Readers thrive in an environment that encourages them to interact with others because knowledge is built in social contexts (Mercer and others). Scaffolded opportunities for discussion allow readers to develop their story schema, as well as learn from the contributions of others. Allow readers time to refine their interpretations and expand their understandings. Literature circles are one way of organising small group discussion. They are usually child-led, especially after the teacher has modelled the process.
- At least one copy of The Song from Somewhere Else.
- One copy each of ‘What Do you Think?’ organiser
Gather the class for the final chapter of the book. Anticipation will be high as the children find out how the story ends. Read to the end without stopping if possible. At the end, give the children a chance to reflect in silence before asking:
- Were you satisfied by the ending of the story?
- Would you have changed anything?
Organise the children into groups of between four (optimum) and six. These can be self-selected or selected for pedagogical purposes.
Distribute copies of the’ What Do You Think?’ resource. If the children are not familiar with the format, explain that it is a way of recording your response to a book. They should write notes for each section. Allow about ten minutes for children to make their notes. It is vital that they do not share ideas at this stage.
Once everyone has finished (including the teacher) each member of the group takes it in turns to share their responses. Model this with your own responses. The rest of the group will listen without making comments. Set the following rules before the groups begin to share:
- Each member of the group will have a chance to share their responses.
- Don’t interrupt or comment on what is said. Listen attentively.
Once each group member has shared their responses, open the discussion up by inviting the children to comment on the differences and similarities in their likes and dislikes. Next, focus attention on the puzzles section and give time for discussion about these.
Then look at the questions that have arisen. Ask some of the children to share their questions. Collect some of the questions and see if there is a question that lots of people have or one that seems particularly interesting. As a class, choose which one you think would provoke a fruitful discussion. Then sitting in a circle pose the questions allowing everyone to respond to it.
- Did you enjoy talking about the book after reading?
- Did hearing other people’s responses change your thinking about the book?
NotesReading to take place on MON. Tues CHN to complete WDYT in their books with a sticker.
All the way through the book, Frank’s stomach talks to her. Harrold uses this device cleverly to explore Frank’s character. It reveals her insecurities and her flaws, and it describes her fears. It helps us to understand her internal dilemmas and illustrate that humans are complex and multi-dimensional. We are not good or bad a bully or a friend; we are all capable of mean or unkind thoughts. It also shines a light on her bravery in the face of her fears. Despite her stomach’s warnings, she pushes herself into situations that she fears and that makes her a true hero.
- Copies of The Song from Somewhere Else at least one between two. You will need to have read the entire book before teaching this lesson.
- Have quotes prepared to display, of Frank’s stomach’s comments. See resource ‘Frank’s Stomach’
In pairs, ask the children to write on a whiteboard a list of all the characters. Allow just 30 seconds.
Gather the class and list them. See if any of them put down Frank’s stomach. If nobody does, ask if you should add it to the list. Explore whether they recognise that her stomach represents a part of her or whether they feel we could regard it as a separate character. Play with this by saying, ‘It must be a character because it speaks to her regularly and appears throughout the book.’. Let the children respond to this point.
Introduce the term personification, if it is not already familiar (The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human.)
Introduce the term subconscious, if it is not already familiar, (Part of the mind of which you are not fully aware of but which influences your actions and feelings).
Once you have discussed her stomach as a character explain that you are going to explore why A.F. Harrold included the voice of Frank’s stomach.
Give each child one of the quotes from the resource ‘Frank’s stomach’. Make sure they have the page number so they can find the quote in context. With their partners ask them to find their quotes in the book and read around the quote until they understand the context.
Next, practise in pairs saying the quote to your partner in a voice that emotes the mood and tone implied. Both children should practise their quote.
Once everyone is happy that they understand and they have practised, organise the class in a large standing circle. You will need to organise the children, so they are standing in the order that the quotes appear in the story.
Each child takes it in turns to say their quote aloud. End with the line where the stomach tells her that she wishes she could leave her. Repeat ensuring everyone is saying their line with emotion and offering suggestions to extend the work as appropriate. Then ask the children to sit in the circle and consider the following questions with the person next to them.
- How does Frank’s stomach generally speak to her?
- Is her stomach’s voice a positive voice?
- How does her stomach feel most of the time?
- How does hearing Frank’s stomach’s opinions help us to understand Frank better?
Gather the class to take feedback and probe with supplementary prompts. They should see how critical and rude her stomach often is and how fearful of the world.
- Why do you think A.F. Harrold created a voice for Frank’s stomach, not her brain or her heart or feet?
Bring the children’s attention to the quote:
‘Whatever you do,’ her stomach said, slipping its words into the middle of the morning like stinging nettles in a salad, ‘don’t listen. Don’t go closer. Don’t get involved. Secrets never end well. Leave the freak and go home. Jess’ll be back from holiday soon. Just go wait for her. Let things be as they always were.’ pg. 101
Check they understand who the ‘freak’ is.
- What feelings do you have when you read this?
- Who is thinking this thought?
- How does that make us feel about Frank?
- Does having mean thoughts make us a mean person?
Once you have explored this idea and considered whether we all have mean thoughts from time to time, ask the children to return to their tables and turn to page 70. Re-read it aloud to them from ‘Out of the shadows’ to page 73, ‘Tonight she wasn’t running away, and she wouldn’t turn back.’.
During this episode, Frank’s stomach is quietened by a stronger voice.
- How does this voice differ from the stomach?
- What was it that made Frank follow this voice?
- Do you think it was a good idea to listen to this voice?
After this discussion, direct the children to page 130. Remind them that at this point in the story Frank is considering whether she should admit to Nick that she has given away his secret to Neil Noble. Read it aloud from ‘Her first instinct was to…’ until ‘…before it shuffled off into the shadows, whistling.’
Here A.F. Harrold personifies Frank’s instincts.
- How does imagining these instincts as characters who move and shuffle off impact our response?
- Do the children like this device of creating characters out of thoughts?
- Have they seen this used anywhere else?
Weave the key vocabulary into the discussion and encourage the children to use it too.
- Would Frank’s character have been as interesting without her stomach’s words?
- Would it have been a good story if Frank had always listened to her stomach?
NotesComplete this session on Wednesday.
A.F. Harrold uses metaphors and similes to illustrate a character or evoke emotion. This lesson is an opportunity for the children to locate examples of figurative language and discuss their responses to it as well as reflect on how the image creates meaning.
- Copies of The Song from Somewhere Else, at least one between two
- Definitions of the terms ‘metaphor’, ‘simile’ and ‘figurative language’ to display
- Upload a copy of the table on your IWB so that you can reveal a column at a time.
|Simile||Their laughter was like knives being dropped.||The reader understands it is cruel dangerous, mocking laughter.|
|Metaphor||He was the lion that loped alongside the antelope calling it names until the antelope started to cry.||He is more powerful than them and is enjoying the fear he strikes in them rather than the kill.|
Begin the lesson with the quote “‘ You’re muddling your metaphors, again,’ said her stomach.”
- What is a metaphor?
|A metaphor is used to make a comparison between two things that aren’t alike but do have something in common.|
If this is a new idea, provide some examples and invite the children to create their own metaphors.
No pose the question:
- I wonder what the stomach meant about muddled metaphors. If the children are unsure, provide a simple explanation.
Once you have ensured everyone understands what a metaphor is, explain that this is one type of figurative language.
- Do you know any other types of figurative language? The children may already be familiar with similes.
|A simile is used to compare two unlike things. It is often introduced by like or as Such as ‘As cool as a cucumber’ or ‘A smile like sunshine.’|
Once you have established understanding of metaphors and similes, show them the table above. Don’t reveal the examples and effects. Then say that you have found a metaphor and a simile from the first chapter of The Song from Somewhere Else.
Their laughter was like knives being dropped.
He was the lion that loped alongside the antelope calling it names until the antelope started to cry.
- Which is the simile, and which is the metaphor?
Reveal the table. Now ask
- Why do you think A.F. Harrold would use similes and metaphors in his writing?
Allow time for partner discussion before sharing responses.
- What does the simile tell us about the laughter?
Next, show the effect in the table.
Repeat with the lion metaphor. After discussion, see if the children agree with the effect already written in the table.
Explain that A.F. Harrold uses figurative language to describe his characters and their emotions and that you would like them to explore the text to find further examples of similes and metaphors.
Ask them to draw a table like the one displayed and add any metaphors and similes that they find in the story. Then ask them to add an explanation of the effect on the reader. Working in pairs will provide an opportunity for shared thinking.
After 15 – 20 minutes, ask the children to share their table with another pair. Then ask them to choose their favourite metaphor or simile.
Each child writes their favourite on a sticky note and sticks them on a designated display space. Allow time for the class to view and read some aloud.
Ask the children to come up with some similes or metaphors to finish the following sentences:
Reading a good book is…
Unkind words are…