1 - If You Go Down To The River
In this lesson the class writes a piece of text about a family of sugar famers who have to cross a crocodile infested river.
This lesson plan has links to Curriculum aims and programmes of study in English and Geography.
To write interesting and engaging text
Students write a comic or adventure story about Malawian sugar farmers and the crocodile infested river.
Put the photo on the IWB for students to see as they enter the class. In pairs they look at the sign and discuss where it is and what it means. Who does it refer to? Why might people need to access the Shire (pronounced 'sheer-ay' River despite the threat from the crocodiles? Explain to the class that Traidcraft used to work with Kasinthula sugar farmers in Malawi and before the Fairtrade premium enabled them to dig boreholes, farmers and their families would have to go to the Shire River to get water.
'Those villages that do not have boreholes, they get water straight from the river. The water is not safe. The river is infested with crocodiles so we have seen a number of people being attacked. Some of them even losing their lives... Getting your water from the river can cost your life in two ways. First of all you can contract diseases like diarrhoea and even cholera. Secondly you can be attacked by crocodiles and this is very, very dangerous because there are a lot of them in the river. Sometimes we find that they even attack domestic animals like goats or cattle when they go to drink water.'
(Brian Namata, then Director of Kasinthula Sugar Growers)
Students close their eyes and listen to what Brian says about the Shire River. What do they think the villages look like? What is the countryside like? What might it be like to live close to the Shire River?
Download documents in Welsh:
Distribute producer stories and country profiles to groups of students. Ask them to note down 3 things they have learnt about the villages near the Shire River and 3 things they have learnt about the country of Malawi.
Explain that students are going to write a story about a family or village of sugar farmers in Malawi who need to cross the river. It can be a comic or adventure story.
Model the first few sentences/paragraph of a story and discuss with the class the ways in which it is interesting and engaging.
(1) Working in pairs or groups students could come up with their own first sentences/paragraphs, or use the teacher’s as a starting point.
(2) Using thesauruses if needed, students come up with 5 words/phrases of the following language types which they could use in their stories (these should be differentiated depending on the level of the class)
(1) Nouns (2) Verbs (3) Adjectives (4) Metaphors (5) Similes
Feed back a few examples and identify those which the class believe are most interesting and engaging. Students write their stories.
Students swap and read another story, highlighting 2 sentences which they think are both interesting and engaging and writing a comment to explain why they have chosen them.