The BFG – Planning Overview

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Dan

Are you looking for an engaging literature unit to introduce your students to the big, wide world of fantasy? The BFG by Roald Dahl is a beloved classic that has delighted generations of children – and adults.

This post will provide comprehensive planning tips for what may be the highlight of your school year.

As your students step into this magical tale filled with whimsy and grand adventures, they’ll develop an appreciation for the power of friendship, courage, and reading!

Related: For more, check out our planning overview of Othello by William Shakespeare  here.

The BFG

Synopsis of The BFG

“The BFG” by Roald Dahl is a children’s novel about a young orphan girl named Sophie who is snatched from her bedroom window by a giant.

However, instead of eating her, the giant takes Sophie to his home in Giant Country.

The giant is known as the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), and he explains to Sophie that he doesn’t eat humans, unlike the other giants who roam Giant Country.

Sophie and the BFG quickly become friends, and she learns about his job of collecting dreams and delivering them to people while they sleep.

The two devise a plan to stop the other giants from terrorising humans, with Sophie coming up with an idea to enlist the help of the Queen of England.

Together, they travel to London to meet the Queen and convince her to help them stop the other giants. With the Queen’s assistance, they capture all evil giants and lock them away in a pit where they can no longer harm anyone.

In the end, Sophie returns home but continues to have beautiful dreams delivered by her friend, the BFG. The story ends on a hopeful note as Sophie realises that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and your friends.

Key themes and characters in “The BFG.”

Themes:

  • The power of friendship
  • The importance of dreams and imagination
  • The fight against oppression

Characters:

  • Sophie: the young orphan girl who befriends the BFG
  • The BFG (Big Friendly Giant): a kind-hearted giant who befriends Sophie and helps her on her journey
  • The other giants: evil giants who terrorise humans and are opposed by the BFG and Sophie
  • The Queen of England: a character who plays a vital role in the story’s resolution

Critical Lessons Learnt By Sophie

At the end of “The BFG,” Sophie learns that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and your friends. Throughout the story, Sophie faces many challenges, such as being kidnapped by a giant and trying to stop other giants from terrorising humans.

However, with the help of her friend, the BFG, and her determination and resourcefulness, she can overcome these obstacles.

In the end, Sophie realises that she doesn’t have to be afraid or feel powerless because she has people who care about her and are willing to help her.

She also learns that dreams can come true if you dare to pursue them. This lesson is essential for children to learn as it encourages them to believe in themselves, their abilities, and the power of friendship and teamwork.

Teaching Opportunities

“The BFG” is an excellent book for teachers to teach different language features and grammar lessons. Here are some examples:

  1. Figurative language: “The BFG” is full of examples of figurative language, such as similes, metaphors, and personification. For example, the BFG describes the other giants as “cannybulls” and “murderful.” Teachers can use these examples to teach students about the different types of figurative language and how they can add depth and meaning to writing.
  2. Dialogue: The book has a lot of discussion between Sophie and the BFG, which provides an opportunity for teachers to teach students about using dialogue tags and quotation marks, and how to write conversations that flow naturally.
  3. Descriptive Language: Dahl’s writing is full of vivid descriptions that paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Teachers can use these descriptions as examples when teaching students about descriptive language and how it can be used to create imagery in their writing.
  4. Sentence Structure: Dahl uses a variety of sentence structures throughout “The BFG,” including simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences. Teachers can use this book to teach students about the different types of sentence structures and how they can be used to vary their writing.
  5. Grammar Lessons: “The BFG” also provides opportunities for teachers to teach grammar lessons such as subject-verb agreement, pronoun usage, punctuation rules, and more.

Imagery In The BFG

Here’s an example of how Roald Dahl uses imagery to describe a giant’s face in “The BFG”:

“Their faces were as hard as a rock, and they had no more expression than a stone idol.

But it was their eyes that made one feel afraid. They were small and gleaming bright, like the eyes of insects, and they stared straight ahead, unblinking and remorseless.”

In this passage, Dahl uses vivid imagery to paint a picture of the giant’s face. He describes their faces as “hard as a rock” with “no more expression in them than a stone idol.” This simile helps readers visualise the giants’ emotionless faces.

Dahl then describes the giants’ eyes as “small and gleaming bright”, like insects’ eyes. The use of simile here creates a disturbing image for readers, making them uneasy about the giants.

Finally, Dahl adds to the eerie atmosphere by describing how the giants’ eyes “stared straight ahead” without blinking or showing emotion. This description gives readers a sense that these giants are cold and ruthless.

Overall, Dahl’s sensory language creates a vivid image of the giant’s face that is both unsettling and memorable for readers.

The BFG Lesson Plan

Here’s a lesson plan based on an excerpt from “The BFG.” The lesson plan includes differentiated activities for different ability levels and a reflection at the end.

Objective:

Students can identify and analyse sensory language in a passage from “The BFG” and use that language to create descriptive writing.

Materials:

  • Excerpt from “The BFG”
  • Graphic organiser
  • Writing paper
  • Pencils/pens

Procedure:

Begin by reading aloud the following passage from “The BFG”:

“The moon was coming up now, and its light fell across the rocks, making shadows that twisted and swayed. It was hushed except for the sound of the sea below them. The waves were breaking gently on the shore.”

  1. Ask students to listen carefully to the passage and identify any sensory language they hear (language that appeals to the five senses).
  2. Provide each student with a graphic organiser or worksheet where they can record examples of the sensory language they find in the passage.
  3. After students have identified examples of sensory language, ask them to work independently or in small groups to write their descriptive paragraph about a setting or scene using sensory language.
  4. For lower-ability students, provide sentence starters or prompts to help guide their writing, such as “I see…” or “I hear…”
  5. For higher-ability students, please encourage them to use more complex vocabulary and sentence structures in their writing.
  6. Once students have completed their paragraphs, have them share with the class or in small groups.
  7. As a class, discuss how sensory language can enhance descriptive writing and make it more engaging for readers.
  8. Have students reflect on what they learned during this activity by answering questions such as:
  • What did you learn about using sensory language in your writing?
  • How did you feel about this activity? Was it challenging? Exciting?

Differentiation:

For lower-ability students, provide sentence starters or prompts to help guide their writing. Encourage higher-ability students to use more complex vocabulary and sentence structures in their writing.

Reflection:

This lesson plan allowed students to practice identifying the sensory language in a text and using that same type of language in their descriptive writing.

By providing differentiated activities for different ability levels, all students could participate fully in this activity regardless of their skill level.

To wrap up the lesson, reflection questions allowed students to think about what they learned during this activity and how it might impact future learning experiences.

Descriptive Sentences About The BFG.

Here is a list of sentences I have written to be used in the classroom; each paragraph describes the BFG.

  1. The BFG, or Big Friendly Giant, is a towering figure over twenty-four feet tall. His massive size is emphasised by his long arms and legs, which stretch endlessly. Despite his intimidating stature, the BFG’s gentle face and kind eyes make him immediately endearing to those he encounters.
  2. The BFG’s skin is a dusty shade of green, giving him an otherworldly appearance that hints at his magical abilities. His ears are large and floppy, reaching almost as high as the top of his head. When he speaks, they twitch and flap in an amusing manner that adds to his charm.
  3. One of the most remarkable things about the BFG is his incredible strength. He can easily lift entire trees and carries Sophie effortlessly in one hand like she’s nothing more than a feather.
  4. Despite his immense size and strength, the BFG moves with surprising grace and agility. He bounds across fields like a gazelle, leaping over obstacles with ease.
  5. The BFG’s clothing consists of a simple tunic made from rough burlap fabric that hangs loosely off his frame. He wears no shoes or socks on his enormous feet, which are covered in thick layers of calluses.
  6. The BFG’s hair is wild and unkempt, falling in tangled locks around his shoulders and down his back like vines on an ancient tree.
  7. When the BFG speaks, it’s in a unique language filled with strange words that seem to come from another world entirely. His voice is deep and rumbling but surprisingly soft when he wants it to be.
  8. The BFG’s most distinctive feature is his enormous ears, capable of hearing even the faintest whispers from miles away.
  9. In addition to being a giant among giants, physically speaking, the BFG has an enormous heart full of compassion for all living creatures – especially children.
  10. The BFG’s love for dreams gives him an otherworldly quality that sets him apart from any other character in Dahl’s book – or any other book, for that matter!

The journey through the enchanting world of The BFG is more than just an exploration of a delightful classic. It’s a path to learning, growth, and the realization that courage and friendship can make a world of difference.

By incorporating this unit into your curriculum, you’re not only inviting your students into Roald Dahl’s realm of fantasy, but you’re also equipping them with tools for life.

Tools such as critical thinking, empathy, and resilience, all nurtured through the power of reading.

Remember, every lesson plan you create isn’t just a schedule of topics to cover. It’s an opportunity to inspire curiosity, ignite imagination, and instill a love for reading in your students.

So, are you ready to embark on this grand adventure with your students? The world of The BFG awaits, promising a journey filled with magic, whimsy, and invaluable lessons.

Let us seize this opportunity to bring literature to life in our classrooms, for it is through stories that we truly learn to appreciate the beauty of the world around us, and the potential within us.

Website Resources

  1. Roald Dahl’s Official Website
  2. Scholastic’s The BFG Book Page
  3. Penguin Random House’s The BFG Book Page
  4. SparkNotes’ The BFG Study Guide
  5. Amazon’s The BFG Book Page
  6. Common Sense Media’s The BFG Review and Rating

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