Theme: On the Farm

This unit looks at animal life - dogs, sheep, kittens, pigs, goats, ducks, and more. There are fantasy stories and tales of real life on a farm.

It is vital for teachers to understand the Ziptales 10 stage Reading Scheme, which governs how reading groups can be formed in a way which matches children’s abilities to the appropriate texts. To check on this essential resource - click here.

The 10 Zip Stages cover all levels of reading ability, from Foundation/Prep/Kindergarten through to Year 6. This scheme underpins the whole Themes module.

Learning Components

Focus Stories Comprehension Conventions Writing Speaking & Listening Extension
Zip Stage 1
Let’s Get Wet
(Short Vowels
Easy Readers)
Worksheet #2:
Describe the Picture
Use onset and rime to make short e word families (e.g. -ed: red, bed & -et: get, wet). Write five simple facts about ducks (e.g. body parts, what they eat etc.) In pairs, write or draw the places farm animals live e.g. Ducks live in a pond. Worksheet #1:
Read and Draw
Zip Stage 2
A Fun Day at the Farm
(Vowel/Consonant Digraphs -
Easy Readers)
Worksheet #1:
Understanding the Story
Worksheet #2:
Worksheet #2
Extra Activity: Write a report about a farm animal
Write and draw your favourite part of the story. Explain your reasons to an audience. Worksheet #1
Extra Activity: Design a story-map of the story
Zip Stage 3
The Billy Goats Gruff
Multiple Choice Questions Worksheet and Worksheet #2:
Who Said It?
Worksheet #1:
Word Building
Worksheet #3:
What Happened to the Troll?
Use the script to perform the story to an audience. Worksheet #4:
Let’s Create!
Zip Stage 3
The Three Little Pigs
Multiple Choice Questions Worksheet and Worksheet #4:
A Moral Story
Worksheet #1:
Describing Characters
Worksheet #3:
A Safe Place
Work in pairs to complete Worksheet #2:
Making Choices
Make icy-pole stick puppets for the characters then act out the story.
Zip Stage 3
The Mouse Deer and the Cucumbers
(Stories from Long Ago
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
Story Focus
Worksheet #1:
Spelling/Grammar focus
List the types of vegetables you would grow if you were a farmer. Explain reasons for each. Explain to an audience the process of how vegetables get from the farm to the supermarket. Use craft materials of your choice to create a scarecrow.
Zip Stage 3
Fun Facts About Animals
(Fun Facts
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
True or False?
Worksheet #1:
Definition and Word
Write your own unusual facts about a particular farm animal. With a partner, research some other fun facts about farm animals. List the things that farm animals give us e.g. cows – milk, beef and leather.
Zip Stage 4
Good Dog
Describe how Mum and Dad felt about Paddy during the story. General Worksheet #1:
Crazy Contractions
Write an animal report about a dog that would make the perfect farm dog. Partner Activity:
Define ‘chore’ and make a list of chores on a farm.
General Worksheet #2:
The Key to Mapping!
Zip Stage 5
Why do Dogs Sniff Tails?
(Myths and Legends)
Summarise in your own words some of the problems the dogs had. General Worksheet #2:
Use a farm animal to complete General Worksheet #1:
Write Your Own Myth
Orally retell the story to the class using voice projection and intonation. Create an informative chart/poster about farm dogs.
Zip Stage 6
Old Minty
Explain what Billy did to get help and help himself. General Worksheet #2:
Word Find
Write an imaginative recount about a day in the life of a cattle dog. Work in pairs to complete General Worksheet #1:
Emergency Situations
Research great inventions that help keep farmers safe.
Zip Stage 6
Rip Van Winkle
(Myths and Legends)
General Worksheet #2:
Feelings Profile
General Worksheet #1:
Is it ‘s’ or ‘c’?
Rip Van Winkle was not a good farmer. List the qualities of a good farmer. In pairs, complete General Worksheet #3:
So Many Questions
General Worksheet #4:
Who Said It?
Zip Stage 6
Dead Meat
General Worksheet #2:
Defining Descriptions
Study the different sounding ‘ea’ blend as in ‘dead’ and ‘meat’ General Worksheet #1:
What Happened Next?
Create a slide show presentation about the benefits of goats on farms. Design a detailed diagram of the body parts of a goat.
Zip Stage 6
Mad Tom
General Worksheet #1:
What Do You Think?
General Worksheet #2:
Know Your Meanings
General Worksheet #4:
Writing an Argument
In pairs, research the history of sheep shearing equipment. General Worksheet #3:
Click Go the Shears!
Draw a Map.
Zip Stage 7
Bill and the Kitten
Describe the relationship between Bill and his kitten. Study the word ending ‘en’ as in kitten, hen, chicken. Use a farm animal to complete General Worksheet #1:
The Pet’s Perspective
Use farm animals for General Worksheet #2:
Using Drama
Explain egg classifications in supermarkets e.g. free-range, barn laid, cage.
Zip Stage 8
Two Hours From Town
General Worksheet #1:
Meddling with Metaphors
Locate words in the story that can be homophones e.g. two: too, to. General Worksheet #3:
Outback Emergency
Work in pairs to complete General Worksheet #2:
A Different Kind of School
Research the effects of natural disasters (e.g. droughts, floods cyclones) on farms.
Zip Stage 8
The Graveyard Ghost
General Worksheet #2:
Feeling Scared
General Worksheet #1:
Vocab Match
Write a narrative about the adventures of a runaway farm animal. Work with a partner to design an escape proof enclosure for Farmer Brown’s runaway goat. Research the origins of metaphors that use farm animals e.g. pg 1: "You’re chicken!"

Assessment Ideas

  • Make a list of farm animals and use these words as a spelling list e.g. chicken, rooster, cow, bull, cattle dog, horse, pig, goat, rabbit and sheep.
  • Use the Word Work and Spelling and Vocabulary Worksheets for the Reading Library stories to improve students’ spelling skills.
  • Write the nouns for the names of the homes of each animal in the spelling list e.g. chicken – coop, horse – stable
  • Select a passage from one of the on-line stories as dictation assessing the use of full stops, question marks and exclamation marks.
  • Complete the Fill the Gaps and Multiple Choice questions at the end of the story (available for the Junior Readers, Reading Library and Advanced Library genre stories).
  • Use the Learning Support Worksheets for the Reading Library stories to practise a range of reading skills.
  • Design a story map of one of the on-line stories.
  • Create a 3D model of one of the scenes from one of the on-line stories.
  • Write ten true or false statements about one of the on-line stories for a partner to answer.
  • Write narratives using the following topics:
    The Cow Who Wouldn’t Give Milk
    Little Lamb Lost
    A Most Unusual Farm Animal
  • Write an animal report about a farm animal. Include in the report: Classification, Description, Feeding Habits, Breeding Habits and why they make a good farm animal.
  • Write an explanation text about what causes a natural disaster (e.g. drought) that causes severe damage to a farm.
  • Design an instructional booklet about how to care for a chosen farm animal.
Oral Language
  • Visit a local farm or invite a mobile farm to the school. Students present an oral report about their experience.
  • Choose a poem about a farm animal and read it aloud to the class.
  • Conduct a debate using the topic – Country life is better than city life.
  • Write one of the narratives listed in the ‘Writing Tasks’ in a big book format and read it to a younger class.
  • Interview an adult who grew up on a farm. Compose a list of questions pertaining to their experiences of farm life such as work responsibilities, memorable events and positive and negative aspects of living on a farm. Share the responses with the class.
Related Ziptales Activities:
  • Make and Do - Make farm animal finger puppets (Easy level).

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