Author Archives: Alison Marshall

How many of your pupils will keep their faith?

 It is unlikely that reading ancient religious scriptures to your pupils will result in them forming a lifelong relationship with religion. But this might.

It could be argued that the reason for young people of today being less religious than their forefathers is because there is an increasing disconnect between the context of ancient religious scriptures and modern-day society. And in no place can we find better examples of this disconnect than in the Bible.

However, many religious people would argue that whilst this might be the case, the messages and teachings of these ancient religious scriptures still remain as relevant as ever, which is why Modern Christian Assembly Stories exists.

Modern Christian Assembly Stories gives schools an opportunity to teach children about the messages and teachings of the bible in a context which is relevant to pupils’ everyday lives, thus increasing the chances of young people choosing to maintain a lifelong relationship with the religion.

This valuable resource contains 50 assembly stories which not only link to Christianity, but also to a whole host of themes and situations that young people may encounter and find difficult to navigate, such as Bullying, Disability, Disappointment, Equal Opportunities, Divorce, Peer Pressure, Phobias and Friendships, to name a few.

Click here to see an overview of the contents of this resource

Click here to see a sample assembly story (Scott’s Story: Tackling Child Mental Health)

For more information or to order Modern Christian Assembly Stories for £18.50 as a printed book, £12.99 as an e-book or both for a discounted price of £22.40, simply visit:

https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/modern-christian-assembly-stories-710

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Filed under Assemblies, Brilliant Publications, Citizenship, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, PSHE, Religious education (RE)

Times tables and the mental block

Is it too much to hope that ALL your pupils will be fluent in their times tables?

There is a reason why some of us can’t decode maths problems. An increasing understanding of dyscalculia among professionals has meant that pupils with the specific learning difficulty are getting more access to materials which will help them to overcome their difficulties with maths.

For a pupil with dyscalculia, the very essence of number cannot be understood – thus, manipulating numbers with mathematical functions can be somewhat of a challenge. Indeed, it is possible for some dyscalculic pupils to understand numbers and simple mathematical functions (addition and subtraction) using mainstream methods, albeit at a slower rate than their peers. However, when the pupil advances to learning multiplication and division, there is often a mental blockage.

These pupils need to learn maths, and the functions of multiplication and division, using a multi-sensory approach. Using a multi-sensory approach with non-dyscalculic pupils has also proven to improve mathematical performance.

It is for this reason that we have produced: Fun Games and Activities for Teaching Times Tables.

This book provides stimulating and imaginative games to make the process of learning the times tables both effective and fun. The games require minimal preparation and ensure that all children gain a firm understanding of their times tables and will be able to recall and apply them rapidly and accurately.

The first half of the book contains games specifically aimed at teaching the 2, 5 and 10 times tables. The second half contains games appropriate for any of the times tables. These games are subdivided into three groups:

  • Games for learning each table in sequence
  • Games to test pupils’ memories and thinking skills as they try to identify the table they are working on
  • Games to teach children the different factors that can make up each answer.

For more information or to order Fun Games and Activities for Teaching Times Tables for just £18.50 as a printed book, £12.99 as an e-book or both for a discounted price of £22.40, visit https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/fun-games-and-activities-for-teaching-times-tables-746.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics, National Curriculum, Teaching Ideas

Knowing is one thing, understanding is another

Knowing good grammar is one thing but understanding grammar is something else entirely.

The single most powerful way that one can express oneself is by using one’s own words. And whilst it may appear that young people can express themselves orally or in writing when explicitly asked to do so, how many of them are truly using their own words, as opposed to those copied from others?

It is only when children are taught why we speak and write the way we do, through grammar and punctuation lessons, that they can develop the skills needed to manipulate words and sentences to make them their own – enabling them to clearly and uniquely express themselves in their Literacy lessons and beyond.

Getting to Grips with English Grammar is a series for teaching grammar to pupils in Years 1-6, written by Charlotte Makhlouf, author of our best-selling series, Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension.

The Getting to Grips with English Grammar series is built on the premise that pupils need to put grammar and punctuation rules to the test in both their reading and writing in order to understand grammar and its subsequent impact.

This brand-new activity book series integrates engaging reading comprehension passages and writing tasks with accompanying activities. The grammar is introduced in a systematic way and concepts are revisited as you progress through the scheme to ensure firm understanding.

For more information and to see sample pages, simply visit the links below.

Getting to Grips with English Grammar for…

  • Year 1 (£19.99) Buy Now! 
  • Year 2 (£19.99) Buy Now! 
  • Year 3 (£19.99) Buy Now!
  • Year 4 (£19.99) Buy Now!
  • Year 5 (£19.99) Release Date: End of June 2019 – Add to Wishlist
  • Year 6 (£19.99) Release Date: End of June 2019 – Add to Wishlist

Click here to add the complete series (£95.00) to your Wishlist.

Can’t wait until end of June 2019? Buy Getting to Grips with English Grammar for Years 1-4 now by visiting the above links.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Primary school

How can we talk about terrorism without being frightening or bland?

Security is now, of course, everywhere. Even at the London Book Fair (not necessarily somewhere that you might expect to be targeted by terrorists), policemen with sniffer dogs now patrol the aisles between the stands.

And indeed, by chance, at the last London Book Fair one of the officers stopped by our stand and saw the book aimed at primary school teachers, “Talking about Terrorism”.

His reaction on seeing the book (and I must stress he spoke in a perfectly reasonable way) was “I have an eight year old daughter. I wouldn’t want her teachers teaching her about terrorism.”

And of course that’s a valid point. Just as parents want to monitor and restrict what their children see on TV and on the internet, so you as teachers don’t want them to learn about the harsh realities of the world around us, at least not too soon.

But the terror is real, and one way or another eight year olds will hear about the latest incident, just as adults do. Which means that somehow, as teachers, you need to be able to respond.

Plus you need to know how to respond to some of the suggestions made in relation to terrorism – for example, that events from British history could be classified as terrorism even though they are not normally called that.

These, and many other issues, are extremely difficult to resolve – but I do feel that they need to be considered and presented to children, because if they are not these same children will be getting information and ideas from elsewhere.

And that information may not be nearly as balanced as the information and thoughts that you, as teachers, could provide, even when the subject matter is incredibly challenging.

Which is why we have published “Talking about Terrorism”, the book the police officer saw on our stand.

It is a book which, if you are uncertain about how you should be answering the questions of primary school children concerning terrorism, you may care to look at.  For the book aims to help you formulate your own answers to the questions that children ask.

For more information or to order Talking About Terrorism for just £19.99 as a printed book, £13.99 as an e-book or both for a discounted price of £24.19, visit https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/talking-about-terrorism-740

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Citizenship, Key Stage 2, Radicalisation and Terrorism, Teaching Ideas

Get your FREE sentence builder PowerPoint from “Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía”

Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofia is a story-based scheme addressing the Foreign Language Programmes of Study for teaching Spanish at KS2.

The Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía 1a Parte Starter Pack is based around a story featuring a young brother (Luis) and sister (Sofía) and their friends and family. The topic-based stories are written entirely in Spanish, use simple sentences and introduce key vocabulary and language structures.

The pack includes audio-enhanced e-storybooks for each of the 14 stories. The stories are acted out by native Spanish speakers bringing the stories to life. The e-storybooks can be shared with the class using an interactive whiteboard, read individually or in small groups.

The teacherʼs book contains lesson plans for each story, translations of the stories and exercises, games and activities focusing on enabling pupils to communicate in Spanish.

The scheme is designed with non-specialists in mind and will make implementing the National Curriculum for England easy. Self-assessment sheets can be used to monitor children’s progress and ensure coverage of all the Programmes of Study.

Click here to request your FREE sentence builder PowerPoint slide from
Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía 

(The sentence builder activity practises the third person singular form of the verb tener – tiene.)

For more information simply visit https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/learn-spanish-with-luis-y-sofia-1a-parte-starter-pack-years-34-758. 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Spanish, Teaching Ideas

What is the easiest way to help and encourage children to write using varied sentence structures?

It is difficult to think of much in the English language that is more complex than a sentence.

It can be short.  It can alternatively be very long and involve all sorts of diversions along the way before reaching its final conclusion, which in this case might be that it is the sheer variety of sentence structures that cause the problem with teaching sentence structure.

And having written that sentence, we might then think it was too complex anyway.

But whatever way we look at it, by 11 pupils of all abilities are expected to be able to write using varied sentence structures.

Thus the question arises: what is the most effective way of helping children meet this aim of being able to write in this manner?

Answering this question is made all the harder to answer because many children do seem to pick up the concept of varied sentence structures simply from their reading and from hearing varied adult conversation.

So we’ve been working on this issue for some time, and we’ve come up with a series of ready-made 15-minute sessions that build on each other.

By completing the daily sessions, pupils will have at their fingertips a system for creating imaginative and interesting writing in as little as six weeks.  As a result attainment within all ability ranges increases.

And there is one added bonus. For most children exposure to the 15 minute sessions not only shows them how to write varied, meaningful sentences, but it also raises confidence and self-esteem, thus enhancing achievement in all school subjects that are language based.

There are more details on how the “Daily Sentence Structure” programme works here.

The programme is available as a printed book and an ebook and can be ordered from our website. www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/daily-sentence-structures-2nd-edition-667

If you have any questions please do contact us. Our details are on our website: https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/contact-us

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, homework, Key Stage 2, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

From one oxymoron to another

It could be argued that any creative writing that your pupils are required to undertake as part of the curriculum is something of an oxymoron. You must encourage your pupils to think outside the box whilst providing evidence that they can use fronted adverbials, adjective-packed noun phrases, and other grammatical structures.

Moving from one oxymoron to another, the Brilliant Activities for Creative Writing Series Pack will help pupils to understand how to plan their writing whilst allowing their imagination to run freely by encouraging them to talk about their ideas, try out sentences orally, and listen to others’ comments about their work. What could be more of an oxymoron than encouraging children to talk in a writing lesson!?

With meaningful discussion and careful questioning from yourself, your pupils’ writing skills will flourish.

Click here for more information and to see sample pages

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school