Theseus and the Minotaur, retold by Meli

4TBM.  Have a  read through Meli’s retelling of Theseus and the Minotaur and post a comment about something you like about it.  We’ll look at this together in class tomorrow.  I’ve added some of my thoughts in red.

King Minos of Crete was a person who wanted all power and he was evil and yet he was a king.   He was so full of himself that he built a huge palace for himself. But right under the huge palace there was fear.  [Great sentence!]  Fear of a labyrinth. [Brilliant, powerful short sentence] Because somewhere deep in the labyrinth there was a Minotaur.  A Minotaur is a bloodthirsty, murderous monster and it feeds on human flesh. [Yikes!  Great description]  

But there was something extra.   King Aegeus of Athens had each year to send 7 boys and 7 girls to feed the terrible Minotaur.   King Aegeus didn’t like doing that but he just didn’t want a war with Crete.

Theseus, the son of Aegeus,was in town being happy and having a good time but then he saw his father waving goodbye to 14 tributes about to get eaten by the Minotaur.  Theseus asked why and his father explained everything.

“That won’t happen because I am going to be one of the tributes and I will kill this monster,” said the young, brave man.

“If you succeed, you must raise a white sail when you return.  If not, raise a black one,” said King Aegeus with a little tear in his eye.

[This is excellent dialogue from Meli because it is helping to tell the story.   And she’s remembered the punctuation and the rule ‘new speaker, new line’]

When Theseus arrived with the others he walked to the palace and saw King Minos and beside him was Princess Ariadne, King Minos’s beautiful daughter.  When Princess Ariadne saw young, brave Theseus, she started to admire him. So when Theseus was going into the labyrinth, Princess Ariadne secretly walked up to Theseus when nobody was looking and said: “Even if you kill the Minotaur, you will never find your way out so take this.  It will help you.” And she gave Theseus some thread. Theseus took the thread and he was off into the darkness of the labyrinth.

Somewhere in the labyrinth, Theseus turned a dark corner and felt a sharp horn and then straight away he knew there was the Minotaur in front of him.  From the first second, Theseus held onto the horns and brought his sword down and slayed the half-man-half-bull beast.  [I think I would have liked Meli to describe the battle in more detail.]

When Theseus had killed the Minotaur he took the thread then looked for the entrance to the labyrinth.  When he came out he saw Princess Ariadne there waiting for him and she said, “Oh my God you’re alive!”  You must take me with you or my father will kill me.”

When Theseus was sailing back home, Ariadne wouldn’t stop blabbing [Fun choice of word!] about her and Theseus getting married.  But Theseus had something else in mind. Theseus realised that just because he had saved Ariadne he was expected to marry her.   So he stopped at an island and asked Ariadne to get some food. She stepped off the boat and he set off without her.   

So the so-called amazing Prince Theseus was selfish and a traitor.   Theseus said, “I will not marry her. I will marry the prettiest girl in Athens or a goddess, not her.”  But while Theseus was going back and thinking about the future he forgot to change the black sail to a white one.  So when King Aegeus, who was waiting at the top of a cliff, saw the black sail, he thought his son was dead. So he threw himself off the cliff.   And to this day that sea has been called the Aegean Sea in memory of the heartbroken king.

[Meli has retold the story in clear and entertaining language.  She has written in the past tense throughout. She has varied her sentences and used some great phrases and vocabulary.  All of the dialogue helps to tell the story – there’s no chit chat! These are all the things you need to aim for in your next piece of work.]

English – retelling Theseus and the Minotaur

In English, the children continued writing their retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.   They’ve just written the part where Theseus enters the labyrinth and kills the beast – and tomorrow he’s going to set off back to Athens together with Princess Ariadne and then betray her.  You could ask your children to retell the myth to you.


Theseus and the Minotaur

Our English lessons for the next fortnight will be linked to the story of Theseus and the Minotaur.    Today, we watched a video retelling of the myth and, tomorrow, we’ll read Geraldine McCaughrean’s telling of the story.   You could ask your children to give you their version so far.


He shouted these words…

The children have written their own version of Tidy by Emily Gravett, the book that we’ve been using in our English lessons.  Here’s Lynden’s excellent story, which he leaves on a cliffhanger.  “He shouted these words…” Lynden says of his main character, Joe, at the end of the story.  Which words?  I want to know!  Can you make a suggestion?

What lies deep in the Amazon rainforest?  Trees cover what’s below with their ceiling of leaves and carpet the jungle with their roots.  There are birds chirping, snakes hissing, fish splashing, leaves rustling. But surely something will happen, something bad….

The same thing happened every day, again and again.  The same animal emerged from the trees – Joe, the monkey.  He never smiled nor played with the other animals and there was only one thing upsetting him: that things were not tidy.  So he cut off untidy branches, washed the animals, neatened birds, combed fur and feathers and straightened all types of vines but it still was not enough.

Some trees were starting to lose their leaves so Joe tidied up every leaf on every tree.  But it still didn’t look tidy because the trees didn’t look right so after a while Joe decided to cut down every tree in the Amazon with an axe he found and cut the trees into neat logs. Then a woodcutter came and saw the millions of chopped trees and he knew he would be a multimillionaire soon. So he sold the wood.

Little did Joe know that the rain was coming and, when it did, because there were no trees it flooded and when it ended there was mud so Jo covered the mud with concrete.  The Amazon jungle was finally tidy and that made Joe very happy but not the others. No, no, they were not happy at all. They were all crowding around him shouting: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO OUR HOME?!   

Suddenly, Joe realised he had made an unspeakable mistake.  He wanted to go home but realised he had cut it up into a neat pile of logs that had mysteriously disappeared.  Joe had to shout over the crowd of animals to be heard. He shouted these words: . . . 




We all need sweets in our life – Hetty

Should sweets and crisps be banned from local stores?   This was the topic of this week’s English lessons in which the children practised persuasive writing language and techniques.  Here are arguments from Nate, Juliette and Hetty who were all against a ban but for different reasons.

Take a step outside and you will see there is litter to your left, right and everywhere. Our local area is way too polluted. We need to sort this out now or very soon. Three weeks ago when we did a survey we saw hundreds of bottles, cans, plastic and more. Some people think that we should ban sweets and crisps from the shops. I do not agree because it is going to put shops out of business and you need sugar to survive.

In my opinion, we should be allowed to have sweets and crisps for lots of reasons. Firstly, kids like them and it is part of growing. Secondly, local shops would be cut out of business. Lastly, people should be able to buy and sell whatever they want.

Even though litter is a very bad thing for our environment, we can educate ourselves to stop. I also understand that sweet and crisps are bad for us but the government should not control our diet.

To summarise, I do not think we should ban local shops from selling sweets and crisps because it would be bad for kids and bad for business.


You only need to take a glance at our local streets to see that they are covered in litter. At our school, Year 4 did a litter survey around our local streets. We saw huge amounts of litter such as cans, plastic bottles, crisp packets and sweet wrappers. Some people argue that we should ban sweets and crisps from local side shops. I believe that is a bad idea and is too extreme.

In my opinion, local shops should be allowed to sell sweets and crisps for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is a free country and people should be allowed to buy and sell whatever they want (within the law). Secondly, it is not fair on people who do not litter. Thirdly, it will not work because people will buy sweets somewhere else. Last but not least, educating people to not drop litter is a better alternative.

Even though it is a sad truth that litter does harm animals and wildlife, there are better options than banning sweets and crisps from our local shops. It is also unfortunate that sweets and crisps are bad for our health, but we are in charge of our diet, not the shops, not the government.

To sum it up, it is clear it is not a good idea to ban sweets and crisps from our shops because it is going to put some shops out of business, it won’t work, and it does not help our community, country or our planet.


Every day I go outside I see plastic wrappers, cans and cups on the floor. At our school, we recently carried out a rubbish survey where we saw plastic cups, plastic bottles and litter of all kinds including lots of crisp packets and sweet wrappers. Some people think that they cannot do anything but they can. But I do not think they should ban local shops from selling sweets and crisps as some people want.

Firstly, if we didn’t have sweets no-one would celebrate Halloween. Secondly, if we have no sweets kids will be sad because they would get no candy at Easter. Not only that, if we do not sell them no-one would come to the shops and we would have no snacks on a long drive.

I know plastic sweet wrappers can be bad but banning sweets will not be fair to the people who go plastic free and always put wrappers in the bin and we need some sweets in our life. Not only that, if we have no sweets no-one would go to the shops and we would have no energy.

In conclusion, I think we should not ban sweets and crisps because it will not be fair, everyone will be miserable and no-one wants the world like that.


Reflections on today’s writing

The children have all written a reflection on their persuasive letters – examples from Sam, Elwood, Juliette and Adam below.  I am keen that they all have an opinion about each piece of writing that they produce and that this is more important to them than anything that I may think about their work.  Experience has shown me that as soon as a young writer cares about his or her words, and develops pride as a writer, they are on a good track.  They are mostly proud of their work today which is really encouraging.

I feel proud of my letter.  I clearly think that it tells Ms Atkins what to do, how to do it and why to do it.  I also included things like “Perhaps even worse” and “not only that” plus facts to back up my argument.  My favourite sentence is: “This is an issue young people care about and we must put a stop to it.” I think it is very persuasive and will catch Ms Atkins’ attention.


I feel proud of my work because I like the facts and I think I can catch Miss Atkins’ attention with my letter.  My favourite part is the bit about the scale of how much plastic is thrown away. I think the facts will shake her.  I learnt lots of new spellings like “banning” and “first”.


I feel proud about my letter because I think it sounds persuasive.  I gave a solution and I think everyone’s letters would persuade Ms Atkins and I hope she will change things.  I think my first paragraph will inform Ms Atkins what the letter is about. I always get the spelling of “which” wrong and always writing it like “wich”, which I need to change, which, which which, which, which!  I’ve used linking phrases like “in particular” and “also this is a problem”. I’ve tried hard on my handwriting and I think I’ve improved. The sentence I like best is the one I worked on with Kia which is “The impact of plastic is a problem for planet Earth and our generation.”


I am proud of my letter.  I think it is very persuasive.  It says what the problem is and how to solve it.  I included linking phrases like “in addition” and “another concern”.  My favourite sentence was, “Let me give you the breakdown” because it’s funny and it’s like me.


Persuasive writing

Enjoy excellent persuasive letters to Ms Atkins from Oscar, Reuben, Rafi and Kia, arguing that we should reduce the amount of single-use plastic at Rosendale.  We’ll have to see what Ms Atkins has to say but they’ve certainly convinced me.

Dear Ms Atkins

As a person who cares about our planet, I am writing about the issue of single-use plastic in Rosendale Primary. The main problem in our school is the plastic cups in afterschool and breakfast club.

Did you know that 500 billion plastic cups are used every year? We do not want to be part of that. It is a shocking fact that five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year – and 99% are thrown away.  Not only that but there is more than one tonne of plastic for every person alive today.

The impact of plastic is a big problem for our environment. We should all be aware of the following facts:
– There are five trillion pieces of plastic in all the world’s oceans
– Experts think that there will soon be more plastic in the sea than fish
– 100,000 animals are killed by plastic each year.

I am sure you will agree that we need to do something about the amount of plastic we use at Rosendale. This is an important problem that we need to turn around. We should take the decision to ban plastic cups in breakfast club and afterschool club.

Yours sincerely

Oscar de Cruz

Dear Ms Atkins

I’ve wanted to tell you about single-use plastic for ages now. The main problem in our school is with us using single-use plastic cups in afterschool club and it’s terrible!

Did you know that five trillion plastic bags are used every year? Even more shocking, one million plastic bottles are used every minute. It is also a sad truth that 500 billion disposable cups are consumed every year.

The impact of single-use plastic is getting worse by the minute, literally, because hundreds of plastic bottles are thrown away every minute. The following facts make the problem clear:
– ⅓ of turtles (which mistake plastic for jellyfish) have died
– 100,000 sea animals die each year
– 9/10 of seabirds have eaten plastic
– Experts think that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the ocean will weigh more than the amount of fish.
– The Pacific Garbage Patch is three times bigger than France
– There are five trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans.

I’m sure you’ll agree that you should let us be the leaders and we could stop using plastic cups. This is an issue that young people who care about our planet can understand and they can help us change the world.

Yours sincerely

Reuben Walusimbi

Dear Ms Atkins

Most people know that single-use plastic is a danger to the Earth and at Rosendale we use too much of it. The main way Rosendale is adding to the global problem is we are using single-use plastic cups at afterschool club.

Not everyone is aware that 500 billion plastic cups are used every year. Did you know that 1 million plastic bottles are sold every minute? It is also a fact that five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year and 99% are thrown away. I was shocked to learn that each living human owns a tonne of plastic.

Single-use plastic is a worldwide catastrophe that we need to address. We should all be aware of the following facts:
– 90% of seabirds have mistaken plastic for fish
– Experts think that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea
– One in three turtles have eaten a plastic bag.
– Each year, 100,000 sea creatures are killed by plastic.

It is clear that plastic is very destructive so we need to take action starting with no plastic cups in afterschool club.

Yours sincerely

Rafi Aziz


Dear Ms Atkins

I’ve been wanting to tell you about single-use plastic for a long time now. This letter is especially aimed at breakfast club and afterschool club too. I want you to tell them to use reusable cups which can be washed and used again.

Did you know that 500 billion single-use plastic are used each year? Not only that, it is a little known fact that over one million plastic bottles are used by humans every minute.

The impact of plastic is a BIG problem for planet Earth and our generation. Let me tell you some interesting facts:
– Every year 100,000 sea animals are killed by plastic
– Soon there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish
– The Pacific Garbage Patch is three times bigger than France.

I’m sure you will agree that we need to stop this and we need to start using recyclable cups in afterschool club and breakfast club. Young children like us care about our planet and the world we live in.

Yours sincerely

Kia Sturgeon

Research on single-use plastic

In English, we have begun working on persuasive writing techniques. Among other things, we will be writing a letter to Ms Atkins about single-use plastic in the school.

Today, we did some background research on the use of plastic and considered these staggering statistics.

– There is more than one tonne of plastic in the world for every person alive today
– Humans buy about 1 million plastic bottles per minute
– 500 billion disposable cups are consumed every year.
– 5000 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, of which 99% are thrown away.  A plastic bag has an average “working life” of 15 minutes.
– By 2050, the amount of plastic in the ocean is expected to weigh more than the amount of fish.

If you can find out more about the environmental impact of plastic, then please share with the class tomorrow ahead of our writing.

Great Pacific Garbge Patch
Great Pacific Garbage Patch (three times the size of France) lying between California and Hawaii

Newspaper article

Here’s Chyanne’s  newspaper article on the trial of the wolf to enjoy.  All of the children’s extended writing books will be available at parents evening for you to read.

An innocent wolf, who says he was hoodwinked by a local girl, has been accused of trying to eat her and her grandma last evening.

The wolf, known to his friends as Wolfinio, is said to be a kind, generous, untreacherous wolf who would oftentimes help out with granny’s housework and other things.   But every Saturday, Little Red Riding Hood would come over. And she would always bring these awful toffees which stuck gran’s teeth together. Whenever he tried to speak to her, she would just ignore him.

Yesterday afternoon, the wolf was out looking for fresh herbs and padded near by her.  When he tried to pass the time of day with her, she pretended not to know him (he says she was prejudiced towards wolves) and carried on.  The pure-bred Wolfio went to warn granny about the girl’s sticky, sickly toffees and arrived when she was trying to reach one of her favourite frocks.  By trying to help grandma, she got knocked out cold and fell into the cupboard. Wolfinio did not want to upset the girl by making her think he had done something bad!  So he had to put on gran’s dress and pretend nothing was wrong. After they had some “small talk” she was just about to put one of those sticky toffees in his mouth, when, he couldn’t help it!  He pounced out of bed, causing Little Red to scream. It is reported that then the woodcutter came in shouting like a maniac as he heard the commotion and, when Wolfinio caught a glimpse of the axe, he leaped out of the window just after his tail got slashed off.

We asked if the girl was planning revenge.  “Yes! I’m thinking of drowning him,” threatened Little Red Riding Hood.  The reporter then asked the wolf what it felt like to be accused of planning to eat an old lady.  “It was horrible and so unfair,” exclaimed the wolf.

All the town citizens are waiting for the judge’s verdict and hoping for a good decision.  All the dogs, foxes and wolves are hoping that Wolfinio is going to be found innocent and welcomed back to normal life.

Press conference


As we continue to investigate The Wolf’s Story in our English lessons, Ms Boothroyd took on the role of the wolf when answering probing questions from the class at a press conference about his conduct in the affair with Little Red Riding Hood.  She gave some very concerning answers.  Please discuss these at home and see whether you can spot any holes or inconsistencies in the Wolf’s story.

Q: How long have you been a vegetarian?
A: On and off for about two years – I do like a bit of meat now and then though.

Q: What was it like to be accused of eating an old lady?
A: It was horrible. It was so unfair. I’d never eat an old lady – it’s not my favourite type of food anyway.

Q: How do you know granny is not your favourite type of meat if you’ve never tried any?
A: I might have tried it once. I can’t remember. Just a little nibble.

Q: Perhaps you prefer young girls for dinner?
A: Certainly not – that hasn’t happened for absolutely ages.

Q: Have you ever tried eating a granny?
A: NO! I would never eat someone that old.

Q: How do you feel about having your tail cut off?
A: I was very annoyed. It hurt a lot.

Q: Are you lying?
A: Of course not. What a ridiculous question!

Q: Have you ever blown down three little pigs’ houses?
A: I’ve never blown down a brick house.

Q: You said you’d never eat an old lady but you didn’t mention adults and children.
A: I’ve already told you that I’m a vegetarian.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I like to go for walks in the woods.

Q: The police are offering a reward for anyone who has any information on you. How does that feel?  A: It’s completely scandalous. Why should an innocent wolf be harassed like this?

Then Meli gave some feisty and combative responses at her press conference in the role of Little Red Riding Hood

Q: Are you planning to take revenge on the wolf?
A: Yes! I’m thinking of drowning him!

Q: Why did you scream when the wolf jumped out of bed?
A: Because he was going to eat me. The wolf is lying about being a vegetarian. I heard him say he’s an “on and off” veggie. What on earth does that mean?!

Q: What was scariest about the wolf?
A: His teeth! They looked very sharp.

Q: Has the wolf eaten any other members of your family?
A: Not as far as I know.

Q: How does it feel to be involved in a crime investigation like this?
A: Very scary. I’m worried that the wolf might be found not guilty and come back to try to eat me again!

Q: Do you have any wolf friends? No.
A: They are scary, sharp-toothed, lying, greedy, untrustworthy animals