Planning for Quality Texts: Invasion (Why were the
Norman castles certainly not bouncy?)
These documents are intended to support the planning of effective literacy units based on high quality picture books. They are not intended to
be lesson plans, but offer a menu of possible ideas for teachers to use as starting points to plan for purposeful learning and give pupils reasons
for writing as well as the skills they need to write with impact on their reader. They follow a learning sequence:
 a hook to fully engage and interest the children
 responding to reading activities to allow immersion in and exploration of the text, including picture exploration, book and writer talk
 capturing ideas activities which include drama and talk to support understanding of the text and to develop vocabulary, language and
ideas for writing
 possibilities for the contextualised teaching of grammar
 sentence games to develop creativity, vocabulary, language and grammar
 links to guided reading
 a range of writing tasks which may be final unit outcomes or incidental opportunities during the unit
Specific mention is made of the writing sequence:
 modelled writing - teacher models the writing process aloud and the decisions writers make about sentences, paragraphs etc to create
impact on the reader. This can also include the modelling of planning and spelling strategies.
 shared writing - collaborative composition with discussion and suggestions about what to write and how to write it to create the
intended effect. At this point children may write a sentence/s, often in pairs, on whiteboards which are then discussed.
 guided writing - small group sessions based on specific needs of a specific group of children. The session may address misconceptions,
bridge gaps or extend learning and can take place at any point during the unit.
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In addition, cross-curricular links are suggested, including links to challenges from the Learning Challenge Curriculum.
Copyright statement: This document should be used within the purchasing organisation only.
Possible Written Outcomes or Incidental Writing
 Speech/thought bubbles for
 Use Comic Life to create comic strip of
 Instructions - How to
 Day in the life of Norman boy
 Letter home to family
 Fact File on aspect of life in Norman times
 fact File on an animal found in the Stone Age
 Report on a people of Ancient Britain
 Write more developed text for specific pages
 Job advertisement for a Page
Promotional leaflet/presentation for a day out at
Halton castle
Wanted poster for William for wanting to invade
Character profile for invented character/s
Narrative based on invented castle and family,
using planned structure
For sale notice for chosen/invented castle
Information text for the castle of fire
Menu for a banquet/afternoon tea at
identified castle
Promotional leaflet/presentation for a day out
at chosen castle
Explanation - Why were castles built?
Invented castle information for I Spy Guide to
Wanted poster for character wanting to
invade castle
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Watch a day in the life of a 10 year old
Virtual tour of castle (see useful links)
1. Responding to the Text
 Visual literacy: who might the boy on the front cover
 Role on the wall for the boy
 Book talk: find the clues from the book that show he is
set in the Norman times
 Book talk: which is your favourite character? Is there one
you do not like?
 Book talk: why might this battle have happened?
 Book talk: what stories do you know with castles in
them? What genre are they? What are the key features
- characters, problem etc
 Box up a story you know or plot it onto a story mountain
or flow chart
Writer talk: what kind of language would you expect to see
in these stories? Make a list.
Character profile for invented character/s
Narrative based on invented castle and
family, using planned structure
Evaluation of castle made from clay or
mouldable material
2. Capturing Ideas
 Debate - Would it be fun to be a child in
Norman times
Turn reading area into a castle with
storytellers’ throne
Use castle of fire picture and annotate with
word bank using nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives
Visualise and sketch an invented castle
Annotate sketch with word bank as above
Create a family tree for the royal family living
in chosen or invented castle and annotate with
characteristics of each person
Invent a threat for the castle and its family
Box up or use a story mountain or flow chart
to plan a story for your castle - all is well, threat
comes along, castle/characters in danger,
danger is overcome, all is well
Develop an opening which describes the
castle and its setting
Develop an ending which returns to opening
or comments on events
Annotate your plan with key narrative
Tell your story orally
Explore sayings about castles - king of the
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Sentence Games (use throughout unit)
 Sentence signposts persuasive language
Character game - use feelings (anger,
fear, cruelty, joy) what would character
say to show not tell how they are feeling
Improve a sentence- focus on the
grammatical elements that need
consolidation or review
Sentence starters game from base
sentence - focus on fronted adverbials,
ing and ed
Guided Reading Possibilities
3. Contextualised Grammar Teaching
 Use of action and dialogue to show characterisation
Vary sentence types to build or slow pace
Choice of verbs to describe actions
4. Modelled Writing
Shared Writing
Guided Writing
Independent Writing
castle, castles in the air, home is my castle
Debate - “A man’s home is his castle
Locating castles on a map
Useful links
Year 4 History:
Why were Norman castles certainly
not bouncy?
Author: Colin Thompson
Publisher: Red Fox
ISBN- 978-0-099-43942-4
© Focus Education UK Ltd 2014
© Focus Education UK Ltd 2014

Planning for Quality Texts: Invasion (Why were the Norman castles