Walter’s Heroic Qualities


The idea of a hero is often subjective and people can be described as heroes for different reasons. Children may associate heroes with superheroes and famous people. In this lesson the children discuss the qualities that Walter Tull displayed to justify being described as a hero. Finding evidence in the text requires the children to review the whole book. 


  • Copies of Walter Tull’s Scrapbook, one per pair.
  • Copies of Heroic Qualities cards, one per pair. 


Begin by referring back to the statement on the back cover of Walter Tull’s Scrapbook:

Walter Tull is a hero of our time.

Explain that now the children have read Walter’s story they are going to look more closely at why Walter is described as a hero. 

Distribute copies of the Heroic Qualities cards to pairs. First the pairs should sort the words into two piles, those they are confident they understand in one pile and those which require clarification in the other. This is a good opportunity to reinforce dictionary skills by looking up the words to clarify understanding.  Next the pairs should choose the four words they feel are most relevant to Walter. They will then take each quality and look back through the book to find evidence to support the quality. Reinforce that they can change their mind if in the course of re-reading they find other qualities are more relevant. These can be recorded using a simple table: 

Quality          Evidence

Once complete, the pairs should join with another pair to compare their responses:

  • Have you chosen the same qualities? 
  • Is there one quality that stands out more than another? 
  • Does Walter display different qualities at different times of his life? 

Now challenge the groups of four to pick their top three words which describe Walter’s heroic qualities. Explain that they will present these to the whole class.

Final reflection

The word hero is often described to describe sportsmen. Share the following headline:

England hero Harry Kane is the best goalscorer in the world, says Gareth Southgate

(Evening Standard 19.11.18)

  • Do you think sportsmen and women can be described as heroes? 
  • Is Harry Kane a different sort of hero to Walter Tull? How? 


LAPs to have a few words to discuss the meanings of and locate their definition in a dictionary and choose which one best describes Walter.

News Report


Creating  a news report requires readers to take information from the book and recreate it in a different format. They will need to use their summarising skills to pick out the most significant events from the life of Walter Tull. 


  • Copies of Walter Tull’s Scrapbook, one per pair. 
  • Copies of Flow Map, enlarged.


If Walter Tull had lived 100 years later, his death would undoubtedly have been reported on the television news. Begin by sharing a television news report about the death of a well known figure. An example can be found of a report about Gordon Banks, the former England goalkeeper who died in 2019, here: You may have a different clip you would like to use for a different person. Watch the report once to get the gist of the content and the second time to consider what kind of information the report contains. Some of the features are:

  • Their age when they died and what caused their death.
  • Important events in their life.
  • Why they will be remembered.
  • Quotes from people who knew them. 

Organise the class into groups of 4. Distribute enlarged copies of the Flow Map. Each of the three large boxes could contain a different heading: 

  • Childhood
  • Football
  • War

The groups will need to work together to find information from the book to enter into the Flow Map. The smaller boxes below can contain sub-headings about the main headings. 

The groups will then use their notes to create a scripts for their news story. Alternatively they could present the news story from the notes. Each member of the group could take a different section, e.g. 

  • Introduction and ending.
  • Childhood.
  • Football career.
  • War.

Different group members could go into role to provide quotes about Walter. 

The reports could be recorded or presented directly to the rest of the class. If possible, share the presentations with other classes and/or parents. 

Final reflection

  • Which was the most difficult aspect of this task? 
  • How did you decide which events of Walter’s life were most significant
  • Did any other groups choose to focus on different events? 


Flow maps to have pictures on to add details to. Flow Maps in lesson 2 and script writing in lesson 3. Both to be placed in their books to refer back to.

A Suitable Epitaph


By summarising a reader discerns the most important aspects of a text and disregards less important detail. Teaching children to summarise improves their reading memory. The lesson begins with an exploration of the word epitaph, its origins and morphology. Students who cultivate an awareness of roots develop skills in pronunciation, spelling and meaning.


  • Copies of Walter Tull’s Scrapbook, one per pair.
  • Copies of the Epitaph, one per pair.


Write the word ‘epitaph’ on the board. Ask if the children have ever heard this word before. 

  • Are any parts of the word familiar, e.g. the prefix ‘epi’?  (This particular may not be familiar, so take the opportunity to teach it.)
  • Do you know any other words with this prefix? (e.g. epidemic, epicentre, epidermis, epilogue, epicentre.)

Students who cultivate an awareness of these roots develop skills in pronunciation, spelling and meaning Tell the class that the prefix epi means over or upon.  The epidermis, or visible layer of skin in humans, lies “over” the dermis and hypodermis, the two underlying skin layers. The epicenter of an earthquake is that point on the surface of the Earth directly “over” the very center or place of origin of an earthquake. The second part of the word derives from the Greek word ‘taphos’ meaning to bury or tomb. Epitaph means writing over a tomb. Another way of describing it is a phrase or form of words written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone.


  • How easy do you think it would be to summarise Walter Tull’s life in a sentence?

Working in pairs, the children should try to write a 50 word summary of Walter Tull’s life. If this is challenging, begin with a 100 word limit then reduce down. Share the summaries with the class before turning to page 30-31 in Walter Tull’s Scrapbook. Give time for the pairs to read page 30 which summarises Walter Tull’s life. 

Next look at the photograph of Walter Tull’s memorial. Explain that Phil Vasilii, a football writer who has researched the life of Walter Tull and written his biography, was asked to write an epitaph for the memorial. Share the text with the class: 

Through his actions, Tull ridiculed the barriers of ignorance that tried to deny people of colour equality with their contemporaries. His life stands testament to a determination to confront those people and those obstacles that sought to diminish him and the world in which he lived. It reveals a man,though rendered breathless in his prime, whose strong heart still beats loudly.

Distribute copies of the epitaph and ask pairs to highlight the words they think are most important. Ask:

  • If you could choose only one word, which would it be and why?

Final reflection

  • Are there any other ways of paying tribute to Walter Tull? (e.g. statue, naming a stand at a football stadium after him.) 

Share the following story which describes how Tottenham Hotspur paid tribute to Walter Tull and others:


LAPs to have headings to support their summaries. Each heading could allow the chn to write ten word sentences.

A Land of Butterflies


This immersive hook is intended to provide space for children to reflect on the wonder of the natural world.


Gather together materials to create your butterfly paradise. You can use a corner of the classroom, the library or another space in the school, as long as children can spend time in it. Suggested items to create your space:

  • Butterfly wall stickers. These are available cheaply from online sellers. They are particularly effective if clustered together in large numbers.
  • Butterfly LED lights
  • Sky blue fabric to create a waterfall effect
  • A rainbow 
  • Fluffy cloud shapes for the ceiling
  • A grassy rug or some budget artificial grass matting
  • Cushions for comfort
  • A display of nature books including books about butterflies
  • A butterfly chalkboard or peel on/off chalkboard style stickers for the wall.
  • Butterfly templates and colouring materials for the children to create butterflies to add to the display
  • Display some questions to prompt thought such as: 
    • What do butterflies make you think about?
    • Do you ever cloud gaze?
    • What shapes can you see in the clouds today?
    • Do you have a favourite butterfly?


Once the immersive space has been set up, allow groups of children to spend time in the space reading and browsing, either from the collection on display or a book that they choose to read.

This should be ongoing for at least a week before you plan to start the sequence.

Final reflection

At the end of the immersion period, gather the class.

  • What did you like best about the butterfly space?