We have had a wonderful few weeks enjoying ‘Wolf Brother’ by Michelle Paver as the focus of our English lessons; we love Michelle Paver’s writing style and gripping tale!
Each of us has had a copy of the book to use in class and we have listened to the whole story being read aloud to us by Mrs. Howard and Mrs. Ainsworth.
The first in the six ‘Chronicles of Ancient Darkness,’ this novel has inspired us to produce a whole range of writing, alongside wonderful speaking and listening activities. Read on to find out more…
We began by writing a diary entry for Torak, the young hero of the story, at the end of his first few days alone in the Forest. And of course, Torak wouldn’t have used paper as we know it today…so we used aged parchment which had been smoked over a wood –burning fire pit! Have a look at some of our entries below:
We all loved the character of Wolf so much that we decided to do a little more research into the lives and habits of wolves, this resulted in some super non-chronological reports about these fascinating creatures. We talked about the theme of ‘the wolf’ in children’s literature, and we considered the portrayal of the wolf as the typical villain of traditional tales, going on to write our own versions of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ after listening to Roald Dahl’s highly entertaining version in his ‘Revolting Rhymes.’
Inspired by the fluidity and richness of Michelle Paver’s prose, we then went on to write an extra mini-adventure for Torak and Renn in the style of the author. In our versions, Torak and Renn, whilst venturing through the Forest in search of the Mountain of the World Spirit, espied an unusual structure through the trees…
Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a monumental head, carved entirely in wood, beckoning them into its depths…
Spellbound, the two explorers ventured inside and were dazzled by the light streaming in through the eyes of the Forest…
When their eyes refocused, they gazed out on the living Forest with new clarity and vision, enabling them to feel its presence with all of their senses…
And there, through the trees, shimmering and twinkling in the sunlight, was the lake, spread out like a mirror reflecting the heavens.
Here are some excerpts from our writing:
“Full of anticipation, they had slowly stepped into the mysterious forest. They could smell the strong scent of wild garlic and fresh mint. Swathes of ivy green leaves were clinging on to the giant acacia wood trees. They could still taste the sweet juniper berries which they had eaten a few minutes ago.” HF, Year 4
“As Torak and Renn crept through the forest, the emerald green leaves loomed over them. They could hear the whistling breeze while the towering trees seemed to be talking to each other. The thin branches of the tall trees were gently soughing in the delicate wind.” JS, Year 5
“Ominously looming over them, the spruce head blindly stared at them, guarding… “The Seal Clan bone ground,” Renn whispered, trying not to be overheard by the trees and their spirits, “I recognise their way of laying out their dead.” Out of the corner of her eye, she glanced at Torak.” LP, Year 4
“The trees watched him, like a hunter watching its prey; Torak tasted cold, shrivelled blood. He could feel an enigmatic power pulling him like a moth to a candle. The Forest could sense foreboding in Torak’s blood, and it knew why… It was a face of wood, its mouth a yawning chasm. The deathly soulless stare sent a vibe down Torak’s spine. A spooky expression was frozen on its face, or so they thought…” DY-O, Year 5
“Slowly, walking towards the eyes, they could see the trees guarding a motionless river that sparkled like thousands of diamonds. They looked at the river as if it could go on forever.” EV, Year 4
“As quick as a flash, a bright, white laser of light pierced their eyes, burning their very vision into ash. They soon realised that these were the eyes hewn out of wood. Their eyes adjusted to the light and what they saw was amazing… Never before had they seen such a sight, a flawless shard of pure diamond that glinted in the sunlight. “The lake,” Torak said.” WK, Year 5
“Flash! A blinding bright white light pierced Torak and Renn’s eyes. Wolf growled in anxiety as Torak faced away from the eyes, which were hollow and a dark pit of nothingness. Renn’s eyes were blank; they looked like flawless ivory pearls. Nothing was heard. Nothing was seen. Nothing. Silence pervaded the oak head.” AA, Year 4
“The blinding light revealed a beautiful landscape with warrior trees marching towards them. They peered closer and saw a stream. It was a slice of the moon covered in a blanket of flawless white pearls. The trees surrounded them like guards protecting sacred jewels. They stepped outside the head and walked closer…” ES, Year 5
“Torak and Renn sneaked through the Forest. Emerald green oak trees soughed gently, whispering of their presence. Underfoot, twigs snapped. The taste of wild garlic lingered in the air. They heard the ravens cawing to ward them off. A dark shape loomed ahead. “What’s that?” whispered Renn.” GB, Year 5
“Emerald green leaves twinkled as the blazing sun weaved its way through the trees. Shadows danced in between the boles of the trees. The delicate leaves soughed on the branches as the wind whispered in Torak and Renn’s ears.” EY, Year 5
This work really got our creative juices flowing! However, another aspect of the novel, which entranced and delighted us, was the incredible descriptions of the First Tree. Encouraged by our teachers’ love of stars and the night sky, we watched some beautiful moving images of the Northern Lights – the Aurora Borealis – or, as Torak and Renn know them, the First Tree. We then went on to write our own poems, using free verse, based on the Northern Lights and the sky at night. We loved hearing Mrs Ainsworth tell us about the Pleiades and how they have featured in literature throughout the ages and across the continents, first appearing on an ancient tablet pre-dating their later appearances in the Bible.
Have a look at our poetry. Our teachers were inspired to write poems as well!
Persuasive writing was next on our list, for how could we fail to write to Michelle Paver in an attempt to persuade her to come and visit our class? We employed our very best language and persuasive phrases in our letters, together with some very compelling reasons for why she should come to meet us. We hope she enjoys reading them!
Instructional texts were covered as we wrote a set of instructions on ‘How to build the perfect Forest shelter…’ We displayed excellent knowledge of the features of an instructional text whilst taking care to choose engaging language. We had great fun with the ‘Hints and Tips’ section of our work!
Our novel study hasn’t just been confined to English though – we have produced Maths games with a ‘Wolf Brother’ theme and environmental art work in the style of Andy Goldsworthy, depicting Torak and Renn’s shelter in the Forest, with the night sky overhead. We will be going out into the wildlife area in school in the final few days of term to have a go at building our very own shelters. The children, Mrs Howard and Mrs Ainsworth have loved the novel, and have all been inspired to write as a result of reading it. What’s more, the class have begged Mrs Howard and Mrs Ainsworth to start reading the next book in the series to them, and have challenged them to read as much as they can to the class before the end of term! Year 4/5 are truly a class of voracious readers who love a gripping yarn!
These pictures show some snippets from our forth-coming Shakespearean performance!
Can you guess which of this famous bard's plays we might we performing?
Year 4/5 have been learning to use flashbacks in their writing as a device to engage the reader. Mrs. Howard and Mrs. Ainsworth are both delighted with their superb stories!
Stranded in an underground cave, I feebly peered around into the infinite abyss that lay before me. Never before had I seen such a wondrous sight; phosphorus illuminated the darkness as a shimmering vale of light shrouded me in a glimmering green glow. But where was I? I started to piece the past together in my mind…
It all started that morning when I was on my way to my brewery, so feeling hungry I decided to take a diversion to pick up some bagels. Time was tight, but I kept going. And what was this? “Road-works. Just typical!” I thought, just as I saw a gaping hole nearby…
But what was happening? I seemed to be being sucked into the pit!! Crash! Bang! Snap! Crack! And jolt! I was out cold. Flashes of black and which imprinted themselves into my conscience as I was swallowed by the abyss below me.
I couldn’t see any exit. And then I noticed a bright white light, and I was draw towards it like a moth to a candle…
Peering around, I found myself in a damp, slippery, dark cave. Sweat dripping from my brow, I stood up and started wondering around the horrible cave. It had phosphorus spreading all over the ceiling, looking like sapphire blue diamonds and gleaming like floodlights on a football ground.
It all began when I was getting ready for school. I set off and went to buy some bagels for breakfast. I saw road-works up ahead so I turned around and glared right into a gaping black hole. It seemed to be sucking me in to it! I tried to let a scream out but it was no good!
I was falling and falling, right right down into this hole, my arms and legs were waving about everywhere and suddenly I thumped down on to lots of rocks. My body trembled in agony. Where was I? There were fingers of coal and it was so dark and damp. It was horrible, I couldn’t even stand up, and then I realised there was lots of twinkling phosphorus all over the ceiling. That was all that was beautiful about it; the rest was horrible and it stank like a sewer. It was a black abyss that I was in…
A moment of quiet reflection during our class collective worship in the prayer garden this morning.
Year 4/5 are currently enjoying:
Bear Grylls Mission Survival: Way of the Wolf
A fatal plane crash. A frozen wilderness. The world’s youngest survival expert is in trouble again…
In PHSE, Year 4/5 have been talking a lot about the importance of team work, co-operation and respect. We have been thinking about how we can demonstrate these values in our work. We talked about how this was particularly relevant to our PE lessons at the moment - these photos show us putting some of our actions in practice!!
In our discussions this week, we have focused on how we can stay safe online. We talked about what to do if you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable, and we shared our top tips for protecting personal information. We have been safely using the internet this week to research our IPC topic of 'Making Things Go'!
Y4/5 have been using the laptops and iPads to research what life was like for children in Victorian coal mines.
We then used our ICT skills to look at font size and type before word processing our own articles, considering aspects of layout such as use of columns, drop caps and inserting images, as well as developing our keyboard skills.
Year 4/5 have been learning how to cheerlead! Great team-work, aerobic exercise and focus on
Year 4/5 braving the elements to test our anemometers; collecting data for our work in Maths.
What is the best way to represent our wind speed test results?
Should we consider investing in a wind turbine for Ellison Boulters?
How could we use our persuasive techniques to make a case to Mrs. Scott?
Desperately seeking sunshine… A faint glimmer appeared on the horizon, so we rushed out with our solar ovens, before a menacing back cloud dashed our hopes. However, we are now on sun alert and will not be defeated!!
Some children in Y4/5 have been carrying out an investigation into consecutive numbers this week.
What happens if you add 4 consecutive numbers?
What happens if you use subtraction and addition, arranging the numbers in as many different ways as possible?
What happens if you repeat the investigation with a separate set of numbers?
Lots of discussion and collaborative work generated.
Using our reading den for some quiet time in which to tackle a tricky word problem!
Making use of all available surfaces… come and write on our Mental Maths window!
Descriptive writing from Y4/5, based on our IPC Up-cycle Art Project:
Furiously, the howling wind raced towards the blades of the turbine as they sliced through the air like a knight’s sword.
The power station was a sleeping giant, silhouetted against the ochre sky.
Fingers of charcoal smoke were etched against the blazing crimson sun.
We made our own Kazoos to learn more about
Pitch and Volume.
How can Hiccup drown out Gobber the Belch?
In 'Science Week' we have been learning all about sound and how we hear. In this investigation we learnt about what makes a good sound insulator and how sound can be measured.
Welcome to 'The School of Paleontology'!
In Science today, we unearthed the fossilised bones of a mysterious creature who roamed this planet 250 million years ago!
Djembe drumming to create cyclical patterns...
Shared writing about King Alfred...In our own Anglo-Saxon village!
Shared writing in English...
Watch this space for the dramatic results!
Year 4/5 preparing and practising role-play work for our TV documentary about Sutton Hoo.
What was it like to live as Anglo-Saxon?
Our WOW Day, hosted by Wulfric from Horrible Histories, immersed us in all the gory details!
The Anglo-Saxons are coming...