Teaching Fronted Adverbials ‘Using Mog the Forgetful Cat’

Mog 12

This is a great book for teaching sentence structure.  Read on for teaching ideas and free downloadable resources.

Begin caveat: the structure of the story is quite complicated.

If you look at it in terms of the ‘story mountain ‘ approach, the beginning and build-up are quite long, as the author does a lot to establish the character of Mog. Then there are a series of mini-problems before the problem proper arrives. And this problem is immediately followed by another problem. So if we were to make a story mountain for this story it would look like this:

Mog story mountain

As opposed to the classic:

classic story mountain

Which is why I wouldn’t use this book for anything that required pupils to retell the story in writing – it’s just not a good model structurally.  End caveat.

Having said this about structure, this book is a great choice for teaching fronted adverbials because of the language. It’s written for pre-school children so, even though it has lots of humour and action, the language is very simple – with many subject+verb+object type simple sentences.  It is these sentences that you can use as the building blocks for teaching how to use fronted adverbials.

How to do it

Have a look at the chart with the blue boxes below (also downloadable at the end of this post).  It shows the variety of ways you can teach fronted adverbials.   Some, like those starting with ‘time’ prepositions, come more naturally.  Others are quite literary in their effect and even older children will have to make a conscious effort to use them.

Mog blue chart 1

Mog blue chart 2

The sentences in black are, on their own, simple sentences. The additions in red are fronted adverbials. Together, simple sentence + fronted adverbial = higher value sentence.

The sentences in black here summarise the action i.e. they are not lifted directly from the text. But you can use the sentences in the text as they are and make an activity about adding fronted adverbials.

The teaching progression and sheets for this are here, the story mountains are here and the blue charts are here.

(Font alert – I haven’t got any Sassoon-type fonts, so I’m using Bradley Hand for worksheets, which I hope works for you.)