Category Archives: Key Stage 2

The trouble with reading …

Reading incorporates two activities. But what is the most successful way of pulling these two elements together?

Most of us working in primary schools will have witnessed children who have the ability to decode texts at an appropriate level for their age, but who find it hard to grasp and hold the meaning of that text at the same time.

As a result they cannot engage in activities that build upon their reading, because they simply don’t have enough of an immediate understanding of what they have read.

In such cases what is happening is that the brain is working to translate each pattern of letters into a word, but because so much effort is put into this activity the brain does not then take the words of a phrase or sentence and convert those words into something meaningful.

As a result there is little ability for the child to answer any questions about what has been read and (more worrying in the long term) there can be no enjoyment in reading.  Reading is a chore to be got through, not something to be enjoyed.

Unfortunately, many resources that exist to help primary school children read, focus on helping children read the text, but don’t simultaneously focus on giving them something that is enjoyable to read.

And so it was to provide this additional vital element in primary school literacy that we have produced the new edition of Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension – Years 1 – 6

The books in this series contain a variety of types of comprehension passages ranging from newspaper articles and dialogues to plays, stories and poems.  Each is followed by a series of enjoyable tasks for the children to undertake which test and stimulate their understanding of what they have read.

There is a lot more information about these books and their content on our website.

The books can be ordered either as a PDF for £13.99 or as a hardcopy book for £19.99. There is also the option to buy the hardcopy and PDF together at a discounted price.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, How children learn, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Poems and poetry, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Faster French with more understanding

What are the two activities that develop pupils’ ability with French far more effectively than any other?

The answer is, as you may already know, through the use of stories and through singing.

Because both stories and songs put the French the children hear and vocalise into a full context, the words become much more meaningful and become learned as part of sets of phrases which are a part of everyday experience.

As a result, the more you can encourage the children in your class to speak French sentences and to sing in French, the more rapidly they will progress.

Which in turn is why Learn French with Luc et Sophie is such a successful approach to the teaching of the language at KS2.

Each part of the course incorporates no fewer than 14 French storybooks written at the appropriate level along with creative teaching ideas to maximise the pupils’ ability to learn to speak the language.

Each story is topic-based using simple sentences based around key vocabulary and language structures.

And then, in addition, each unit contains an original song to reinforce vocabulary.  Because the children will be happy to sing the songs over and over, the vocabulary and grammar becomes more deeply embedded within their consciousness.

Indeed, if you have ever noticed how children can pick up the lyrics of everything from nursery rhymes to popular songs you will appreciate just how incredibly powerful the rhyme and song element can be – especially when, as in this case, the songs are written to fit exactly with the vocabulary being learned.

The Learn French with Luc et Sophie course follows the Foreign Language Programmes of Study in the September 2014 National Curriculum for KS2 and is written with non-specialists in mind.  

Full details of the Years 3 and 4 course can be found here while the Years 5 and 6 part of the course is explored here.  In each case there are sample audio files of the songs and sample materials.

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

There are two maths: one is better

What is the most effective way of giving KS2 pupils an understanding of how maths actually works?

Missing Digits Addition Puzzle

There is no doubt that the rote learning of times tables is helpful to most pupils. But for progress to be made beyond that point children also need to understand the meanings behind mathematical problems.

Perhaps the most effective way of encouraging children to think about such issue is to give them maths problems that need them to use their knowledge of the four basic functions to solve simple problems.

Of course this can be done through the classic, “A man goes to a shop three times and buys four items each time…” type of question. But before children are ready to enter into those conundrums, they need to be able to solve the maths problems in purely mathematical terms, without any words in the way.

And the most effective way of doing this is through missing digit puzzles in which the mathematical question is set out with one part of the problem missing.

Thus they can be presented with an additional problem in which part of the answer is written in, and one of the two numbers to be added together. They have to work out what is missing.

Later they can be asked for a number in the eight times table where the first number is between 1 and 6 and the last number is six.

The big benefit with this approach is that because the questions are presented as puzzles to be solved rather than maths to be learned, they are much more stimulating and attractive to most KS2 children – and they really do help the children progress towards a mastery of mathematics’ basic functions.

You can see examples of how this works on our website at: Missing digit puzzles for times tables

And there is more information about the book and its contents here.

You can order Missing Digit Puzzles on our website either as a PDF for £10.99 or as a hardcopy book for £16.50. There is also the option to buy the hardcopy and PDF together at a discounted price of £19.80.

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

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

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

Bullying

Free assembly story for anti-bullying week

‘Sometimes Tom kicked, hit or pinched him. Nobody ever saw it happen. It was always in school.’

Download your free copy of the story, ‘Bullying’, to find out what happens to Tom.

The story is taken from Brilliant Stories for Assemblies which contains over 60 stories for 7-11 year olds written by Paul Urry, an experienced primary school teacher and natural storyteller.

Whether you are suddenly called upon to take an assembly or wish to engage pupils in cultural, moral, religious or historical stories at your leisure, this book has them all.

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