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Pippa McGeoch

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Katie Barrett

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Jen Sutherland


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A Writing Root for The Hidden Forest

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 6

Literary Theme: Dreams & Curiosity

Author(s): Jeannie Baker


Artwork description, thought bubble, diary entry, research notes, non-chronological report (in letter form)

Main Outcome:

Balanced discussion


16 sessions, 3+ weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This three-week Writing Root is based on ‘The Hidden Forest’ by Jeannie Baker.  The children start by creating a collage based on the author’s artwork and write an artist’s ‘blurb’ for the piece. They then move on to explore the main character (Ben’s) feelings and how these change over time. After receiving a letter from the text’s main character asking for help, the children conduct some research into the topic of Giant Sea Kelp and use the information to create a non-chronological piece in letter form in response to Ben’s letter. Finally, a second letter arrives, this time from a local fisherman who cannot see why he must reduce fishing in areas where the Giant Kelp Forests are struggling to survive. Using the technique of hot seating an opposing view emerges and the children participate in a debate. This then leads to the writing of a balanced discussion. Throughout the unit, a variety of drama techniques such as thought-tapping and role-play are used. Modelled writing gives the children the opportunity to develop skills in a supported environment. Words from the year 5/6 statutory word lists and direct teaching of grammar from the statutory appendix for year 5 are embedded throughout the sequence of learning.

Synopsis of Text:

Looking for his lost fish trap, Ben thinks he sees something dark moving under the water. Is it a creature or only his imagination? Diving into the sea with his friend Sophie, he is amazed to discover a wonderful hidden world - and the rich variety of creatures that live there.

Text Rationale:

Jeannie Baker is a beloved children’s author, known especially for her detailed collage illustrations which portray subtle the environmental changes happening all around us. This book dives beneath the surface of the ocean to the giant kelp forest below. Through the eyes of main character Ben, children will be challenged to view the world from a different perspective and with a sense of wonder, considering the impact of human development on the environment, and in particular the parts that we cannot always see. With strong environmental messages, there are obvious links to the geography and science curriculums and plenty of opportunity for discussion and debate. 

Links and Themes:

Environment, conservation, activism, protection, human impact, oceans

Date written: August 2016

Updated: September 2020

A Spelling Seed is available for The Hidden Forest.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book The Hidden Forest by Jeannie Baker.  Below is the coverage from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.

Spelling Seeds have been designed to complement Writing Roots by providing weekly, contextualised sequences of sessions for the teaching of spelling that include open-ended investigations and opportunities to practise and apply within meaningful and purposeful contexts, linked (where relevant) to other areas of the curriculum and a suggestion of how to extend the investigation into home learning.

There is a Spelling Seed session for every week of the associated Writing Root.


Word List Words:

disastrous, environment, existence, persuade, sufficient, category, nuisance

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words containing the letter-string ough

Adding suffixes beginning with vowel letters to words ending in –fer

View The Hidden Forest Spelling Seed

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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