9th December - The Lion Inside

Advent Tree

Behind door 7 on our advent calendar is a great lesson plan based around The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright. You can buy the book for your class here


Our thanks to Maddy Barnes, Assistant Head Teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School and English Consultant for this wonderful lesson idea!


English Grid

Objectives to be taught



Throughout years 3-6 and by the end of KS2 pupils should acquire a rich vocabulary.

KS2 Content domain:

2a) give/explain the meaning of words in context

This book has a strong PSHE message about a lion and a mouse. The story is told through rhyme accompanied by amazing illustrations. There are a number of words/ groups of words that could generate rich discussions with pupils.

Rich vocabulary:

craggy; meekest; toothsome; slumbering; reclining; befell; a-fumble.

Can pupils give definitions for the above words? Can pupils use these words correctly in other sentences?

GPS Focus

Adding –er, -est to adjectives is introduced in year 1. 

Although adding –er and –est is introduced in year 1, one of the main messages from the sample materials for 2016 is the importance of reviewing content from previous year groups. This book is full of examples of adding –er and -est. Whilst reading the story, teachers could ask pupils to listen out for adjectives and record them to share at the end of the book. The focus could be on spelling the adjectives accurately.

Examples of words with –er or –est:

littlest, quietest, meekest, cleverest, weeniest, smallest, winner, scariest, closer,


Words you could add –er or –est to:

mighty, tough, strong, brown, long, brave, big,


Writing in Y5 & 6

Pupils should be taught to:

  • plan their writing by:

  • Identifying the audience for and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own.

  • In narratives, describing settings, characters and atmosphere and integrating dialogue to convey character and advance the action. 

This book will provide many meaningful opportunities for writing tasks. These could be adapted for younger pupils too.

For each task teachers should spend time allowing pupils to develop planning frames/proformas. By year 5 or 6 pupils should take responsibility for their own learning styles. Teachers could model variations so that pupils can be inspired to choose the one that suits them.

In addition to the objectives identified, it is important that pupils follow the Plan- Write- Draft- Edit process. For the purpose of assessment and moderation, there should be evidence of pupils editing and re-drafting their own writing. This is a skill that must be taught as pupils can sometimes be reluctant to do this independently.

There is also a fine line between high quality written feedback that allows pupils to edit independently and prescribed feedback so detailed that limits independent editing skills.

Writing opportunities:

Design Chapter 2: What happens next for Lion and Mouse?


Diary entries: Entries from the point of view of Mouse as he meets Lion and then another contrasting diary for after he meets Lion.


Poetry: ‘A Match made in Heaven;’ ‘Friendship;’ ‘Friend or Foe’ or ‘Opposites Attract.’


Speech entitled:

‘The best things come in small packages?’

‘No matter your size, we all have a mouse and a lion inside.


Assessment, CPD, Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation, Science and Technology

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