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Gatcombe Park Primary School

Teamwork - Respect - Aim High

20th- 24th April

The Black Hat


This week, enjoy the short video 'The Black Hat' and practise some of your writing and comprehension skills using the activities below. 



"There was once a boy, quite ordinary like any other. He lived in an old forest cabin with his mute grandmother.  There weren't many things a lonely, young boy like him could do, so he went for long forest walks, hoping he would find something new." 

One day, on one of his long walks, the boy finds an old, black hat and places it on his head.  When he takes it off and lays it by his bed, this is when the magic begins...

Beautiful creatures emerge from the hat! The boy captures them in cages and looks at them each day, in awe of their beauty. However, the boy is saddened when one day, a bird escapes. He searches the woods and finds it, begging it to come back but it doesn't. Soon, more birds escape. It is not until the boy sees this group of birds in flight in the wild that he finally understands that they look more beautiful when they are set free. He understands that they need freedom to let their beauty show.




The Black Hat by Maia Walczak



Below are some short tasks related to the video. There are links to resources that can be printed and used or you can draw them yourself. Enjoy!


Task 1: Describing the Forest


When you have watched the video at least once all the way through, rewatch the first part (before the boy finds the hat). What words and phrases does the narrator use to describe the forest? What sounds does the boy hear? What do you think it would be like to live there? 


Create a mind-map of descriptive words and phrases of the forest. Remember, we have done this lots in class- close your eyes and imagine yourself being there and think about all of your senses! What would you see? Hear? Smell? Feel? Taste? You could include similes, metaphors and personification to make your descriptive phrases really vivid! 


Now, using your mind-map to help you, write a descriptive paragraph or two (or three!) to describe the forest. Think about varying your openers to make each sentence interesting. You could write your description in first person, from your point of view. For example: The forest hummed with life all around me. The sun's dazzling rays broke through the cracks in the canopy overhead, lighting up the dirt path ahead of me. Or, you could write in third person, from someone else's point of view. The boy from the video? An animal that lives there? For example: He made his way down the narrow dirt track to the cabin, stumbling clumsily over the knotted roots that crossed it, twigs cracking under his feet. 


Task 2: Creating Dialogue


Pause the film after the boy spots the escaped bird in the tree and calls out, "Please come back to me!" (1:58). What else could the boy say to the bird to persuade him to come back with him? What do you think the bird might say back if it could talk?


Write a conversation between the boy and the bird. Remember the golden rules of speech punctuation! Use reporting clauses (eg. exclaimed the boy) at the beginning, middle and end of the speech, and use adverbial clauses to add more information (eg. waving his fists furiously at the bird above him).


If you'd like to challenge yourself, have a go at converting your conversation from direct speech to indirect speech! 


Task 3: Writing About Your Own Magical Hat


Imagine you have found a magical hat...


  • What would you like to come out of it? I'd quite like hundreds of sweets to spill out of my hat... I can imagine all of the different shapes, sizes, and colours floating around the room! Maybe you'd like dinosaurs? Fairies? Shells? Songs? 


  • Where would you find your hat? Whilst walking on the beach? Whilst tidying your bedroom? Whilst rummaging in the garden shed?


  • How do you feel when you first see the hat? What about when things start coming out of it? What do you do in reaction? 


Note down your ideas to these questions in bullet points. Then, have a go at writing this section of your own story- the moment that you find your hat and discover its magical abilities! You can choose to write in first person (eg. I discovered...) or third person (eg. she discovered). Use the sentence starters below if you need some help starting off. 

Reading Comprehension


Read through the text once, underlining any words that are unfamiliar to you. Then, use your strategies to work out their meaning. If you're still not sure, you can use a dictionary (or


When you are confident that you understand the language, read the text again and talk through what you are picturing in each paragraph. At the end, have a go at summarising the text in a few sentences - you could do this out loud or write it down. 


Then, have a go at the questions.