Teachers' Notes for Activities to accompany the Anthology "True "Stories"

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True Stories is a selection of real events and feelings experienced by pupils from other countries. This anthology was compiled by Dee Russell-Thomas through her work with Gloucestershire bi-lingual students and through her work with refugee and asylum seeking children.

The booklet was published through Gloucestershire Education Department. Many thanks to Dee, Shire Hall and especially, the children and young people.

These activities are intended for KS 3/4 pupils.


  • To develop empathy and understanding for "strangers to our shores".
  • To develop listening, comprehension and reasoning skills.
  • To develop speaking skills.
  • To develop skills of poetical analysis.
  • To develop the skills of active and informed citizens.


Try this word search* with accompanying tasks such as giving definitions of key words such as "refugee"; "asylum seeker"; and/or a quick brainstorming session on 10 benefits of being bi-lingual.


Looking at the poem "The Soul Search" - students decide whether line 6 is a simile or a metaphor. They then think about how Carmen's image in that line reflects her experience. They now rewrite line 6 in 5 different versions with an image from 5 different societies so as to reflect the different struggles that individuals face across the world.

And/or, a study of the poem "I Remember" - students list the things they would miss most if they were refugees from England. They then write their own "I Remember" poem.

A Geographic exercise - locate all the countries named in the stories:

  • Afghanistan;
  • Ukraine;
  • Russia;
  • Venezuela;
  • Jamaica;
  • Hong Kong;
  • India;
  • Croatia;
  • Vietnam;
  • the Philippines;
  • Bangladesh;
  • China;
  • Burundi;
  • Thailand.

and then on a world map mark Gloucester and label distances along arrows connecting countries with Gloucester.


Read the introduction from the booklet to the class - then divide the class into (varying) mixed groups so as to be able to deal with the following differentiated sets of tasks;

Work for individuals who may wish to work on their own

Read "War Wounds" - list all the things that war can do and does and did.

Read "This Is What I Feel" - list all the examples of resilience and initiative shown by the writer. List all the things the writer misses. How does the writer's account show the danger of stereotyping?

OPTIONAL FINAL ACTIVITIES - Depending on the age and ability level of students

Divide the class into new groups - some individuals can role play arriving in England whilst others role play helping etc.

OPTIONAL CLASS DEBATE - Class given this debating motion

"This Class Believes That As There Is Free Movement Of Capital Around The World Then There Should Be Free Movement Of People".

(Allocate students for and against the motion and then conduct a formal debate).

note: * a great online resource for puzzle making, including word search can be found at the Puzzlemaker website.

iRespect is an education resource for the development of positive tolerance - find out more...