Connecting to prior knowledge
- Show students front cover of book and invite predictions, recording them as you go.
- Read aloud Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat.
- Discuss students’ predictions and themes emerging in the text: creativity, imagination and friendship.
What makes Milli, Jack and the cat such good friends?
What do they enjoy doing together?
How do they help each other?
- Have students draw a friend using the same art technique as Stephen Michael King; black fine liners and water colour. Prior to the activity, examine the illustrations and discuss detail, colour and technique.
- Have a class discussion to share drawings and invite students to explain things that they enjoy doing with their friend.
- Students write a list of things they enjoy doing with their friend.
- Create a friendship wall and add these to it.
Exploring the text in context of our community, school and ‘me’
Build on the friendship wall by inviting students to share ‘special and unique’ qualities that they notice in their class friends and people at the school. Document the children’s comments and add to the wall. These may include noticing what various people in the school do such as how the school gardener keeps the school grounds looking beautiful. Continue to build on the wall each day, emphasising different qualities: kindness, persistence, courage, generosity.
Rich assessment task
Draw a picture of you being a good friend. Explain what you are doing and why this makes you a good friend to others. Students build upon their understanding of the friendship between the characters and connect this to personal experience of friendship
Responding to the text
Examine the text
- Re-read story this time from the perspective of creativity.
- Focus on the first page: ‘Milli could take a thing that was nothing and make it a something!’ Invite the students to share objects they have made or experiences of being creative.
- Discuss how old objects can be reused, and used in different ways.
- Working in small groups students take photos of objects in the school environment that have been reused. For example, on old car tire that has become a garden.
- Students share what they have found with class group.
- Print photos of the student’s reused objects and ask the children to write about their findings. Use these to create a recycling wall.
- Watch the recycling clip.
- Discuss recycling; what it means, and the student’s knowledge of this.
- Have students complete the recycling worksheet (PDF, 164KB).
Rich assessment task
Create posters about objects that can be recycled. Use magazines for students to cut out. For example: vegetables for a compost, car tyres to become swings. Students present posters to class using opening statements, clear articulation, volume and pace to share information and knowledge gathered on this subject, staying on topic. Assess with the Speaking and Listening rubric (PDF, 148KB).
Examining text structure and organisation
- Introduce YouTube clip Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat presented by Monkey Baa.
- Discuss similarities and differences between the two versions; book and pantomime.
How did the music add to the story?
In what ways are the stories similar?
In what ways are they different?
Create a class venn diagram to illustrate the similarities and differences.
- Discuss: Focus on the page ‘Dancing made Milli feel brave and free‘ and the illustrator’s use of two pages and the size of Milli, her expression and the font used for brave and free.
- Play a variety of music for the children to react to such as Flight of the Bumble Bee, Brahms Lullaby for Kids, Under the Sea. When the music stops, children freeze, teacher asks ‘How does this music make you feel? How does your body want to move?’
- Revisit the text to focus on body language. As a class group, practise moving your body to show different emotions: boredom, sadness, excitement.
- Pair children up with one iPad between the two. Children take turns photographing each others poses. Teacher calls out an emotion: for example ‘lonely’ and students pose and freeze to show this.
- Print the photos ensuring that each child has a photo, and a range of poses has been compiled. Give photos to students and ask them to identify times when they have felt this way. Display photos with accompanying text from each child.
Examining grammar and vocabulary
Nouns and adjectives.
Explore nouns and adjectives in the text. Discuss how the writer uses language to create mental images.
- forgotten things
- rusty things
- brown shoes
- ordinary, practical, familiar things
- plain, ordinary workboots.
Discuss the words and the images. Add any new words to the word wall.
Whole class: ‘Close your eyes and imagine’. Teacher states ‘a small furry animal, a rusty thing, a tinkling bell’ and invites children to share their mental images.
Whole Class: Describing bag. Teacher passes a bag around the circle that holds different objects. Children remove an object and state the noun and an adjective to describe it for example ‘a blue duck‘ or ‘a hard, blue duck‘.
Rich assessment task
Children design and draw a fabulous shoe using fine black liners and water colour paint. Use a stimulus from the text such as: ‘curly-toed shoes covered in stars’ and the images. Children give a description of their shoe design and explain (verbal) why shoes such as these were important in the text.
Re-read the story and talk briefly about all the unusual things Milli made and how that made her feel.
Students plan, create and write a report about an object made out of odds and bobs. This activity builds upon creativity and recycling. The aim of this sequence of activities is to share the resources, explore them and eventually create an object. The children will need a journal to record the different models they make, and will need access to an iPad to take photos.
Share the learning intention with students.
Prior to the lesson, provide small paper bags and ask the children to bring in small, unused odds and bobs from home.
Revise the format of report writing.
Allow time for children to sort their objects according to different attributes: colour, material, texture, use.
Discuss the categories used and as a class agree upon a way that the objects will be sorted. Invite children to create labels for each of the containers.
Provide several opportunities for the children to create a ‘something’ from these materials without using glue or tape. The aim is for the children to have the opportunity to discuss and share their creative ideas together and to build their expertise in report writing. Have the children take photos of their work before dismantling the parts and returning these to the correct boxes. Underlying this activity is the sharing of objects, ideas and respect for the environment.
Print the photos children have taken of their objects. After each new creation is made the children add the photo to their journals and write about what they have created and the materials used.
Scan written pieces that reflect desirable text structure and grammar. Examine these with the class using the IWB – discuss the features and ask for constructive feedback about what else the author could add to make the written piece more descriptive.
After much exploration the children are ready to create their final piece and will then construct a piece that is permanently fixed with glue or tape. To begin students must draw a plan and complete their construction. Upon completion the children write a report and these are collated into a class book.