The Walk Home teachers’ notes

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The Walk Home - teachers’ notes

The Walk Home was created during four 2-hour sessions with a class of 30 Y4 children at Harbinger Primary School on the Isle of Dogs in April/May 2004. The local Education Authority was running a year-long project on waste and recycling with the Isle of Dogs Action Zone called Local Action Global Impact.
The Humanities Education Centre (HEC) had offered a number of workshops to the participating schools, including working with a whole class or group, to write and illustrate a class story in Big Book format on a theme linked to waste and recycling. The class teacher invited us in to produce a book about looking after the local environment. The text of The Walk Home was produced through collaborative story writing with the whole class. The illustrations for the big book were made by collaging waste material, paper etc.
We put together the following plan in the context of our role as visiting teachers. It’s not meant to be a perfect lesson plan, but could easily be modified to suit the demands of different schools and year groups, e.g. the learning intentions could obviously be expanded to bring in more specific curriculum areas.

Learning Intentions

  • To increase children’s knowledge and understanding about the value of waste and recycling

  • To work collaboratively

  • To explore the potential of re-using materials to create collages.

Expected Outcomes

  • Children will have increased awareness about re-using and recycling products.

  • Children will produce something for the whole school community.
  • Each child will have a small individual copy of the story to illustrate and keep.




Introduce ourselves – hand out name labels (children can write names while listening to us).

Explain aim of the workshop.
Read Another Fine Mess (a picture book about the problems cause by people not clearing up after themselves)
– Follow with discussion of issues raised.

What did that make you think about?

What is the message?

Ask what things concern them about the world –local/world-wide.

Focus on local environment. Tell us some places, streets, landmarks in this area. What do you like/not like about the area?

What are some of the things we do that can harm the environment?
Focus on the list of those we can do something about.

Explain that we are going to write a story in which includes some of the things in the list they have just made.

Suggest basic story format

  • two children walking along

  • Who do they meet?

  • What happens?

  • How does it end?

Teacher scribes main events of story on 10 separate sheets of A2 using children’s ideas and suggestions.

Each group receives a sheet/page with the main events written on. Each child then writes their own version of the events on that page on their own sheet of A4 using the main event page as a prompt.

Emphasise description, dialogue, vocabulary, and importance of interesting content, must not worry about spelling or handwriting.
Ask children to bring clean rubbish from home – biscuit packets, chocolate wrappers, old magazines/newspapers, material etc. for use in the collages during the following sessions.

Session 2 , 3 and 4


Look at every child’s writing and edit final story from all contributions. Type up the sections from each child’s story to be included in the final version.

Write up story: 1) one large print version to fit on A2 pages

2) 30 small versions for children

Create a collage picture to act as a model for what you ask the class to do.

In school

Reread story to whole class.
Explain process involved in collage illustration.

Decide together what the characters will look like (continuity)

What size they should be

Discuss how to include features of the landscape in their picture.

Show your model collage to the group -

Emphasise that the image need to be big and that all the space on the page should be used. Refer to foreground and background.

Children divide into same groups as previously and start to design the illustration for their page.

Emphasise the importance of their picture relating to their page of the story.

Tell the group to read through the page of the story they have decided what their picture should include.

Give each group a sheet of coloured sugar paper on which they will create their collage.

Each group uses a pencil to carefully sketch the layout of their picture.

Children then select materials from roughly colour-coded boxes of fabrics and paper, cut into desired shapes and stick onto their picture.

For those who finish early:

  • Produce front and back covers for the book using collage

  • Create a key of the different materials use for the collages – describing their texture

  • Draw a small picture of themselves for acknowledgement page

  • Start illustrating individual copy

  • Help with Braille version

  • Write speech bubbles for characters

  • Write a blurb for the back cover

Assemble final version

Fold big pieces of coloured sugar paper in half and stick the large print version of the written text on to one side and the corresponding collage image onto the other. Repeat for all pages of the story.

Decorate the front and back covers.

Sew the pages of the book together.
Use digital camera to photograph pages. Make A3 Colour copy of book/ or smaller copies and laminate for more general classroom use.

Write up some ideas

List on board
Separate into those we can/can’t do something about

Our group chose:

Danger to animals cause by litter

The unsightly nature of litter in the street

The problem of broken glass

Creating safe places for wildlife to live in.

Identify children who need support
Move round groups

Each section of the story should be printed out on a separate page A3/A2.

Have example of model collage to help discuss techniques

Look at the picture books which have collage illustrations to help generate ideas e.g. Books by Jeanie Baker or Ezra Jack Keats.

Give out one

A2 sheet per group with the section of the story they were writing in session 1 on.

One member of the group should write down a list of what needs to appear in the picture to help them remember.

Emphasise the benefit of choosing a variety of materials with different colours and textures to create an interesting collage.


Collage materials from Children’s Scrap Project, food wrappers, magazines, old fabric and children’s contributions, PVA glue, scissors, labels for names, readymade little books for individual copies, A2 sugar paper, card for front cover.

When listening to the amalgamated version of their stories the class enjoyed recognising how sections of their individual stories had been incorporated into the main story.
The collaging sessions were successful - the class used a good variety of textures and colours when making their images. The contents of the pictures were of a good size and each group made excellent use of the whole page.

At the end of session three we had a good discussion what the class liked about using collage to create images and how it differed from colouring pencils or paint.

At the end of the final session we had an excellent discussion about the need to protect and look after the local environment. The class were motivated to encourage both their school and their families to do more recycling.

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