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Welcome back! This week our learning will continue to be based on ‘You’re Called What?!!’ by Kes Gray and Nikki Dyson.

Begin by listening to the story again HERE. If you haven’t already, read the reviews HERE (click 'read all reviews' to see more) and write your own.

This week we will be writing our own animal creation poems. We will be using the poem ‘Cat Began’ by Andrew Matthews.


Day One

Read the poem Cat Began.

Cat Began

Cat began.

She took the howling of the wind,

She took the screeching of the owl

And made her voice.


For her coat

She took the softness of the snow,

She took the yellow of the sand,

She took the shadows of the branches of the trees.


From deep wells

She took the silence of stones.

She took the moving of water

For her walk.


Then at night

Cat took the glittering of stars,

She took the blackness of the sky

To make her eyes.


Fire and ice

Went in the sharpness of her claws

And for their shape

She took the new moon’s slender curve –

And cat was made.


This is a hard text for Year One children so it will need some explanation. Discuss the word 'began'. What does it mean when something begins? Tell your child that the poem pretends that the first cat made herself by taking things from the world around her. Reread the poem and identify what Cat used to make herself. 

Ask your child to choose their favourite verse in the poem. Why do they like it? Support your child in reading it aloud with rhythm and intonation. They might wish to add actions. You could challenge them further by asking them to learn the lines so they can perform them without reading the text. If your child likes being recorded, you could make a video to send to a relative. Of course, if they are really inspired you could encourage them to add more verses!


Day Two

Read the poem again with your child. Carry out the picture matching activity below...


Chat to your child about the pictures. Do they match with the pictures your child imagined in their head when they heard the poem? Do they think any of the pictures could be better? The moving water picture is usually a good source of discussion. Of course the still image is not moving so it cannot capture the word int he poem.

HERE is a video of water moving and HERE is a video of cats moving. You could watch the two videos and discuss the similarities. 


You could further challenge your child by asking them to cut out the pictures and verses and place them in the correct order.


Day Three

Read the poem again and ask your child to imagine the cat in the poem. The pictures from yesterday should help with this. What colour is she? Does her fur have any patterns? What colour are her eyes? What are her claws like? Ask your child to draw a picture of the cat in the poem. You could print out the poem from yesterday so that they can illustrate it.


Day Four

Now it is time for your child to begin planning their own poem. First they will need to choose an animal. Funny animals like the ones in the story 'You're Called What?!!' lend themselves to this activity with younger children. They could also choose to write about a pet, an extinct animal or a mythical creature if they wish. Encourage them to choose an animal they are interested in. 


Use the planner below to gather ideas ready to write the poem tomorrow. The poem will not be as long or as complex as Cat Began. Five lines would be a good length, so we have included five ideas in the planner. Your child may have more ideas or they may not be able to come up with five ideas. You can just adapt the poem length to meet the needs of your child. You will also find some example plans to use if your child is stuck for ideas. They can use the ideas from these plans if they wish. We call this being a 'magpie' in school.

Day Five

Now it is time to write the poem. Your child should use the plan from yesterday to turn the ideas into sentences for their poem. It is likely that they will need support to remember to start each sentence on a new line and with a capital letter. Read the poem below as an example of what they are aiming for. You could also use the writing frame below to help them to structure their ideas. Don't forget to visit the 'Key Skills and Resources' section of the Year One pages for sound mats and tips on how to help your child. You could challenge your child further by asking them to add adjectives to their poem. For example: shiny, squishy marshmallow.