The Leading Magazine for Primary Educators
Pie Corbett’s fiction: kidnapped
Main Subject: Lesson Plans
Author: Pie Corbett
Take children on an adventure with Pie Corbett's short story, then use the activities on the next page to help them write their own...
Somebody was coming up the stairs! Ducking down behind an old crate, we waited. I could feel my heart thumping like a bass drum and my throat felt tight and dry with dust…and the crush of fear. What if we were caught? The strange girl glanced at me through the semi-gloom and grinned. I thought that she was trying to be reassuring.
Gradually, the door opened and we could hear someone tiptoeing in. There was a pause and then a torch flickered on. Its beam stabbed the darkness, seeking us out, nosing into all the hidden corners. Holding my breath, I tried to make myself as small as possible. After a few moments, the light switched off. Whoever it wasstood quite still, listening. We could hear each rasping breath. Then the door shut and the footsteps clicked back down the stairs. Relieved, I let out a sigh. As we clambered out of the window and slithered down the wet roof, I was trying to remember how I had got into such a mess.
It had only been half an hour ago when Mum had sent me down to the chippie with a tenner and strict orders for no vinegar on her chips. When I reached the Stroud roundabout, I couldn’t help looking at the old house. It was ready for demolition, which was a shame because we had played there for years! It was then that I’d seen it; a light at the window. Then I saw a face. I stood there staring. It was a girl, mouthing a word and the word was, ‘HELP’.
That’s how it happened. I’d broken in round the back through a smashed window. Half a minute later and I’d found her, a trapped prisoner in an upstairs room. She’d only just finished telling me that she was the American ambassador’s daughter, Cindy Breakwell, and about the ransom money when the kidnappers had returned to move her to a safe house.
So there we were, balancing on the wall, as if we were walking the plank. Gripping the guttering tightly, I lowered myself down. Five minutes later and we were back at Mum’s. “So Ron, where’s the fish and chips?” she asked, eyeing Cindy suspiciously.
Half an hour after that, Cindy’s Dad arrived in an embassy car. All the net curtains on the St Petroc’s estate started to twitch with curiosity. That night it wasn’t just chips for tea. He took us all out for a big meal. Amazingly, the next day, there I was in the local paper. A hero.
Get a whiteboard-friendly version of pie’s story…
Read the story then use the following activities
‘Adventure’ stories are always popular with children. They hinge around common patterns such as rescuing a kidnapped person, finding hidden treasure or in some way defeating bad people such as burglars or robbers. This story involves a flashback.
Working with the story
Loiter with the story for at least two or three days, if not longer. This will help the less confident internalise the patterns. Make sure that they have heard the story being read and read it to themselves as often as possible. Display it on the interactive whiteboard so that it can be seen by everyone. Deepen understanding with the following activities:
• hot seat the characters;
• draw a graph showing the ups and downs of the main characters’ feelings during the story – label with quotes from the text;
• write diary entries or letters to friends about what happened in role as either Cindy or Ron;
• work in role as journalists to interview the main characters and then write the front page news story.
• use a digital camera to video a news bulletin about the story as it breaks.
Writing your own version
I would begin by ‘boxing up’ the story to show what is happening in each paragraph. This can then be used as a basis for a new version. (See fig .1)
To help the children write a version of the story, try the following ideas:
• Begin by creating storyboards - everyone should draw a cartoon version of their plot, with a box for each paragraph.
• Discuss who might be kidnapped and why.
• Use the storyboards for an initial telling of the stories with children working in pairs.
• Make a list of possible local places where kidnappers might hide someone. Use digital photos and annotate images to gather vocabulary for the setting description.
• Draw children’s attention to how the flashback is managed using the lines ‘I was trying to remember how I had got into such a mess’ and ‘That’s how it happened’. Collect or invent other possible flashback phrases and sentences, e.g. ‘I thought back to how it began’ or ‘Only that morning, I had been…’.
• Draw their attention to the way in which the story begins dramatically, drawing the reader straight into the main action.
• Try putting the main scenes onto a story mountain pattern, noticing how the story begins with the peak of the mountain and flashes back to the start and build up.
• Plan a class version using a storyboard. Turn this into a simple planning grid that can be used to capture helpful words and phrases.
• Stage the writing each day so that you can use shared writing to model a paragraph before the children attempt their own version.
• Work from the reading into the shared writing before the children have a go themselves.
• Think about how the characters might feel and then decide how they would behave – mime the escape through the dark and onto the roof.
|Kidnapped!||The underlying pattern
||Idea for new story|
|Ron and the ‘strange’ girl are hiding as someone comes closer.||The main character is hiding with someone who has been kidnapped.||Molly is hiding in a closed-down shop with a strange boy who has been kidnapped.|
|They stay hidden as the person gets closer. Ron thinks back to how his started.||The villains get closer and closer. The main character tries to recall how the adventure began.||The villains return and start to search for the boy – Molly recalls how the adventure began.|
|He had been walking past the old house on his way to get chips when he saw someone trapped asking for help.||The main character recalls seeing the kidnapped person from a distance.||Molly had been taking a short cut home when she saw the boy waving from a window.|
|Ron had broken in to rescue the girl but while she was telling him about what had happened, the kidnappers return.||The main character recalls breaking into the kidnappers’ hideout and hearing what had happened just as the kidnappers return.||Molly had broken in and found out that he was in a ‘boy band’ when the kidnappers return.|
|They manage to escape and get back to Ron’s house.||The main characters escape and get to safety.||They manage to escape through a window.|
|Cindy’s father arrives and Ron is famous.||Order is restored – the main character is rewarded.
||Molly is given free tickets to a concert.|
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