Do your maths lessons need a superhero (or two)?

The Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables series uses superheroes to motivate primary school children to practise all the skills needed to solve multiplication, division and word-based times table problems. Superheroes appeal to even the most reluctant of learners and instil a positive and competitive attitude towards learning. Your pupils will be eager and motivated to want to learn and practise their times tables.

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 3 - Brilliant Publications

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 3

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 2 - Brilliant Publications

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 2

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 1 - Brilliant Publications

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 1

There are three books in the Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables series:
Book 1: 2, 5 and 10 times tables
Book 2: 3, 4, 6 and 8 times tables
Book 3: 7, 9, 11 and 12 times tables

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.

We recognise that all children learn in different ways and that they need to have opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills. For each times table there is a mixture of practical activities to develop their understanding and written activities to consolidate their knowledge.

The mixed times table sheets at the back of the book allow children to apply the skills gained in learning individual tables, working out for themselves which multiple facts and methods they need to use.


Leave a comment

Filed under Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics

Start your day with a brainteaser!

Here are five great brainteasers taken from Brilliant Activities for Gifted and Talented Children to stretch the more able pupils in your primary school class and get their brain cells working.

Brilliant Activities for Gifted and Talented Children - Brilliant Publications

Brilliant Activities for Gifted and Talented Children

  1. Two mothers and two daughters were quilting in the living room. They all quilted busily all day, and discussed memories they had shared with each other. Each one completed a quilt. However, at the end of the day there were only three completed quilts. How is this possible? (Answer: They were a grandmother, mother and a daughter)
  2. A man was sitting at home watching the news. All of a sudden, he stood up, switched on the light, and began to sob uncontrollably. Why did the man switch on the light and begin to cry? Ask as many questions as you would like, but the teacher can only answer yes or no. (Answer: The man is a lighthouse keeper, and he saw on the news that a ship is headed for his point but can see no light. It is inevitable that the ship will crash, which is the man’s fault.)
  3. Two Australians got on a bus. One of the Australians was the father of the other Australian’s son. How was this possible? (Answer: One was the mother)
  4. Robert and William Parry were both born just before noon on 7th May 2001. They had the same parents, Andrew and Diana Parry. You see Robert and William in the nursery and say to Diana, “Your twins are lovely!’ Diana looks at you and replies, “They are not twins!” You are very confused. They were born on exactly the same day with the same parents! How is this possible? (Answer: they are not twins, but triplets!)
  5. Two men walk into a restaurant. They both order exactly the same drink. One man drinks it fast and one man drinks it slowly. The one who drinks it fast lives. The one who drinks it slowly dies. WHY? (Answer: There was poison in the ice.)

These brainteasers have been taken from Brilliant Activities for Gifted and Talented Children by Ashley McCabe Mowat, which contains tasks that will develop all primary school children’s cognitive abilities, whilst stretching the more able pupils in you class.


Leave a comment

Filed under Gifted and Talented, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2

Spanish word books for primary schools

Are you looking for a simple way of encouraging pupils to access the Spanish vocabulary they need (without resorting to online translation packages)?

Mi Pequeño diccionario – My little Spanish dictionary Brilliant Publications

Mi Pequeño diccionario (My little Spanish dictionary)

Sample page from Mi pequeño diccionario (My little Spanish dictionary) Brilliant Publications

Sample page from Mi pequeño diccionario (My little Spanish dictionary)

Primary school children need to be able to access vocabulary to encourage them to speak, listen and write in Spanish. But when they are just beginning to learn Spanish, even the simplest bilingual Spanish-English dictionaries can be overwhelming. It is understandable that some students feel the temptation to go online.

If you find this is the case, we have a solution for you. We publish Mi Pequeño diccionario – mini (A6) Spanish word books containing Spanish vocabulary sheets for 33 popular primary school topics. Each page features 9-10 illustrations labelled with their Spanish names. The booklets are colourful, fun to use  and support all Spanish teaching schemes in use in primary schools.

Mi pequeño diccionario covers the following topics:

  • Los saludos (Greetings)
  • Los números (Numbers 1 to 20)
  • Los números del 20 al 100 (Numbers 20 to 100)
  • Los colores (Colours)
  • Los días de la semana (Days of the week)
  • Los meses del año (Months)
  • Las estaciones (Seasons)
  • Las fiestas (Festivals)
  • La Navidad (Christmas)
  • Las frutas (Fruit)
  • Las verduras (Vegetables)
  • El restaurante (Restaurant)
  • El picnic (Picnic)
  • Las bebidas (Drinks)
  • El tiempo (Weather)
  • La ropa (Clothing)
  • Los complementos (Accessories)
  • Las partes del cuerpo (Parts of the body)
  • Mi familia (My family)
  • Las mascotas (Pets)
  • Los animalitos pequeños (Insects and mini-beasts)
  • Los animales salvajes (Wild animals)
  • Los animales de la granja (Farm animals)
  • Los animales del bosque (Woodland animals)
  • El sistema solar (The Solar System)
  • Objetos de la clase (Classroom objects)
  • Las asignaturas (School subjects)
  • Los deportes – Yo juego….. (Sports – I play…)
  • Los deportes – Yo practico ….. (Sports – I do ….)
  • ¿Qué tocas? Toco … (Musical instruments – What do you play?)
  • Las formas – (Shapes)
  • El transporte – (Transport)
  • El abecedario español – (The Spanish alphabet)

Leave a comment

Filed under Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Spanish

Teaching speaking and listening in primary school

The National Curriculum in England only has one page on spoken language and this covers the entire primary curriculum for Year 1 to 6. The curriculum specifies that pupils should be taught to:

9781783172313 Brilliant Activities for Speaking and Listening KS2 Brilliant Publications

Brilliant Activities for Speaking and Listening Key Stage 2 (KS2)

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  •  ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  •  use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
  •  articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
  •  use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
  •  speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates
  •  gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
  •  consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

The non-statutory notes helpfully state that ‘the content should be taught at a level appropriate to the age of the pupils. But if you are are Year 3 or a Year 6 teacher, how do you work out what speaking and listening skills to teach?

This is why we’ve brought out Brilliant Activities for Speaking and Listening at Key Stage 2.

The book contains 21 activities for Years 3–4 and 25 for Years 5-6. The activities range from interpreting facts and figures and working out the correct order in wich instructions and information are given to discussing and debating issues, such a bullying, junk foods and attitudes towards keeping pets. There are also opportunities for role-play, hot-seating, retelling stories, and for responding to and interpreting poems. The emphasis is on activities in which pupils use exploratory talk in order to clarify their viewpoints.

The following sample activities are available on our website, so you can ‘try before you buy’:

Leave a comment

Filed under English, Key Stage 2

Top 10 tips for successful cooking lessons

Cooking in primary schools is easy when you follow these 10 tips taken from Teaching Healthy Cooking and Nutrition in Primary Schools. Not only do the books in this series contain delicious recipes, they also help you to teach children about healthy eating and nutrition – essential life skills.

9781783171132 Teaching Healthy Cooking and Nutrition in Primary Schools Brilliant Publications

Teaching Healthy Cooking and Nutrition in Primary Schools

  1. Remind children that an important aspect of learning to cook is learning to work together. This is especially important if they are working in pairs or groups. Being able to share and work together is an important cooking skill.
  2. If you are working with children of mixed abilities, use both illustrated and traditional format recipes. Give less able readers illustrated step-by-step recipes so they can keep up with their classmates. Make sure the two recipes follow the same steps so the class can still work together.
  3. Demonstrate recipes 2-3 steps at a time. Introduce safety points as you progress. For example – remind children that they must always lay knives down flat and away from the edge of the table, whilst you demonstrate chopping.
  4. Encourage children to gather around all the ingredients and equipment they need before starting. They could tick things off on a copy of the recipe.
  5. If you place recipes and other sheets in clear plastic wallets (or laminate them) they can be used again and again.
  6. Use low-fat options where possible to encourage healthy eating.
  7. Show children the ‘Eatwell Guide’ to explain what types of food you should eat to have a healthy and balanced diet. You should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and eat very little fats, oils and sweets.
  8. Whilst cooking, explain related theory to children. For example – when learning how to open a tin, you could explain that tin cans preserve food because they are airtight which stops micro-organisms getting in and growing on the food.
  9. After completing several different recipes and mastering different skills children could be given a Certificate of Achievement to acknowledge the accomplishments, such as learning to chop, knead dough, core an apple etc.
  10.  Above all, have fun and enjoy cooking with children!

These ideas have been taken from the Teaching Healthy Cooking and Nutrition in Primary Schools series written by Sandra Mulvany. Each of the books contains twelve easy-to-follow photocopiable recipes, presented traditionally and in an illustrated step-by-step format.

Leave a comment

Filed under Healthy eating, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, PSHE

Five activities for children to do when they arrive at school

Get the school day off to the best possible start with welcoming, friendly activities. These primary school activities, taken from 100+ Fun Ideas for Transition Times, can easily be continued in following lessons or completed for homework to accommodate late arrivals.

9781905780341 100+ Fun Ideas for Transition Times Brilliant Publications

100+ Fun Ideas for Transition Times

  1. Monday morning smiles
    • Put a piece of card at everyone’s place.
    • Write this challenge on the whiteboard: Make a happy face to banish Monday morning blues.
    • Ask the children to create cardboard faces – perhaps of clowns.
    • Try them out later to see which one puts the quickest smile on most faces.
    • Use them to make an instant happiness display, or as inspiration for poetry or story writing.
  1. Passports, please
  • Make a passport form for the children to complete.
  • Provide spaces for a picture, appearance description, personal details, hobbies, friendships and special information.
  • Use the completed passports to create a friendly, inclusive display.
  • Occasionally, in order to update passports, ask the children to complete a fresh form.
  • The updated information may alert you to a need to change your class seating plan or grouping for volunteer tasks, as you realise that someone is feeling excluded from the friendship groups.
  1. Breakfast buns
  • Make a durable resource for this activity by cutting out and laminating magazine pictures.
  • Hang a ‘Café open’ sign above your whiteboard.
  • Display today’s ingredients, for example: sausage, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, lettuce. Add or reduce the number of ingredients as appropriate to age and ability.
  • Set the challenge:
    • Everything is sold in a bun
    • Buns always contain three items
    • How many different sorts of buns can the children draw or list for today’s menu?
  1. Today’s words are…
  • Write five to ten words on the whiteboard; make them relevant to the work to be done later in the day (for example, science, geography, history).
  • Give out dictionaries. Ask the children to look up the meaning of the words. Then they should write their own definitions in clear, brief language.
  • Can the children sort the words into an alphabetical glossary?
  • When you begin the relevant lesson later in the day, agree on and display a class reference glossary of the words.
  1. Teacher in trouble
  • Use your whiteboard as a notice board, onto which the Head has pinned tasks you must do this evening!
  • At the side of the whiteboard, write the number of hours you have available this evening. How will you fit all the jobs in?
  • Set the children the problem-solving task of producing a timetable for you.
  • In numeracy, share some of the timetables to see if they work. Will you have any minutes to spare?
  • For younger children, simplify the task to pictorial representation in chronological sequence.

These ideas have been taken from 100+ Fun Ideas for Transition Times by Eileen Jones, which contains stimulating ideas for the morning arrival and other difficult transition times – including register ideas, end of the day activities, and between lesson tasks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, PSHE

What problems do you want to solve when you grow up?

“Don’t ask children what they want to be when they grow up but what problems they want to solve. This changes the conversation from who do I want to work for, to what do I need to learn to be able to do that. ” Jaime Casap, Google Global Education Evangelist

Help children to think outside the box with Will Hussey’s amazing Where Can an Elephant Hide? Challenges to Kick-start Learning in Key Stage 1 and Where Can an Elephant Roost? Chalnnege to Ignite Learning in Key Stage 2.

9780857475329 Where Can an Elephant Hide? Brilliant Publications

Where Can an Elephant Hide? Challenges to Kick-start Learning in Key Stage 1

Where Can an Elephant Roost? Challenges to Ignite Learning at Key Stage 2

Leave a comment

Filed under How children learn, Teaching Ideas