! The children were then introduced to Nancy and Edwin, who were wartime children struggling to understand what was happening. It was our job to learn all about the war to help them know what to expect. The first task was to learn key facts about the outbreak through a burn 2 learn. They then found out about all the other countries around the world that were involved.
After the children learnt about the outbreak of war, they stepped into the shoes of their Nancy or Edwin to write a diary all about their experience so far. They imagineered how they felt and what they did after hearing the announcement of war. Then completed some work on conjunctions before writing their finished diaries.
To help the children understand more about why the war broke out, they focused on a non-fiction text in reading called ‘Why did Britain go to war?’ They completed a range of activities based on the text: fact retrieval, inference, summarising, find and copy and word meanings.
Next came something they had heard a little bit about in guided reading: air raid shelters. The children heard that Nancy and Edwin’s family had been given an air raid shelter to put up in the back garden but they didn’t understand why. The children learnt about the different types of air raid shelters used in the war and why they were necessary.
During the first editing lesson of the half term, the children worked on removal and improvement skills. They heard two sentences that needed making better that could have featured in a diary, description or story about The Blitz. Then they focused on matching good relative clauses to the part of the sentence they had through a burn 2 learn. The children then had to individually improve and remove parts from a pre-written paragraph.
The next part of the lesson saw the children experience what it would be like spending the night in an air raid shelter. The tables were covered in black paper and we used battery operated candles to imagineer the senses experienced in the shelter.
We then looked at examples of wartime poems and shared what was good about them. The children then used all they had learnt to write their own poems.
We then decided to see if we could make our own air raid shelters. They decided what materials would be best to use to mimic the actual materials. Then they designed their own and made it trying to make it as strong and safe as possible. After making them, we tested them by dropping different objects on top.
The next part of the adventure was rationing. Edwin and Nancy were struggling to understand why they didn’t have as much food as before. They completed an anagram orienteering hunt to locate different foods to unscramble. They then returned to the class to a wartime shop and an Asda shop. They were given coupons and a ration book. We compared the tables and amounts of food they would have had.
Using this information, the children wrote non-chronological reports about rationing.
The next part of the lesson focused on our science topic of light. We first thought about the importance of light during the war or the need to block light during blackouts. The children first learnt about some key areas of light: light sources, how we see light, how light travels and the shape of shadows through an investigation outside (until the sun was blocked by clouds).
We then completed an investigation that looked into the best materials to block light during an air raid in the Blitz. The children decided on four materials to test. They learnt about vocabulary like opaque, translucent and transparent to decipher which material would be the best and worst. They then completed the investigation and drew a table to show the results.
The next editing lesson saw the children reaching for the stars. They had three setting descriptions of London before the Blitz. They had to read and highlight the good features of each text. The next step was to rank the pieces of work from star piece to moon piece to earth piece. We looked closer at the star piece and discussed each feature. The children then created their own success criteria for a setting description.
Next up came the evacuation! The lesson began with Mrs Oldroyd in role as an evacuee (Nancy). The children hot-seated Mrs Oldroyd and asked questions to find out which she had a suitcase, label, identity card and gas mask. After discovering that Nancy and Edwin were being evacuated, they learnt more about what this meant and what they would have taken with them. They had to write a paragraph about what evacuation was and draw what the children would have taken.
The children all then stepped into the shoes of Nancy and Edwin to imagine they were evacuated to the countryside to live with an old lady called Mrs Mable. Before writing a letter home, they took part in a range of activities: they imagineered the journey and their experiences on the train; they described Mrs Mable’s house; and wrote about the first conversation they had with her.
In reading the children focussed on an extract from the wartime story ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’. They practised a range of skills during the week of reading: retrieval, find and copy, summarising, a word meaning burn 2 learn and inference.
In editing the children focussed on a new skill: WAJOLL (What a jumbled one looks like). They read a paragraph about evacuation that wasn’t written in a good order. They then had to move the sentences around so it made more sense. They then added fronted adverbials to aid cohesion of the paragraph.
In art the children learnt about the artist Lowry. They looked at a range of his art work of cities and discussed how he created mood through his use of stick figures and colour. They used his style to depict two scenes of London during WW2. The first was before The Blitz and the second was after. They used sketch pencils and watercolours to create their final piece.
In another art lesson the children learnt about key London landmarks that were around during WW2. They first did a Burn 2 Learn where they had to move to the place in the classroom that showed a picture of the landmark. They then did some silhouette art using oil pastels and black paper to show London during The Blitz.
The children then heard that The Blitz had occurred back in London. They used pictures to imagineer what it would have been like. They considered what they could hear, see and smell.
They then wrote setting descriptions focusing on the spelling of 3/4 and 5/6 words.
Mrs Mable (the children’s guardian) was very religious and Nancy and Edwin noticed lots of religious symbols around the house. Unfortunately they didn’t know what they were so we completed a burn 2 learn to learn their names. The children then wrote reports about them and designed a stained glass window using some of the symbols.
As we were nearing the end of the adventure, we did some baking of wartime treats for our Christmas performance of A Wartime Christmas. The children made lemon tarts and mince pies.
Following making the treats, the children wrote some instructions focussing on fronted adverbials and colons and semi colons.
For ‘A Wartime Christmas’ the children performed songs from the war time and some traditional Christmas songs. Also there was performances from the guitar and ukulele groups.
As this adventure ended with a Wartime Carol Concert on Wednesday 11th December, we had several songs for this adventure which we practiced each week in singing (and endlessly in class!)