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Box of Delights: The '?' Motorist (1906)
In the Classroom

Some suggestions on how to use this title in the classroom and where it fits in to the curriculum.


Primary Framework for Literacy Non-fiction Unit 1: Recounts: newspapers/magazines (Year 4)

Phase 4: Discussion and writing newspaper/magazine texts, calls for children to 'view an extract from a visual text containing a clear narrative sequence' which can be used as the stimulus for a newspaper report; the extraordinary chronological sequence of events in the The '? Motorist makes this ideal visual text for this purpose.

Watch the film and explain to the class that they are going to report on the events as if they actually happened. The children will have to plan their report and to do this will need to re-watch the film so that they can recount the sequence of events and collect quotations. As this is a silent film, there are no quotations; this provides an opportunity to use a variety of drama activities to generate your own!

Try watching the film again and pause it at the end of different sequences, quickly choose children to take on the roles of various characters and improvise their reactions. You could pause the film after the policeman gets run over, and then when he sees the car drive up the building; what might he say and how might he say it? Pause the film after the car drives around Saturn; what would the female passenger say about her adventure in the sky and in space, would she be excited or terrified? You might also want to pause the film after the car lands in courtroom drives outside, turns into a horse and cart and drives away; what would the judge think of that? Making this a spontaneous, fast paced exercise should encourage immediate quick fire responses which will hopefully generate some funny and authentic quotations based on initial reactions.

Next use a drama hot-seating activity to explore different character perceptions in more depth so that the children can record different character viewpoints. Encourage the children to reflect on the drama activities and offer their own opinions on the events presented, what do they think of the motorist? Do they think he should be punished? Do they think he will ever be caught? How do they think he managed to drive into the sky, space and change into a horse and cart?

Remind the children of the presentational and language features of newspaper reports; brainstorm some appropriate headlines. Children can now write their reports and publish them using appropriate computer software. You might want to prepare some images to accompany their reports by selecting shots from the film using the pause button and taking screen grabs which can be pasted into a paint program and saved as jpeg files. (Poppy could you make some images from the film available for this purpose?)

Curriculum links

Primary Framework for Literacy Non-fiction Unit 1: Recounts: newspapers/magazines (Year 4)

1. Speaking
Tell stories effectively and convey detailed information coherently for listeners.

4. Drama
Create roles showing how behaviour can be interpreted from different viewpoints.

7. Understanding and interpreting texts
Identify and summarise evidence from a text to support a hypotheses.

8. Engaging with and responding to texts
Interrogate texts to deepen and clarify understanding and response.

9. Creating and shaping texts
Develop and refine ideas in writing using planning and problem-solving strategies. Use settings and characterisation to engage reader's interest.

10. Text structure and organisation
Organise texts into paragraphs to distinguish between different information, events or processes. Use adverbs and conjunctions to establish cohesion within paragraphs.

12. Presentation
Use word processing packages to present written work.