5 fun games for teaching a foreign language

Try these ideas with your class – they can be adapted for use with almost any language.

  1. Fruit Salad
    • The children need to be sitting on chairs in a circle.
    • Give every child a word or phrase to remember, with each word allocated to more than one child.
    • Call out one of these and everyone responsible for it must get up and find a new seat.
    • Occasionally, call out ‘Fruit Salad’ and everyone must change places.
    • You could ask a child to stand in the centre of the circle and call out the words instead of you. This child should then try to take the place of one of the children who gets up. It is then the turn of this child to call out the words or phrases.
  1. Weather forecast
    • With a map as a reference, ask the children to pretend that they are on television and presenting a weather forecast.
    • Cut out weather shapes which can be moved around on the map to make it more authentic and interactive. This activity can also be done using an interactive whiteboard.
  1. Dressing up
    • If you are practising the words for clothes, try this fun game with willing children.
    • Provide two piles of clothes identical in type and colour.
    • Name an item of clothing and its colour.
    • A point goes to the team who correctly identifies and puts on the item of clothing first. This is guaranteed to have the children in fits of laughter.
  1. Fashion show
    • If your learners know the words for items of clothing and colours, ask the children to write a commentary for a fashion show and then perform it using dressing-up clothes.
    • They will have a lot of fun deciding which clothes to wear as they strut along the catwalk.
  1. On the phone
    • Try using two telephones and ask the children to sit back-to-back whilst holding a conversation. This makes the interaction more challenging, as there are no visual clues.
    • This is a particularly authentic setting for discussing the weather as normally you would never ask someone what the weather is like if you are in the same place.

For over 100 more fun ideas for teaching MFL in primary schools get 100+ Fun Ideas for Practising Modern Foreign Languages in the Primary Classroom by Sue Cave, published by Brilliant Publications.

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Filed under Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Top tips for getting inspiring resources for art lessons

Try these ideas for gaining extra resources for art lessons/children’s clubs/artwork at home


  • Picture bank – It is of huge use to keep a constant look out for pictures from sources like magazines, the Internet and postcards. Cut these out and back them on cardboard and arrange them into themes. If you can laminate them, the pictures will last longer.
  • Internet – An excellent resource for finding pictures and information on artists, cultures and religious artefacts.
  • Visitors – Many county councils will have a list of working artists who may be willing to come in and do an art activity for your class. You may have to pay for this, but children tend to benefit greatly from meeting a ‘real-life’ artist. Other visitors, such as art students and historical experts, may also be used as ‘human stimulus’ for learning in art.
  • Libraries, art galleries and museums – librarians and curators of galleries and museums are usually very helpful in providing support with resources of information, so too are tourist information centres and historical/religious societies.
  • Teaching centre – your local teacher support centre may have boxes of artefacts or packs of pictures on a specific theme that you could borrow for a period of time.
  • Scrap stores and local businesses – in some areas you can find scrap stores or recycling centres that may let you have resources for free, or a minimal cost. Local businesses such as printing firms or fabric shops may donate cardboard from packaging or fabric remnants.
  • Parents/carers – Ask the parents/guardians of your pupils if they have any materials like fabric, wool or buttons that they could donate to an art project.


These ideas have been taken from 100+ Fun Ideas for Art Activities that are easy to prepare and children will love by Paula Goodridge.

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Filed under Art and design, Key Stage 2, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Sheila Blackburn launches new website!

Sheila Blackburn, the author of the Stewie Scraps and Sam’s Football Stories books, has just launched her new website. Please have a look!


sheila-blackburnStewie Scraps has always been one of my favourite characters. Stewie doesn’t do sport. He hasn’t got any time for sums or things like that, but he does like technology; designing and making stuff using the scrap in his dad’s junk shop.

Sam, on the other hand, is football mad! Follow his adventures as he joins a football team and starts to enter matches!

Both series appeal to readers of all ages, but they are particularly good for use with reluctant readers, especially boys.

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Filed under Children's fiction, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, News, Primary school

Teaching children to measure ingredients when cooking

Once you know how to measure dry and wet ingredients, it is easy to do. But what is the best way to teach children these essential cooking skills?

Kate Morris and Sally Brown, authors of Get Cooking in the Classroom, have created a great video to help teach children how to measure wet and dry ingredients.

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Filed under Healthy eating, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school, PSHE, Teaching Ideas

Chopping Food with Scissors

Children often find it difficult to use knives to cut food – but this shouldn’t stop them from learning to cook. Using scissors to chop food is a great alternative and much easier for younger children.

Kate Morris and Sally Brown, authors of Get Cooking in the Classroom, have created a great video to help teach children how to chop food using scissors safely.

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Filed under Healthy eating, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school, PSHE, Teaching Ideas

Is homework a good idea?

A BBC Newsround report today questions whether homework is a good idea (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/38383428 ).

I would argue that it depends on what the homework task is. Giles Hughes, a teacher in Birmingham, was so fed up with hearing children’s excuses such as homework being left on the bus or eaten by the dog, that he decided to do something about it. He asked his pupils to list things that they were interested in outside of school and their favourite school lessons. Football, art, science fiction, dinosaurs, sport, computer games and crafts all figured highly on their lists.

He then set about creating homework tasks that would appeal direct to the pupils. The first creative homework task he came up with was one where pupils had to invent their own ‘James Bond’ style watch. The watch design had to incorporate three gadgets which their ‘hero’ could use to defeat or escape from an enemy.






Giles knew that children love secrets and an element of mystery so, in order to attract their interest, he staged this first task. On Monday morning he sat with his back to the class working at his desk before calling the register, apparently engrossed in what he was doing. Within moments he was surrounded by a group of inquisitive children eager to see what he was up to. He quickly covered the work, giving just enough time for pupils to see that he had been drawing something. Despite constant pestering he refused to tell them what he had been sketching. He continued this charade through the week, making sure that news and occasional glimpses of his ‘Design a Gadget Watch’ homework sheet slowly filtered around the class. The sheet was highly visual, keeping text down to a minimum.

On Friday he introduced the task to the children proudly, showing his watch design and explaining its functions. To his amazement two of the boys called called out, ‘we’ve done ours already; we sneaked in at playtime and saw it on your desk!’ These two individuals, who hadn’t managed a single piece of homework between them all year, now produced finished watch designs and stories from their bags! That week every child in the class completed their homework on time and Giles realised that he was on to a winner.

Over the next year the number of children participating in homework rose as they worked their way through the new creative tasks that Giles devised. Pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills improved. Furthermore, feedback from parents was extremely positive, many noticing a positive change in their children’s attitude towards homework.


The good news for you is that Giles has published his creative homework tasks in a two-book series so you can experience the same success with your class. Sample tasks from both Creative Homework Tasks for 7-9 Year Olds and Creative Homework Tasks for 9-11 Year Olds are available on the Brilliant Publications website, so you can try them for yourself!

All the tasks in the books have been trialled in a number of schools and are the culmination of many months of research, feedback and editing. They have been designed so that they can be given out with little or no input from the teacher if need be although – in Giles’ experience – a little enthusiasm from the teacher goes a long way. There are even teacher’s notes for each task, giving examples of extension activities, relevant websites, fun ways of accessing the tasks and solutions to the problems!




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Filed under homework, Key Stage 2, Teaching Ideas

Rolling out Pastry

Once you know how to roll out pastry, it is easy to do. But what is the best way to teach children this essential cooking skill?

Kate Morris and Sally Brown, authors of Get Cooking in the Classroom, have created a great video to help teach children how to roll out pastry.

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Filed under Healthy eating, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school, PSHE, Teaching Ideas