TEACHING ACTIVITIES

  • This teaching and learning resource brings the literary world to the virtual one. It assumes that the students have read or are reading The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo [Harper Collins 2005]
  • The Teaching Activities are intended as ideas for teachers to adapt, modify and extend for their students. They are cross-curricular in nature, utilising aspects of the National Curriculum in History, English, the Literacy Framework and ICT applications in Literacy. Teachers may choose to follow through all the activities, or pick and choose those which are most suitable for their needs.

1. CREATING A PAST IN LITERATURE

  • This focuses on the narrative structure of the novel and Morpurgo's re-creation of the past world of the Devon coast in 1943-44. Students can also use multimedia storyboard software to create an animated visualisation of their interpretation of Morpurgo's created landscape using multimedia presentation software such as Kar2ouche or Powerpoint which will give them some idea of the difficulties of creating a virtual world.

2. CREATING A VIRTUAL WORLD

  • Moving from the literary to the virtual world, this section looks at the background to the creation of virtual Walberswick in 1940. Like Michael Morpurgo creating 1943-44, the historians at University of East Anglia wanted to recreate the world of Walberswick in Suffolk in 1940.
  • They had studied the physical remains - pillboxes, observation posts, anti-tank blocks and trenches - that are still visible in Walberswick and they needed to find a way to use those remains to tell the story of what happened here in 1940 when people believed and feared an invasion was about to happen.
  • The site was to be based on all known sources and to be as accurate as possible. Students explore the site and decide how successful the historians and ICT department at University of East Anglia have been in recreating Walberswick in 1940 (see the animations)

3. WHAT ABOUT THE CHARACTERS?

  • Returning to the novel, students explore the responses of Morpurgo's characters to what was happening around them. This section compares the writer's ability to create and develop character through language with the ‘visual' one-dimensional limits of people in a virtual world.
  • A sub-section STRANGERS AMONGST US? further develops the links between Morpurgo's novel and the world of 1940s Walberswick, exploring the responses to the strangers who came to both areas as a result of the war. Here students can work with non-fiction accounts from oral history and archive sources

4. INFORMING AND INSTRUCTING THE PEOPLE

  • These activities respond to specific areas of the Literacy Framework for Year 5 Non-Fiction Unit 1 Instructions and Unit 3 Persuasive Writing.
  • Using the real Circular sent to parents of children at Walberswick School on 14 September 1939 following the outbreak of war informing and instructing them about arrangements for their children's schooling, students design and create posters directed at the children to inform and instruct them about new rules for carrying and using gas masks and air raid procedures. Students are encouraged to use web-based research to inform their work eg:

 

5. PERSUADING THE PEOPLE

  • As with No. 4 above, this activity responds to specific areas of the Literacy Framework for Year 5 Non-Fiction Unit 3 Persuasive Writing and Trabnsition Unit Persuasion.
  • Based on the public meeting and attempts to persuade Grandfather to leave his farm in the novel, students bring this to the events in Walberswick in 1939-1940 when the villagers' lives and freedoms were dramatically changed by the outbreak of war.
  • Using their knowledge of persuasive writing and speaking, and the sources on the website, students consider how war has changed the lives of Walberswick's inhabitants and develop posters, leaflets and speeches for a public meeting to persuade the inhabitants to accept the restrictions and co-operate with the authorities.

6. FROM THE VIRTUAL TO THE LITERARY WORLD

  • This section brings the literary and virtual worlds together in a task which brings the narrative structure of The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips to the virtual world of the Walberswick animations.
  • Using the website and novel as inspiration, students create a story map of a secret visit into the military zone of Walberswick in 1940.
  • They then write the diary account of their mission or journey and can also use the sources on the site for more ideas and inspiration.
  • Finally they can record their story as a voiceover for one or more of the animations, including sound effects and music if desired, with them choosing to record it in the present tense or in the past as a memory. Exploring the different effects of a voice over in the present tense and in the past on a viewer's experience, concludes the unit.