Category Archives: National Curriculum

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

Sit still or wiggle?

Just because children are told to sit still, that doesn’t mean that’s the best way to study.

“Put a group of 8 year olds in a room and play some music with a clear rhythm, and they will move.  Some will move gracefully, others may jump about waving their arms and kicking out.”

We looked at my colleague as he said this – still an enthusiastic and highly energetic dancer himself, although well past the age most people associate with anything more than a slow waltz.

“So it’s a primitive response to rhythm,” said another of the editorial team in a ‘I’m stating the obvious’ voice.  “Does that help children learn French?” 

“Yes,” said the dancer.  He swears by dancing, dances modern styles rather than ballroom several nights a week, and travels across the country, even across Europe whenever possible.

“But most people don’t dance,” came the counter argument.

And then I got the point.  True, in our society most people don’t dance – but children do dance.  In most cases, no one has taught them, they just do it.  Which is why dance and movement are ways to teach other subjects – in this case French.

Because if you can actively involve the body, learning comes more naturally and stays in the memory far longer.

Which is why we have a DVD of simple routines which combine movements with repetition of important phrases, making learning languages easy and enjoyable.

To see how click on this link, it takes you to a part of the les couleurs video where Lynn Dryden, the author of Jouez, Dansez et Apprenez le Français demonstrates her dance routine with the children of Mountfield Primary School in Newcastle.

“Show me research that suggests that sitting still enhances learning,” I said, and there was silence for once in my office. 

“Movement is distracting,” replied the main objector on my team (why is there always one nay-sayer in every group?)  

“But not when everyone does it,” I replied.

And so here, for each topic, in addition to the main dance routine, there is also a bank of movement activities that introduce and reinforce the vocabulary, enabling the whole topic to be taught actively.

These tried and tested routines and activities have been developed by a language specialist who is also a qualified dance teacher and have been utilised with pupils and students of all ages, achieving outstanding results throughout.

There is more information on Jouez, Dansez et Apprenez le Français on our website.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Music, National Curriculum, Physical Education (PE), Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Times tables and the mental block

Is it too much to hope that ALL your pupils will be fluent in their times tables?

There is a reason why some of us can’t decode maths problems. An increasing understanding of dyscalculia among professionals has meant that pupils with the specific learning difficulty are getting more access to materials which will help them to overcome their difficulties with maths.

For a pupil with dyscalculia, the very essence of number cannot be understood – thus, manipulating numbers with mathematical functions can be somewhat of a challenge. Indeed, it is possible for some dyscalculic pupils to understand numbers and simple mathematical functions (addition and subtraction) using mainstream methods, albeit at a slower rate than their peers. However, when the pupil advances to learning multiplication and division, there is often a mental blockage.

These pupils need to learn maths, and the functions of multiplication and division, using a multi-sensory approach. Using a multi-sensory approach with non-dyscalculic pupils has also proven to improve mathematical performance.

It is for this reason that we have produced: Fun Games and Activities for Teaching Times Tables.

This book provides stimulating and imaginative games to make the process of learning the times tables both effective and fun. The games require minimal preparation and ensure that all children gain a firm understanding of their times tables and will be able to recall and apply them rapidly and accurately.

The first half of the book contains games specifically aimed at teaching the 2, 5 and 10 times tables. The second half contains games appropriate for any of the times tables. These games are subdivided into three groups:

  • Games for learning each table in sequence
  • Games to test pupils’ memories and thinking skills as they try to identify the table they are working on
  • Games to teach children the different factors that can make up each answer.

For more information or to order Fun Games and Activities for Teaching Times Tables for just £18.50 as a printed book, £12.99 as an e-book or both for a discounted price of £22.40, visit https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/fun-games-and-activities-for-teaching-times-tables-746.

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

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

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

Knowing is one thing, understanding is another

Knowing good grammar is one thing but understanding grammar is something else entirely.

The single most powerful way that one can express oneself is by using one’s own words. And whilst it may appear that young people can express themselves orally or in writing when explicitly asked to do so, how many of them are truly using their own words, as opposed to those copied from others?

It is only when children are taught why we speak and write the way we do, through grammar and punctuation lessons, that they can develop the skills needed to manipulate words and sentences to make them their own – enabling them to clearly and uniquely express themselves in their Literacy lessons and beyond.

Getting to Grips with English Grammar is a series for teaching grammar to pupils in Years 1-6, written by Charlotte Makhlouf, author of our best-selling series, Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension.

The Getting to Grips with English Grammar series is built on the premise that pupils need to put grammar and punctuation rules to the test in both their reading and writing in order to understand grammar and its subsequent impact.

This brand-new activity book series integrates engaging reading comprehension passages and writing tasks with accompanying activities. The grammar is introduced in a systematic way and concepts are revisited as you progress through the scheme to ensure firm understanding.

For more information and to see sample pages, simply visit the links below.

Getting to Grips with English Grammar for…

  • Year 1 (£19.99) Buy Now! 
  • Year 2 (£19.99) Buy Now! 
  • Year 3 (£19.99) Buy Now!
  • Year 4 (£19.99) Buy Now!
  • Year 5 (£19.99) Release Date: End of June 2019 – Add to Wishlist
  • Year 6 (£19.99) Release Date: End of June 2019 – Add to Wishlist

Click here to add the complete series (£95.00) to your Wishlist.

Can’t wait until end of June 2019? Buy Getting to Grips with English Grammar for Years 1-4 now by visiting the above links.

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

Have you seen our apps for Luc et Sophie?

Our new series for teaching French to primary children (7-11 years old) comes with apps which work on computers, interactive whiteboards and on most tablets. We have deliberately written software which is generic, which should work on every type of computer regardless of age and model. You don’t need to be a computer expert or a French expert to use the software!

Learn French with Luc et Sophie is a story-based approach to teaching French. There are 14 specially written French stories in each part. Each story is available as an illustrated book, and as an app (interactive pdf with audio), and as an audio track on a cd. If you’re not confident at speaking French, you can use the pre-recorded audio in the app, or on the audio cd. The audio tracks are acted out by native French speakers.

There are also songs, listening exercises, vocabulary lists, interactive sentence building activities for use on smartboards and laptops, reading passages and games. All of this is explained in much more detail in the comprehensive teacher’s book which accompanies each part. The stories are available on their own, or bundled with the apps and Teacher’s Book.

Why not TRY before you BUY? Download SAMPLE PAGES from our website: www.brilliantpublications.co.uk

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Filed under Assesssment, Brilliant Publications, French, Gifted and Talented, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, National Curriculum, Primary school, Teaching Ideas