Teaching Resources using The Super-Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson

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LKS2- Creative topic & comprehension pack

The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson by Charlie P. Brooks

These are the memoirs of ME, Holly Hopkinson, aged almost ten, except without any of the rubbish adults usually put in, thank you very much. My dad just lost his job, which means me and the rest of my family have to leave London and move to the middle of nowhere, which is a TOTAL DISASTER! There’s no Wi-Fi, the local kids are FERAL and there’s animal poo EVERYWHERE. But then for my birthday, my eccentric aunt gave me a magic pocket watch, which I can use to hypnotise and CONTROL people. I actually wanted a new phone, but I won’t complain because this new power is REALLY FUN... The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson is the exciting new novel from Charlie P. Brooks. This resource includes a creative topic map with engaging ideas for using the book as the focus for work across the curriculum, and a set of comprehension questions. The topic map is designed to be printed out A3 so there’s room for extra notes during a planning session.

The comprehension sheets use an extract (chapter 15, pp 99-103) from the book. The questions are divided into different domains focusing on vocabulary, retrieval, inference, prediction and identifying how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning.


WHAT’S INCLUDED

• A topic map

• PowerPoint slides with example comprehension questions focusing on: vocabulary, retrieval and inference.

• Pupil worksheets with comprehension questions focusing on: vocabulary, retrieval, inference, exploring choice of language, structure and presentation and prediction.

HOW TO USE THE RESOURCE

We’ve put together a topic map with lots of exciting ideas on how The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson can be used to inspire activities across the curriculum, as well as underpinning some excellent English lessons. The comprehension questions could be used to create a reading lesson for your pupils. Alternatively, you may wish to complete the questions for each content domain in shorter whole-class or guided reading sessions, focusing on the different skills needed when answering comprehension questions. For the vocabulary, retrieval and inference reading domains, an example question is provided on the PowerPoint. This can be used to teach and model comprehension skills. Pupils can then go onto answering the questions provided on the pupil worksheets, either independently or as part of whole-class or guided work, discussing each question in turn. The final section focuses on prediction. This question is displayed on the PowerPoint and is also on the pupil worksheets.


1. Discuss and reflect

Equip yourselves to win the next Chipping Topley Cake-Off by investigating recipes for carrot cake. What ingredients are used? Do preparation methods differ? Are the cakes baked at the same temperature? Do cooking times vary? Bake two cakes following different recipes and compare the results. Which would win the Cake-Off, and why? Write a judge’s report. What happens if you change one or more aspects of a recipe? Design an experiment to find out.

What does Holly tell us about Grandpa’s horses? Does she know how to look after them? If you were left in charge of Beanstalk and High Five, what would you need to know? Ask someone who keeps horses to tell you all about it. Could Beanstalk win a horse race? Discover why High Five is special by finding out about racehorses. How will he be trained and prepared for racing? Write and illustrate an instruction manual, Holly Hopkinson-style, explaining how to care for horses.

2. Investigate and explore

Set up a village fete committee to plan and run some Chipping Topleystyle games and challenges in your school. Include activities based on those Holly describes – a mystery box game, a fortune-telling tent, a ‘Tough Farmer’ PE Challenge – or invent new ones. Run your committee meetings formally, with agendas, a chairperson, voting and minutes, and give your class as much responsibility as possible for managing and delivering the event. Involve everyone in writing and distributing publicity, and record the experience with video commentaries or illustrated reports.

“So this is the UP-TO-DATE BREAKING NEWS that I’ve been able to piece together from the eyewitness accounts of Vera, Grandpa and Dad, and from seeing Beanstalk, who was in a right STATE…” What is Holly describing? Does her diary tell us everything that happened? Is it completely true? Choose an event in Holly’s diary and discuss it from the viewpoint of the characters involved. What does each person know? How do they feel? Who would give us the most accurate account? Why?

What does Holly’s diary tell us about her life? List and group the main facts, then summarise your conclusions. How does Holly’s life differ from yours? In what ways is it similar? Is Holly a typical UK child? Devise a questionnaire (Do you live on a farm? How many siblings do you have?) to collect information from children in your school to help you find out. Analyse your results. What do they tell you? Is it possible to describe a typical UK child? Find out about children’s daily lives in other countries. What do you and Holly have in common with them?

3. Create and share How would a PR consultant like Holly’s mum promote your school? Plan a PR campaign to share your good news. What will you talk about, and how will you grab people’s attention? Could you use video or audio recordings to make more of an impact?

Handle some old clocks and watches. How would you describe them? Do they make a noise? Draw from observation, experimenting with media and scale, and exploring possibilities. How do Holly’s victims feel as they are hypnotised? Using a variety of media, create an effect that makes that feeling visible. Be inventive, and experiment! Once you’re happy with your hypnotic paint effect, cut round one of the clock or watch drawings you did earlier. Stick it onto your background. Add text Spiro Spero Squiggleous Scotch, Cast your eyes whither my watch – or let your background do the talking!

Have you ever kept a diary? What did you write about? Did you draw in it, or decorate the pages? Talk about writing for yourself, and writing for an audience. Is it fair to read another person’s diary? Would you?

“The Hopkinson family are being sentenced to a life of poverty, manure and feral people who speak funny.” What does Holly expect when she’s ‘kidnapped to the countryside’ by her parents? What is the reality? How does it differ from her expectations?

5. Across the curriculum

Cut horses from card, paint them and add a strut, so that each one stands independently. Race them along a track using dice to determine how far each horse should move. If your course is long enough, use multiple dice and add the scores. Don’t forget to name your horses and provide a commentary! Record your throws and compare racing form via bar graphs showing how each horse covered the distance. Which horses ran fastest? Which were slowest? What was the minimum number of throws needed to complete the By the time her diary concludes, course? What was the maximum? Report on your findings. Holly has set up three

“Mum needs to take me more seriously if she wants future generations reading my memoirs to like her. It only takes the odd word from my pen to shape history.” What does Holly mean? How have pens shaped history? Read extracts from historical eye-witness accounts, or diaries. Research the events and times being described and create a display. Can you visit a museum to find out more?

“COMPUTE: calculating things on a train.” “STATISTICS: posh word for lies.” Holly loves words, but most of her definitions wouldn’t make it into a standard dictionary. List the words explained by Holly in this book, then write correct definitions. Use a dictionary to find more words and phrases that appeal to you, then write ‘Holly-style’ definitions for each of them.

“Spiro Spero Squiggleous Scotch, Cast your eyes whither my watch…” In pairs, roleplay a scene starting with these words. If you had a magic pocket watch, who would you hypnotise, and why? What could happen next? Explore ideas by drawing lots of possibilities, then tell or write your story.

businesses: Holly Hopkinson (Band Manager Inc.), Holly Hopkinson (Racing Associate) and Holly Hopkinson (PR Inc.). What does each title mean? What will these companies do? Do you think Holly will be a successful entrepreneur? Could your class set up a mini business enterprise? Discuss possibilities and challenges, then vote for your favourite idea and give it a go!

4. Writing challenges What would the Daily Chipping Topley Mail say about the Village Cake-Off, or Grandpa’s rainyday activities? In role as a local journalist, write news reports about the events in this book. How will the characters at the centre of these stories respond? In role as one of the people being discussed, write a letter to the editor, complaining about/praising the way the ‘facts’ have been presented.


The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson by Charlie P. Brooks pages 99 - 103 CHAPTER 15 This is going to be a fiasco,* I thought as I hid the steak in Aunt Electra’s bag. So the three of us went to the bottom of the garden, looking as if we were about to rob a bank. I slipped my right hand into my new belt and fished out my MAGIC POCKET WATCH. In the cold light of day I was feeling pretty silly about all this, but Aunt Electra wasn’t acting like it was all a terrible prank at my expense, so I was going along with it. Aunt Electra told me to make Barkley sit. * FIASCO – mum always says Harold’s room is a fiasco, so something minging that stinks. ‘Right … this is the important bit, Holly … you’ve got to wave the MAGIC POCKET WATCH backwards and forwards, forwards and backwards in front of his nose … and slowly say, ‘SPIRO, SPERO, SQUIGGLEOUS SCOTCH, CAST YOUR EYES WHITHER MY WATCH.’ ‘Right …’ I said, in my ‘pull-the-other-one’ voice. ‘Seriously,’ said Aunt Electra. ‘The watch was made in the eighteenth century by a Scottish


watchmaker and amateur SORCERER. He was … a little ECCENTRIC.’ ‘OK …’ I said. Anyone she was calling eccentric must have been flat-out weird. Electra watched me with beady eyes. ‘If you say it too fast or too slow, things can go wrong … and, depending on how susceptible the person is, you have to say it the right number of times.’ ‘What exactly do you mean, “go wrong”?’ Aunt Electra pulled a face like she was swallowing another raw egg with Worcestershire sauce. ‘Well, let’s just give it a try and see what happens, shall we?’ So I started on Barkley, nice and slowly, and repeated the funny rhyme three times. ‘SPIRO, SPERO, SQUIGGLEOUS SCOTCH, CAST YOUR EYES WHITHER MY WATCH.’ I had not expected the MAGIC POCKET WATCH to be so heavy – it weighs a lot more than you’d think. ‘Very good,’ said Aunt Electra. ‘That was nice and slow … and three is about right.’ ‘About?’ It all sounded very hit-and-miss to me. This could go double-whopper spanner in the works if I guessed wrong. Anyway, Barkley kept his eyes on the watch as if it was a pot of swinging giblets.


‘Right,’ Aunt Electra said, ‘now put that juicy steak on the grass in front of him, and tell him not to eat it.’ ‘Is this going to be my fault if Barkley eats Grandpa’s lunch?’ I asked. ‘Have faith, Holly,’ she replied. Once Barkley looked GOOGLE-EYED, I told him not to eat the steak, and put it on the ground – waiting for Barkley to make his lunch-ending lurch. But guess what? He just sat there, nodding like Harold does when he’s got his speakers on. And he just looked at it. ‘Oh my goodness … THAT IS MAGIC,’ I said. ‘Yes,’ said Aunt Electra in her ‘unstably excited’ voice. ‘It is.’ Oh, boy, this is going to be SEISMIC! Life changing, in fact. ‘Good start,’ said Aunt Electra. ‘Now you need to have a go on a human.’ GULP.


Reading comprehension The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson

by Charlie P. Brooks and illustrated by Katy Riddell Read the extract from The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson, by Charlie P. Brooks and then answer the following questions.

Vocabulary questions

1. Aunt Electra wasn’t acting like it was all a terrible prank at my expense. What does the word prank mean? Tick one A mischievous trick

Something going wrong

Feeling silly

A fiasco

2. Aunt Electra pulled a face like she was swallowing another raw egg with Worcestershire sauce. What does the word another tell us in this sentence?

That Aunt Electra had swallowed a raw egg with Worcestershire sauce earlier/before. 3. …waiting for Barkley to make his lunch-ending lurch. How might Barkley be moving if he has made a lurch?

He will be moving quickly and suddenly towards the steak.

4. Discovering what the watch can do will have an enormous effect on Holly’s life. Find and copy a word that means to have an enormous effect.

SEISMIC


Retrieval questions 1. In what way did Holly have to wave the MAGIC POCKET WATCH?

Backwards and forwards, forwards and backwards 2. When was the watch made?

The eighteenth century 3. What did Holly find heavier than she expected? Tick one Barkley

The steak

Her belt

The pocket watch

4. Holly took a steak out into the garden. Who was going to eat the steak before she took it?

Her grandpa (for his lunch). 5. What did Barkley do when Holly put the steak in front of him?

He just looked at it. He did not eat it. Inference questions 1. In the extract, the third character is Barkley. Who or what is he? Explain how you know.

He is a dog. He is told to sit, which is a command you give to a dog. Also, Barkley is told to leave a steak. Dogs love eating meat and most would quickly eat it. Another clue is in the name Barkley, because dogs bark.


2. I was going along with it. What does this tell us about how Holly feels about the MAGIC POCKET WATCH at this point in the story?

She doesn’t really believe it / she thinks Aunt Electra might be making it all up. 3. Anyone she was calling eccentric must have been flatout weird. What does this sentence tell us about Holly’s Aunt Electra?

That she must also be a little eccentric and weird.

4. Holly had to guess how many times she had to say the funny rhyme. Does she think guessing is a good idea?

No, I don’t think she did as she says it is very hit-and-miss and Aunt Electra had said that things could go wrong.

5. “Is this going to be my fault if Barkley eats Grandpa’s lunch?” I asked. Why do you think Holly is concerned about this?

She doesn’t want to get in trouble with her Grandpa for giving the steak to the dog. Her Grandpa might have been looking forward to the steak.


Exploring the author’s choice of language, structure and presentation 1. The author regularly puts in little footnotes explaining the meanings of the words that Holly uses in her notebook. Why do you think the author has chosen to include these? List two possible reasons. 1) Accept

any of the points below.

• To explain the meaning of the words to the readers • To show the readers Holly’s understanding of the word • To help tell the reader a little bit more about Holly and 2) her family. For example, in the footnote about the word FIASCO, we find out that Harold has a messy room.

2. The adjective funny is used to describe the rhyme that Holly has to say. Why do you think the author choose that word to describe it?

It shows that the rhyme is unusual and the words sound strange / funny. It suggests how Holly feels about the rhyme as she is speaking it. It shows that she thinks it is odd and she may feel a little silly saying the words.


3. He just sat there, nodding like Harold does when he’s got his speakers on. How does this simile help the reader to imagine what Barkley looks like?

It compares the dog to someone listening to music, ignoring what is around them (because they cannot hear).

4. The chapter ends with the word GULP. Why did the author choose to end the chapter in this way?

It shows that Holly is not looking forward to testing the MAGIC POCKET WATCH on a human and is a little worried. It ends it on a cliffhanger as the reader wants to know what will happen next.


Prediction question “Good start,” said Aunt Electra. “Now you need to have a go on a human.” Harold is Holly’s older brother and he is mentioned in the extract. Imagine that Holly decided to test the MAGIC POCKET WATCH on Harold. What might she get him to do?

Answers should be plausible and refer to ideas in the extract and what pupils know about Harold. For example: • She might ask Harold to tidy his room so that it wasn’t so smelly (or a FIASCO). • She might persuade Harold to give her his speakers/ headphones or make him listen to music that he does not usually like. • Other plausible suggestions linked to other sections of the book that pupils have read are also acceptable.


Reading comprehension The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson

by Charlie P. Brooks and illustrated by Katy Riddell Read the extract from The Super Secret Diary of Holly Hopkinson, by Charlie P. Brooks and then answer the following questions.

Vocabulary questions

1. Aunt Electra wasn’t acting like it was all a terrible prank at my expense. What does the word prank mean? Tick one x

A mischievous trick

Something going wrong

Feeling silly

A fiasco

2. Aunt Electra pulled a face like she was swallowing another raw egg with Worcestershire sauce. What does the word another tell us in this sentence?

That Aunt Electra had swallowed a raw egg with Worcestershire sauce earlier/before. 3. …waiting for Barkley to make his lunch-ending lurch. How might Barkley be moving if he has made a lurch?

He will be moving quickly and suddenly towards the steak. 4. Discovering what the watch can do will have an enormous effect on Holly’s life. Find and copy a word that means to have an enormous effect.

SEISMIC.


Retrieval questions 1. In what way did Holly have to wave the MAGIC POCKET WATCH?

Backwards and forwards, forwards and backwards. 2. When was the watch made?

The eighteenth century. 3. What did Holly find heavier than she expected? Tick one Barkley Her belt

The steak x

The pocket watch

4. Holly took a steak out into the garden. Who was going to eat the steak before she took it?

Her grandpa (for his lunch). 5. What did Barkley do when Holly put the steak in front of him?

He just looked at it. He did not eat it. Inference questions 1. In the extract, the third character is Barkley. Who or what is he? Explain how you know.

He is a dog. He is told to sit, which is a command you give to a dog. Also, Barkley is told to leave a steak. Dogs love eating meat and most would quickly eat it. Another clue is in the name Barkley, because dogs bark.


2. I was going along with it. What does this tell us about how Holly feels about the MAGIC POCKET WATCH at this point in the story?

She doesn’t really believe it / she thinks Aunt Electra might be making it all up. 3. Anyone she was calling eccentric must have been flatout weird. What does this sentence tell us about Holly’s Aunt Electra?

That she must also be a little eccentric and weird. 4. Holly had to guess how many times she had to say the funny rhyme. Does she think guessing is a good idea?

No, I don’t think she did as she says it is very hit-and-miss and Aunt Electra had said that things could go wrong. 5. “Is this going to be my fault if Barkley eats Grandpa’s lunch?” I asked. Why do you think Holly is concerned about this?

She doesn’t want to get in trouble with her Grandpa for giving the steak to the dog. Her Grandpa might have been looking forward to the steak.


Exploring the author’s choice of language, structure and presentation 1. The author regularly puts in little footnotes explaining the meanings of the words that Holly uses in her notebook. Why do you think the author has chosen to include these? List two possible reasons.

Accept any of the points below. • To explain the meaning of the words to the readers. • To show the readers Holly’s understanding of the word. • To help tell the reader a little bit more about Holly and her family. For example, in the footnote about the word FIASCO, we find out that Harold has a messy room.

2. The adjective funny is used to describe the rhyme that Holly has to say. Why do you think the author choose that word to describe it?

It shows that the rhyme is unusual and the words sound strange / funny. It suggests how Holly feels about the rhyme as she is speaking it. It shows that she thinks it is odd and she may feel a little silly saying the words.


3. He just sat there, nodding like Harold does when he’s got his speakers on. How does this simile help the reader to imagine what Barkley looks like?

It compares the dog to someone listening to music, ignoring what is around them (because they cannot hear).

4. The chapter ends with the word GULP. Why did the author choose to end the chapter in this way?

It shows that Holly is not looking forward to testing the MAGIC POCKET WATCH on a human and is a little worried. It ends it on a cliffhanger as the reader wants to know what will happen next.


Prediction question “Good start,” said Aunt Electra. “Now you need to have a go on a human.” Harold is Holly’s older brother and he is mentioned in the extract. Imagine that Holly decided to test the MAGIC POCKET WATCH on Harold. What might she get him to do?

Answers should be plausible and refer to ideas in the extract and what pupils know about Harold. For example: • She might ask Harold to tidy his room so that it wasn’t so smelly (or a FIASCO). • She might persuade Harold to give her his speakers/ headphones or make him listen to music that he does not usually like. • Other plausible suggestions linked to other sections of the book that pupils have read are also acceptable.