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All of the ideas and activities below have been taken from 'The Literacy Shed © 2020' KS1 Activity Packs.

Once in a Lifetime

Before watching the film discuss the title ‘Once in a Lifetime.’

  • Asking what does it mean?
  • What type of things happen once in a lifetime?

Show the opening scene. Image of the airship in the sky.

  • What colour is the sky?
  • What mood or feeling does this give us?
  • Can we describe the clouds?
  • What is strange about this ship?

Pause the film after 12 seconds when the man has his hand on his face.

  • What happened?
  • What do we call the object that fell off his boat?
  • How is the man feeling?
  • Can we describe someone who is sad, only describing their actions?

Pause the film as the man looks through his telescope.

  • What do you think was making that noise?
  • What is he looking through?
  • How do we spell telescope?
  • Pause as the turtle flies over his head
  • How is the man feeling?
  • What words can we think of to describe the turtle?

Pause at 58 seconds as the man lassoes the turtle.

  • Ask the children to think about parts of a turtle.
  • Which parts of a turtle can we name? Discuss that these are nouns.
  • Think of two adjectives for each of these nouns. E.g. huge, round eye

Pause the film at 1min 8 secs – when the turtle is towing the ship.

  • How do you think the man is feeling now?
  • Where do you think the turtle is taking the man?
  • Pause the film just after the rope snaps.
  • How is the man feeling now? .
  • What will happen next?

Watch the film until the end

  • Where do you think the turtle will take him?
  • What type of story do you think this is?
  • If you were telling the story which creature might you choose instead of a turtle? Why?

Note: there are no answers for these discussion questions.

Activity 1


Odd Ones Out
Watch the clip. How many of these things can you spot. Tick them when you see them. You might need to watch the clip more than once. Some of these are not in the clip. Which are the odd ones out?


airship shadow rope sword
boxes goggles headscarf map
clouds telescope toolkit flying turtle
flying elephants propellers compass bag


Activity 2


Can you create a job description for the job of sky explorer?


Activity 3


What might the sky explorer experience while standing on the deck of his boat in the sky?


See   Hear  Smell  Touch Taste


Activity 4


Can you create a comic strip of the story?

Activity 5


Write an ending to the story. You could write in first person (I, me, my) and pretend you are the man from the ship or you could write in third person (Jim, he, his, the man). Where do the turtles take you/him? Write about your adventure. You could start with:


I looked down at the turtle flying beneath the ship and took a deep breath. With one quick leap I was over the side and falling freely through the air . . .

Other activities to do…
  • Collect verbs and adverbs to do with floating and sailing gracefully.
  • Choose a different animal to come floating by, use ‘show, don’t tell’ to describe the animal rather than just saying what it is. For example, if it was an elephant, you could say: A large animal with thick grey skin came into view above me. It enormous, flapping ears which enabled it to fly easily and a long, twisting trunk.
  • Create a sky map of where to find amazing creatures in the sky.
  • Design your own airship.