Surf's Up, Way Up!

article by Karen Wasson , illustrated by Fifi Colston

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify the structural features of a non-fiction article and their purposes so that I can organise my own non-fiction writing in a way that assists my readers.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify structural features of a non-fiction article
  • I can use features such as titles and subheadings to extract information about the content of an article
  • I can write an article that uses structural features in a way that allows readers to scan for information and identify topics within the subject of my text.


Distribute copies of the magazine to students and inform them that they should locate the article ‘Surf’s Up, Way Up!’ on the contents page to help them find the correct page number. Ask them to scan the page and make predictions on what the article will be about, based on the title, illustration and subheadings.

After reading the article, discuss the students’ interpretation of the meanings behind the heading and subheadings. Answers may include:

  • ‘Surf’s Up, Way Up!’ refers to surfing up high in the sky where the clouds are
  • ‘Waiting and Watching’ refers to waiting for the time of year that is best for cloud surfing and watching the sky to see when the Morning Glory clouds roll in
  • ‘Cloud or wave?’ refers to Morning Glory clouds resembling ocean waves
  • ‘Catching currents’ refers to the use of the clouds’ currents in cloud surfing with gliders.

Discuss the purpose of subheadings and the way they are used in this article. Focus on points such as:

  • It helps organise the article by breaking it up into different topics within the article subject
  • It allows the reader to skim the article to locate specific information
  • It breaks up the article, making it easier to read in more digestible chunks
  • It uses language techniques such as metaphors and alliteration to appeal to the audience.

Inform students that they are going to write their own interest-led article based on an unusual sport or activity of their choice. Suggestions may include Bubble Soccer, Cheese Rolling or Cycleball. They should research their chosen subject and create a brainstorm using mind maps or bullet points to help them organise their information into topics.

They should then write each section and give it a subheading, being creative with language techniques in a way that is relevant to their topics. Once they have completed their sections, they should collate them into an article and write an introduction of the overall subject they have chosen. Finally, students should give their article an appropriate title that interests the audience and encourages them to read the text.

Allow students to swap their article with a peer so that they can view the texts as readers and give each other feedback on their writing and structure.