Category Archives: Key Stage 1

A story about jealousy for anti-bullying week

Katherine’s Story

How do people react to others’ successes? Some people are pleased for others; others are jealous – in their mind, the success that they see others enjoying, should be theirs.

Download your free copy of ‘Katherine’s Story’ to find out if Katherine finds the courage to be Head Girl after some jealous pupils are nasty to her.

This story is taken from Modern Christian Assembly Stories, a contemporary collection of 50 school stories all having a Christian theme.

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

Say No to Bullying

It’s easy to get your free assembly story, The Witness, for anti-bullying week!

‘Ranpresh is terrified of ‘The Gang’ and gets attacked on the way home from school. Hannah is a witness but she is afraid to do anything about it. At last she finds the courage to be part of the solution rather than being part of the problem.’

Download your free copy of ‘The Witness’ to find out what happens to Ranpresh and Hannah.

This story is taken from More Brilliant Stories for Assemblies, a collection of over 50 stories for use in primary schools. The stories range from those dealing with specific issues, such as bullying, racism and disability, to historical and religious stories.

The stories can be used at specific times of the year, when issues arise or whenever you are suddenly called upon to do an assembly!

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Filed under Assemblies, Brilliant Publications, Citizenship, Key Stage, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school, PSHE, Teaching Ideas

Practical Foundation Stage science and technology

What is the simplest way of organising and undertaking regular practical science and technology at Foundation Stage?

The answer must be to have available a multiplicity of activities in which the children can participate.

For it is only through participating in science and technology, while being guided by adults, that foundation stage pupils are able to have their curiosity stimulated while their knowledge of what science and technology are about grows at the same time.

In short, the doing of science and technology has to be the basis of learning, while the guidance and direction is also always present.

It is to answer this need to find multiple activities which give foundation pupils the chance actively to participate in science and technology, that we have published a new edition of Science and Technology for the Early Years (2nd edition).

And to show you exactly how we meet this aim of practical activities suitable for children at foundation level we have made an extract from the book available, completely free, on line.  

To see one complete project taken from “Science and Technology for the Early Years (2nd Edition)” please click here You will also be able to review the whole index of 100+ activities included in the book here.

This activity is one of over 100 science and technology sessions that can be undertaken in the classroom, which are explored in detail in the book.   Also provided in the book are multiple ideas for designing resource areas to stimulate purposeful play.

You can order Science and Technology for the Early Years (2nd Edition) on our website either as a PDF for £12.99 or as a hardcopy book for £18.50. There is also the option to buy the hardcopy and PDF together at a discounted price of £22.40.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Early years, Key Stage 0, Key Stage 1, lesson plans, Science, Teaching Ideas

The 3Ms of times tables

The three factors within the extraordinary 3M method of teaching times tables.

There are indeed three factors that need to be present if all children are going to learn their times tables in good time.
 
First, the children need to be motivated. Second, they need to be taught using a method that keeps that motivation going from one lesson to the next. And third the children need to find the whole process enjoyable.
 
Now, as you may have realised, the only problem here is that “enjoyable” rather breaks the alliterative approach that I was building up with the ideas of “motivation” and “method”, so for my third factor I’m going to say, “mighty fun.”  I hope that’s ok with you.

Motivation, method and mighty fun. That’s our aim.
 
So, to begin: motivation.  We’ve achieved this in the “Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables set for Primary Schools” by using superheroes through the materials. These instil a positive and competitive attitude towards learning among the children. 

Second: the method. Of course, each child learns in different ways and each needs to have opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the lessons. Therefore, for each times table there is a mixture of practical activities to develop their understanding and written activities to consolidate their knowledge.

Finally, the mighty fun.  By using superheroes the books instil a positive and competitive attitude towards learning which not only permeates through these times tables activities, but other areas of classroom work as well.

And although I wrote “finally” above, there is one more M benefit. The books contain reproducible sheets and are designed to be used as flexible teaching aids, which teachers can dip in and out of in any order to support the learning of any times table.  

In other words, “Multi-use”.  They work equally well as stand-alone 5 to 20 minute lesson reinforcements or as regular times table learning.

There are more details on our website (although less playing around with the letter M) where you can place an order.

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

We’re all professionals here

We can’t be experts in everything, but we still have to deal with everything.

Now I want to make a confession – which I hope you might keep to yourself.  You see,  I’m pretty naff at sports and games.

Well actually, more than pretty naff.  I really just don’t have that hand-eye coordination that is fundamental when it comes to catching a ball.  Or throwing a ball come to that.

And then, not to put too fine a point on it, I don’t have much coordination between my legs and the rest of my body either.

Of course, I am sure your colleagues don’t suffer in this way, but I have to say that when I was offered the chance to publish a pack of PE challenges, written for teachers who don’t have much knowledge of PE, I jumped at the chance.

Not because they are lacking in coordination like me, but rather because coordinated or not, if they have no background in PE, they may well be finding PE lessons less than their favourite time of the week.

And so we have published a set of handbooks that enable teachers to deliver outstanding PE lessons with maximum pupil participation, no matter what their own physical abilities.

But there’s another point – because just as we, as teachers, are all different, so are the children, and so I was insistent that the materials include individual, group and whole class activities.  As a result, everyone can be involved.

Better still, because the book is not written for the PE trained teacher, the activities are laid out to complement the September 2014 National Curriculum Physical Education requirements. That’s another easy reduction in your workload!

Thus if you have a colleague who is not completely excited by the regular PE lessons she/he has to take, you can simply hand over a copy of the 50 Brilliant PE Challenges for the appropriate age group, and everyone will be happy.

For more information and examples of the activities please do take a look at our website.  I do believe some of your colleagues might well feel that their weekly schedule has just got a lot easier to handle.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Physical Education (PE), Primary school, 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

Engaging pupils’ fluid intelligence

The important link between fluid intelligence and learning times tables

It has been argued that “crystallized intelligence has become disproportionately valued over fluid intelligence”, yet it is fluid intelligence that is closely linked to working memory and which is responsible for the ability to recognise patterns.

It is therefore important that pupils are taught their times tables in a way which engages their fluid intelligence so that they are not only able to understand why times tables form as they do, but also see how their learned knowledge of times tables can help them to solve maths problems in the future.

With this in mind, Brilliant Publications has developed Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables – a series of photocopiable activity books suitable for Years One to Six.

The Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables series uses superheroes to motivate children to practise all of the skills needed to solve multiplication, division and word-based times table problems.

The books contain reproducible sheets and are designed to be used as flexible teaching aids which teachers can dip in and out of in any order to support the learning of any times table. They work equally well as stand alone 5 to 20 minute lesson reinforcements or as regular times table learning.

The Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables series is divided into three books:

For more information and to download sample pages you can try with your pupils, simply visit the links above.

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