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Year 3 and 4 Lessons on Oracy 






Group discussion and interaction:  

  • use talk to organise roles and action 

  • use time, resources and group members efficiently by distributing tasks, checking progress, making back up plans 


Potential links to other literacy strands: 

Creating and shaping texts:

use layout, format, graphics and illustrations for different purposes 



  • use keyboard skills to type, edit and redraft 

  • use computer to present written work 


Resources : Examples of storybooks with different designs and layouts


Organisation: small groups of 4-6 pupils 



  • Ask groups to make the stories they are writing in their literacy lessons into a group book. Explain that this lesson will focus on how to design their book.

  • Using examples from the different storybooks, ask the children to consider the following: What will your book cover look like? What will the blurb say? 

  • How will you design the inside of your group book? - Will you have illustrations on every page? Will the illustrations be between the writing, above or below the writing or underneath?  


Main activity 

  • Suggest that each group share out the decisions about the book design, so that different group members are responsible for different aspects Each group will need to select individuals or pairs to decide on aspects such as the cover, the blurb and back cover, the page layout including the margins and illustrations in each chapter, and the font or handwriting style for chapter headings.

  • Write these aspects on the board for reference. 

  • Allow children time to browse through different book layouts to help them think of ideas for their group book designs.

  • Groups must work to a deadline of 15 minutes, during which time they should share out the tasks and start to make decisions about the design of their book. Group members should make notes on their ideas to feedback to their group during the summary.   

  •  Encourage groups to organise themselves and check their own progress. Provide support only when necessary.  



  • Ask each group member to share their ideas for book designs with the other members of their group.

  • Ask groups to reflect on the how far working in the different roles contributed to the success of their task.

  • Share your own observations with the children, and encourage groups to reflect on their skills in relation to the objectives.



  • Group less confident children together and provide just sufficient adult support to enable them to carry out the task

  • Place in socially cohesive groups 


  • Increase the level of organisational challenge by asking confident groups to take on an extra ICT task, such as designing a flier advertising the book

  • Encourage children to extend their responses when reflecting on the group task.

 Assessment questions 

  • Can children work productively in their groups over a period of time, with minimum supervision?

  • How well do groups plan and organise their work?



Adaptations/further suggestions 


  • Groups could submit their plans in a folder, or make a presentation of their ideas, as if they were submitting a proposal to a book designer. They should include reasons for their ideas, in terms of appealing to an audience and increasing book sales. Write a reply to each group, as if from the book designers.  Refer to the children’s ideas in your reply and make some evaluative comments. Alternatively, you could conduct a role-play where groups present their ideas to you, in role as a book designer. This could be recorded or put on video. 

  • Ask groups to plan and organise contributions to a class led assembly. 

  • Ask groups to plan and deliver presentations based on their responses and experiences of an educational visit, a school sporting event or a visit from an author or arts group. 

  • Use ongoing drama contexts as opportunities for groups to plan performances.  

  • Ask groups to organise themselves to design and make a story box. They should use an existing story or plan one themselves. Each group should use a shoebox with one side cut open to make a flap. They should design the inside of the box to fit the story setting and decorate the outside to fit the theme. The box should contain a couple of toy figures to represent the characters, and one or two small objects linked to the story. Use the different boxes as a stimulus for story writing.









Group discussion and interaction: 

  • use talk to organise roles and action 

  • use time, resources and group members efficiently by distributing tasks, checking progress, making back up plans 


Cross-curricular links 


How much litter do we throw away in the school grounds? 


Resources: suitable equipment to enable groups to collect litter; large bin bags and supermarket bags.


Organisation: pairs and small groups




  • Give children a short time to consider the following questions in pairs. Then nominate individuals to share their responses: 

Do we have a litter problem in our school grounds? Do children in this school always use the bins or do they only use them sometimes? Where are the bins located? If we went into the grounds to collect any litter lying around, would we find enough to fill a large bin bag or just a small supermarket bag? 

  • Ask/suggest the following: How near is our school to becoming a litter free zone? Let’s plan how we will find out. 

  • Organise children into Litter Task groups to discover to what extent the school is a litter free zone.   



Main activity 


  •  Make it clear that part of the Litter Task will be about working towards the objective(s) regarding working in groups. Explain what this entails and write the objective(s) on the board for reference.

  • Assign each group an area or zone of the school grounds to investigate. 

  • Each group should plan how they will complete the following within their zone: Draw a rough plan to locate any bins / use the bags to collect any litter not in the bins, / weigh the litter and record the outcome/ mark the main areas of litter on the plans / feedback to the other groups for comparisons/ present their findings using ICT. 

  • Make it clear that this lesson is about planningthe task, ready for the next lesson. Ask them to nominate a reporter who will provide feedback.

  • Each group could nominate a Scribe to produce clear notes on how they will organise themselves to complete the task. The Scribe could also record some speculations on the weight of the litter and the type of litter they will find.



  • Ask the reporter from each group to outline their group’s plans for the rest of the class. 

  • Compare the way different groups tackled the planning task 

  • Invite group members to reflect on their performance in relation to the objective(s) and add any observations of your own. 



  • Place a child in a mixed ability, socially cohesive group

  • Pair a child with a more confident child, to share a task within a group 



  • Ask a child to note any examples of good group work within their own group, with particular reference to the objective(s) 


Assessment questions 

  • Which children take the lead in organising their group? 

  • Which children support others in their group? 

  • Which children need further support to work in a group for a sustained period?



Adaptations/further suggestions 


  • Ask groups to record the kinds of litter they find, using previously agreed categories and then present the results as a graph.  

  • Take spot checks every now and again during the group work, to assess progress. Stop the whole class and ask the children to respond to your checks by using thumbs up for making progress, thumbs down for needing help and thumbs across for not sure. Alternatively, use the traffic light system of holding up a green paper for making progress, amber for not sure and red for help. Check on general progress towards completing the group task or be more specific, such as checking whether they have successfully distributed the tasks by a certain time. 

  • Send the class an imaginary letter from a country park, with litter problems. The letter should ask for their suggestions to encourage children and parents to use the litterbins. In describing where the bins are located and what they look like, it should be obvious that they are too small, unattractive and located in the wrong places. Ask the children to work in groups to design appropriate litterbins and give advice on their location. They could also include any other ideas for solving the litter problem in the park. 


  • Ask groups to organise themselves to make group presentations on the theme of litter for an assembly. They could use the results of any research they have carried out, and/or talk about what they have been discussing in their citizenship lessons. They could also include feedback on some of the group work skills they needed to use to complete their tasks.  They could make reference to the skills stated in the objective. 

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