Hero image

Dicing with Grammar

It's simple really: English grammar can be a very dry subject, but this need not be the case. For a few years now I have been developing a games-based approach to teaching important grammar concepts. It is amazing how the introduction of dice takes the learning into a new place - the element of chance making it seem less like work and more like play. Because I test my games extensively in the classroom, I get a feel for what works. Dump your boring worksheets and start dicing with grammar.

120Uploads

75k+Views

37k+Downloads

It's simple really: English grammar can be a very dry subject, but this need not be the case. For a few years now I have been developing a games-based approach to teaching important grammar concepts. It is amazing how the introduction of dice takes the learning into a new place - the element of chance making it seem less like work and more like play. Because I test my games extensively in the classroom, I get a feel for what works. Dump your boring worksheets and start dicing with grammar.
Fully planned and resourced 3 week English unit, KS2, Beowulf, writing a legend
extra golden-time

Fully planned and resourced 3 week English unit, KS2, Beowulf, writing a legend

(4)
Here is my most successful unit! Every year, children produce fantastic writing. I have used it in Year 5, but it could be easily adapted for use in any Key Stage 2 class. Although Morpurgo’s version of the classic poem is fantastic, this unit is based on a very short, simplified version of Beowulf (written as a story), which can be read quickly and used as a model for children’s writing. There is still plenty of rich vocabulary and figurative language to explore. I have included two versions of the model: a 500 word version and a more detailed 900 word version. This carefully planned unit is three weeks long. Firtsly, children learn the story through a series of drama activities. Later on in the unit, they change the story, and retell it from the monster’s perspective - great fun! Finally, they create a legend of their own, using the pattern of Beowulf - a ‘defeating the monster’ pattern. Of course, there is plenty of grammar, comprehension and vocabulary work included throughout (all in the ZIP folder). Many sessions and writing tasks (including the final outcome) are differentiated, for mixed ability classes. I have also given suggested passages for whole class shared writing - an essential part of teaching writing. This unit is ready to go. Creative teachers (and children!) will enjoy getting stuck-in to this one. Please also check out my new unit ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’. It’s my most comprehensively resourced unit to date, with every lesson creatively planned in detail and many sessions resourced for SEN, EXP and GDS. https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/theseus-and-the-minotaur-3-weeks-of-detailed-planning-fully-resourced-and-differentiated-11914692
Stone Age information text, non-chronological report, model text for year 3/4 non-fiction writing
extra golden-time

Stone Age information text, non-chronological report, model text for year 3/4 non-fiction writing

(0)
Fully resourced 3 week unit for this text also available in my store! I wrote this model text for year 3/4 children learning about the Stone Age (Bronze Age and Iron Age models are also included in your download). Important year 3/4 conjunctions, prepositions and adverbs are shown in red. The model has been written so that the children can easily use it to help them structure their own reports on the Bronze Age or the Iron Age. There is one image and it is from PIXABAY. I have also included some teacher notes about the text. If you are a talk for writing school, I have included the ‘story map’ for the first 4 paragraphs - that’s the amount we ‘talk’ off-by-heart. Finally, I have included Bronze Age and Iron Age versions of the Stone Age model. This is to show how the model can easily adapted to new subjects, and to give ideas for outcomes that the children could research and write.
Explanation writing, causal connectives, fun dice activity, 'Explain yourself', warm ups, models
extra golden-time

Explanation writing, causal connectives, fun dice activity, 'Explain yourself', warm ups, models

(2)
Explanation writing is one of the trickier non-fiction genres in the primary curriculum. Although we rarely explain sequences using formal language, we often explain things in every day terms. How do you complete that level of the game? How do you do that magic trick? How did you solve that problem? There is a group of words and phrases that can help explain cause and effect more precisely. These can be called ‘causal connectives’. This is not a strictly defined group of words – more collection of conjunctions, adverbs and other cohesive devices that can be useful for this genre of writing. Try the dice activity ‘Explain yourself’ and watch your class get comfortable using these connectives aloud as they explain diverse subjects including ‘how to take the perfect selfie’ and ‘how the digestive system works’. When they are ready, they can write some of their favourite explanations, using causal connectives with accuracy. NEW! I have now added 4 simple oral warm up activities. These encourage to children to rehearse useful vocabulary (consequently, as a result of this, so, so that, therefore, however) and add brackets to explanation sentences. Try that tricky language aloud before you get into any writing! I have also added 7 model explanations to give some ideas of things to write about.
Year 5 & Year 6 Poetry: The Kraken, 6 day unit, perform, explore imagery, use imagery, write poetry
extra golden-time

Year 5 & Year 6 Poetry: The Kraken, 6 day unit, perform, explore imagery, use imagery, write poetry

(0)
Drama! Talk! Poetry map! Scavenger hunt! Reading skills! Team work! Creative writing! 13 resources included! This is a six day poetry unit exploring Alfred Lord Tennyson’s ‘The Kraken’. It has been planned in a lot of detail and is fully resourced. There is clear guidance all the way through, so if you’re in a rush, you can pick it up and use it! There is also a one-symbol-per-line story map to help children learn the poem off-by-heart with help from picture cues. All of the tricky words are also defined. The unit begins with children performing and learning the poem through drama and then moves on to explore the imagery in the poem, including comprehension questions. Children then begin to use imagery of their own. They work collaboratively (using a’ jig-saw’ approach, explained in the plan), use language playfully and finally write their own poem. It is a very enjoyable unit, which inspired some superb writing in my class. It could work with Year 4, Year 5 or Year 6. Sessions cover these objectives: 1. I can recite one line of a poem from memory. (Drama) I can recite a whole poem from memory. I can find meaning within the puzzle of a poem. 2. I can understand wide range of imaginative and ambitious vocabulary. (Definitions scavenger hunt included) I use a wide range of imaginative and ambitious vocabulary accurately and precisely. 3. I understand the term imagery. (14 comprehension questions included) I can find examples of imagery in poem. I can suggest reasons why a poet has used certain imagery. 4. I know what the terms metaphor and simile mean. (Group work activities creating new Kraken imagery) I can use simile and metaphor (imagery) and magic! I can play with the order of words to add impact. 5. I can draft a poem and develop my ideas by ‘magpie-ing’ from other writers and drawing on poems that I am reading. (Supportive writing frame included) 6. I can evaluate, edit and improve my own writing. I hope your class love it and create some incredible poems.
Stone Age to Iron Age - 3 week information writing unit - every session resourced - Year 3 or Year 4
extra golden-time

Stone Age to Iron Age - 3 week information writing unit - every session resourced - Year 3 or Year 4

(0)
Drama! Talk! Reading skills! Grammar skills! Organising information in fun and inviting ways… It’s all here in this fully resourced (many resources are also differentiated) and carefully planned unit linked with history. Perfect for Year 3 or Year 4! I have included the full unit in a zip folder (if you buy, just use the zip!), as you cannot see it all in the preview. The children begin with an assessment task (a cold task) and then spend a week exploring a model text about the Stone Age and learning some key grammar skills for year 3 and 4. They go on to learn about structure and organisation whilst also learning about mammoths! Finally they use all of their new skills to create their own information text about the Iron Age. The whole 15 lesson unit is full of games and activities focused on these skills: I can show what I already know about writing an information text I can ask questions to improve my understanding of the text I can quickly find information in non-fiction texts I can use conjunctions (when, before, after, while) to explain when things happen I can use prepositions (in, on, inside, at, by, during, before, after) to explain when and where I can spot the key features of information texts I can use paragraphs to group information I can use headings and sub-headings to organise an information text I can present (show) information in different ways I can use glossaries to check the meaning of words (repair ‘meaning breakdowns’) I can present information in different ways
Fronted adverbials, adverbs, interactive dice games and presentation
extra golden-time

Fronted adverbials, adverbs, interactive dice games and presentation

(6)
This one works a treat! ***This game and 39 others are included in '40 Grammar Dice Games' available from my TES shop*** ***'More Grammar Dice Games' is also now available*** Fronted adverbials should now be taught from Year 3 upwards and this is a useful way in - it will also stretch talented KS2 writers. This dice-based activity encourages children to add a wide variety of fronted adverbials to a main clause. The game is differentiated into three different versions. In its simplest version, less confident writers can pick appropriate adverbs to open sentences. In the most challenging version writers must elaborate and include more than one adverbial before the main clause. This can produce some stunning sentence work. My class have been able to apply this skill in their own writing and I'm sure yours will too. There is a presentation to provide your class (or any less confident teachers) with the knowledge needed to use the activity creatively. NEW! I have added a new game 'Warrior Swords!' to develop the skill of varying the length of fronted adverbials. It is more challenging than the other 3 versions attached. I hope you find the games as useful as I have. ***This game and 39 others are included in '40 Grammar Dice Games' available from my TES shop*** ***'More Grammar Dice Games' is also now available***
dashes, punctuation, parentheses, fully planned and resourced lesson, extra activities, UK version
extra golden-time

dashes, punctuation, parentheses, fully planned and resourced lesson, extra activities, UK version

(0)
There are two useful resources here: 1. A carefully planned lesson about dashes, exploring how different types of extra information can be added to a sentence. This includes a detailed lesson plan and 3 activities (the final one is a team game, with clear differentiation). All resources are included. The lesson covers these Year 5/Year 6 objectives: I understand the terms dash and parenthesis/parentheses I can explain some uses for dashes I can use dashes creatively for lots of different purposes This is perfect for a demonstration lesson or an observed session. There is minimal ‘teacher talk’ and lots of active pupil engagement. 2. I have also included a further punctuation game: ‘Punctuation show-offs’. I can use brackets, dashes (parentheses) and semi-colons in my sentences. Would you like the writers in your class to be ‘punctuation show-offs’? Me too. I created this dice activity to encourage children to add extra information to sentences using parentheses (brackets and dashes) and also to separate closely related main clauses using semi-colons. I have also provided teacher and - more importantly - child friendly explanations and examples of all concepts. Children may incidentally find out about Usain Bolt, Picasso, Stephen Hawking and a 1000kg bowl of cereal. Have I caught your interest yet? This whole activity has a ‘show-off’ theme and it’s fun. After playing this, you can remind your class to be ‘punctuation show-offs’ in their own writing. Finally, I have added a ‘Victorian’ version of the same game, to show how it can be adapted to different themes.
I can structure a persuasive paragraph - persuasive writing
extra golden-time

I can structure a persuasive paragraph - persuasive writing

(0)
*In this resource I have argued against space travel and computer games as I thought it was likely that most of my class would like to take the opposing view for their own writing, later on. A fully planned and resourced lesson, complete with differentiated activities and a model text. First, children learn the opening paragraph to the model text ‘Computer games are harmful to children’. This should be quick and easy to learn – add a few actions if you wish. Use the PowerPoint or a text map to support. Then, take a quick look at how the text has been changed to the subject of space travel. What has changed? What has stayed the same? Briefly explore the idea that, in persuasive writing, if you can write one opening paragraph, you can write hundreds. It is simply: • Introduce the subject of the debate • Introduce which side you are on • State that you have many strong arguments Next, move on to looking at the how the first argument is structured. Again, it follows a pattern: • Topic sentence – to introduce the key idea of this particular paragraph • Facts and opinions • A rhetorical question On a flip chart or screen, show how you can use this simple structure to write a paragraph against exploring space on the subject of safety. There is an example of how you could do this on slide 8. Now the children should be ready to try this structure themselves. During independent time they use the same structure to create their own persuasive paragraphs about space travel. After this they can organise persuasive paragraphs about anything they choose. I have had great success with this approach and so have my colleagues. I hope you find it useful too.
Persuasive writing and balanced discussion, dice games, model texts, planning frames, toolkits
extra golden-time

Persuasive writing and balanced discussion, dice games, model texts, planning frames, toolkits

(4)
Orally rehearse the language of persuasive writing and balanced discussion before writing. Throughout Key Stage 2, children are expected to take part in debates and compose one-sided arguments or balanced discussions. To be successful at this, children need plenty of opportunities to use the language of argument. Connecting phrases such as 'it is obvious that', 'other people claim that' and 'opponents of' need to be orally rehearsed as children do not encounter them regularly in their daily lives. This fully planned session, complete with a presentation and a fun dice game, will give children the experience of using the language of argument in a purposeful way. Use this session prior to any 'argument' style writing and it will give children the tools to be successful. *I have now added 'Whose side are you on? Advanced'. This version is for 4 players and enables children to create full balanced discussions orally. The patterns they use exactly mirror the structure of a written balanced discussion. **I have also added a model text, a planning frame and a self assessment sheet for persuasive writing and a model text, a planning frame and a self assessment sheet for discussion writing. ***I have also added: a one sided model text in favour of Victorian style child punishment (for children to argue against!) a one sided model against mobile phones in school for children to argue 'for' a mobile phone fact or opinion sorting activity a one sided model for animals in circuses for children to argue against a one sided argument against computer games for children to argue 'for' a computer games counter argument activity a computer games fact or opinion sorting activity a for and against sorting activity linked with space a for and against sorting activity linked with aliens
Use a hyphen to create a compound adjective -  fun dice game: 'Creepy compound adjective creator'
extra golden-time

Use a hyphen to create a compound adjective - fun dice game: 'Creepy compound adjective creator'

(0)
Assessment focus I can use a hyphen to combine words and create compound adjectives. Explanation Children need to understand how hyphens can be used to avoid ambiguity (e.g. man eating shark versus man-eating shark, or recover versus re-cover). Also, an understanding of hyphens can add descriptive depth to noun phrases (e.g. the creature) when they are used to form compound adjectives (the ferocious-looking creature). In the compound adjective ‘ferocious-looking’, the hyphen shows that the two component words have a combined meaning. Aim: using the ‘dice guide’, roll to create six compound adjectives with hyphens that you could use before a noun (e.g. muddle-headed monster). Write definitions for your compound adjectives on your ‘game card’. Keep unusual or ridiculous combinations too! Have fun playing with words!
Talk for Writing unit planning frame, including step by step guidance for teachers as they plan
extra golden-time

Talk for Writing unit planning frame, including step by step guidance for teachers as they plan

(5)
Many teachers love the Talk for Writing approach but do not find it easy to organise all of Pie’s brilliant ideas into a unit of work. It is a challenge! I have been following the TfW approach for many years, and I have spoken at a few of Pie’s national conferences. Over the years, I have organised Pie’s ideas into a three week planning grid. The planning frame attached is not supposed to be prescriptive; it is designed to ‘hold your hand’ while you put a unit together. It is invaluable for teachers new to this approach, but even old-timers like me find the prompts helpful. This planner has been taken on in many schools and you may adapt it for your own use. This work is designed to support teachers using the TfW approach.
Theseus and the Minotaur, 3 weeks of detailed planning, fully resourced and differentiated
extra golden-time

Theseus and the Minotaur, 3 weeks of detailed planning, fully resourced and differentiated

(0)
MASSIVE RESOURCE ALERT! NOT ALL VISIBLE IN PREVIEW! This is a creatively planned and comprehensively resourced 3 week unit on myth writing. It is pitched at Year 4, but it would work equally well in Year 5 or 6 (please see the key skills covered below). For most sessions, there are resources to extend high attainers and resources to support SEN learners. This unit is ready to go! Three weeks of differentiated resources is a very large body of work, so YOU CANNOT SEE IT ALL IN THE PREVIEW (TES has a limit on the number of resources in the preview). When you buy, you will be able to download a zip folder organised into weeks and then into individual lessons. This will enable you to navigate your way through the plan and related resources with ease. All resources are PowerPoint and Word, so you will have no issues opening anything. There are many, many resources included. Here are a few key examples: model text (short and long versions) and a story map; drama activities; story boards; cold task/assessment task; reading comprehension activities; conjunctions activities; scavenger hunt; paragraphing activities; pronoun activities; noun phrase activities; fronted adverbial activities; tool kits; idea gather resources; planning grids; peer assessment resources; and many more! The key objectives covered repeatedly throughout the unit are: Reading: • increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths and legends, and retelling some of these orally • asking questions to improve their understanding of a text • drawing inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence Vocab/grammar/punctuation • I can use a wide range of subordinating conjunctions (when, if, because, although) • I understand the term ‘adverbial’ and I can use fronted adverbials (with a comma) • I can choose a variety of nouns and pronouns (to avoid repetition) Composition • discussing writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar • organising paragraphs around a theme Evaluate and edit by: • assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggesting improvements These have been broken down and written in ‘child speak’ within the planning.
Cold task for information writing, non-chronological report writing, talk for writing
extra golden-time

Cold task for information writing, non-chronological report writing, talk for writing

(1)
Hello lovely teachers - you are making the world a better place! Writing a cold task/assessment task for information texts can be tricky for children. Why? It demands lots of factual knowledge or research. But you are at the start of your unit, so they have not built up this knowledge yet. They have nothing to write about. Unless… You give them a fiction context for their information writing! Kepler 8Z was not a real planet, but it could have been. Somewhere, out there in the universe, within the goldilocks zone (look it up, lazy!) of another solar system, the the Keplers once lived. Sadly, their planet was destroyed by a colossal asteroid. YIKES! Ask your class to write about the Kepler civilisation. Use the prompt sheet attached to do light preparation for this fun cold task. See my shop for more resources.
More personification generators: majestic mountains and creepy caves
extra golden-time

More personification generators: majestic mountains and creepy caves

(0)
Two more dice-based personification generator activities - children use these to create stunning examples of personification about mountains or caves. Full lesson plan and powerpoint available here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/personification-generator-use-personification-in-poetry-spooky-woods-and-spooky-buildings-dice-11885736
Fronted adverbials dice game; 'First on the scene'; Race to get the big news story first!
extra golden-time

Fronted adverbials dice game; 'First on the scene'; Race to get the big news story first!

(0)
Word and PDF versions of everything included! In this fun ‘fronted adverbials’ game, children are journalists, working for rival newspapers. Bitter rivals! Players want to be first to the big news stories before their rival scoops them. Only the ‘First on the scene’ will get the story in their paper. The first player to finish their newspaper is the winner! Assessment focus I can use fronted adverbials to say ‘How?’ ‘When?’ ‘Where?’ events happen I know that fronted adverbials come ‘first’ in a sentence Explanation If you’ve been teaching for as long as I have (don’t ask!), you’ll have heard adverbs referred to as ‘roving reporters’. ‘Roving’ because they have more freedom to move around the sentence than other groups of words and ‘reporters’ because they often tell us more about the action and how/when/where it happens. • Slowly, he entered the room. • He slowly entered the room. • He entered the room slowly. Fronted adverbials aren’t ‘roving’ because they always open the sentence. You could think of these words and phrases as reporters (journalists), chasing big news stories and wanting to be ‘first on the scene’ to tell us more about the action as it happens. That’s why I created the game ‘First on the scene’ to encourage young writers to open sentences with adverbials.
parentheses, dashes, fully planned and resourced lesson, brackets, semi-colons, games, US version
extra golden-time

parentheses, dashes, fully planned and resourced lesson, brackets, semi-colons, games, US version

(1)
There are two useful resources here: 1. A carefully planned lesson about parentheses using dashes, exploring how different types of extra information can be added to a sentence. This includes a detailed lesson plan and 3 activities (the final one is a team game, with clear differentiation). All resources are included. The lesson covers these Year 5/Year 6 objectives: I understand the terms dash and parenthesis/parentheses; I can explain some uses for parentheses; I can use parentheses creatively for lots of different purposes. This is perfect for a demonstration lesson or an observed session. There is minimal ‘teacher talk’ and lots of active pupil engagement. 2. I have also included a further punctuation game: ‘Punctuation show-offs’. I can use brackets, dashes (parentheses) and semi-colons in my sentences. Would you like the writers in your class to be ‘punctuation show-offs’? Me too. I created this dice activity to encourage children to add extra information to sentences using parentheses (brackets and dashes) and also to separate closely related main clauses using semi-colons. I have also provided teacher and - more importantly - child friendly explanations and examples of all concepts. Children may incidentally find out about Usain Bolt, Picasso, Stephen Hawking and a 1000kg bowl of cereal. Have I caught your interest yet? This whole activity has a ‘show-off’ theme and it’s fun. After playing this, you can remind your class to be ‘punctuation show-offs’ in their own writing. Finally, I have added a ‘Victorian’ version of the same game, to show how it can be adapted to different themes.
Determiners - two engaging dice games and a presentation, explore function, sort into groups
extra golden-time

Determiners - two engaging dice games and a presentation, explore function, sort into groups

(0)
Determiners are some of the most used words in the English language, so let's learn about them. I use these dice games in Year 5 and 6. They have been road-tested! Both games are fully resourced and ready to go, and they have a real impact on learning. Two games: 1. 'Point or show quantity' pupils explore the two basic functions of determiners. 2. 'Introduce the noun' pupils add determiners to noun phrases and sort determiners into groups. Both games have a competitive element but are tightly focused on the following objectives: Assessment focus I know that determiners have two jobs: ‘pointing’ or ‘showing quantity’ I can use determiners accurately in sentences I can use a wide variety of determiners to introduce nouns I can sort determiners into groups Determiners can get a little confusing for primary school aged children when you get beyond simple ‘a’ or ‘an’ activities. How far you go with your class is best judged by you (of course!). Through the presentation (which you may wish to simplify, depending on how far you wish to go with determiners) and engaging dice games, children will use lots of talk, and really engage with this tricky-to-define but important group of words.
Poetry activity with patterns, rich language and wordplay, 'What I love about school'
extra golden-time

Poetry activity with patterns, rich language and wordplay, 'What I love about school'

(0)
Hi teachers of the world! I love using Roger Mcgough’s fantastic ‘What I love about school’ to motivate pupils to write poetry with patterns. I’ve used it several times, and the children often come up with brilliant poems of their own, once they have had time explore the patterns. A shortened version of the poem, some comprehension activities and planning sheet are included. Have fun! If you like this activity, you may like my grammar games and units of work.