Category Archives: lesson plans

Proven ways of improving your children’s creative writing

The Boost Creative Writing series of books teaches the Programmes of Study for writing composition in the 2014 National Curriculum for England.

The activities provide additional reinforcement of key skills for slower learners. We all know that SEN pupils and slower learners need extra support to help them to become confident writers. The structured planning sheets in Boost Creative Writing provide SEN pupils with non-prescriptive writing scaffolds, giving them the support they need. The sheets cover a range of writing genres, from stories and poems to book reviews and newspaper reports.

The Boost Creative Writing Years 5-6 (ages 9-11) includes a handy Tips for Writing booklet that can be copied and bound to make a useful reference booklet for pupils, or the pages may be copied individually and can be given to your children as and when required

There are 3 books in the series – each one covers 2 year groups. The books can be bought at a discount as a set or can be bought individually. They are also available as e-pdfs which can be projected onto white boards for whole class teaching. The e-pdfs can be downloaded from our website as soon as your payment has been received.

Reluctant writers often struggle with the organization of their ideas.  Visual learners have lots of imaginative ideas but struggle with the sequence of events and getting them down on paper. Logical systematic learners can sequence ideas but might struggle to develop them creatively. The planning sheets are designed to provide support for every type of learner, as well as saving you time and helping each and every child to improve their creative writing skills.

Written by Judith Thornby, an experienced Learning Support Coordinator, the sheets have been extensively trialled and tested.They have been shown to boost children’s writing skills, give pupils confidence and make them believe that they can write. While designed for SEN pupils these sheets can, and have, been used by pupils of all abilities.

You can order ‘Boost Creative Writing in any of these ways:
• On our website: www.brilliantpublications.co.uk
• By phone on 01449 766629
• By fax on 01449 767122
• By email to orders@tradecounter.co.uk

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

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

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

How did it all start?

Why knowing the origins of human communication helps us find better methods of teaching a foreign language.

There is much debate as to the way in which human language developed as our species evolved.   But many would agree that an early part of the evolution would have been the calling out of warnings of danger.

And it follows from this that the ability to tell stories must have come much later.

However, although as a species we had to wait for the evolution of the ability to invent and tell stories, this ability to tell stories proved to be a major evolutionary step. 

For whereas “Watch out behind you” can save an individual from injury, storytelling can bring a whole group together with a shared understanding.

In short, the few words that constitute a warning helps the individual.  The story preserves the unity of the whole group.

And it is because being part of a group remains so central to our lives that the use of storytelling in learning a foreign language is such a vital tool.   The children who learn French or Spanish with stories as a core part of their learning, can share their new learning and feel part of the group.

This is why our French and Spanish courses for years 3-4 and 5-6 are based around stories.  For just as our ancestors evolved language as a way of telling stories, so the power of the story remains, and enthuses children with the desire to learn a second language.

You can read more about our story based language courses for Spanish and French through the links below…

Learn French with Luc et Sophie 1ère Partie Starter Pack (Years 3–4)

Learn French with Luc et Sophie 2ème Partie Starter Pack (Years 5-6)

Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía 1a Parte Starter Pack (Years 3–4)

Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía 2a Parte Starter Pack (Years 5–6)

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

The habit of memory

What is the most effective way of helping children learn to use French phrases and grammar without thinking? 

Although it may not seem always to be so, most humans forget very little.  In other words we don’t lose memories; we lose the habit of recalling that memory. 

Fortunately this can be overcome, for when we have a meaningful link for a memory, rather than just an isolated memory, the knowledge in that memory can stay with us for years. 
 
In these ways French phrases and grammar become memorable and instantly available – and if those memories are regularly accessed they become habitual. 

For example, the use of “pas de” in French can seem like just another random phrase to remember.  But there is a simple way of helping children to understand and use the phrase.

What we can do is tell children that when a French person ‘has’ or ‘owns’ something, that person cares about its gender because they are very interested in the things that are theirs.

However, for things that don’t belong to them, they see no point in indicating the gender. That is why, instead of using ‘un’, ‘une’ or ‘des’ in negative sentences, they just use ‘de’.

So they say, “Il y a un chien” (there is a dog), but “Il y n’a pas de chien” (literally, there isn’t any dog).

Here’s another little memory trick that fascinates children – the fact that son = his or her.  Although objects in French have gender,men and women are equal and, thanks to this, there is no difference between ‘his’ and ‘her’ in French.

Unforgettable French is full of tried-and-tested French memory activities based on sound and idea associations that help engage the memory and make phrases and grammatical points habitual.  

You can download our “How French Works” flowchart via our website to see the most logical way of introducing French grammar and vocabulary using the Unforgettable method.

For more information or to order the Unforgettable French 2nd Edition for just £19.99 as a printed book, £13.99 as an e-book or you can order both formats for just £24.19, visit the website. 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school, Secondary school, Teaching Ideas