Sylphie's Squizzes - Lion Dancers

article by Zoë Disher , photo by Alamy

Learning Intention:

I am learning about the structural and stylistic features of non-fiction texts so that I can compose my own short non-fiction, information texts.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify structural and stylistic features of non-fiction texts
  • I can compare non-fiction texts to understanding common features of the text type
  • I can discuss the purpose and effect of the identified features of non-fiction texts
  • I can create my own non-fiction text


Essential knowledge:


Find out more about non-fiction writing, from Zoe Disher by watching her videos on the School Magazine Website: The world of Zoe Disher and Articles.


Understanding text:


Read the text as a class. After reading, ask the following questions:

  • Is it fiction or nonfiction? (Nonfiction)
  • How do you know? (It contains the true account of a girl’s discovery and is full of facts.)
  • Is this article similar or different in style to ‘Think Like a Skink’ (on page 20 of this issue). (Similar: Both include similar signposting features such as headings and sub-headings, both include visual images (specifically photographs) to support the factual information provided in the text. Both texts draw the reader in by directly addressing them – for example ‘maybe you’ll have the good fortune to see these lucky lions in action!’ and ‘Are there skinks in your garden?’)
  • Why do factual texts such as Sylphie’s squizzes: Lion Dancers and ‘Think Like a Skink’ use features like headings and subheadings? (It helps readers to skim for the information they are looking for, it divides the article up into distinct sections each with a different focus.
  • Why do these texts also use direct address? (The audience of the magazine is children and asking questions or writing directly to children includes them in the story and creates interest.)


Creating text:


Show Zoë Disher’s Vox Pop Video Part One: Writing Nonfiction as a starting point to prepare students for writing their own non-fiction texts.

Ask students to choose one of the subheadings from the article Lion Dancers (either Let’s dance!, Showing off or Lucky lions. This subheading will become the main heading of their own article. Their article can be about any topic that could suit the chosen subheading. For example, Lucky Lions could be an article about a pair of lions at a zoo.

Students are to work in pairs and follow the steps below as they create their own non-fiction texts using the features they have learnt about in this lesson.

  • Choose one of the subheadings as the new main heading for your article
  • Have a brainstorming session in which you create a mindmap of all the possible topics that could relate to this heading
  • Select the best topic and then conduct some research
  • Decide on the message you would like to send about your topic
  • Work together to write an article using subheadings and direct address to interest your reader


Assessment for/as learning:

The School Magazine’s Informative text assessment and evaluation rubric can be used for planning and assessment either formally or as a peer or self assessment.