Fiction

English Year 3 Spring Classic Fiction

Exciting Stories

Through Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, children explore plot, character and tension. They learn about direct speech and tense, and write their own exciting stories.

We recommend that you start with the core unit, the heart of this English block of study. This introduces key textual material and sets the tone for any further units you wish to teach. These can be selected on the basis of the needs of your class – look at the green icons to identify the unit’s particular focus: SPAG, Composition or Comprehension. Whichever units you choose, we suggest teaching them in order, as there is a built-in progression indicated by the numbering.

‘UNIT PLAN’ gives you a text version of all parts of the unit to use in your school planning documentation. ‘DOWNLOAD ALL FILES’ gives you that unit plan plus all of the associated documents.

Core
Unit 1 Core: Introduction to setting, character and style of Fantastic Mr Fox
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.
-- Develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.
-- Participate in discussions, performances and debates.
-- Listen and respond appropriately to peers.
-- Select and use appropriate registers.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Increase familiarity with a wide range of books.
-- Infer characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions.
-- Predict what might happen from details stated and implied.

 


-- Discuss words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination.
-- Identify how language, structure, and presentation contribute to meaning.

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Discuss writing similar to that which they will write to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar.
-- Organise paragraphs around a theme.

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Texts
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Explore Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl and discuss how the blurb uses suspense to draw the reader in. Introduce characters and read to the end of chapter 2. Discuss and record the farmers’ characteristics using a Venn diagram.
Activity
In groups, children choose a different character from the story. They highlight words from the text that describe that character’s personality then draw the character on a card. They create accompanying cards with different phrases and sentences that describe the character.

Day 2 Teaching
Recap the story so far and its use of suspense and tension. Remind children of the five key elements in story structure and that each chapter has its own micro structure. Read the opening of Chapter 3 and model starting a story map for this chapter.
Activity
Children read and discuss chapter 3 with a partner. They draw a story map to accompany it using language from the text that builds suspense and tension.

Day 3 Teaching
Agree that Roald Dahl appears to make the baddies completely bad and the goodies completely good in his story. Is this true, though? Introduce hot-seating and choose a child to take the role of Mr Fox as an example. Reinforce the need to ask open-ended questions.
Activity
Children try to establish if Mr Fox is a bad character for stealing and if the farmers are perhaps not so bad, merely defending their businesses against a thief. In pairs, children take turns to hot-seat Mr Fox or a farmer, while the other asks questions.

Day 4 Teaching
Read Chapter 6 and discuss the farmers’ behaviour and the reaction of the crowd. Then read a letter of complaint from the local council about the chaos and destruction. Make a list of possible arguments that the farmers might reply back with to the council.
Activity
Children write a letter back to the council, in role as a farmer, to explain what has happened and why they are taking action.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Punctuating dialogue; inference and prediction
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Participate in discussions, presentations, performances and debates.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Show understanding through intonation, tone and volume.
-- Infer characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions.
-- Predict what might happen from details stated and implied.

Transcription
None for this unit

 

Composition
-- Discuss writing similar to that which they will write to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar.
-- Compose an increasing range of sentence structures.

Grammar
-- Use and punctuate direct speech.
-- Use and understand the grammatical terminology in Appendix 2 accurately and appropriately when discussing their writing and reading (dialogue punctuation).

You Will Need

Texts
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Presentations
Grammar Presentation: Dialogue

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Chapter 7 of Fantastic Mr Fox and note the use dialogue or direct speech.
Share slides 1-6 of the PowerPoint: Dialogue and ask children what they know about punctuating dialogue. Children read the text on slides 4 and 6 with expression.
Activity
Children read Chapter 8 with a partner. They highlight the dialogue using punctuation to help. Children note who is speaking by underlining the reporting clause. Children should read with effective expression.

Day 2 Teaching
Read Chapter 9 of Fantastic Mr Fox. Notice that this part of the story is told through direct speech. Use slides 7-12 of PowerPoint: Dialogue to teach the punctuation of direct speech.
Activity
Children roleplay a conversation between Mr and Mrs Fox, based on a given scenario. Encourage children to think about how their character is feeling as this will affect the way that they are talking.

Day 3 Teaching
Recap dialogue punctuation using the PowerPoint. Use an example of roleplay from Day 2 and model recording it as punctuated dialogue. Include a range of reporting clauses that would help a reader with expression.
Activity
Children recap briefly on their roleplay from Day 2. They then write it collaboratively as punctuated dialogue with a range of reporting clauses. They use the Direct Speech Checklist to ensure they have applied correct punctuation and grammar.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Grammar Presentation: Dialogue
Children identify, read and learn how to punctuate direct speech, including inverted commas, commas between clauses and end of speech clause punctuation.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Characters, setting and plot
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Participate in discussions.

Word Reading
-- Use knowledge of root words, prefixes & suffixes to read aloud and understand the meaning of new words.

Comprehension
-- Predict what might happen from details stated and implied.
-- Identify how language and structure contribute to meaning.
-- Infer characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions.

 

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Compose and rehearse sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures.

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Texts
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read the beginning of Chapter 10 from Fantastic Mr Fox in a monotone voice with no expression. Note and discuss the clues that help us to deliver a good performance when reading aloud. Then shared read the first 2-3 paragraphs.
Activity
Children read Chapter 10 in guided reading groups. They use the Story Prompt Questions (see resources) to discuss the story. Children annotate or highlight the text to show their answers.

Day 2 Teaching
Read the opening of Chapter 11 and discuss the feelings of the little fox and Mrs Fox.
Ask children how the direct speech helps us to understand how the characters are feeling. Remind children of speech punctuation.
Activity
Give children copies of Chapters 11 and 12. They read the text in pairs then complete comprehension questions, one chapter at a time.

Day 3 Teaching
Read Chapters 13 and 14. Discuss the conversation between Badger and Mr Fox about stealing. Create a list of the arguments that Mr Fox presents to justify his stealing and model using descriptive and persuasive language to make it even more convincing.
Activity
Children imagine that Mr Fox is in court accused of stealing. They identify key arguments that justify this stealing then write a speech for Mr Fox to present in court.

Day 4 Teaching
Discuss how tension in stories creates feelings of suspense. Explain that writers build tension to make their stories exciting. Children make tension meters by raising and lowering arms depending on tension level. Then read Chapter 15 and record as a tension graph.
Activity
Children choose and read a chapter from Fantastic Mr Fox to plot its tension. They plot the tension on the Tension Graph Template, noting what happens at high and low points, annotating their graph.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Present perfect form
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Infer characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions.
-- Predict what might happen from details stated and implied.

 

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Compose with an increasing range of sentence structures.

Grammar
-- Use the present perfect form of verbs in contrast to the past tense.

You Will Need

Texts
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Presentations
Grammar PowerPoint: Present Perfect Form

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Chapter 16 of Fantastic Mr Fox and identify some verbs. Use PowerPoint: Present Perfect Form to revise verbs in the simple present and past forms. Then introduce present perfect verb forms using slides 5-7.
Activity
Children cut out sentences provided from Chapter 16. They read them and sort them into simple past and present perfect forms.

Day 2 Teaching
Discuss Chapter 17 then use slides 8 and 9 PowerPoint: Present Perfect Form to recap on the present perfect form. Address any misconceptions then introduce the sentence building challenge on slide 9. Children discuss each in pairs before revealing the answer.
Activity
Children complete one of the following activities to consolidate understanding of present perfect form: cloze activity; sentence pairs; rewriting a simple past passage into the perfect form.

Day 3 Teaching
Show children slide 10 PowerPoint: Present Perfect Form to recap present perfect form. Play perfect form ping-pong as a class then in pairs to verbally rehearse present perfect forms of sentence structure. Then model writing present perfect form sentences for an illustration from the book.
Activity
Offer children a choice of illustration pages. They write as many present perfect form sentences as they can around it that relate to the illustration.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Grammar PowerPoint: Present Perfect Form
Revise verbs and simple past and present verb forms, before learning to identify and build sentences in present perfect form. Discuss when the present perfect form is used in writing.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Write an exciting story in the style of Fantastic Mr Fox
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Listen and respond to peers.
-- Maintain attention, participating actively in collaborative conversations.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
None for this unit

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Discuss writing similar to that being written, understanding and learning from its structure, vocabulary and grammar.
-- Discuss and record ideas.
-- Compose sentences, progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures.

 


-- Organise paragraphs around a theme.
-- Create settings, characters and plot.
-- Assess the effectiveness of writing and suggest improvements.
-- Propose changes to grammar and vocabulary to improve consistency.
-- Proof-read for spelling and punctuation errors.

Grammar
-- Use the present perfect verb form.
-- Use and punctuate direct speech.
-- Consistently use the past tense [Y2 revision].
-- Use and understand the grammatical terminology in Appendix 2 accurately and appropriately when discussing their writing and reading [verbs and tense].

You Will Need

Texts
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Recap and discuss the main events of Fantastic Mr Fox and create story pegs or prompts for each section: Introduction; Build up; Climax/Problem; Resolution; Ending. Explain that children will plan their own stories along the same lines as Fantastic Mr Fox.
Activity
Children discuss ideas for settings, characters, plot, etc. with a partner. They decide the family of animals that will feature in their story and the setting then plan their stories by creating a story map with pictures and words.

Day 2 Teaching
Share one child’s story map from Day 1, exploring the characters and setting they’ve chosen. Children act out a conversation between the nasty characters. Scribe one of the conversations on the whiteboard, revising dialogue punctuation.
Activity
Using their story map, children begin to write their stories. They include punctuated dialogue in to bring their characters to life and make their story interesting.

Day 3 Teaching
Today children will use their plans to continue to write their stories. Recap on the effective use of powerful words and phrases for impact as well as punctuated dialogue. Emphasise the importance of writing in a consistent tense.
Activity
Children write the part of their story where the action happens. This should be an exciting part with lots of powerful words for description and action. Remind children that each event/story peg will stimulate at least one paragraph.

Day 4 Teaching
Today children will finish their stories as well as editing and improving their work so far. Model how we can read a story out loud to discover any mistakes. Emphasise that as you read it, missing words, or the lack of sentence punctuation, become obvious.
Activity
Children complete their story. Once finished, they edit it to remove errors. Encourage children to read it aloud to a partner or to themselves. Where appropriate, challenge children to try adding a sentence using present perfect form.