Theme: The Great Outdoors

This unit includes all sorts of fun things that happen outside - picnics, adventures climbing trees and at school camp, the jungle, the farm, on the road, at sea, attempts to fly, fishing expeditions, and more.

It is vital for teachers to understand the Ziptales 10 stage Reading Scheme, which governs how reading groups can be formed in a way which matches children’s abilities to the appropriate texts. To check on this essential resource - click here.

The 10 Zip Stages cover all levels of reading ability, from Foundation/Prep/Kindergarten through to Year 6. This scheme underpins the whole Themes module.


Learning Components

Focus Stories Comprehension Conventions Writing Speaking & Listening Extension
Zip Stage 1
At the Playground
(Consonant Blends
Easy Readers)
Why is the child telling the story scared of the playground equipment? Worksheet #2:
Compound Words
List or draw your favourite things to do at an outdoor playground. Work in pairs to complete Worksheet #1:
Rhyming Words
Create a poster about all the things you like to do outside.
Zip Stage 1
Rainbow Bay
(Vowel/Consonant Digraphs
Easy Readers)
Create a mind map of all the things the family likes to do at Rainbow Bay. Worksheet #1:
The Long ‘a’ Sound
Worksheet #2:
Looking at Verbs
List or draw fun things to do at the beach that are not in the story and present to an audience. Design a collage of a beach using craft materials e.g. sand, cellophane, shells.
Zip Stage 2
The Amazing Ape
(Long Vowels
Easy Readers)
Worksheet #1:
Rhyming Words
Use the example ‘an ape’ to study the use of ‘an’ before words that start with a vowel. Worksheet #2:
My Favourite Place
Use the story script as a choral reading activity. Paint or draw ways people can use a lake for fun activities e.g. fishing, canoeing.
Zip Stage 2
A Fun Day at the Farm
(Vowel/Consonant Digraphs -
Easy Readers)
Worksheet #1:
Understanding the Story
Worksheet #2:
Opposites
Finish the sentence:
My favourite part of the story was...
Act out the story to an audience. Create your own funny outdoor activities for the farm animals.
Zip Stage 3
The Magic Suitcase
(Imaginary Worlds
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
Three Wishes
Worksheet #1:
Meanings of Words
Write a recount about a time you had a picnic OR a place you would like to go for a picnic. In a small group, discuss the outdoor places you like to go with your family. Draw a picnic basket and label all the food/drinks you would like to pack inside.
Zip Stage 3
Wheels of Speed
(Imaginary Worlds
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
What’s the Order?
Worksheet #1:
Wonderword
Imagine you found a magical scooter like Jack. Write about where you would like to visit. Which do you prefer to ride, a bike or a scooter? Explain your reasons to an audience. Design a poster of different things children use outdoors that have wheels.
Zip Stage 3
Maui and the Giant Fish
(Stories from Long Ago
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
Story Focus
Worksheet #1:
Spelling/Grammar Focus
Write a story about a fishing adventure that goes wrong. In pairs, write a list of the positive and negative things about fishing. Create a fishing game using magnets and paper clips.
Zip Stage 3
The Gold Ring
(People Like Me
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
Story Focus
Worksheet #1:
Spelling/Grammar Focus
Write instructions to make a simple kite. In a small group, create a chart of things to do outdoors in different types of weather. Make a simple kite using craft materials then test it out to see if it flies.
Zip Stage 4
Good Dog
(Adventure)
List the positive and negative things about Paddy as detailed on Pages 1 – 4. General Worksheet #1:
Crazy Contractions
Write a recipe for something delicious you would pack in a picnic lunch. Draw a diagram of how you would make an outdoor hut. Explain it to an audience. General Worksheet #2:
The Key to Mapping
Zip Stage 4
Danny’s New Glasses
(People)
General Worksheet #2:
Reading a Description
General Worksheet #1:
Know Your Nouns
General Worksheet #3:
Writing a Description
Work in a small group to complete General Worksheet #4:
Bully-Free Zone
Design a brochure for a farm that offers fun kids’ activities.
Zip Stage 5
Starkers
(Comedy)
List the lucky/unlucky things that happened to the main character. Brainstorm and define common slang terms using the title of the story as an example. General Worksheet #2:
It Gets Worse
Explain your favourite outdoor activity to an audience. General Worksheet #1:
View From a Tree
Zip Stage 5
Spew
(Yucky)
General Worksheet #2:
Story Order
Study other letter patterns that make the ‘ew’ (as in spew) sound e.g. blue, shoe, through. Write a timetable for an entire week of school to be spent outdoors. General Worksheet #1:
Classroom Catastrophe
List the advantages and disadvantages of spending a school day outdoors.
Zip Stage 6
The Luckiest Catch
(People)
General Worksheet #2:
Who Said It?
General Worksheet #1:
Word Brainstorm
General Worksheet #3:
Sea Creatures
Present an oral report about great outdoor activities for kids (like fishing). Create a poster about different types of fun water sports for kids.
Zip Stage 6
Snake!
(True Tales)
Use details from Page 1 to summarise where this story is set. General Worksheet #1:
Studying Suffixes
Write an adventure story about a terrifying camping trip. General Worksheet #2:
Body Language
General Worksheet #3:
Research Project
Zip Stage 6
The Garden of Enchantments
(Fairy Tales)
General Worksheet #2:
Character Feelings
General Worksheet #1:
Who Owns It?
Write an imaginative narrative about a secret garden. Design a garden you would love to have in your backyard. Explain it to an audience. General Worksheet #3:
Searching Through Time
Zip Stage 6
Mad Tom
(Scary)
General Worksheet #1:
What Do You Think?
General Worksheet #2:
Know Your Meanings
What are ‘yabbies’? (pg 2) Write an explanation text about how to catch yabbies. General Worksheet #4:
Country or City –
Which do You Prefer? Read aloud to the class.
General Worksheet #3:
Click Go the Shears!
Draw a Map.
Zip Stage 7
No Second Chances
(True Tales)
Locate details from the text that tell us that the trapped men needed to be rescued quickly. General Worksheet #1:
Proper Nouns
General Worksheet #3:
The Great Divide
Imagine you’re an abseiling instructor. Create an infomercial for your services. General Worksheet #2:
Adventure Sports
Zip Stage 7
Kay Cottee’s Adventures
(True Tales)
General Worksheet #2:
Dear Diary
General Worksheet #1:
A Dash of this and a Dash of that
Write an imaginative narrative about a dangerous boat voyage. In pairs, design a model of an unsinkable boat. General Worksheet #3:
Australians of the Year
Zip Stage 7
The Battered Bully
(Mystery)
Summarise the events for each day and night of the camp. General Worksheet #1:
Crossword
General Worksheet #2:
School Camp!
In pairs, create an itinerary for the best school camp ever. Research the history of your favourite outdoor sport/hobby/activity.
Zip Stage 8
The Hitchhiker
(Scary)
Write a detailed description of how Jessica is feeling on each page of the story. General Worksheet #2:
Match the Definition
General Worksheet #1:
Jessica meets the Hitchhiker
In a small group, make a list of the positive and negative aspects of living in the country. Design a brochure for an ideal holiday in the great outdoors.
Zip Stage 8
Meg’s Mum Can’t Fly
(People)
General Worksheet #1:
Attempts to Fly.
General Worksheet #3:
Vocabulary Building
Write a descriptive imaginative story using the topic
If I Could Fly...
In pairs, compose 5 questions about hang gliding and then research the answers. General Worksheet #2:
Different Ways To Fly
Zip Stage 9
Get Away!
(Comedy -
Advanced Library)
Worksheet #1:
Cause and Effect
Locate 10-15 adverbs in the story and use them in new sentences. Write an opinion piece in response to the topic ‘Camping is the best type of holiday’. Worksheet #2:
The Beauty of Ballads
What is ‘glamping’? How is it similar and/or different to the campsite in the story?
Zip Stage 9
Trapped!
(Horror
Advanced Library)
Use details from the story to write the final chapter. How is punctuation (e.g. capital letters, ellipses, rhetorical questions) used for effect in the story? Worksheet #1:
Trapped in Real Life
Worksheet #2:
Real Cave Diving Adventures
Worksheet #2 Extension Activity 2:
Print Advertisement
Zip Stage 10
Dream Maker
(Fantasy & Sci Fi -
Advanced Library)
Explain the ‘twist’ ending to this story. Predict what you think happened after it ended. Worksheet #1:
Who or Whom?
Worksheet #2:
Intelligent Machines
Present an oral report about forests. Include facts (e.g. layers, flora, fauna) & fun activities. Design a poster explaining different types of fresh water sources.


Assessment Ideas

Spelling/Grammar
  • Generate a spelling list for students to learn using words related to outdoor endeavours such as: camping, fishing, rock climbing, parachuting, rowing, gardening, football, netball, cricket, volleyball and swimming.
  • Use the Word Work and Spelling and Vocabulary Worksheets for the Reading Library stories to improve students’ spelling skills.
  • Identify rules for adding ‘ing’ to words ending in ‘e’ (e.g. parachuting) and ending with a vowel/consonant blend (e.g. swimming)
  • Select a passage from one of the on-line stories as dictation assessing the use of speech marks.
Reading
  • Complete the Fill the Gaps and Multiple Choice questions at the end of the story (available for the Junior Readers, Reading Library and Advanced Library genre stories).
  • Use the Learning Support Worksheets for the Reading Library stories to practise a range of reading skills.
  • Record ten main events from one of the on-line stories and describe the feelings of the main characters as each event unfolds.
  • Write a synopsis for one of the on-line stories.
  • Write an alternative ending for one of the on-line stories.
Writing
  • Write explanation texts describing how to complete an outdoor activity e.g. How to Catch a Fish, How to Ride a Skateboard.
  • Write a persuasive text using the title ‘Children should spend more time outdoors.’
  • Write a sensory poem about an experience in the great outdoors (e.g. a rainforest, climbing a mountain, sailing on the ocean). To write a sensory poem, each line begins with the following introductions: I see... I hear... I smell... I taste... I feel... - and at least ten words must be used for each line.
Oral Language
  • Hold a ‘Great Outdoors Expo’ where students aim to encourage other students in the school to try their favourite outdoor activity. Students can set up their own information stall and provide pamphlets and advice about their chosen endeavour.
  • In small co-operative groups, discuss and record essential items necessary to take on a camping trip to the outback e.g. clothes, food/water, first aid and equipment/tools. Ensure limitations are placed on number of items and students explain reasons for their choices when reporting back to the class.
Related Ziptales Activities:

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