Category Archives: Brilliant Publications

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

A vague curriculum needn’t mean vague progress

What is the most effective way of interpreting the requirements of the KS2 Programmes of Study for Foreign Languages?

The requirements of the KS2 Programmes of Study for Foreign Languages are somewhat vague. Indeed, how do you translate ‘speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures’ into a four-year scheme of work? It is very much open to interpretation.

Not to mention how one might go about interpreting pupils’ progress – what exactly does ‘substantial progress’ look like?

Fortunately, Assessing Primary Languages is a tried and tested resource which has found answers to these questions by breaking the Programmes of Study into achievable, understandable objectives which are then cross-referenced across a total of four stages.

What’s more, the clearly laid out framework makes it possible to implement a unified tracking approach so that measuring pupils’ progress is effortless and, as such, can be used to plan subsequent lessons.

Both specialist and non-specialist teachers will find this rigorous tool, which contains a large number of creative and adaptable ready-to-use activities, to be invaluable.

For more information or to order Assessing Primary Languages for £37.99, simply visit: www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/assessing-primary-languages-743. 

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Filed under Assesssment, Brilliant Publications, French, German, Italian, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), National Curriculum, Primary school, Spanish, 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

What are the two most important factors that determine the success of French lessons at KS2?

For many years the answer to the question above came down to one factor: “the availability of a specialist teacher”. However, in recent years matters have changed.

This is, of course, mainly because so many primary schools don’t have a specialist language teacher. As a result publishers have put a lot of energy into the second important factor: creating materials that are specifically designed for use by the teacher who is not a language specialist.

Following this work, KS2 courses in French are now available which include stories, songs, games, and activities along with lesson plans giving creative teaching ideas that can be used by specialist and non-specialist teachers alike.

The teaching of French via stories has itself created something of a revolution in the way French can be taught by non-specialist teachers. Because stories introduce children to language structures in a natural and fun way, pupils quickly develop the ability to communicate and use the language with confidence themselves.

This is very much the basis of our particularly successful “Learn French with Luc et Sophie” scheme. Throughout this story-based scheme there is a combination of appropriate level storybooks for the children to read with clearly laid out, easy-to-use, creative teaching ideas aimed specifically at the non-specialist teacher. This complete approach takes the stress out of preparation and planning.

Each of the 14 units in “Learn French with Luc et Sophie” is based around a story featuring a young brother (Luc) and sister (Sophie) and their friends and family. The stories are topic-based and introduce key vocabulary and language structures relating to the topic. Each unit also contains an original song to reinforce vocabulary.

One problem teachers encounter when trying to share a story with a class is how to make sure everyone can see the pages and follow along. To ensure this isn’t a problem, we’ve created audio enhanced e-book versions of all the stories for use on a whiteboard. What makes these e-books particularly beneficial for non-specialist teachers is that with the click of a mouse you can hear them acted out by native French speakers so children will hear correct pronunciation.

Pupils will love the humorous twists at the end of the stories and will naturally pick up the rhythm and intonation of the language. Indeed, their confidence and self-esteem will grow when they realise they can read and understand these French stories.

Also, to help embed vocabulary and grammar language structures there are sentence-building activities for use on an interactive whiteboard.

In short, what happens is that the children will not only learn French through the evolution of the stories provided but also through the multiple ideas for teaching. This will make it easier to recall what they have learned and to use it to create sentences of their own.

There are full details about the scheme on our website along with links to our article on the seven reasons why using stories as a way of teaching French is particularly beneficial.

I do hope you will find this interesting.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), National Curriculum, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

A comprehensive French resource with cross-curricular links

BPPetitesEtoiles

Petites Étoiles – 2nd edition 

Introduce French to Young Children through Rhymes, Songs and Activities

★      Introduce young children to French language learning

★      Easy integration into your lesson planning

★      Accessible for specialist and non-specialist teachers alike

★      Comprehensive resource with cross-curricular links

★      Improves pronunciation and develops intercultural understanding

Other reasons for using Petites Étoiles:

  Suitable for children in Reception and Key Stage One

  Based on 18 popular topics, such as toys, food,animals and celebrations

  Each unit focuses on a rhyme or song and contains sufficient activities for at least half a term

  Provides lesson plans and practical, play-oriented activities, ranging from role-play and miming to phonics games and mask making

  Accompanying discs contain audio recordings of the songs, video clips to aid pronunciation of key sounds, as well as a huge bank of reproducible resources, IWB games and much more.

✓  Extension activities for older or more able children

For more information or to order Petites Etoiles for just £37.99, visit https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/petites-toiles-2nd-edition-794

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Early years, French, Key Stage 1, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Springtime can be a source of great ideas for the Early Years

Springtime is fun – the days are warmer and the children feel happier. One idea is to set up a large spring picture on a wall or using powerpoint on a whiteboard, with a tree, pond and field. You can add frogspawn, tadpoles, frogs, blossom, spring flowers, etc as the season changes and as the children learn about them. Attach them with a tacky substance so that you can move them about and change the number of each of them on a weekly or daily basis.

Ask the children to count the number of butterflies, daffodils, tadpoles, lambs, ducks and caterpillars.

Each day or week change the numbers in the picture and ask them to count again.

Download the free worksheet from this blog and when the children are confident, ask them to complete it.

If you like this activity there are more in our book called Springtime Activities for the Early Years.

You can order Springtime Activities for the Early Years in any of these ways:

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Early years, Key Stage 0, lesson plans, Mathematics, National Curriculum, Nursery and Preschool, Teaching Ideas

Dr Jekyll was a nice man, really …

There are two reactions when people know my job; I’ve started to wonder if I’m both Jekyll and Hyde, at the same time.

It is not so much that people ask me what I do, it is rather that when they hear what my job is, they make assumptions.

You see: I’m a publisher.  To some that makes me one of the good guys.  To others I’m evil incarnate.  Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in fact.  Both at the same time.

Dr Jekyll, the old friend, the nice guy, the one who helps people out; I publish books teachers quite like, and indeed, if you fancy writing a book, it is possible I can bring it to the attention of teachers all over the UK.

Edward Hyde, on the other hand, evil personified; he’ll probably take your book, eat it, and then set fire to your house.

Now, to explain….  I don’t think I am suffering from dissociative identity disorder (although on the other hand, if I am, how would I know?) which was the condition that Robert Louis Stephenson was told by others he was in fact writing about.

Stephenson later said he was so appalled at the idea that he was describing an actual medical condition rather than an allegory, he burned the original Jekyll and Hyde manuscript and started again.  (There’s no evidence for this, but it all adds to the book mystique; it was probably dreamed up by his publisher’s head of publicity.)

But no; when teachers send me books to consider for publication I do not burn them.  Not at all.  Never.  Not once.  Really.  Not at all.

No, my colleagues and I read the outlines and if we like the outline and think we could sell a fair number of copies, we ask to see the whole book.  Then if we still like it, we arrange for printing or creating an e-book.  Then we advertise it a lot, all at our own expense, and then we pay the author a fee for each book sold.

Edward Hyde, had he been a publisher, would, I suspect, have killed off each of his writers.  If you are worried about this you can look me up on the police database.  No charges for attempted murder of authors on file.

So that’s my point: we are the good guys – the Dr Jekyll without the propensity for assassinations or personality changing potions.

And indeed as the good guys we have even published a Graphic Revision Guide for The Strange Case of Dr J and Mr H, suitable for GCSE Literature students.

I’d recommend you have a look – although preferably without first dabbling with any strange potions.

And if you fancy writing a book for us, there are details of how to go about submitting it here.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 4, National Curriculum, Secondary school