Teaching Ideas for Spudboy and Chip
Along with using Spudboy in your guided reading (free resources here), why not base a fun English unit around the book?
All children love superheroes – using Spudboy and Chip as your guide, your class will easily be able create their own amusing superhero stories.
Here’s how you could structure your unit:
- Create a main character: how old are they? Where do they live? Who do they live with? What is their family like? What happens in their normal day to day life? Draw the character, draw the family, draw the house.
- Write some diary entries as that character to explore their voice – are they funny? Poetic? Serious? How do they see the world?
- Colin merges with a potato in an accident emptying a bin bag – what animal / object / plant / vegetable / machine does your character merge with? What strange super hero do they become? How and where do they merge – is there an accident? Are they bitten? Do they fall into something? Do they look at / smell / taste something? Now think of all the strange new powers they will eventually have.
- Now make them struggle! The merging process isn’t easy. When does the merge take place? What happens to them? Colin begins to merge in the middle of the night and it is very distressing. They must resist the struggle to start with.
- Do they have a sidekick or a helper? Do they meet someone who guides them through the merge and helps them use the powers? Colin has Chip – who does your hero meet? A neighbour, a family member, a professor, an animal?
- Now put your hero in a tricky position where they have to use their new powers to save the day. Where is the story set?
- Finally, they return home having accepted their destiny as a superhero!
Firstly, use drama with your class to get them to come up with as many superhero ideas as they can and act out the merging process and / or the moment they use their amazing new powers.
Then use a story mountain to plan it: beginning is when we meet the character, the build-up begins when they begin to merge and as they struggle with it, the climax is when they save the day, the resolution is when they return home and the ending is when they accept their new identity.
Make sure they children experiment with diary entries and find the voice of their character – as this is a first person narrative, character voice really matters.
Superhero stories are comic so they could storyboard the main scenes, focussing on the various settings of their story. Do they live in a town like Colin? In the countryside? In a foreign place? Up a mountain? Anywhere at all!
Once the children have planned, they can have a go at a first draft. Remember, writing really happens in the re-drafting process! No-one writes a story only once.