A Fright in the Bight

part two of a two-part story by Geoffrey McSkimming , illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Learning intention: 

I am learning to share my thoughts and feelings about a story and listen to the ideas of others so that I can practice my speaking and listening skills in a group setting. 


Success criteria: 

  • I can reflect on my own opinion of a story by assessing different aspects of it. 
  • I can share my ideas with a group and explain the reasons for my thoughts and feelings. 
  • I can listen to the ideas of others and consider how they may be different from my own. 


Essential knowledge: 

More information about the way our ideas and opinions about texts can vary depending on our experiences can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Literary Value. 


Read the recap in the yellow box and briefly discuss parts of the story that the students remember or enjoyed from the first instalment. Read the text and ask if any students made correct predictions in their activity from last issue, allowing time to discuss the accuracy of their prediction and their reasons for making them (e.g. not believing Bob’s magazine is trustworthy, remembering that Captain Ahab was reading a report about a scientific experiment in the area). 

Inform students that they are going to break into small groups to answer questions about the text. Ideally, each group should have 3-5 students to enable a variety of opinions to be discussed, while also allowing each student to have a chance to share their ideas with the group. 

Prior to beginning their group discussions, ask students to give the story an overall rating out of five stars and share it with the class by a show of hands (i.e. “Hands up if you give it 4 stars”). Tell them to remember their rating as they will revisit it later in the lesson. 

Have students break into their groups. Read the following questions aloud, giving them enough time between each one for students to discuss their answers: 

  • What did you like/dislike about the story? 
  • How well do you think the title suits the story?  
  • Why? 
  • Can you come up with a different title that would suit it? 
  • Do you think the author did a good job of building tension? 
  • Why/why not? 
  • What other kinds of stories do you think may appear in Bob’s Unexplained Oddities from Outer Space magazine? 
  • What did you think the lights were before the characters spotted the satellite dish?  
  • What words would you use to describe each character? (e.g. funny, cautious, brave) 
  • Which character did you relate to the most? 
  • Why? 
  • How do you think you would have reacted to the lights and Bob’s theory if you were on the boat? 
  • Have you changed any of your thoughts or opinions after discussing it with your group?  
  • Would you still give it the same star rating? 

Have students come back together as a whole class group. Ask if anyone changed their star rating after their group discussion. If so, have them elaborate on what part of the discussion may have influenced their opinions (e.g. a classmate may have given them a different perspective of a character or clarified something they were previously unsure of). Talk about how discussing ideas with others can help us see things differently or give us new insights. 

Using the star rating again, select a few students who have different ratings to each other and ask what aspects of the story influenced their rating. This may be whether they relate to the characters or not, whether they find the story suspenseful, or the plot interesting. Discuss the fact that we all have different opinions and preferences when it comes to stories and that we each find value in different things. 

Following this discussion, have students write a brief review of the story. Prompts can be given to students, such as: 

  • I enjoyed this story because…. 
  • I related to (character name) because…. 
  • I thought the author did a good job of…. 

Students should also include their final star rating at the bottom of their review.