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Bags of character

Give children bin bags filled with air and tied like balloons and they will inevitably hit each other with them. But Morna Crombie does not mind that.

The lecturer at Dundee University's education faculty has developed imaginative ways of using physical education to help literacy.

At Learning and Teaching Scotland's conference on literacy earlier this month, she ran a workshop showing teachers how active games can be used to help children think about spelling and vocabulary. One of her ideas was to use black bin liners as a cheap resource to create "chat bags". In this game, children have to come up with a word in a particular category each time they throw the bag. Because of its size, the bag takes time to float through the air, giving youngsters the space to think of a colour or an animal at the same time as increasing their vocabulary and making them think generically about words.

One of the keys to A Curriculum for Excellence is engaging and motivating children and Mrs Crombie's fun approach fits in with the curriculum's emphasis on active learning.

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