This text based, 5 session English planning, focuses on reciting sections of the classic, narrative poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Written in 1855, this epic poem describes the life of Native American character Hiawatha and has a strong focus on nature.

All aspects of poetry from the national curriculum in reading, spoken language and writing composition will be covered across the full set Au1-Su2.

National curriculum skills for this unit:

Spoken language:

  • Listen and respond
  • Build vocabulary
  • Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives
  • Use spoken language: speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates

Reading comprehension:

  • Read and discuss a wide range of texts
  • Learn poetry by heart
  • Prepare poems and plays for performance
  • Draw inferences (characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives); justify with evidence
  • Summarise main ideas, identifying key details
  • Evaluate authors’ language choice
  • Participate in discussion about books
  • Explain and discuss understanding of reading
  • Provide reasoned justifications for views

Writing composition:

  • Note and develop initial ideas, drawing on reading and research
  • Enhance meaning through selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary
  • Describe settings, characters and atmosphere
  • Propose changes to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning
  • Perform own compositions using appropriate intonation, volume and movement

For schools that use Pathways to Write, this unit aligns with the autumn 1 set 1 unit. Outcome: Pupils write a section of a narrative poem about water.

The poem for this unit is freely available online – an extract is contained with the unit.

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