27th May 2011 at 01:00


Festival of words

A children's literature festival will take place at the Imperial War Museum during August. The festival coincides with the museum's Once Upon A Wartime exhibition about classic war stories. Visitors can meet authors such as Michael Morpurgo, take a lesson in illustration from Martin Brown and be part of a "play in a day" with the Polka Theatre.

Map to success

An online resource to support geography teaching has been launched by a former primary teacher. Oddizzi features child-friendly maps and news feed, more than 500 pages of interactive content and about 1,000 images. It was put together by former teacher Jenny Cooke and subscription costs #163;155 a year. It is available for a free 21-day trial.

Puppet power

Children's charity Coram has teamed up with Bafta-nominated puppeteers Phil Fletcher and Warrick Brownlow-Pike to make a series of films for primary school children on leading happier and healthier lives. Coram Life Education's character Harold the Giraffe will be joined on his adventures by two new puppet friends, Derek and Kiki.



Rhyme, repetition and the gruesome Gruffalo

Julia Donaldson's stories are consistent favourites among children, parents and teachers. Her rhymes and repetition engage and entertain readers of many ages, and there are plenty of activities and creative planning ideas in this collection.

For teachers planning a series of lessons on Donaldson, there are a number of resources, including a grid created by Fosse Way School, which allows teachers to compare and contrast topics such as alliteration, rhyme and characterisation across different Donaldson titles. RJR_38 has uploaded a highly detailed three-week literacy scheme based on her stories Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child and The Smartest Giant in Town. It looks at topics such as language choice and settings across the stories.

Of all Donaldson's works, The Gruffalo (pictured right) is arguably the most popular. Resources focusing on this story include a missing words worksheet for key stage 1 pupils (misshunt), a question and answer sheet (Nicole_K) where pupils have to fill in speech bubbles, and a PowerPoint activity book featuring a Gruffalo word search, a maze and a crossword (clevercat10). Fun activities include a "bake a Gruffalo cake" resource, a template for a Gruffalo mask and a treasure hunt.



Games that help pupils to count and compare

This collection of resources about counting and understanding numbers will help pupils make comparisons between numbers of different values. One of the simplest activities is "Number Line Drop" (TESiboard), in which pupils track numbers on a number line and "drop" them at the appropriate place.

This is ideal for differentiation, as there are some versions looking at simple units and others that deal with decimals and fractions, plus teachers can work with high or low numbers, dependent on pupils' ability.

Further TESiboard resources ask pupils to compare numbers by asking whether they are higher or lower than a given value, or whether they occur between two given numbers.

A fun activity to get pupils comparing number values is Celebrity Millionaires (Mujibul), where pupils order the famous faces according to how much they earn. Missjones09, meanwhile, has uploaded a resource called The Jolly Postman, which involves children cutting out envelopes and putting them in order.

For teachers familiar with the free maths games site, there is a lesson plan on ordering numbers (sumdog), where teachers use volunteers of different heights, giving them numbers which pupils then have to place in order.



Literature, living on an island and wider travel

This collection focuses on Katie Morag, the key character in Mairi Hedderwick's books, set on the fictional Isle of Struay. These resources not only focus on the narrative of the books, but also on topics such as living on an island, travel and the world around us.

One of the key topics that the Katie Morag books throw up is living on an island. Clowntriggerfish has uploaded a colourful PowerPoint resource on this, which would accompany the key stage 2 geography unit "An island home".

For further activities on islands, JMMoore has provided an extensive plan that looks at the topic of islands across the curriculum.

There is a map of the fictional island of Struay (ejbriggs). Pupils must identify the main features and places of interest as well as writing simple directions using compass points and landmarks. LIFEoutreach has supplied a series of resources on the books, such as a puzzle where pupils have to find the right trail to help Katie deliver the mail. It also includes a link to the teachers' notes from publisher Random House.

Literacy resources include Katie Morag flashcards (kayak13) and an activity called "Guess the Katie Morag story" (clowntriggerfish).

Finally, there are links to the original QCDA schemes of work for geography, which include the topics "Where is Struay?"; "Who lives on Struay?" and a lesson where children express what they like and dislike about a place.

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