The use of drama in KS1 and KS2

How to use drama to bring your lessons to lifeDrama is an important element of speaking and listening within the primary curriculum for English. It is also a motivating teaching method appropriate to many subject areas. By teaching through drama, children can become increasingly aware of a range of ways of acting out in order to create, explore and communicate ideas about situations, characters, ideas and emotions.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

Children's story book collection apps

Children's story book collection appsApps with collections of children's story books are becoming really popular. Instead of buying single children's books, parents and schools can now purchase collections of books (some of which are interactive and include narration) to use with their little ones. These apps are either priced per book or per month, on a similar basis to the Netflix delivery method.

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Exciting Stimulus for Writing at School

Exciting Stimulus for Writing at SchoolWhen I first started teaching, I remember teaching a lesson about bonfire night where I got the children to close their eyes and use their imagination to sense what was going on around them. Fast forward a few! years and here we have a much more exciting stimulus to develop emotional writing: involving the children in their own disaster movie!

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Reading Bingo

Reading BingoGetting children to read for pleasure can be difficult. Reading seems such a passive activity, and they can quickly become restless and bored. The idea behind Reading Bingo is that they put these bingo cards in their home reading books, and when they've read a particular genre they get an adult/teacher to sign it off for them. If they get 4 in a row, they get a special prize!

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Persuasive Ideas For Schools

Persuasion with a purposeTo round off our persuasive writing unit, my year 5 literacy class produced video adverts using Adobe Spark for our favourite brands. We uploaded them to YouTube and contacted the CEOs or marketing department for each brand/organisation and asked them to feed back on them. We were staggered with the positive feedback that we received (not to mention the freebies!). Here's how we went about it.

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Creative Writing using Minecraft Edu

Minecraft Edu Creative WritingWe've spent a really productive afternoon today with year 5/6 children from the local area using Minecraft Edu to inspire creative writing. The children were set a series of tasks to perform during the course of the 2 hour session and then asked to write notes about what they could see, who they met and how they felt along the way. These notes were then used in literacy to develop their creative writing.

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Lexile levels for UK book bands

Book Band Lexile LevelsSometimes school reading schemes are a little restrictive and you'd like to put well known books in there too. To help with this is a table that I've put together that correlates between age, national curriculum level, Oxford reading tree book band and lexile level. It can be used in conjunction with the search tool at Lexile.com to fit any non-reading scheme book into your reading scheme.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

Google Voice Typing in School

A lot of pupils are great at telling stories orally but when it comes to writing their ideas down, they really struggle. If you're using Google Docs within your school then your pupils can make use of the Google voice typing function, which allows them to dictate their work directly into a document. We tested it out recently and it recognised all the common words that we spoke as well as more obscure ones such as ‘coelacanth’, ‘octogenarian’ and ‘disestablishmentarianism'. It even added asterisks to swear words too which could be useful if you have some 'live wires' in your class.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

Interactive stories with Google Apps for Education

Creating interactive stories teaches children creativity, language, computer skills and logical thinking - all at the same time! I first got excited about the idea after an inspiring workshop at a local secondary school a year or so ago, which showed pupils how to create interactive stories and so we started writing our own at school using twine which was really successful. I've recently been looking at other ways to write interactive stories using Google Apps for Education including YouTube, Google Forms, Slides and Docs.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

Texts for Guided Reading

Reading Comprehension ResourcesIf you've ever struggled finding guided reading resources for use in your classroom (I know I have!) then you may find this site useful. It has hundreds of reading texts on it, ordered by US Grade, Lexile level, text type and skill/strategy. Each resource has a reading text, along with comprehension questions (which can be used to differentiate) and the all important answers.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall

A 5 year old writes

a five year old writesThis handwriting was given to me by one of my old headmasters years ago and I couldn't find it on the internet so wanted to share it. It shows a 5 year old child's handwriting from 1909. The child was educated by italian educator, Maria Montessori, whose focus was on not being taught writing, but discovering writing by being exposed to certain conditions and experiences, and then developing the fine motor skills needed to write.

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Creating interactive stories using Twine

Using Twine with KS2"Choose your own adventure" books were really popular for children in the 1980's. These interactive books allowed the reader to make decisions of where they wanted the story to go and, depending on their choices, this would shape the outcome of the book. Budding authors can now write their own interative story books and publish them online using a fabulous website called "Twine". My year 5 (aged 10 - 11 years old) literacy class have just created some wonderful Greek myths using this method.

Read MoreAuthor: Gary Hall