English KS2: Tell a story

This short film presents a real-life context for telling a story and challenges children to tell a story as a short news report.

A group of children have taken over the Newsround studio.

With the help of Karim they will take on the challenge of telling a story as a short news report.

Our master storyteller – Shweta Aggarwal – will add to the challenge, by inviting them to incorporate the ‘master skill’ of editing and revising their writing.

The children use their imaginations to create a news worthy story, which they present at the end of the film.

This short film is from the series Get Creative.

Teacher Notes

Before Watching

Prepare for this challenge by asking the children to find/ create/ research a news story - it could come from a book you’re reading, a class visit, a science/ history/ geography project.

It could be a real story they have researched themselves or one they have made up.

They could work on it for homework to bring to the lesson or it could come from previous work you have done together in class.

Choose a short clip from the Newsround website of a recent story that will engage your class.

Ask them to think about how this story was told by the presenter.

Discuss the skills and techniques the reporters use to tell their story (ie. impact words, short sentences, summarising language).

Draw particular attention to the fact that spoken news is short and snappy in style.

You may want to create a class list of points, or have the children note these down on whiteboards/ jotters to use when they are writing their own stories.

After Watching

This activity could be done in groups, pairs or individually.

Set your students the challenge of writing short news reports (30 seconds) of their prepared stories.

Encourage the children to:
Speak their stories aloud and to practise with a timer.
Make the stories sound exciting.
Give as much information as possible.
Fit into the time restraint and sound natural.

You can use the Thinking Questions below to support this.

As an extra challenge invite children to include the ‘Master Skill’.

Master Skill

  • Edit and revise your work – for sense, impact and timing.

Impress on children that no writer ever submits their first draft, there are always improvements to be made. Have them read their work aloud, to themselves or to each other, (if you have access to tablets, they could film or record themselves and watch/ listen back) then edit for sense. Give them coloured pens and have them go through their writing, making changes to sentence structure for timing and word choices for impact. Draw attention to tense and point out how headlines are often written in the present tense.

You may want to include some modelling:

SENSE
Mister Men books could be harder than Roald Dahl.

  • Mr Men books could be harder to read than Roald Dahl’s books.

TIMING
Plastics from products only used once then thrown away have been found present in 60% of the rubbish found in the River Thames.

  • Single-use plastic found in 60% of River Thames’ litter.

IMPACT
A pet cat showed how intelligent it was when it opened the bathroom door.

  • Crafty cat manages to open bathroom door.

Thinking Questions

  • What is it about your story that is going to interest the audience?
  • What details are not important to the story?
  • What high impact words can you use to get your point across?
  • How can you improve your sentences?
  • What tense should your story be in?

Supported Learning and SEN

As this challenge is about telling not writing a story, it is ideal for children who struggle with the written word. You can make this an entirely oral task if that is appropriate, or allow the presentation of the story to be the final product, with no need to submit the written version.

Depending on the needs of your students, you may want to adapt further. Here are a few ideas for how to support children and make this challenge even more accessible:

Creating / researching their story

  • Choose an existing story from the CBBC Newsround website or similar – ie. a film/ video of a news report.
  • Create a story from something they have experienced directly.

Composing

  • Have an adult/ peer ask questions to help them remember their story.
  • Have children represent their story with pictures to help them with recall.
  • Consider shortening the task to one or two sentences.

Presenting

  • Allow them to record one sentence or story point at a time on a tablet or film.
  • If presenting live – consider presenting to smaller groups.
  • Encourage the use of reminder cards – perhaps taken from the pictures they made of the story.

Extend this Activity

Make a short news reel to add to the school website.
Pick one story to extend and create a longer news feature for it.
Write newspaper/ online news reports for one or more of the stories.
Use the story to kickstart a piece of fiction writing.
Create a ‘how to’ for writing news reports that can be shared on school website.
Explore telling the story in a different context – ie. to a group of nursery children, to a friend, as a police report.
Make language choices to have an impact on audience.
Adapt writing to purpose.
Read work aloud and understand the difference between spoken and written language.
Proofread and edit work, making revisions to improve compositions.

Curriculum Notes

These short films are designed to support the teaching of creative writing for KS2 in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and 2nd level in Scotland.

In England the videos offer a chance to write with purpose in context, using the skills of notation and editing whilst also providing the opportunity to read work aloud and work towards mastery through developing specific key skills.

In Wales the videos provide an opportunity for students to write creatively with chances to adapt their writing for purpose, use a range of language skills, note ideas and plan their writing then reflect, redraft and improve their work.

In Northern Ireland the videos give students the opportunity to participate in independent or group writing, select, plan and adapt their writing for purpose, express thoughts and feelings through their imaginative compositions, experiment with language and practise the skills of revising and redrafting their compositions.

In Scotland the videos present students with an example of contextual writing to explore, from which they can create their own pieces of writing from notes, use appropriate vocabulary, language and style to engage their reader and check their writing for sense and purpose.

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