Category Archives: Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

Request a FREE copy of the Tips for Writing reference booklet!

How much support should you give your pupils for creative writing tasks?

Supporting pupils with creative writing tasks is something of a balancing act. Too much support and it affects pupils’ creativity. Too little support and it affects pupils’ writing. To add to this, each pupil is likely to need a different level of support – more so if you are teaching a group of pupils with mixed abilities.

Boost Creative Writing is a series packed with planning sheets to support primary school pupils with their creative writing tasks. They are particularly helpful for slower learners since they provide additional reinforcement of key skills and non-prescriptive writing scaffolds. The structured sheets cover a range of writing genres, from stories and poems to book reviews and newspaper reports.

Boost Creative Writing for Years 5-6 also includes a handy Tips for Writing section which can be copied and bound to make a useful reference booklet for each child. In fact, we are giving Tips for Writing away for FREE as a pdf – click here to request your free reference booklet.

We hope your pupils enjoy using their booklets.

It's fun to write - tip sheets

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, How children learn, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Primary school, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

Why do we have creative writing?

The imaginative use of words within a story goes back to the earliest days of humanity.  And it still serves a purpose today.

Humankind has always told stories.  Everything from cave pictures to monuments like Stonehenge, from tales told around the flickering fire to the greatest cathedrals tell us about events, locations, and people that we cannot see.

Indeed it appears to be fundamental to our human psyches to want to hear stories, and as a result there is every reason for all of us to want to tell them too. 

For the ability to appreciate and explore this basic human instinct comes from our own experiences of making up stories of our own.   Indeed such invention allows us to share our experiences and entertain others as we seek to make sense of the mysterious world around us.

But, of course, storytelling does not come naturally to us all, and many children – especially those with special needs – require additional support if the skill is to be nurtured and developed.

For the storyteller needs to consider key issues such as where the story takes place, who or what is in this place, are there animals here that have human characteristics.  Or could it be an object that has feelings?

And in worlds where everything is possible, how can we express ourselves?  What new words and expressions do we need?  How does the story evolve?  What is happening around our central event or person?  What happens next?

Most children – irrespective of their needs and abilities – only come to understand the exploration of such issues through being prompted via their own story writing, which is why the “Boost Creative Writing” series exists. 

The activities here provide the support and help that children of differing abilities need, and you can see how we achieve this through the examples from the series on our website where you will also find details of how to order.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, How children learn, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

Multi-Sensory English Literature

What is the most effective way of helping reluctant readers to study a set text?

Over the past 100 years the multi-sensory learning approach pioneered by Maria Montessori has been shown to be a highly effective way of teaching – especially for students who do not respond strongly to single-sense learning.

Unfortunately, the range of multi-sensory resources available for teaching and learning involving set texts in English has been limited.  But it is growing with the use of graphic revision guides.

These have been shown not only to benefit a wide range of students, including reluctant readers, disaffected students and those with dyslexia, but also those students who find the study of a full-length novel difficult to undertake.

It is for all these students that we have produced our Graphic Revision Guide for A Christmas Carol.

This volume develops the student’s understanding of the plot, the key themes and the characters, so that when the student then returns to the full text she or he is able at once to focus on the unfolding story as Dickens created it. 

What’s more, those students who find it hard to picture what literary characters look and act like now find it much easier to understand motives and actions. Those who struggle to follow the plot, now know its direction of travel.

In short, the classic text is no longer hard work for these students, but instead becomes an enjoyable read.  Meanwhile the activities provided in terms of, for example, matching quotes to pictures and drawing character maps, are entered upon with enthusiasm and will help students bring to mind the ideal quote when they sit their exam.

Better still, the resources are printed in black and white for easy photocopying and enlarging.

There is more information on this volume on our website along with other books from the same series of graphic novels.

The book can be ordered as a printed copy for £16.50 or as a PDF download for £10.99. There is also an option to buy the printed copy and the PDF together as a discounted price. Just choose what you want on our website.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, How children learn, Key Stage 3, Secondary school, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

How does work, work, these days?

Increasingly children and those in the world of work have stopped thinking in straight lines

Straight-line thinking is what shop assistants used to use, in the days when we had shop assistants and, come to that, shops.  You could walk into a shop and look around wondering where a particular product was, and the shop assistant would say, “Can I help you?”

I actually tried that yesterday, wanting to buy a rucksack for an 18 mile walk I had signed up to, for reasons that will most certainly not become clear at this point.

But unfortunately, the strategy failed. The three shop assistants inside the very well-known sports store did finally stop talking to each other.  One of them looked at me curiously, evidently bemused that I should be asking a question.  I persisted in my quest, and eventually he said “upstairs” before picking up his mobile phone which had just pinged.

Old-fashioned straight-line thinking would have suggested he might accompany me and help me make the purchase, but no, that is far too passé for the modern world.

And the reason… well, management don’t train staff anymore, because ultimately, they’ll shut the shops and sell everything on-line where straight line thinking is irrelevant – as we can see each time we do a search on Google.  We get answers, certainly, but mostly not to the questions we ask.

So how do people who work in businesses and/or on-line actually think if not in straight lines?  The answer is that they think in the same way lots of contemporary novelists think. In multiple jumps and associations.

To see what I mean I would like, if I may, to direct you to a web page.  When you get there, print the page out (if you don’t you’ll end up standing on your head). 

Of course, children can’t make this leap to a new form of thinking instantly, so you might want to take it step by step by trying this page first of all.

We have produced three books of graphic organisers which start children on the journey towards developing the critical thinking skills needed in today’s contemporary world.

Doing this doesn’t mean that we don’t value logical linear thinking – of course that is still needed.  But in the modern world this alternative approach to problem-solving is becoming dominant, and that is what the “Graphic Organisers Pack” explores through a large series of graphics such as these.

Of course, not every modern organisation uses this non-linear thinking approach – many of them prefer a third option, which generally consists of everyone shouting at each other.  But personally I prefer a quieter life.

You can read more about how we can help children understand the new approach to thinking and planning which many young people, and those who run businesses, are adopting by looking here.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, How children learn, Key Stage 2, Primary school, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

The story’s the thing

What is the simplest way of getting students who are disinclined to read a book, to read the book?

For some students the chance to get involved with a classic such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Jekyll and Hyde, etc, is very welcome.  These are the students who have found the joy of books and who want to read.
 
But, of course, there are those who look at such books – even when they have alluring stories within them that might appeal to their interests – and back away.  They have defined books as not being part of their world.
 
So the question is, how to get these students started.
 
One way of doing this is to give the students an overview of the complete book within a format that they will find acceptable. And that is where graphic books come into their own.
 
Graphic books give students who are unexcited by the opportunity of approaching a complete novel a chance to grasp the story and come to terms with the characters before they start reading.
 
In this way when they do turn to reading the original, everything is already clear to them and they are now able to enjoy the depth of the story in full book form.
 
Hence they are no longer put off by language from an earlier era, a multiplicity of minor characters, or the amount of reading involved.  Everything is now familiar and acceptable.
 
This is why we have produced our series of Graphic Revision Guides.  Five volumes are now available: Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceGreat ExpectationsJekyll and Hyde and A Christmas Carol.

What’s more, the Graphic Revision Guides series is available both as printed books and as e-books, or you can purchase both formats together at a discounted price of £19.80. 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Reluctant reader, Secondary school, slow reader, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

The story’s the thing

What is the simplest way of getting students who are disinclined to read a book, to read the book?

For some students the chance to get involved with a classic such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Jekyll and Hyde, etc, is very welcome.  These are the students who have found the joy of books and who want to read.
 
But, of course, there are those who look at such books – even when they have alluring stories within them that might appeal to their interests – and back away.  They have defined books as not being part of their world.
 
So the question is, how to get these students started.
 
One way of doing this is to give the students an overview of the complete book within a format that they will find acceptable. And that is where graphic books come into their own.
 
Graphic books give students who are unexcited by the opportunity of approaching a complete novel a chance to grasp the story and come to terms with the characters before they start reading.
 
In this way when they do turn to reading the original, everything is already clear to them and they are now able to enjoy the depth of the story in full book form.
 
Hence they are no longer put off by language from an earlier era, a multiplicity of minor characters, or the amount of reading involved.  Everything is now familiar and acceptable.
 
This is why we have produced our series of Graphic Revision Guides.  Five volumes are now available: Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceGreat ExpectationsJekyll and Hyde and A Christmas Carol.

What’s more, the Graphic Revision Guides series is available both as printed books and as e-books, or you can purchase both formats together at a discounted price

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Secondary school, slow reader, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

Do new test arrangements contravene rights of SEND pupils?

Barney Angliss, SEND co-ordinator at Rydens Enterprise School in Surrey, feels they do. He has written to the children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, to say the recommendation goes against the Equality Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

http://schoolsweek.co.uk/new-tests-contravene-rights-of-special-needs-pupils/

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Filed under Assesssment, News, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)