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Two great rivers

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By Dawn RoperYear 2 Class Teacher, Literacy and PE Coordinator, South Yorkshire

This information text compares and contrasts two rivers which, although quite different, have an equally big impact on the landscape around them and the people who live near to them: the Amazon and the Danube.

Information is presented through photos, maps, captions and labels as well as text paragraphs, bulleted lists and information boxes.

two-great-rivers.jpg

Shared teaching and learning

Shared reading

  • Discuss what the children know about rivers. What rivers are in the local area?
  • Look at the topic words in the text – for example, piranha, scientists, discovered. Talk with the children about the words’ meanings.
  • Look at sentence structures (short, factual statements interspersed with the use of complex sentences, used to add additional information).
  • Discuss how the information is presented (eg, blocks of text, bulleted lists, captions, etc). How do the photos/maps add to the information?

Previous learning

Children should have read a selection of different non-fiction texts.

Further reading:

Raging Rivers Anita Ganeri (Horrible Geography series, Scholastic, 978 04399 44564). Investigating Rivers Clare Hibbert (Step-up Geography series, Evans 978 02375 28799).

Responding to the text

Reflect on what you have read. How did this text help you to find out more about rivers? What new information have you found? Did anything surprise you? How was the information put across? Why does it have bullet points? How does the layout affect the reader? Would you choose a different layout? Why?

Group and guided activities

  • Invite the children to use the information they have found about the Amazon and Danube rivers and role play reporters for a news programme or documentary, filming the presentations using a digital camera. The children can use notes made previously as an ‘autocue’.
  • Use a highlighter to locate specific information in the text. Rewrite these facts in your own information texts in a different style.
  • Create fact files about different rivers – local ones and famous rivers, such as the Nile or the Ganges. Encourage the children to look in library books as well as on the internet. Sites like Wikipedia are useful for facts and figures.
  • Collate the fact files to form a class book on Great Rivers of the World.
  • Use the facts from the poster, and the facts you find out about other rivers, to complete the game cards on the activity sheet below, making multiple copies of the blank card to make a set.

Key learning outcomes:

Year 3

  • To present information, clearly sequencing items, including relevant details;
  • To use talk to organise roles/action;
  • To use drama strategies to explore issues;
  • To write non-narrative texts using structures of different text types.

Year 4

  • To take different roles in groups/use appropriate language;
  • To develop scripts based on improvisation;
  • To interrogate texts to deepen/clarify meaning;
  • To organise text into paragraphs/distinguish different information, events, processes.

Speaking and listening

  • Show the children different photographs of rivers and encourage them to devise questions about each one. Display the questions around the classroom for other children to answer.
  • Hold a debate on which river, the Amazon or the Danube, is the greatest. Ask one group to argue for the Amazon, another the Danube. If possible, allow them to present their arguments through a multimedia presentation, backing up their arguments with facts. Invite the other children to vote – perhaps using an electronic voting system.

Plenary

  • What have you found out about information texts from using this poster? How have you used this text?
  • Invite individuals to explain how they found out further information about rivers of their choice. Which sources did they find useful and why?
  • Revisit the arguments in the ‘greatest river’ debate. As a class, summarise the different ways in which a river can be said to be great – eg, length and size, influence on industry, the environment, the number of people it supports, etc.

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