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A Planning Sequence for Varmints

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 4

Literary Theme: Finding Freedom

Author(s): Helen Ward


Descriptive comparisons, retellings, setting descriptions, poetry

Main Outcome:



16 sessions, 3+ weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week sequence using the film and text of Varmints by Helen Ward and Marc Craste, in which children explore the settings and themes, writing a retelling of the story from the main character’s point of view and sharing their thoughts and opinions about the story. The same text is then used to draw out the process and lifecycle of growing plants. Children use this as a starting point to create a lifecycle flow diagram, charting the changes that take place as a plant grows and what is needed to nurture it in order to give guidance to the next generation of ‘varmints’ how to look after plants. Children then use this, alongside their explored knowledge of explanation texts, to write their own  explanation of the lifecycle of plants to be published as a leaflet. It is important that children are exposured to a range of explanation texts, through Science and Guided Reading throughout.

Synopsis of Text:

Once, the only sounds to be heard were the buzzing of bees in the grass, the murmuring of moles in the earth, and the song of birds in the sky. These warmed the hearts of those who cared to listen - until the others came to fill the sky with a cacophony of noise. With dramatically lit artwork and a spare, intriguing text, Varmints tells of a pastoral world in need of protection and of the souls who love it enough to ensure its regeneration.


Environment, habitats, conservation, activism, film, life-cycles

A Spelling Seed is available for Varmints.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Varmints by Helen Ward.  Below is the coverage from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.

Spelling Seeds have been designed to complement the Literary Curriculum by providing weekly, contextualised sequences of sessions for the teaching of spelling that include open-ended investigations and opportunities to practise and apply within meaningful and purposeful contexts, linked (where relevant) to other areas of the curriculum and a suggestion of how to extend the investigation into home learning.

Spelling Seeds work alongside the texts within the Literary Curriculum and, as such, will also reflect the suggested number of weeks spent on a text, as well.


Word List Words

decide, guide, important, learn, natural, notice, possible, group

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words with endings sounding like /ʒə/ or /tʃə/

The suffix -ation

View Varmints Spelling Seed

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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