It is strange it think it is only January and yet we are all already feeling exhausted and a bit fed up with the current set up for home education (I have said this before and I will keep saying it – this lockdown style of learning is NOT home education and even us “normal” home educators are struggling with being cooped up and stuck at home this much). So I am trying to add in as many learning activities that I know my kids enjoy and I am trying hard to vary what we do week to week.
One of the big winners last year were the Twinkl eBooks and their activities so last weekend I asked my youngest if we should try one and he was immediately keen. We went onto the site (this is the place to go to see which eBooks they have – Twinkl eBook library) and he selected Phyllis and the Fossil Finders.
As always there are a bunch of linked activities to the eBook including some grammar pages and topic pages (about fossils) and of course they have the guided reading questions to along with the story. But I must admit the week before we had actually done quite a bit on fossils, including how they are formed so we actually did not go down the fossil angle.
Instead we focused on the creative writing side and character aspect of this book. And after reading just a few pages I actually called my oldest (who is Year 8) and suggested she come and read it with us. Okay I am sure a lot of you think that is strange. But the way the story is written really appealed to me, the writer drops these hints about the characters without coming out to say this character has sensory issues or this character has this illness etc, they just mention little bits here and there that build up these characters. And I thought it was an excellent example for my oldest in terms of how she could drop these hints about characters in her own writing.
She actually ended up reading the entire eBook with us and we had a few discussions about how writers can drop hints without coming out and saying something and how it is actually fun for the reading to piece together these bits of information.
And just because she was enjoying the eBook so much when I gave my son the comprehension to do I actually searched the KS3 comprehensions and found one on Mary Anning which tied in perfectly with the book. So she also got to do an age appropriate activity “linked” to the eBook.
Sticking with the creative writing angle. We downloaded the Character profile pages that are linked to the eBook and then I also searched Twinkl and found a number of other character writing pages that we printed out (these ones – Character Traits, character description checklist, character description word mat and physical appearance adjectives). I love that about these eBooks, they always link activities to the eBooks but you can always extend those activities with other pages from the site (we always do this). I purposely printed out the character planning page that has blocks on it and asked both kids to first jot down some key words before they write up a character profile. The reason I did this is my kids don’t plan before they write. They both get these ideas for writing and then just dive it and write away and then half way through they want to change something. So I am trying to get them to do a bit of planning first (trying being the word here, not sure that the planning part has sunk in yet).
We all loved the story of the creature who came to life. And I do think it is an excellent price of writing to read with the kids and talk about ways that they can describe and drop hints about their own characters in their creative writing.
We really do Love these eBooks and I have already promised that as soon as we finish our next book (The Last Wolf and activities linked to it) we will choose another eBook.