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The Iron Man
By Ted Hughes

Adrian Chorlton has sent in these activities based on the book that he did with his class during Literacy Hour. You'll need a two week block to carry out all these activites.
If you have any of your own activities then please send them in so we can add to this collection.


The plot and text of the book is, of course, ©Ted Hughes

Session 1
  • Read Chapter 1
  • Re-ordering sentences - turn a statement into a question - from second paragraph.
  • Spelling activities
Session 2
  • Re-read first four paragraphs of Chapter 1
  • Discuss and write up words used for evoking the scene. Bring out similes. Make a list of scene setting words.
  • Write a description of a monster using similes - head, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, arms, legs, height, breadth, muscles, hair. Generate list on board and then get class to write their word pictures - make a list of possible phrases e.g. like, as big as, as long as, shaped etc.
Session 3
  • Read Chapter 2
  • Work on strengthening sentences using alternative words. Start with a simple sentence e.g. Yesterday the iron man broke up tractors. Strengthen into journalistic, atmosphere setting language.
  • Write, in pairs, a news report covering the events on page 23 paragraphs 3-7 (BUT - all the metal machinery had disappeared). It must be full of dramatic effect.
Session 4
  • Read p24 paragraph 7 (At the bottom ... sheer as walls)
  • This passage describes a hole. How does the author strengthen his description? Try some guided writing to describe a tree. Can they make the tree live through descriptive writing?
  • Work through some sentences and build up based on previous work during week
Session 5
  • Read chapter 3.
  • Continue to make collections of similes.
  • Think of a scrap yard and then write some similes to describe the scrap in terms of food. E.g. bicycle wheels like pizzas or pizza wheels.
  • Work in groups of three: Mum, Dad and son/daughter. Describe verbally the events of the picnic; imagine that the audience is a TV news audience. Perform to class.
Session 6
  • Storyboard the first three chapters.
  • Focus on strengthening writing through selecting appropriate vocabulary. Take a sentence like: it was a nice day. Find alternatives for nice / link into antonyms.
  • Spelling activities.
Session 7
  • Read chapter 4.
  • Consider adjectives such as nearer, faster and bigger from page 41. Think about how these might be amended to cover using suffixes to indicate intensity -est, -ish, -er, -est, etc; and how these suffixes affect comparative and superlative strength.
  • Draw a picture of the space-bat-angel-dragon and label it with ideas from the text from paragraph 2 on page 44.
Session 8
  • Read the profile of Ted Hughes with the class and then discuss the process of note making by using highlighter pens to indicate the key points in the text.
  • Then as the group activity get the children to write a profile of the author in no more than 50 words. Supply them with the non-highlighted text as a support.
Session 9/10
  • Read chapter 5.
  • Revise the work over the part two weeks and then spend the last two sessions in independent extended writing, by writing chapter six of the book, after peace is filling the earth. Write as a chapter.



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