Category Archives: homework

Do you find logic puzzles fun?

Many children and adults are fascinated by the challenge of trying to understand the puzzle writer’s thinking and solving the puzzle in as quick a time as possible. Debbie Leadbetter has taken this one step further and has written a collection of puzzles in French as a fun and engaging way to encourage children to practise reading French. They are designed to consolidate and extend French vocabulary on a variety of topics whilst training the participant’s brain to solve problems.

The puzzles in Les Problèmes Logiques et Latéraux take French cross-curricular! The puzzles are arranged into the main topics that are taught to children aged 11 to 16 to make it easy to find a puzzle which fits a lesson objective. Whether it is finding out which reindeer is pulling which coloured sleigh, which monkey has eaten which fruit, who won the cycle race or completing sudoku games your students will become expert in French problem-solving.

The puzzles have been extensively trialled in the classroom, and we’ve found that they work well when used as starters, in plenaries and as a homework task. Pupils find the puzzles engaging, challenging and most importantly fun, especially when they are set as a class competition.

This book is a not only a useful resource for practitioners of French, but also for cover teachers, because the easy to use answer section gives the teacher immediate access to the answers.

Love puzzles? Love French? This book is also an ideal book of entertainment for puzzle lovers who can read French, whether sat at home, travelling or on holiday. Why not try it this summer on your holidays? To tempt you, a free puzzle from the book can be downloaded by clicking the link below:

Les Problèmes Logiques et Latéraux is published by Brilliant Publications Ltd. To find out more, click this link: Les Problèmes Logiques et Latérau

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Filed under Answers, French, homework, How children learn, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), National Curriculum, Questions, Quizzes, Secondary school, 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.

If you have any questions please do contact us. Our details are on our website:

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

Free Grammar and Punctuation activities addressing the requirements of the English Programmes of Study for KS1 and KS2

A pupil who is well-spoken is not necessarily a pupil who can write well, not least because he/she might speak with perfect punctuation and grammar but have difficulty applying the same rules to his/her writing. Continue reading

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

Another FREE worksheet set from Brilliant Publications

1) Who won the race?

2) What order did the team come in?

3) Show how you worked it out.

4) Make your own ‘Who Won?’ problem. Continue reading

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, homework, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics

Is homework a good idea?

A BBC Newsround report today questions whether homework is a good idea ( ).

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.

design-gadget-watch-sample page from Creative Homework Tasks - Brilliant Publications

Sample page from Creative Homework Tasks

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.

9781905780563-creative-homework-tasks-9-11-year-olds - Brilliant Publications

Creative Homework Tasks, 9-11 Year Olds

9781905780556-creative-homework-tasks-7-9-year-olds- Brilliant Publications

Creative Homework Tasks, 7-9 Year Olds

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

PE for homework?

A new initiative in the Republic of Ireland called Super Troopers aims to increase fitness levels in the more than 60,000 children taking part by giving them PE activities for homework.

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Filed under homework, Physical Education (PE)