Do the preparation exercise first. Then read the text and do the other exercises.
Our best things
Tom's got a big smile on his face. He's thinking about swimming again. Tom's an excellent swimmer. It's his best thing, something he's really good at. Right now he's daydreaming about swimming in the sea, with dolphins and whales. He saw a documentary about that once. Tom feels the water on his back and on his legs and just then he feels a dolphin rubbing its fin against his right arm. 'Ahhhh,' he says. 'That's nice. What's your name? Can you speak?'
Tom hears children's laughter first, then, 'My name is Mrs Potter! As you know! Tom, wake up. You're daydreaming again!'
Tom opens his eyes and looks up. Mrs Potter, his teacher, is tapping his arm to get his attention. She doesn't look very happy. He gives her his best smile but she turns her back to him and walks away, saying, 'No play time for you today, Tom. You can help me clean the classroom instead.'
Tom sighs and looks across the classroom at May. They've got plans for play time. Yesterday he promised to play table tennis with her. May's very good at table tennis. It's her best thing. She wants to practise for the school championship. 'Isn't it nice?' he thinks. 'Everybody's got a best thing – something that they're good at.'
Tom looks around at his classmates. Fatima's sitting next to him. She's good at singing. Tom thinks she'll be a famous pop singer one day. Charlie's in front of him. His best thing is painting. Last year he won a prize for a portrait of his pet fish, Goldie. It was amazing! 'There's Ollie,' he thinks. 'Ollie's the town's chess champion. Nobody at school can beat Ollie at chess.' He moves his thoughts around the classroom, stopping at each child to name their best thing. Dora's good at horse riding, and Huang's brilliant at languages. He can speak Chinese, English, German and French. He wants to be a translator when he grows up.
'It's strange,' thinks Tom. 'We're all very different but we're all friends. And we've all got a best thing.' Then he looks at Mrs Potter and thinks, 'She's very patient. She's the best teacher ever!'
Tom looks at May again. He can't see her face but he knows she's sad. 'I need a plan,' he thinks. 'Mrs Potter always tells us it's important to help each other.' Tom remembers the shiny, red apple in his school bag and he smiles … just as the bell rings and all the children shout 'Play time!' and move towards the door.
A few minutes later Mrs Potter smiles to herself as she looks out of the window, into the playground. Huang and Fatima are in the corner, sharing an orange. The wheels on Fatima's chair are shining in the sun. Charlie and Dora are sitting together on a bench. Charlie's not looking at Dora, but Mrs Potter can see he's talking to her. 'I bet he's telling her all the amazing new animal facts he's memorised this week,' she thinks. Ollie's having a conversation with Mr Domingo, the school caretaker. He's moving his hands quickly to make the words. 'What are they talking about?' she wonders. She takes another bite from her shiny, red apple and watches May and Tom as they play table tennis. 'Tom's right,' she thinks. 'Table tennis is May's best thing.' She smiles. 'Every one of my pupils has got a best thing,' she thinks.
What's your best thing? What are you good at? Tell us about it!