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WB 4th May 2020

SURVIVORS - Sue Ruff and Bruce Nelson: The couple who were blasted by a volcano (Washington State, USA 1980)

This is a really great story that we always enjoy reading and working with. Very sadly - and in keeping with Survivors - it is absolutely true. The people involved certainly had the shock of their lives and unfortunately, not everyone survived this event. You WILL completely understand if you watch the videos of the event, as they are utter amazing and quite shocking. I actually remember this event, as it happened when I was 9 and I remember watching the TV footage.



Since doing this work, at least one person in every Berkeley Year 6 class has asked me if an event like this could happen again. The answer is, in those areas where there are active volcanoes - YES!

Could such an event happen to us? NO!

We are nowhere near any fault lines where volcanic activity is present, so don't have nightmares, sleep contentedly!


Work hard on this task and you'll get Friday off (it's a Bank Holiday!)

1. The Story - SURVIVORS - Sue Ruff and Bruce Nelson: The couple who were blasted by a volcano

2. Footage of the 1980 Mount St. Helens Eruption

4. Plan

Objective: To intersperse description with dialogue


The work you are going to do this week involves reading the story and becoming familiar with the events, but the work on the story comes next week. So you get used to process of adding description to dialogue, we are going to use an extract of a text called ‘BOY-X’ which features two children: Ash and Isabel.

The things that you will need are listed IN ORDER in the Resources Section.


Monday: Read the story of Sue Ruff and Bruce Nelson. Try to get a feel for the events and the things they went through. Watch the video I have included, but also have a look online to collect information about the event and write down ten key words which best describe the events of that day. Want a challenge? Think you’re clever? Make it twenty words – YES, THAT’S RIGHT TWENTY! For each word, briefly explain WHY you chose it.  Remember what I talk about in class – use of appropriate and quality vocabulary. That is all you need to do today!


Tuesday: So, today we are going to begin to develop our skills. Go to the Resources Section and read Extract from BOY-X. Now, obviously this is fiction – however, the events are sequenced in a similar way to our Survivors story. When you have read the story, read it again! Now look at the events to be sequenced document and sequence them in the right order. Write these events out in order in your book. Finished? Good! Now read the ‘Ash and Isabel Conversation’ document in preparation for tomorrow.


Wednesday: Today your task is based around the ‘Ash and Isabel Conversation’ document you read at the end of yesterday’s session. Open the document and using the work you’ve done so far, you are going to write the descriptive narrative that fits where the blue arrows are, ‘OH NO!’ I hear you cry! However, use the Resource Section and your brain – AND even better, read the final document – ‘Model for interspersing description.’ I’ve included it to help! Try to imagine either Mrs Moffett or me delivering the lesson and imagine that we are thinking through the way we are planning what to put. This is a clever bit and has always worked when helping you think about the best, precision language! Draft out your ideas.


Thursday: Today you will use your work on BOY-X to write your own version, based on everything that you have done this week. The posh phrase that is used for this is, “Integrating dialogue and description to advance the action.” … and YOU can do it! Work hard, as you’ll need these skills next week.