Getting The Story Straight (Starter)

Choose an appropriate event that happened in your school, or city, or a film that is popular with your pupils and ask them to tell you what happened in it. Ask different people to tell you what they remember. Almost certainly you will be told a disparate set of unconnected aspects of the story. If appropriate you could act confused as you try to make sense of what happened (did this happen before or after that?)

As appropriate (adjusting for KS1 or KS2) explain that in these lessons you are going to invite them to be good reporters (for a newspaper or TV as appropriate to which option you will use in the evaluation of learning at the end of lesson two). Explain that one of the first things that a good reporter does is to gather information from different people and try to get the story straight, building a timeline in chronological order.

As appropriate, relate this to the standard non-fiction writing skills of ‘recount text’, ‘information text’ and ‘journalistic writing’. Recount text is a piece of writing that describes an event that has happened, in chronological order. Information text (which gives information about something such as Ancient Egypt, recycling or volcanoes) and journalistic writing (for a newspaper or TV report) don’t produce text in chronological order, but a good writer often uses a chronological timeline in his/her preparation.

As appropriate to your pupils use the downloadable Powerpoint or Worksheet “Getting the Story Straight”. These both provide sets of four pictures that can be ordered into a chronological timeline. The PowerPoint can be used for the whole class (and gives the answer in each subsequent slide); the worksheet can be used in small groups (having cut out and mixed up each set of four pictures you are going to use). Select and use the sets of four pictures as appropriate for your pupils, they are in order of increasing difficulty and the answers are as follows:

  • Baby, girl, young woman, older lady.
  • Acorn, oak tree, planks, ship.
  • Egg, chick, hen, roast chicken.
  • Sandstone cliffs, sand, glass blowing, glass jars.
  • Iron ore, steel smelting, steel rods, bike.

Explain that we are now going to apply the skill of chronological ordering (as used in recounting text) to the Christmas story, as told in the Bible and dramatised in the Superbook TV programme.

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