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National Strategy - Year 6

The key elements of the English Curriculum (Word Level, Sentence Level, Text Level reading and writing) correspond to the Teaching Shakespeare worksheets in the following ways:

Word and Sentence level work is mostly covered in the Language section which examines how words and grammar have changed in the last 400 years. Exercises consider how word order has altered since Shakespeare’s time, how some words have been lost and others acquired new meanings, how verb endings have changed, and how pronouns and prepositions were often different to today’s usage. This section gives students opportunity to invent new words and requires use of dictionary and thesaurus.

Text level reading and writing activities are to be found in the On paper or computer sections. Many of the suggested activities require students to research related cultural or historical issues, providing opportunity to develop research skills such as skim reading and note-taking. Equal emphasis is placed on creative composition which allows for fun and experimentation with language. Tasks range from writing poetry, newspaper articles and diary entries to sustained imaginative fiction. Where space allows, reminders are given of the need to draft, edit and evaluate written work, though it is assumed that such procedures are in any case routine.

Throughout, there is of course the chance for students to become familiar with the works of the world’s greatest ever playwright, to find out what makes his plays so special and to refine their response to it.

Apart from obvious links to ICT and research tasks, the worksheets touch on many other areas of the Year 6 curriculum including history, music, dance and mime, drama, geography, art and maths.

All of the elements of the English curriculum outlined below are covered by the Teaching Shakespeare worksheets. All the books contain the broad elements, but details will vary from play to play. Eg. The Twelfth Night teacher’s resource book has worksheets on puns and nonsense verse, but similar pages will not be found in Teaching Shakespeare: Macbeth, for obvious reasons.

Word Level Work

To understand how words and expressions have changed over time, eg. old verb endings – st and –th and how some words have fallen out of use, eg. yonder, thither;
To understand how new words have been added to the language, eg. trainers, wheelie;

To understand that the meanings of words change over time, eg. through investigating words such as nice, presently, without;

To experiment with language, eg. creating new words, similes and metaphors;

To understand the function of the etymological dictionary, and use it to study words of interest and significance.

To use personal reading, a range of dictionaries and previous knowledge to investigate words with common prefixes, suffixes and root words.

Sentence Level Work

Revise from Yr 5 the different word classes, eg. prepositions;

To conduct detailed language investigations through interviews, research and reading, eg. of proverbs, language change over time

Fiction and Poetry: Reading Comprehension

To describe and evaluate the style of an individual writer;

To comment critically on the overall impact of a poem, showing how language and themes have been developed;

To describe and evaluate the style of an individual poet;

To compare and contrast the work of a single writer;

To look at connections and contrasts in the work of different writers;

To compare and evaluate a novel or play in print and the film/TV version, eg. treatment of the plot and characters, the difference in the two forms, eg. in seeing the setting, in losing the narrator;

To articulate personal responses to literature, identifying why and how a text affects the reader;

To be familiar with the work of some established authors, to know what is special about their work, and to explain their preferences in terms of authors, styles and themes;

To contribute constructively to shared discussion about literature, responding to and building on the views of others;

To recognize how poets manipulate words:

To investigate humorous verse:

To analyse how messages, moods, feelings and attitudes are conveyed in poetry;

To read and interpret poems in which meanings are implied or multi-layered; to discuss, interpret challenging poems with others;

To identify the key features of different types of literary text, eg. stock characters, plot structure and how particular texts conform, develop or undermine the type, eg. through parody;

To analyse the success of texts and writers in evoking particular responses in the reader, eg. where suspense is well-built;

To increase familiarity with significant poets and writers of the past;

Fiction and Poetry: Writing composition

To annotate passages in detail in response to specific questions;

To write summaries of books or parts of books, deciding on priorities relevant to purpose;

To write a brief synopsis of a text, eg. for back cover blurb;

To write a brief helpful review tailored for a real audience;

To compare texts in writing, drawing out:

To write a sequence of poems linked by theme or form;

To write an extended story, worked on over time on a theme identified in reading;

To manipulate narrative perspective by:

To plan quickly and effectively the plot, characters and structure of their own narrative writing;

To summarise a passage, chapter or text in a specific number of words;

To prepare a short section of story as a script, eg. using stage directions, locations/settings;

To write own poems experimenting with active verbs and personification; produce revised poems for reading aloud individually;

To use different genres and models to write, eg. short extracts, sequels, additional episodes, alternative endings, using appropriate conventions, language;

To write own story using eg. flashbacks or a story within a story to convey the passing of time;

To study in depth one genre and produce an extended piece of similar writing, eg. for inclusion in a class anthology, to plan, revise, re-draft this and bring to presentational standard, eg. layout, paragraphing, accuracy of punctuation and spelling, handwriting/printing;

Parody a literary text, describing stock characters and plot structure, language etc.

To write commentaries or summaries crediting views expressed by using expressions such as, ‘The writer says that…’

Non Fiction: Reading Comprehension

To appraise a text quickly and effectively; to retrieve information from it; to find information quickly and evaluate its value;

To secure the skills of skimming, scanning and efficient reading so that research is fast and effective;

To distinguish between biography and autobiography, recognizing the effect of the reader of the choice between first and third person

Non Fiction: Writing Composition

To select the appropriate style and form to suit a specific purpose and audience, drawing on knowledge of different non-fiction text type;s

To develop the skills of biographical and autobiographical writing in role, adopting distinctive voices, eg. of historical characters through, eg.

To use the styles and conventions of journalism to report on eg. real or imagined events;

To use IT to plan, revise, edit writing to improve accuracy and conciseness and to bring it to publication standard;

To construct effective arguments:

To write a balanced report of a controversial issue

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