UEL Primary PGCE 2014-2015 discussion

Charlotte's Web
This topic is about Charlotte's Web
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My First Review

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John Kay | 21 comments This is the story of a pig called Wilbur, and his friend Charlotte, a spider (obviously) who live on Zuckerman's Farm. Young and innocent Wilbur is informed that the farmer is fattening him up for the sole purpose of killing him for his meat. Charlotte sets about finding a way of saving panicked Wilbur from this grisly fate. E.B White writes factually but lovingly about life on a farm; from the perspective of both animals and humans.
I think this book would be suitable for KS2, (7-10 years old). The animal characters are neither trite nor sentimental, but are well formed and articulate. Which are actually great examples for students.The interaction between Wilbur and Charlotte is very useful from a teacher's point of view. Charlotte often uses words that Wilbur doesn't understand, and he has to ask what this or that word means (as I hope to teach my students to feel free to do); Salutations and languish being just two examples.
Charlotte's Web is about nature in all its cruel, interconnected wonderfulness. It's about friendship (Wilbur and Charlotte). It's about imagination, childhood and growing up (see Fern's character develop, and I suppose Wilbur's too). And it's about death. Which must not be airbrushed out of what we teach children, or we will be doing them and ourselves a disservice.
So, this book could be used as a springboard to discuss animal rights, issues about where the food on our plate comes from. It can be used to bring elements of science class to life. Or, It can be used in English class, to show how to write from varying perspectives; how to use language to describe characters, place or mood. Finally, it is just a great book. I just finished reading it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've also been reading it to my seven year old daughter at bedtime, and she seems to be enjoying it too.


Michelle | 11 comments This is on my list of books to review. My daughter is loving the story and I have to hide from her so that she doesn't read ahead without me. ( Despite the fact that I have read it before.) Great review of a wonderful book.


John Kay | 21 comments Michelle wrote: "This is on my list of books to review. My daughter is loving the story and I have to hide from her so that she doesn't read ahead without me. ( Despite the fact that I have read it before.) Great r..."

Michelle, thank you for the kind words. How old is your daughter? Ever since we started reading we've become more aware of spiders; spiders all about. And every one is Charlotte. I actually cried as I read the last page, but decided not to put that in the review. Now, I've got to choose another book to read and review. I am going to try and review 12 books as advised by people who have just finished the course. I'm impressed that you have a list.


Michelle | 11 comments Hi John, my daughter Emma is 8 I also have a 4 year old son and a 2 year daughter. I am trying to get as many books as I can reviewed as well, although I must say I am enjoying this task. My list is one that I quickly complied based on classics that I want relive with Emma and some newer authors. (Oh and don't worry I won't tell anyone you cried lol)


Mike’s Great Books (mikeb91) I performed Charlotte's Web as part of TIE (touring in education) tour in school's across the country. It was this experience that has made me decide to do the PGCE in Sept. So this book is certainly special to me too


John Kay | 21 comments Mike wrote: "I performed Charlotte's Web as part of TIE (touring in education) tour in school's across the country. It was this experience that has made me decide to do the PGCE in Sept. So this book is certain..."

Excellent! You'll have to tell me more about the tour when the course starts.


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