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My Big Book this week is Owl Babies and I'm really struggling to think up ideas for Focus Group activities in my CLL sessions. We have sequenced the last 2 stories and I thought we could do that but it's quite hard to seqeunce I think. I plan to introduce the book using a story box but that's as far as I've got. Could somebody help me please? Thank you!


Tash X

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One of my favourites. :o


After telling the story and possibly looking at some books about owls add some feathers to the collage bar. As a focus activity encourage the children to paint/collage pictures of owls and then they can put feathers on them if they wish. If you can get a stuffed owl for them to look at even better, as they can look at the feather patterns and add these with pencils or charcoal to their paintings. When the children have done this provide some speech bubbles and talk to the chidlren about what their owl miught be saying and the children can then write, at whatever level they are, within this.

Sequence the story in pictures - these could be done by the children.


I have found making a display from the story effective. Then I make a large speech bubble which I attach to Bill. He then writes a message to them each day, and this stimulates writing back to the owl. I model writing a letter to Bill with the whole group, and the first individual letters are done as a focus activity. Then I make sure that their are plenty of envelopes in the writing area and some owl stamps. I set up a tree stump postbox and off it goes. It is important that if children write to Bill he mentions them in his letters, as this will make other children want to write to him to get a mention as well.

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I got this off the net, I'm sorry but I don't remember where x


Adult-led activities

Home alone


Share with the children Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, in which three little owls sit and wait in a tree for their mother to come home.


Key learning intentions

To have a developing awareness of their own needs and feelings and to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others


To listen with enjoyment, and respond, to stories and make up their own stories To extend their vocabulary, exploring the meanings and sounds of new words Adult:child ratio 1:up to 10



Owl Babies by Martin Waddell (Walker Books, Pounds 4.99) 3owl hand puppet and three owl finger puppets 3poster of an owl 3branch of a tree 3magnetic story props (see Resources)



* Display the poster and attach the three small owls to the branch.


Activity content

* Introduce the book to the children. If the group are familiar with other books by Martin Waddell, or you are developing an author focus, discuss the role of an author and an illustrator. Look at the front cover illustration and discuss what the story could be about.

* Read the story to the children, emphasising the repetitive text in which Bill says, 'I want my mummy'. The children are likely to join in with this refrain.

* Revisit the beginning of the story, until the fourth page: 'But their Owl Mother didn't come. The baby owls came out of their house and they sat on the tree and waited.' Introduce the branch with the props and discuss how the owls must be feeling when their mother doesn't return.

* Retell the story, with the children joining in. Ask one child to hold the mother owl puppet, and to swoop towards the branch as mother returns.

* Discuss with the children how the owls might feel when their wish comes true and their mother returns to them.

* At the end of the session, give some children opportunities to retell the story using the branch and the puppets, and encourage others to retell the story with magnetic props.


Extending learning


Key vocabulary

Sad, lonely, unhappy, miserable, gloomy, sorrowful, abandoned, happy, glad, overjoyed, delighted, thrilled, ecstatic, trunk, twigs, wise, branch, ivy, swoop, flap, wingspan


Questions to ask

* What do you think the three baby owls are thinking at the moment? How do you think they feel? Can you think of other words that mean the same as 'sad'?

* Have you ever felt alone? How did you feel? What cheered you up?

* How are the baby owls feeling now that their mother has returned? Can you think of words to describe how happy they are?

* Why do you think their mother went away? If their mother goes away again, do you think the owl babies will be as unhappy and afraid? Why not?


Extension activities

* Revisit the story with a small group of children and encourage them to discuss the owl babies' feelings. Provide leaf-shaped pieces of paper and encourage the children to write down individual words to describe happy or sad feelings, acting as a scribe where appropriate. Create a three-dimensional display, with the owl babies alone and the 'sad' words, and then the owl babies with their mother and the 'happy' words.

* Encourage the children to make their own story props of the owls.

* Introduce the rhyme 'Two Little Dicky Birds Sitting on a Wall' to the children, using finger puppets.

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