Year 3 Unit 5 Dialogue and Plays Teaching sequences



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Year 3 Unit 5 Dialogue and Plays

Teaching sequences

Teaching Sequence

Phase 1: Reading, responding and exploring; familiarisation with the text-type
Suggested timing - Seven days
Resources


  • A suitable fiction text for shared reading, with strong characterisation and several examples of dialogue written within the text as direct speech.

Text used in the examples: The Battle of Bubble and Squeak by Philippa Pearce (Puffin)


  • A selection of similar narrative fiction texts (stories or short novels) appropriate for guided and independent reading.




  • A suitable playscript for use as a shared text.




  • A selection of playscripts for two or more voices, appropriate for guided and independent reading.

Teaching content


  • Begin reading a shared text that provides examples of strong characterisation and use of dialogue as direct speech. Plan sessions so that children reach the penultimate scene, episode or chapter during the last session of Phase 2 and complete their reading of the text during shared reading in Phase 3, after they have completed their own writing.





  • Choose a suitable extract from the beginning of the text for shared reading, to focus on the introduction of main characters. Draw children’s attention to the strategies an author uses to develop character and move a plot forward. Discuss vocabulary choice, length of sentences, style of language and use, or absence of, verbs to convey how words were spoken (shouted, whispered, yelled). Mark the text or use a highlighting tool to focus on the way that dialogue provides clues to character and motivation as well as contributing to the plot.

For example: After reading Chapter 1 of The Battle of Bubble and Squeak, use an extract from pages 2-5 to focus on the dialogue. Ask children what is revealed or implied about each of the main characters and how readers might gather this information. How do Sid, Bill and Alice Sparrow each reveal their character in the things they say and the way they say them? What is the effect of the short sentences that Bill and Alice speak to one another when they first hear strange noises downstairs?




  • Read a little further with the class and use this second extract to explore the dialogue further in guided and independent, paired reading. Ask children to find any more evidence about characters to add to the information they have already found. In a plenary, create a ‘role on the wall’ hyperlink to drama page in Talk for Writing? for one character and add text-specific examples of the words spoken by that character that tell a reader something about the kind of person they might be.

For example: after reading Chapter 1, create a ‘role on the wall’ for Bill Sparrow. Note anything the text reveals about his character so far and add words and phrases from the text as examples, including dialogue: Brave: ‘I’m going to find out about that row downstairs.’ Stays calm – doesn’t seem to be in charge: Bill Sparrow mumbled again. Sense of humour: P4Like me.’



  • Continue reading through the class text at a suitable pace to promote enjoyment of the whole story, for example by alternating sessions of shared, guided and independent reading with other opportunities to listen to the next part of the story being read aloud.




  • Select an extract that has just been read, to use as a shared text and discriminate between narrative and direct speech. Use the text as a model to revisit and consolidate children’s prior knowledge of speech marks, if necessary. Model by reading aloud to demonstrate their purpose in clarifying meaning and their usefulness to readers. For example, model the way speech marks support the use of different voices for different characters and help to clarify what is narrated and what is conversation. Read aloud using different voices if appropriate for the direct speech.

For example: Model reading aloud from the first two pages of Chapter 2 in Bubble and Squeak (to “Bill went.”). Use two different voices for the dialogue spoken by Bill and Alice to differentiate their spoken words from the rest of the narrative.



  • In guided and independent reading, either individually or in pairs/small groups, children read other appropriate examples of narrative texts that include direct speech, reading aloud to check that they understand how to use the punctuation of direct speech to support their reading for meaning. Encourage them to make use of voices for characters and provide additional support for them if necessary, for example by using puppets. In a plenary, discuss children’s developing preferences from among the range of texts read. Which authors do they think make the best use of dialogue to develop character and plot? What kinds of strategies do skilled authors use to bring characters to life for a reader through the things they say? Ask them to give examples from the texts.





  • Continue reading the text as a class novel and use a third extract as a shared text to isolate the dialogue from the narrative. Read aloud as dialogue only, missing out the narrative. Children apply the same technique to read aloud only the dialogue from other examples.

For example: Use the last three pages of Chapter 3 as a shared text. (from ‘She dragged him into the living room... ‘ to ‘She would listen to no more from any of them.’ Reading as Alice Sparrow yourself, ask children to take the roles of Peggy, Bill and Sid. Read aloud speaking only the direct speech, to create the conversation that took place.




  • Compare the reading aloud to reading a playscript and discuss the differences between reading a story, reading the dialogue aloud and watching a play. Refer to plays the children have watched as a live audience or viewed on screen. Does the dialogue alone tell the story as well without the additional narrative around it in the book?




  • Find out what children already know and understand about the way a written playscript differs from a written narrative. Use collaborative reading to read a playscript aloud as a class, ideally one based on a familiar story. Note the absence of narrative but the addition of stage directions. Compare children’s responses to the narrative text and the play. Draw attention to the layout and organisational conventions of a playscript and discuss why these particular features of the text-type might be helpful to actors or directors. If available, you could use a narrative version and a playscript version of the same story for comparison.

For example: Using the first scene of a shared text, ask children to collect information about the characters from the dialogue in Scene 1. Is additional information about their characters and behaviour provided in any other ways, such as by their names or in the stage directions? (Children should refer to the text only and not use the pictures.) How can you tell that this is a playscript and not a story? What’s missing and what is added? (If the narrative book of the same story is available, you could use this for direct comparison.)



  • Children complete their own reading of the same play during independent or guided reading, or they read alternative playscripts at more appropriate levels for their independent reading. Support children in identifying and creating a checklist of the conventions used when writing a script. For example, ask them to notice the way each speaker’s words are laid out on the page with their name to identify which character is speaking. Share their findings during a plenary session and create a class checklist for the conventions of writing a script. Children will use this to support their independent writing in Phase 3.




  • Continue reading the class novel stopping just before the final chapter or scene. Choose a suitable extract as a shared text to focus on the narrative that surrounds the dialogue. Investigate the additional information about character, plot and setting provided by the narrative. How could this important information be added to a playscript of the same scene? Demonstrate how to write stage directions that could supplement the dialogue in a script by drafting a playscript script of the same scene, using shared writing strategies.

Discuss with the children how to add stage directions that convey any additional action, background, setting or ‘soundtrack’ such as ambient noise. Ask children to apply the same strategies and complete a draft of the same scene in their independent writing.
For example, stop reading Bubble and Squeak at the end of Chapter 10: ‘I’d like my gerbils back again’. Use the earlier scene in the same chapter, where the children take Bubble to the vet, as a starting point for teacher demonstration: from p72 ‘They were called into the surgery itself.’ to p73I’m afraid his chances of survival are poor. Very poor.’

After creating the dialogue in the playscript from the direct speech in the text, model the way you draw on the narrative to create stage directions, for example by adding the ‘setting’ at the beginning of the scene (The Vet’s surgery: DAY) and adding a stage direction for the vet: The vet picks up the gerbil and turns it around. Draw attention to the grammatical differences, such as past tense narrative and present tense stage directions. Move from modelled writing to collaborative writing. Encourage children to write with you and offer their suggestions. Stop at a suitable point, when they understand how to use this strategy, and ask them to complete a draft of the scene during guided and independent writing. Select one completed example and invite a group to dramatise this short scene as a plenary. Ask the ‘actors’ to tell the class how helpful they found the stage directions. What does this information tell us about how to write stage directions in a playscript?

Learning outcomes


  • Children can discuss the way that characters are introduced and developed in a narrative through dialogue, description and action.




  • Children can read a play aloud with suitable expression and can discuss their responses to the characters involved.




  • Children can draft the introduction to an original story using their own ideas for strong characterisation through dialogue.

Phase 2: From reading to writing; capturing ideas and applying strategies

Suggested timing - Five days
Teaching content


  • Remind the children about the last few words of the penultimate chapter and ask them how they think the story might end. If they were the author, what would happen in the final scene? Children discuss in small groups their own version of the story’s ending. Ask them to consider the ways each character is likely to behave. Will the main characters behave true to type or will someone act in a surprising way? As a class, use ‘forum theatre’ hyperlink to drama page in Talk for Writing? to improvise a possible final scene, beginning with the last words of the previous chapter. When the class has settled on a version of the scene, discuss the ways that each character has developed or changed since the beginning of the story and the way their dialogue in this final scene contributes to that. Tell the children they will now begin writing their own play and they should remember that the characters they create through the dialogue should be just as interesting and detailed as any they might create by writing a story.

For example, use the drama convention of ‘forum theatre’ to improvise a possible final scene for Bubble and Squeak, beginning with the words from the end of Chapter 10: “Please, I’d like my gerbils back again.” Use the drama to rerun what each character says until the class decides on a final version. Ask children to explain how and why Bill, Sid, Alice and Peggy have developed or changed since the beginning of the book. Are there any clues in the words they use in this final scene? Tell the children they are going to write their own playscripts by developing and adding to the ideas they have already drafted using ICT. They should remember how the characters in Bubble and Squeak were brought to life and made interesting to the audience through what they said, when they said it and how they spoke the words, in both the narrative story and the scripts the children read aloud or enacted.



  • Use ICT to begin adapting the narrative to change the text type and create a playscript. Edit the narrative to playscript format by changing layout, presenting direct speech as a script for named characters, adapting narrative to create stage directions and deleting any superfluous text. Read aloud and reinforce the differences between a script and a narrative regarding the ways the action, setting and characterisation are conveyed.




  • Children use word-processing to apply independently the same strategies for changing text type, with their own saved texts and original writing. Provide support at the point of writing to help them make decisions about the correct layout for playscripts and to make authorial choices about which words from their draft narrative should be retained and rewritten as stage directions, what can be removed and what needs to be added. Encourage them to refer to the checklist created earlier on the conventions of playscripts. When they have completed the draft of their introductory scene, children perform their first scenes in small groups by reading aloud.



  • Use whole class discussion to reflect on children’s views and preferences so far. Which tells a story more effectively, a written narrative, a playscript that is read or a play that is enacted ? Ask children to be specific in the reasons they give for preferences and to refer to examples from the texts they have read, the scripts they have been writing and enacting or plays they have watched. If there are common areas of difficulty, for example if children are finding it difficult to move from the familiar extended narrative of story-writing to the brevity of stage directions, address these through guided writing or through modelled writing with the class if necessary. Children will need to apply these strategies independently during Phase 3.



Learning outcomes:

  • Children can use their knowledge of characterisation through dialogue and their understanding of plot structures to predict a possible ending for a familiar story

  • Children can apply what they know about the conventions of playscripts to edit the narrative text for a short scene and adapt it to a script

  • Children can explain and justify their personal preferences by comparing and contrasting narrative stories and playscripts, referring to specific examples to support their opinions.


Phase 3: Writing; planning and presentation
Suggested timing - Eight days
Teaching content


  • Use ‘boxing up’ to support planning for their own play, breaking the story into different scenes. Children could write the play directly linked to the story of ‘The Battle of Bubble and Squeak’, or they could innovate, developing, extending and changing elements of the story and create amended scenes, or they could invent their own story.




  • Children individually write a playscript using their planned ideas.


  • At a suitable point during the writing process, at a stage where children are close to completing their first drafts, demonstrate how to edit to improve the text. Think aloud as you make changes to explain why you are changing words, rewriting phrases, adding text or removing it. Emphasise the way that the edited dialogue moves the story on in terms of action or provides better insight into character. Demonstrate how to delete superfluous dialogue, for example by asking yourself aloud what it adds and whether it is needed at all. Use guided writing to model one or more of the strategies you demonstrated in shared writing and support children in editing to improve the quality of their writing and its effectiveness for purpose.





  • Provide time for children to read their drafts aloud in pairs or groups to check not only accuracy but also how clearly they have conveyed character through the dialogue. Use peer feedback to help children reflect critically on the writing of others and on their own drafts so far. What will make this a successful playscript? You may wish to agree a short list of success criteria for children to use in their paired reflection and to provide a tighter focus for self- assessment. Remind children of the purpose of their writing and any potential audience that you may have already arranged for their plays when performed.




  • Children complete the writing process. They amend, edit and improve their writing and then present it in its final format, editing layout where necessary, though this may not be necessary if they have been using a playscript template that you have provided. They work with a writing partner to check the layout and playscript conventions they have used and also the balance between dialogue and stage directions.




  • In groups, children read aloud together the plays they have written. Together they select one play to enact and they prepare it for performance. Arrange a time to film each group performing their play and save the digital files together as a collection of plays which demonstrate how to develop characterisation using dialogue. Provide time for all children to view the recorded plays at suitable times and ask them to think particularly about how each play ends. Is the last scene suitably exciting, surprising, rewarding and satisfying or does the story ‘fizzle out’?



  • Complete the class text by reading the final chapter with the class. How does the story ending compare with the endings of the class plays they have viewed, and how does it compare with the last scene the children improvised for themselves using drama? As they complete the unit, discuss children’s wider reading preferences including not only narrative, plays and film adaptations of books but also poetry and any other texts they have read recently at school or at home.

For example, read Chapter 11 of Bubble and Squeak. How easy was it to predict what would happen at the end of the story? Make links between the children’s predictions about plot and their expectations of the main characters. Ask them to be specific about the reasons for any clues they refer to. For example, “What did Alice Sparrow do or say earlier in the book that made you think she might actually refuse to give the gerbils back in the end?”



Compare and contrast the story ending with the endings of the plays children have written and viewed. What makes the last few pages of Bubble and Squeak so good? Do writers of plays and writers of stories use any of the same strategies to create ‘good endings’ for their readers or viewers? You could encourage children to refer to : surprise behaviour (character), a twist in the action (plot) a good character getting their revenge on a villain or a happy ending using humour rather than a sad conclusion. For example, in the last two pages of Bubble and Squeak, Mrs Sparrow shows that she has completely changed her views about gerbils from the story beginning (character development), the gerbils are safe and can stay with the Sparrow family (a happy ending) and humour is used to lighten the whole mood (Amy’s misunderstanding of the phrase ‘bubble and squeak for tea’).

Learning outcomes

  • Children can use familiar planning techniques to create an outline of an original play that includes strong characterisation through dialogue, based on a model they have read.

  • Children can manage the writing process independently from planning, through drafting of their playscript to its final presentation.
  • Children can apply what they know about the conventions of playscripts to orchestrate characterisation, setting and plot effectively with appropriate support.








Assessment

These are suggested strategies for assessing learning in an additional text-based unit on dialogue and plays: ‘The Battle of Bubble and Squeak’. This resource includes assessment focuses and examples of opportunities for assessment that link to the learning outcomes for this unit.

Evidence against a variety of assessment focuses will be collected at many points during the teaching sequences. It will be important to collect evidence of achievement against the assessment focuses from occasions where children can demonstrate some independence and choice away from direct teaching. This is particularly important when making a judgment against reading assessment focuses 2 and 3, and writing assessment focuses 1 and 2.

In this exemplified unit the 'main' assessment focuses for reading and writing are identified but you can interpret and adapt the teaching sequence to meet the needs of your class. This may affect the types of evidence it is desirable and possible to gather.

Assessment Focuses

The teaching of this unit should particularly support the collection of evidence against:

  • Reading assessment focus 4 (Identify and comment on the structure and organisation of texts, including grammatical and presentational features at text level)
  • Writing assessment focus 1 (Write imaginative, interesting and thoughtful texts) and Writing assessment focus 3 (Organise and present whole texts effectively, sequencing and structuring information, ideas and events)


Learning outcomes

The suggested outcomes for this unit are:

Phase 1

  • Children can discuss the way that characters are introduced and developed in a narrative through dialogue, description and action.



  • Children can read a play aloud with suitable expression and can discuss their responses to the characters involved.



  • Children can draft the introduction to an original story using their own ideas for strong characterisation through dialogue.

Phase 2

  • Children can use their knowledge of characterisation through dialogue and their understanding of plot structures to predict a possible ending for a familiar story

  • Children can apply what they know about the conventions of playscripts to edit the narrative text for a short scene and adapt it to a script

  • Children can explain and justify their personal preferences by comparing and contrasting narrative stories and playscripts, referring to specific examples to support their opinions.

Phase 3

  • Children can use familiar planning techniques to create an outline of an original play that includes strong characterisation through dialogue, based on a model they have read.

  • Children can manage the writing process independently from planning, through drafting of their playscript to its final presentation.
  • Children can apply what they know about the conventions of playscripts to orchestrate characterisation, setting and plot effectively with appropriate support.


Opportunities for assessment

The following are examples selected from the teaching sequence for this exemplified unit of work . These will support planning for effective assessment as an integrated part of the teaching and learning process.

Learning outcomes

Example of teaching content and assessment opportunities

Evidence

Approach to assessment

Children can discuss the way that characters are introduced and developed in a narrative through dialogue, description and action.


After paired reading aloud from example texts that include dialogue, children discuss their preferences in a plenary. The teacher uses questioning to support them in focusing on the way authors develop characterisation, for example through dialogue.

Contributions to discussion

Oral responses




Teacher observation

Questioning



Children can read a play aloud with suitable expression and can discuss their responses to the characters involved.


In small groups, children finish reading a short play that was started during shared reading. They each read one part and read aloud, using appropriate expression.

Children’s reading aloud

Observation of children’s reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension (as indicated by use of expression)


Children can draft the introduction to an original story using their own ideas for strong characterisation through dialogue.


After telling a writing partner their ideas for a story introduction, children independently draft an original story beginning. They apply the modelled strategy of using dialogue for characterisation. The teacher supports them if necessary in managing consistency of punctuation and layout of direct speech.

Children’s oral summary of their ideas during paired discussion

Children’s writing



Teacher observation

Marking children’s writing



Children can use their knowledge of characterisation through dialogue and their understanding of plot structures to predict a possible ending for a familiar story


After shared reading to the penultimate chapter of the text, children discuss in groups how they think the story will end. The teacher asks them to explain their predictions, for example by discussing how a character is likely to behave and why, or by referring to textual clues in the dialogue.

Children’s individual oral contributions to group discussion

Teacher observation

Focused, follow-on questioning to elicit children’s reasons for their comments



Children can apply what they know about the conventions of playscripts to edit the narrative text for a short scene and adapt it to a script

Children independently edit their word-processed story beginnings to change the text type to a playscript. They identify direct speech, change layout, add character names and stage directions. The teacher reminds them to refer to the checklist of playscript conventions that was created earlier. The teacher supports a guided writing group in the same activity, focusing on their identification of direct speech.



Children’s writing

Questioning and discussion

Marking children’s writing



Children can explain and justify their personal preferences by comparing and contrasting narrative stories and playscripts, referring to specific examples to support their opinions.


In a whole class discussion, children share and justify their preferences from the range of texts and text types read so far. The teacher uses open questions and then focused questions to elicit children’s reasons for choices and to encourage them to refer specifically to texts, including the narrative story, the playscripts they have read aloud from and plays they have enacted or watched as performances on stage or screen.

Children’s contributions to discussion, including the reasons and examples they give to justify their preferences

Oral responses to questions



Whole class discussion

Teacher questioning



Children can use familiar planning techniques to create an outline of an original play that includes strong characterisation through dialogue, based on a model they have read.


Children plan their own play, by creating a flow chart that allows them to show what will happen in each scene and the chronology of plot. They add notes about characters beneath the flow chart, to help them create suitable dialogue for each character when they write the play.

Children’s writing.

Discussion with individual children during the writing process

Marking children’s writing


Children can manage the writing process independently from planning, through drafting of their playscript to its final presentation.



Children write their own play. They are given appropriate levels of independence to manage the complete writing process. The teacher provides scaffolding for the extended writing to help individuals to orchestrate a range of different strategies for planning and drafting at the same time as they manage composition and consistency in playscript conventions. Fore example, some children work with a writing partner to create their planning. Some use a provided script template to word process the text. In guided writing, the teacher supports children who need guiding through a particular stage or strategy, such as re-reading to identify errors for editing.

Children’s writing at each stage of the process

Individual contributions during paired or small group discussion

Oral responses to questions


Teacher observation of children at the point of writing

Marking children’s writing

Discussion

Questioning



Children can apply what they know about the conventions of playscripts to orchestrate characterisation, setting and plot effectively with appropriate support.

When their playscript drafts are complete, children work with a writing partner to read and discuss one another’s writing. They look for inconsistencies in layout and presentation. The teacher asks them to discuss how effectively they have shown character through the dialogue, action and stage directions. Pairs provide peer support for making final improvements to their text.

Children’s contributions as a writing partner including the suggestions they make for changes to their partner’s text and also their responses to suggestions for improving their own text

Children’s writing, particularly the differences between this and the previous draft.




Observation of children’s oral contributions during discussion with a writing partner

Observation of the writing strategies children apply during editing



Marking children’s writing







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