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Year 6 Model Text Resource Pack 8: ‘Dragon Bones’ (Narrative; History - Shang Dynasty)

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Real Writing Year 6 - Unit 8
Model text: Dragon Bones by Jon Mayhew
Curriculum Links: History (Shang Dynasty)

Writing unit Overview

This writing unit for Year 6 is built around an original model text by Jon Mayhew; a narrative describing the discovery of Oracle Bones that includes a flashback showing how they were used during the Shang Dynasty. The example text is available as a PDF in three versions (plain, illustrated and annotated); annotated and non-annotated PowerPoint presentations are also included.

Throughout this two-week unit, pupils will explore how dialogue is used to convey character in narratives, showing relationships between characters, their feelings and character traits. They will also investigate homophones in KS2 that are often confused and how knowing whether the word is a noun or verb can help with spelling (e.g. advice or advise). In the final writing task, pupils will write their own stories that include a flashback. This unit could be used alongside a topic on the Shang Dynasty, or the achievements of ancient civilisations as part of the history curriculum.

Key Curriculum Skills

Two fully-resourced lessons are included for the following Year 6 English objectives, which can form part of the unit or be taught discretely:

1. Vocabulary: To distinguish between words that are often confused: words ending in -ce/-cy and -se/-sy

Pupils will: identify whether words are nouns or verbs; choose the correct spelling of a word for a given sentence; write their own sentences using words given

2. Composition: To use dialogue to convey character

Pupils will : annotate examples of dialogue from the model text, showing how it describes characters; write dialogue, using this to describe characters.

Additional skills to teach or revisit:

  • Punctuating direct speech
  • Use expanded noun phrases
  • Linking ideas across paragraphs using adverbials of time

Additional Year 6 teaching points:

  • Using semi-colons to separate two closely linked independent clauses

Year 6 vocabulary

Year 5 / 6 statutory spelling words: cemetery, language, curious, ancient, sacrifice, shoulder, soldier, stomach
Tier 2 words: acrid, advice, smoulder
Tier 3 words: ancestor, artefact, dynasty, excavate, prophesy, shrine

What is dialogue?

Dialogue is a written conversation between two or more people. It is written as direct speech in narratives, with inverted commas punctuating what is said with other punctuation used in direct speech. It is important pupils understand speech rules in KS2 and the punctuation that should be used.

Action can be advanced using dialogue, with the direct speech giving information about was or is happening, or what will be happening in the future.

Information about characters can also be conveyed using dialogue, through what is said in direct speech or in the reporting clause showing how the speech is said.

What are homophones?

Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelt differently and have different meanings.

Examples of homophones or words that are often confused that end in ce/cy or se/sy from English Appendix 1: Years 5/6


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