Category Archives: English

Get talking about bullying

get talking about bullying

Use this free resource to develop your childrens’ spoken language skills by highlighting a topic they will have been hearing about this week.

‘Some people suggest it is best to give in and do what the bully wants. But that won’t stop the bullying. You shouldn’t just put up with it. You should always report bullying.’

‘Bullies often say that their victims deserve to be bullied. But no one deserves to be bullied.’

After reading some thoughts like these about bullying the children are presented with 10 statements to make them think about the article more deeply. They are then encouraged to discuss their own views on the statements.

Download your free resource Discussing an issue: Bullying to increase the impact of anti-bullying week and get your pupils speaking AND listening.

The resource is taken from Brilliant Activities for Speaking and Listening KS2, a book of activities designed to develop the spoken language skills of children in Years 3–6. The activities provide full coverage of the National Curriculum requirements for spoken language. The pupil assessment sheets and advice on progress ensure that schools can develop competence in this vital area of the curriculum.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Citizenship, English, Key Stage, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Primary school, PSHE, Teaching Ideas

The story’s the thing

What is the simplest way of getting students who are disinclined to read a book, to read the book?

For some students the chance to get involved with a classic such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Jekyll and Hyde, etc, is very welcome.  These are the students who have found the joy of books and who want to read.
 
But, of course, there are those who look at such books – even when they have alluring stories within them that might appeal to their interests – and back away.  They have defined books as not being part of their world.
 
So the question is, how to get these students started.
 
One way of doing this is to give the students an overview of the complete book within a format that they will find acceptable. And that is where graphic books come into their own.
 
Graphic books give students who are unexcited by the opportunity of approaching a complete novel a chance to grasp the story and come to terms with the characters before they start reading.
 
In this way when they do turn to reading the original, everything is already clear to them and they are now able to enjoy the depth of the story in full book form.
 
Hence they are no longer put off by language from an earlier era, a multiplicity of minor characters, or the amount of reading involved.  Everything is now familiar and acceptable.
 
This is why we have produced our series of Graphic Revision Guides.  Five volumes are now available: Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceGreat ExpectationsJekyll and Hyde and A Christmas Carol.

What’s more, the Graphic Revision Guides series is available both as printed books and as e-books, or you can purchase both formats together at a discounted price of £19.80. 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Reluctant reader, Secondary school, slow reader, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

To subject or not to subject?

The one thing about the rules of grammar is that without context they ain’t much help

Now I know “ain’t” isn’t a word that you would want to encourage in a child’s essay – unless, of course, you had a particularly precocious writer in the class who had already developed an understanding of the “voice” of each character in a story.

Likewise there is little to be gained from worrying about the grammatical issues raised by Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy by wondering how the subject of the opening line turned up at the end of the line. 

So what’s my point?

My point is that for me to be able to get away with writing a paragraph consisting solely of “So what’s my point?” starting with a preposition which the rule books say should be followed by “that”, is that we all of us first need to know the rules of grammar before we start taking liberties.

But (and there, I’ve done it again, this time starting a paragraph with a conjunction) rules are always best learned in context.  In the case of language, in the context of how authors use grammar in their writing.

For if one starts from the work of authors, and works from there into the grammatical rules, rather than starting from the grammatical rules themselves, three things happen. The learning becomes context-driven, the lessons are more varied, and the understanding of how language can be manipulated for pleasure is ingrained in the child.

This consideration led Charlotte Makhlouf to experiment with how she taught grammar in her classroom.  And (oh, I’ve done it again, starting with “and”) so Charlotte used her classroom experience (not to mention her experience writing the best-selling series Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension) to write a new grammar series which teaches grammar in context.

In Getting to Grips with English Grammar grammar and punctuation skills are taught in the context of themes, rather than in isolation. Each unit starts with an engaging reading passage, so pupils can see how the grammar skill being taught is used in context. Activities link to the themes and provide opportunities for children to apply the grammar skills in their own writing.

Of course, the books also provide activities to stretch the more able or fast finishers, mini-quizzes at the end of each themed section to enable you to check children’s comprehension, and answers to the pupil activities.

Click here to see the contents of each of the books in the series

Click here to order the Getting to Grips with Grammar and Punctuation Series Pack for £95.00 

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

The story’s the thing

What is the simplest way of getting students who are disinclined to read a book, to read the book?

For some students the chance to get involved with a classic such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Jekyll and Hyde, etc, is very welcome.  These are the students who have found the joy of books and who want to read.
 
But, of course, there are those who look at such books – even when they have alluring stories within them that might appeal to their interests – and back away.  They have defined books as not being part of their world.
 
So the question is, how to get these students started.
 
One way of doing this is to give the students an overview of the complete book within a format that they will find acceptable. And that is where graphic books come into their own.
 
Graphic books give students who are unexcited by the opportunity of approaching a complete novel a chance to grasp the story and come to terms with the characters before they start reading.
 
In this way when they do turn to reading the original, everything is already clear to them and they are now able to enjoy the depth of the story in full book form.
 
Hence they are no longer put off by language from an earlier era, a multiplicity of minor characters, or the amount of reading involved.  Everything is now familiar and acceptable.
 
This is why we have produced our series of Graphic Revision Guides.  Five volumes are now available: Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceGreat ExpectationsJekyll and Hyde and A Christmas Carol.

What’s more, the Graphic Revision Guides series is available both as printed books and as e-books, or you can purchase both formats together at a discounted price

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Secondary school, slow reader, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

The strangeness in the sky

Creatures we can’t understand doing things we can just about fathom.

A young girl giant strolling across the sky saw an orange and decided to lick it.  She found it was nice and so licked it more and more, and gradually she began to lick the orange away.

Slowly she ate more and more of it, until her father saw what she was doing and said, “You mustn’t eat that in daytime.  All the little people on the world below use that orange as a way of staying warm.  Put it back at once.”

The young giant was unhappy to have caused a problem, and besides she didn’t like to be told off by her dad.  But she couldn’t put the orange back because she had already licked some of it.  So she asked her dad to help.

“Come on,” said the giant dad, seeing his daughter was worried.  “We can put it back bit by bit, so those funny little people on the planet will hardly notice. 

For the next five minutes the giant and his daughter rebuilt the orange bit by bit until it was back to the round orange that it was before.

When the job was done the giant and his daughter looked at the orange giving out its light for the little people below, and they were happy that the problem had been resolved.  “Now promise me you won’t do that again,” said the giant, and his daughter agreed.

“And one more thing, go and tell all your brothers and sisters about this and make them promise that they won’t ever lick the orange in the sky.”

Dutifully the giant’s daughter did this, and eventually she told everyone except one of her brothers as he was away on holiday.  He never got the message not to eat the big orange in the sky, and two years later he came back and the problem started again.

Of course, that story isn’t a classic myth but it has some of the basic ingredients of something taken from our life and then creatures we can’t understand doing very human like things while living up in the sky (or sometimes underground).

Myths and legends are part of our heritage; tales of strange creatures doing human like things.  Which is why we have produced the book Understanding Myths and Legends containing 27 stories from countries around the World.  Stories that can be used to support topic work in history and RE or used as part of a unit of work in literacy.  

For more information on Understanding Myths and Legends please visit:

https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/understanding-myths-and-legends-415

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 2, PSHE, Religious education (RE)

Why do we teach children how to read?

And how can we use this knowledge to improve our pupils’ level of reading?

Too often it is thought that a fluent reader is a good reader but if your pupils have no or very little understanding of what they are reading, their ability to read (fluently or not) is essentially useless.

Which is why Brilliant Publications has produced the Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension Series – to help your pupils to comprehend the texts that they can read but not necessarily understand.

Each activity book in the series includes newspaper articles, dialogues, plays, stories and poems based on a range of themes, with activities ranging from factual recall and vocabulary work to open-ended questions.

What’s more, the cross–curricular activities provide a wealth of ideas for extending the passages further, making them ideal for mixed-ability classes.

For more information (and to see sample pages) or to order the complete Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension Series for £95.00, visit www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/brilliant-activities-for-reading-comprehension-series-pack-2nd-edition-518

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

Are your children watching the Europa League Final tonight in Baku?

Football is fun for so many children and it provides rich resources for reluctant readers. No matter who wins tonight, Arsenal or Chelsea, for many people it will the source of fun, discussion and disagreement. Sheila Blackburn has written a series of stories about football specifically designed for reluctant readers in promote schools. As you will know, one of the challenges with reluctant readers is capturing their attention and imagination. Stories about football are one solution to this, particularly when as well written as these ones and at a time when UK teams will win the Europa League and the Champions League.

Sam’s Football Stories are specially written to stimulate and motivate slower learners and reluctant readers. Written by Sheila Blackburn, an experienced primary school teacher, the six compelling stories in Set A, tell the story of Sam, a football crazy boy. Let your pupils follow this dream come true for Sam and his friends. Join in the fun and excitement as they begin training, pick a team, join a league and enter a tournament.

 

These books:

  • provide stimulation and motivation especially for slower learners and reluctant readers
  • have gripping story lines make children want to read the next book
  • are compatible with the Primary Literacy Strategy category of everyday stories
  • are designed to look like books more able readers are reading with attractive covers and black and white illustrations inside
  • have carefully controlled vocabulary and sentence structure for easy reading
  • have an increasing number of words per book as you progress through the series
  • have a clear font and print style

To extend the stories further, use the Teacher’s Guide – Your Chance to Score!, a photocopiable teacher resource linked to the stories in Set A.

Like to try before you buy? Request your free copy of the e-book Football Crazy, the first story in the series, now by emailing info@brilliantpublications.co.uk

Click here to find out more about the books

Click here to see a sample page.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, National Curriculum, Primary school, Reluctant reader, reluctant readers, slow reader, Teaching Ideas, textbooks