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Dream Museum

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By Catherine Gilhooly

Take an audio tour of our spooky, virtual museum: a recount text complete with information on some fascinating historical artefacts.

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This resource is a first person fictional recount of a dream-like, night-time visit to a spooky, ‘fantasy’ museum which features some exciting and famous exhibits. The children will be able to ‘walk’ along the corridors of this virtual museum, see the exhibits and read the labels as well as read and listen to the commentary. Some familiarity with the exhibits in the museum would be helpful.

Shared teaching and learning

Before reading

  • Discuss the different aspects of any museum visits made – eg, entering through a large foyer, following different corridors to exhibits, walking into halls full of artefacts, spending a long time looking at something that interests them, using a guide map or book.
  • Introduce the idea of the ‘dream museum’. What might be exhibited here? Why is it called a ‘dream museum’?
  • What is a first person report? When is it used? List typical features in a checklist.

Shared reading

  • Approach the table and select the audio tour. Listen to the introduction. Who might the child be? Reinforce the use of the first person.
  • Unpick the descriptive vocabulary and language used to create atmosphere – eg, adjectives (‘long, dark’), adverbs (‘perfectly’), questions to draw in the audience (‘Where am I? Am I awake or am I dreaming?’) and the inclusion of feelings (‘a little scared but also curious’). Add these features to your list.
  • Begin moving along the corridor. Before entering the first door, discuss what might be on the other side.
  • Read/listen to the account of the T.Rex exhibit. Highlight subject-specific vocabulary and interesting verbs (eg, peering). Add to the checklist.
  • Discuss the use of the exclamation mark, and the effect it has on the audio narration.
  • Sort factual information (eg, ‘these dinosaurs could grow to 12m long’) from sentences used to create atmosphere and suspense (eg, ‘But then, as I stared up into its eyes…’).
  • Listen to the audio again, closing your eyes and imagining you are there. Describe what you can see, using descriptive vocabulary and choosing interesting verbs.
  • Repeat the same series of activities for each exhibit. Where there are questions in the text, respond to them.
  • Discuss the ending. Has the child really visited this museum? Why do you think she has had this dream? How will she feel when she goes on her school trip? Why?

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Year 2 through to Year 5, and to identify links with Year 3 and 4 Literacy Planning Units.

After reading

  • Did the children enjoy this resource? Why? Did the 1st person make it seem more real? Why? What are the features of the report that make it so effective?
  • What was your favourite exhibit? Why?
  • How is this interactive resource better than just reading about a visit to a dream museum in a book?
  • Sit in a circle and pass around a toy or small object. When it is their turn, each child can share something they would like to see in a dream museum.

Independent and group activities

  • Find out more about the exhibits using reference books and/or the internet. Make up fact sheets.
  • Imagine you are visiting the same museum. Rewrite or re-record the first person report describing what you see. Substitute the descriptive vocabulary, interesting verbs and rhetorical questions with your own ideas. Use the activity sheet below for writing practice.
  • Create your own dream museum, working over several days using the ideas from circle time, researching each exhibit, then using a presentation package like PowerPoint® to upload images and add narration and text. Refer to the genre checklist created previously.
  • Make and illustrate guidebooks for your dream museum.
  • Make a model of your dream museum, with pictures or models stuck behind cardboard doors or in alcoves and the report recorded onto a dictaphone or tape recorder.

Plenary

  • Share the first person reports and use the checklist to evaluate. Do they have descriptive vocabulary, interesting verbs and questions to develop atmosphere and suspense? If possible, allow children to edit work in light of the evaluations.
  • Invite another class to take a tour of your dream museums, role playing a museum guide to show them your PowerPoint® presentations or models.

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