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Past sessions

Lighthouse (Animation)

Monday - 22 June 2020

Resources for Session 1

You will be asked to watch the video clip twice, the first time please pause it at the places directed and think about the questions asked. If possible watch the clip with an adult and discuss the questions with them.


Pause the film at 24 seconds 

  • From the title of the video clip and the setting that you have seen so far, what do you think the clip will be about? What do you think might happen in the film? What might be the outcome?

Watch the clip until the lighthousekeeper slams the window shut

  • What does he think about the people outside the window having fun?
  • Why does the author put this scene in?

The next pause is at 58 seconds. 

  • How has the creator built up the tension in the film so far?

Last pause at 1 minute 50 seconds. 

  • What might be the outcomes seeing as the lighthouse keeper broke the lamp glass?


Now watch the remainder of the film. 


If you can print out the resource sheet below, then cut up the stills of the film and arrange them in the correct sequence. If you can't print out the sheet, then just record down the letter of the image in the right order as they occurred in the film. 


When you have ordered the pictures, see if you can retell the story to someone using just the pictures as a guide. 


Tuesday - 23 June 2020


Today we will be looking at the headline used in a report, but before we start looking at headlines for this story I want you to rewatch the film clip and identify the who, what, where, when, and why in the film. Try to answer each section if full sentences. Use the sheet 5w's to help set out your work.


Watch the video clip


Before you start looking at headlines for a newspaper report on the lighthouse, consider these questions...


  • Why do you think a headline is important?
  • What should be included in a headline? 
  • Why might this story be newsworthy?


If you are able to, type your answers to these three questions into Purple Mash and submit them to me and I will mark and respond. 


Now have a look at some possible headlines for the story and match them up with different techniques used in writing. (Use resources below.)

Can you make up some of your own headlines? 


A headline needs to quickly grab the reader's attention. A good headline gives a snippet of the story in no more than 2 sentences. In such a small amount the writer can not cover all of the 5 Ws. Can you identify which of the 5Ws were present in the headlines shared with you? 

Wednesday - 24 June 2020

There are various individuals or groups of people in this story clip. Although we don't hear them say anything we can get a good idea of their personality from their actions. 

For this task, you will need to use your skills of inference and deduction. Are you ready? 


Write at the top of a page, Lighthouse keeper, Villagers, ship's crew. 

I want you to watch the film clip again but this time write down as much information about each person or people as you can. Remember you can always pause the video clip at any time. 


Watch the video clip


Now I want you to pretend you are a reporter or member of the press. What questions would you ask each of these people or members of the groups? 

Think back to the work we did on question types in class, remember that if you use closed question you will most probably get a one-word answer, but if you use open question, you will get a more elaborate and detailed answer. 

Try to come up with five questions for the lighthouse keeper, five for the villagers and five for members of the ship's crew. 

Ordinarily, in-class I would ask people to take on the various roles of Lighthouse keeper, villagers, or ship's crew to get a better understanding of what occurred that night but as we are not in one location we will have to adapt. Here you have a few options depending upon which is best for you and your family. You could ask a parent or older family member to watch the film and take on the role of a character as you ask them questions about what happened that night. Or with a parent's permission, phone or communicate with someone else who is in our class and one of you takes on the role of a character then switch over so you both get a chance of asking your questions. Or you could switch roles backward and forth being both the reporter asking the questions and the character giving the answers. 


Remember your questions and answers need to be interesting for the reader.  

Use this intro to help set your work out and attach your quotes to. 


The inhabitants of a remote Scottish village were the heroes and heroines of the hour yesterday when an unfortunate incident with a lighthouse's lantern resulted in some emergency action. 


The villagers leapt to the aid of the flustered lighthouse keeper in what can only be described as a valiant display of co-operation and community spirit. 


The quick-thinking villagers managed to prevent a maritime disaster.


The event has highlighted the need for manned lighthouses and the need for a close relationship between keeper and community which has been reinforced through this potentially catastrophic event. 

Thursday - 25 June 2020

Today we will be looking at how reports are written, or rather the language that they use. Written work can be drafted in different ways depending upon the situation or how well you know the person. The two broad categories are formal and informal.


An example of the two-sentence types could be:

  1. Due to unforeseen circumstances, tonight’s performance will be cancelled.
  2. We’re having a bit of trouble with snow so the theatre’s going to be shut today.

Which one do you think is formal? Which one is informal?


To help you get a better understanding of the two styles of writing use the PowerPoint in the resource area at the top of this page.


What did you notice about the two different ways of writing?


Formal language is used in professional, official and impersonal situations. In short, in situations where we need to be more serious or when we don’t (sorry – do not) know the audience personally and when the topic is important.


The features of ‘formal language’ are that contracted words are not used. Nor are colloquialisms (slang or local lingo) used. Neither are idioms or clichés (a phrase that demonstrates lack of original thought). It refrains from using the first person. Instead, it makes greater use of a passive voice, precise language, and statistics. To abbreviate it uses Standard English consisting of complex sentences.


Using the first resource sheet ‘formal or not’, look at how similar ideas or messages are delivered in the two styles of writing. Then write the last four alternatives to the informal examples given. The other quick task that will help you clearly see the difference between the two styles of writing is ‘Formal or informal letter’ I want you to cross out one set of underlined words in each part of this letter of complaint so that one letter is written in formal language and the other is informal.


By now you are probably an expert on spotting the difference in the language used. Have a look at ‘your letters of complaint’ (in the resource section at the top of the page). You will spot that these letters are written in an informal style. I want you to choose one or two of the letters written and rewrite them as a formal letter. Type the letter/s you choose up in the Purple Mash 2do task and submit them to me for a comment.


Friday - 26 June 2020

I want you to watch the clip again and this time I want you to jot down the key facts that would be important in responsible journalism.


If we were writing a story, I would be encouraging you to add lots of details, linger in the moment and describe every aspect of it. However, the elaboration of details is not needed here, instead, we stick closely to the facts and report accurately what happened. We are reporting on the event, reporting what happened. The use of witnesses might provide additional information but as reporters, we stick to the facts.


When you watch the clip again, record your facts as a list or as bullet points.

  • Lighthouse made a clunking noise then stopped shinning or rotating.

Watch the video clip


Have a look at the resource sheet “Numbers in journalism”, it explains some of the practices of journalistic writing. You may want to keep that aside for when you write your report next week.


Now have a read the start of the article “Community spirit saves vulnerable vessel”.

What do you learn in the first paragraph?


Reading on we learn some more facts about the lighthouse keeper which we did not acquire from watching the clip. As this is a fictional event the details of name, age etch were added by the writer. However, if this were a true event in professional journalism the details would not be invented by the journalist, they would be obtained from the people directly.


You will notice that the paragraphs develop the 5Ws but don’t restrict yourself to only writing about one of the Ws in each paragraph. Some paragraphs will have more information than others. You may want to add more information of your own, people, ages, dates, etc. Just make the notes of your ideas at the moment. 


Your task today is to look at the "Bullet point planner". This is an example planner and you can change the structure of your 5Ws. Now using the style of the structure shown on the bullet point planner, I want you to plan the paragraphs of your report. You are NOT writing it today, just planning the content of each sentence in each paragraph so that all of the information is covered. Make sure you keep your plan safe till next week as we will be using your plans.


Lastly, in preparation for next week, I want you to look at the last resource sheet "Caption creation". I want you to decide upon a caption for each picture and write them in the box under each picture.  


Again, keep the work that you have done today safe ready for next week.


Monday - 29 June 2020


Before we get into this session, I want to recap a term that we have looked at a couple of times in class before the start of lockdown. The term is “Preposition”, which as I am sure you remember, tells us where something is in relation to other things in place or time.


Simple prepositional phrases could be: on the table, under the cup, next to the house, early in the evening, just after midday, in the car, etc.


I want to give you the challenge of watching the film again but this time writing down as many prepositional phrases as you can.


Watch the video clip


Now that you have got your initial prepositional phrases, something like…

On the clifftop, above the village, inside the houses, along the coastline.

I want you to try and develop them by adding factual details, so that “along the coastline” becomes “along the dangerous coastline” or “on the clifftop” becomes “on the tip of the jagged clifftop”.


Take five of your initial prepositional phrases and develop them to be expanded prepositional phrases.

I want you to send in your five extended prepositional phrases via Purple Mash in the 2Do task “prepositional phrases”. Keep a copy for yourself as you might want to use them later in your writing.


Switching direction, today I want us to look at writing the ending of the report, sometimes called the reorientation of a piece as it brings us back to the start or purpose of the report or article. The ending or reorientation brings the story up to date and you will often see a switch in the tense used, from past at the orientation or beginning of the article, to the use of the present tense in the reorientation or ending of the text.



Members of the local community are now assisting Mr Thomas with the repairs to Briar’s Rock lighthouse and are planning to fit a remotely-operated lantern to the clifftop as a temporary measure whilst the repairs are being conducted.


Can you spot the tenses used? In the example given have a look at the use of adjectives local and temporary, also look at the structure of the sentence, factual and formal in content.


I want you to have a go at writing your reorientation to your reports, it should be a good sentence in length bringing the article to an end that links back to the start or reason for your report. When you have finished this take some time today to put your report together, remember to keep it factual and formal in language. Use the resource sheets from last week to help guide your writing, particularly the bullet point planner. Again, if you send in your finished articles via Purple Mash then I will give you a comment and pointers for future work.


Tuesday 30 June 2020

I want you to play the clip that we have been looking at but this time stop at 40 seconds. For the remainder of this week, we will be writing a mixture of first-person/third-person narrative. Our work will include many references to the character’s emotions and thoughts about the incident. Today we are going to combine information about the life of a character and a setting to provide an introduction to our narrative.


Watch the clip


To start with we are going to try to set the scene and introduce our character. Look at the resource sheet “Setting and Character”. The page has been split into half for you to record down as much as you can about the setting. There is a lot of information that you can glean about the setting even from the first 15 seconds. e.g. There is a full moon, it is a cloudy night. Play the clip for five seconds at a time then pause. What did you learn about the place in those five seconds? Write down what you found out then repeat the process for the next five seconds. Keep doing this up to 40 seconds.

At this point in the clip, the focus changes to the character. Repeat the process that you did for the setting but this time do it for the character.


By now you should have a wealth of information about the setting and the character but before we get into your writing, I want you to look at the opening of this person's writing. Resource “Fisherman’s Rhyme”, if you can use two different colours it will make things clearer for you. First mark where the information is about the man in the extract, and in a different colour, show where the information is about the setting.


What do you notice about the way it is written using information about the setting linked in with bits of information about the character? The two are woven together.


We need to do the same with our information, weave the two parts of the setting and character together for our opening paragraph to provide the reader with a deeper understanding of both. However, before we start it is also worth remembering that when giving insight into the life of the lighthouse keeper, we are also providing information to his background and vice-versa when we describe his past, we give a greater understanding of the character now, just as the writer did in Fisherman’s rhyme.



I was always fond of the sea and would spend hours, as a child, out on the beach collecting shells and staring at the waves (Lighthouse keeper).


The rocks below the lighthouse were perilous and constantly gnawed by the waves (setting).


These could then be combined to form a paragraph like this.

I was always fond of the sea and would spend hours, as a child, out on the beach collecting shells and staring at the waves. Though I learned as an adult that the peace and tranquillity of the sea could change at any moment. The rocks beneath the lighthouse were perilous and constantly gnawed at by the waves, and the walks I’d had as a child were rare because of the high tides and dangerous currents.


Now you try with the information that you wrote about the setting and character. Remember to send your work to me via Purple Mash. 

Wednesday 1 July 2020

This session starts with a lot of questions. You will need to watch the clip again up to the point where the candle goes out.

What does the lighthouse keeper feel about the people outside?

What makes you think that?

Why do you think the creator of the clip, the author, included this part in the video?

How does it make us feel about the man and the cheering people?

What time of the year could it be? (Maybe Christmas or New Year.)


Watch the clip


Now that you are in the mood of answering questions, I want you to look at the resource sheet “Village by night”. You will see that the numbers on the sheet go backward, this is because I want you to write four sentences that each comprises of an expanded noun phrase (If you need guidance on what an expanded noun phrase is, have made a link to the BBC Bitesize website). Then write three sentences that use a prepositional phrase (think back to Monday’s work – a preposition tells you where something or someone is in relation to place or time). Next, I want you to write two short snappy sentences (no more than 4 words). Finally, write one sentence that uses a relative clause (again, click the link if you need to know more). To see some example sentences, have a look at an “Example of sentence types” (see today’s resources at the top of the page).


Using your sentences and a bit of editing you can stitch your sentences together into a setting description. Have a look at the example of a setting description in the resources. The red words are taken from the initial sentences. The order of some of the sentences has been moved about to make the writing flow better. The other words link and stitch the sentences together. Have a look at the use of the word “friendly” and the use of repetition of the sentence “Light swept the village”. What do these parts do to the sentence?


Using your sentence construct your setting description. Again, send in your work via Purple Mash.


Thursday 2 July 2020

Up to this point, we have been describing the setting of the story. In video clip time up to 40 seconds but now we are going to switch to the main character, the lighthouse keeper.  


Watch the clip 


Today I want you to watch just a very small section of the film from 40 seconds to 1 minute. These 20 seconds are a crucial part of the story as we will go back to our first-person narrative again. This will be achieved in a simple series of steps. As you watch (and you might want to watch it a couple of times, note down what happens in sequence. Once you have constructed your steps in what happens compare your list against my Sequence of events (See resources). As we have done with your work yesterday, we need to fill out the initial sentences with more information. Look at the resource sheet “Back to first-person”. See how the sentences vary in length and the openers of each sentence.


Either go back to your list of events or use the sequence of events sheet in the resources and by adding additional information to develop these events into a sequenced paragraph. You should include other details such as the candle blowing out, the villagers stopping their cheers and sound from the top of the lighthouse. Consider your openings and try to avoid over repetition of a noun by selecting a different synonym. E.g. Light, beam, beacon, glow, lantern.


We can use the same approach that just used to build and develop the story. Look at the resource sheet “Till the ships horn blows”. This is a simple list of events from 1 minute to 1 minute 34 seconds. Watch the clip between these times, think about how the Lighthouse keeper performs the actions, what details can you add? Use the word bank in the resources to help you. One method of developing your sentences is to use DADWAVERS. Look at the bottom of the word bank sheet to see what the letters stand for.


Remember to send in your work to me via Purple Mash and make sure you have saved your work before sending it to me.

Friday 3 July 2020

Today you will be watching the clip from 1 minute 30 seconds to the part where the Lighthouse keeper opens the door. Today we will be writing a short first-person account of what the lighthouse keeper does up to the point where the dome smashes.


Watch the clip now


Have a look at the resource sheet “Different words same meaning”. It covers the three main actions at this stage in the first person. I inspected the lantern, I heard a ship, the glass covering was broken. I want you to write in each of the circles a different way of saying the same thing. You can change the number of words used as long as the meaning of the event remains the same. Try to write more than one sentence in each circle. When you have had a good go at writing your sentences, have a look at the resource sheet “Possible sentences for the same meaning”.


Choose the sentence that you like best from each of your circles and write them in the light grey box to the corresponding part of the resource “Timeline of events. What actions or thoughts do you think occurred between these points? Don’t solely rely upon what you have seen in the clip, you can use your imagination. Did the keeper gasp? Heart starts racing, feel the drain of blood from his face, etc. Try to write 2 or 3 linking sentences with the three main sentences in the paragraph.

Have a look at the resource “Strangers no more”, have a look at how the different paragraphs swap between first-person/third-person. See how repetition has been used for effect. The paragraph ends with an onomatopoeia.


Your task today is to write the first, first-person narrative paragraph up to the point where the glass smashes. Try extending your writing by using repetition for effect. As previous days submit your work to me on Purple Mash.  


Monday 6 July 2020

Today and tomorrow we are going to work on the ending of the Lighthouse. Using the resource “Strangers no more”, look at the second paragraph. This section returns to the use of third-person to describe and explain how the lighthouse keeper is feeling.


To help you develop a range of phrases to structure your sentences in this section, I want you to look at the resource “A moment in time”. Look at the picture in the middle and imagine you are the lighthouse keeper trusted to keep things working. Trusted to have the light shining to warn approaching sailors of the danger. Now the glass dome is shattered. Write down as many thoughts and feelings you can think of.

Use the ideas you now have about the feelings that the lighthouse keeper might have felt to write your second paragraph. Can you include the repetition of a comparative adjective? Faster and faster, closer and closer, nearer and nearer?


When you have finished writing this up, hopefully on Purple Mash so that you can send it to me, I want you to consider how we will make the urgency of the situation clear in the next paragraph.

Start making some notes ready for tomorrow’s lesson.


Now watch the clip

Tuesday 7 July 2020

We are going to end our narrative writing based on the short clip of the Lighthouse today. However, just as things seem to be ending I want to share with you a pivotal writing technique that may transform your writing forever.

Show, don’t tell.

It seems like a strange saying but it has a strong meaning in writing. It means showing the reader what is happening in your story rather than telling them. Don’t say that she was upset, show me through the actions, the description. Tears ran down her cheek, onto her chin where they hung for a moment before plunging to the floor where there now sat a small pool of tears. Her sobs could be heard bouncing off the walls, little did the noise matter as she was now all alone. Can you see how the character's feelings are reviled through the description used?


To help you grasp a better understanding of what I mean by, “Show, don’t tell watch the clip below.

Show, Don't Tell

Instead of happy or angry as shown in the clip above, we are going to focus on the emotion of panic. What does panic look like? How would a person display panic in their face, their body, or their voice? Think about that for a minute before looking at the resource “Drenched with description”. Which is more successful at conveying a sense of urgency? The longer example certainly contains some successful descriptions, however, the shorter version actually coveys the urgency and tension of the situation. In this case, less is more. Look at the shorter sentence constructions, the explanation of what is happening to the character’s breathing, the use of well-chosen words and phrases to describe speed- quick, short, glance, brief. Now you try to write a paragraph to show the Lighthouse keeper's emotions at that moment.


Now watch the lighthouse clip from 2 minutes to the end.

In this last section we will return to writing in the third person. Watch the clip again and on a separate piece of paper note down everything which happens, including information that we don’t see but which must have happened- e.g. he got to his feet, he went back up the lighthouse. Take a look at the resource “Strangers no more”. Have a look at the openers, Which

of the DADWAVERS sentences are used here? A mixture of description, action, verb, estimation of the time, and adverb. Could we have used a preposition or a simile or rhetorical question? Now I want you to complete the final paragraph by using the chronological timeline of events (What you just saw in the film from 2 minutes onwards) and the DADWAVERS sheet to help support your writing.

Try to include as many of these elements in your writing today.





Estimation of the time

Where things are

Rhetorical Question


Short snappy sentence


Well done and remember to send it to me on Purple Mash. I have really enjoyed reading what you have done in your writing so far.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Before we get going with these sessions, even before I tell you what the film is called or what it is about, I want to ask you a few questions.

  • What does the word “inspire” mean to you?

Write down what you think it means on a piece of paper, then go and have a look in a dictionary or google it. I would recommend Collins dictionaries online. Does your definition mean the same thing just in different words?

  • Why is it important to have dreams and aspirations?

Now can you write the name of a person who inspires you?

This might be someone you know personally or it could be celebrity that you look up to. Now under the person’s name I want you to write a short sentence explaining what it is about this person that inspires you.

  • What qualities do they have that you admire?
  • What has this person achieved that makes you look up to them?

Keep what you have written safe, we might want to look back at it later.

Now to tell you the name of the clip.


This clip is based upon the true story of a young French lady called Jacqueline Auriol. To give you a little bit of a background to the clip,


The year is 1953 and Jacqueline Auriol, the daughter-in-law of the French president. She is a test pilot. The first female test pilot in France. She went on to break several speed records for flying and was awarded numerous trophies and accolades in recognition of her achievements. This short film begins with Jacqueline readying herself to be strapped into her jet plane. She is about to create history. This 7-minute film is told in Jacqueline’s own words is presented to us through a series of flashbacks describing the events which allowed her to become the first European female to break the sound barrier. The clip is in French with subtitles so you might want to watch it a couple of times.

If possible, watch it with an adult so you can discuss it later.


The reason I have chosen this clip as it will provide a different perspective to your writing based on a factual event. Additionally, I hope that you will get inspiration to fly high, to achieve, not just to touch your dreams but to hug them tight and make them a reality. Enjoy.

L'aviatrice - ESMA 2016 (English Subtitles)

Discover more ESMA animation movies by subscribing: Découvrez encore plus de films d'animation de l'ESMA en vous abonnant:

When you have watched the film a couple of times if you can discuss with the person who you watched the film with about the type of person you think Jacqueline was to achieve what she did.

  • Why do they think she did it?

Write her name in the centre of a sheet of paper then create a mind map of words and phrases to describe her qualities and character. You can use synonyms where appropriate.


Then I want you to choose a couple of these words or phrases and to develop them into full sentences that paint a picture of the person in words. Try linking these sentences together so that you have written a good paragraph describing Jacqueline. This paragraph is going to become the introduction to a piece of writing about her life (biography).


Have a look at how the facts about Mr. A are presented to you in the resource “Example introduction” then using the resource “Facts about Jacqueline Auriol”, you set out your introduction.


Like always, please send in your work via Purple Mash and I will read and give you a comment.

Thursday 9 July 2020

Biography                  Autobiography


  • What do you think these two words mean?
  • Is there any difference between them?
  • If there is a difference, what is it?


Now look the two words up in a dictionary or use an online dictionary.

If you are going to use an online dictionary, I recommend Collins dictionaries.


What does the dictionary say they each mean?


During these sessions, we will be writing a biography detailing the life and achievements of Jacqueline Auriol but before we start writing, I want you to have a look at five pieces of text (see the first five documents in the resource section with people’s names). You don’t have to read all of each sheet at the moment, but from what you do read can you decide if the text is a biography or an autobiography?

What is the main difference between the two?


You can put the autobiographies to the side (these are written by the person about themselves and their life). We are focusing on writing a biography, an account of a person’s life written by someone other than the person themselves.


From the biographies that you read; can you identify some of the features that they use? Have another look at a couple of them, then record down as many of the features as you can. When you think you have completed your list have a look at the resource “Features of a biography”. How did you do?

Why do you think biographies are written the way they are by a third party and how might the language differ in an autobiography?


What I want you to do is using the resource sheet “Features Found in a biography” is to identify and record down examples for each section using just one biography. You can choose the biography to look at from the ones available at  


There is an extensive list. Write the name of the person you choose at the top of the page then find the features listed below and write in the example.