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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.

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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

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

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

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

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.
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Fronted adverbials, adverbs, interactive dice games and presentation

Fronted adverbials, adverbs, interactive dice games and presentation

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***
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I can spell words ending –el, -al, -le, fun dice game

I can spell words ending –el, -al, -le, fun dice game

Lesson plan and 3 differentiated versions of a fun game to practise spelling words ending words ending –el, -al, -le. Assessment focus I can spell words ending –el, -al, -le Explanation ’Towel’, critical’ and ‘apple’ all have the same pronunciation at the end. So how do people know which spelling to use? Most words end –le (-al and -el endings are far less common). Also –le endings tend to follow letters with ascenders or descenders. There are no rules that work every time! –el, -al, -le game You will need: a 1-6 dice per pair, a word bank per pair, a recording sheet each
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Year 2 information text, 3 week non-fiction unit, planned and fully resourced, tourist attraction

Year 2 information text, 3 week non-fiction unit, planned and fully resourced, tourist attraction

Talk! Drama! Reading skills! Grammar skills! Games! Writing an information text! In this three week non-fiction writing unit, children look at an information text (a poster about the now destroyed Brighton Chain Pier). Then they play with the text and create new sentences of their own, developing key Year 2 grammar skills. Finally they create an information text of their own (Brighton Palace Pier), applying the skills taught in the previous two weeks. Every resource is included and resources are differentiated 3 ways - there’s a lot of work here! You could easily swap the model for an attraction local to you. I would simply keep the model and swap the outcome to an attraction near you - the skills in this unit are all transferable. When you download, use the full unit and planning in the zip folder - ignore the files uploaded for the preview. Here are the objectives covered thoroughly across the three weeks: This unit revisits Y1 grammar: I can make up sentences. I can join my ideas using ‘and’. This unit introduces new Y2 grammar concepts: I can use commas for lists. I can use questions, statements, exclamation and commands. I can use expanded noun phrases to describe and specify [for example, ‘the polished stones’]. I can add a chunk (clause) using ‘and’ (coordination) This unit introduces the following Y2 terminology: noun, noun phrase, statement, exclamation, command, adjective, verb, comma This unit introduces these Y2 composition objectives: I can write an information poster. I can plan or say out loud what I am going to write about. I can use new words (vocabulary). I can write my ideas in sentences (continued from Y1). I can make improvements and changes with the teacher or with my friends. I can re-read to check that my writing makes sense. I can proof-read to check my spelling and punctuation [Are the ends of my sentences punctuated correctly?] I can read aloud what I have written clearly and with expression. Reading skills : I can spot meaning breakdown. I can repair a meaning breakdown. Enjoy!
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Amulet poetry - explore and create poetry with patterns - four sessions - expanded noun phrases

Amulet poetry - explore and create poetry with patterns - four sessions - expanded noun phrases

I love using ‘Amulet’ by the amazing Ted Hughes as a model for children’s poetry writing. Here are four sessions that explore this rich and powerful poem in creative ways. By the end of session 4, children will have created powerful poems of their own. Suitable for Key Stage 2. Objectives covered: Part 1 Understanding a poem I can discuss a poem in a group, listen carefully to others and build on my own ideas. I can explore the meaning of tricky words and phrases. I can infer what the poet may have been thinking. Part 2 Reciting a poem I can read using intonation to add meaning I can visualise a poem I can recite a poem from memory Part 3 Exploring nouns and noun phrases and gathering ideas I understand the terms noun and noun phrase I can use precise nouns and rich descriptive language Part 4 Creating poems of our own I can create a magical poem with patterns Your class will love creating poems in the style of Ted Hughes!
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Stone Age to Iron Age - 3 week information writing unit - every session resourced - Year 3 or Year 4

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

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, 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
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Iron Age Quiz Quiz Trade

Iron Age Quiz Quiz Trade

This is an Iron Age themed Quiz Quiz Trade with 32 facts for the class to learn - this really support information writing. Also included are instructions on how to play Quiz Quiz Trade and an extra little 12 fact Quiz Quiz Trade about Mammoths!
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Fully planned and resourced 3 week English unit, KS2, Beowulf, writing a legend

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

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
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Apostrophe Abduction - possessive apostrophes, contractions, plural nouns, differentiated games

Apostrophe Abduction - possessive apostrophes, contractions, plural nouns, differentiated games

Lesson plan, presentation and all resources for the two dice games (the main game is differentiated 3 ways) included. Ready to go! Apostrophes! Why do so many of us get them wrong? In Year 2 children are expected to use contractions accurately, and in Year 4 they are expected to understand possessive apostrophes as well. This is a carefully planned lesson about apostrophes for Years 4, 5 or 6. It would also be an ideal revision tool for the Year 6 Grammar Test. First, children are given the chance to revisit prior learning through the fun warm up game 'The Memory Test'. Following that, they will learn about possessive apostrophes and common misconceptions during the presentation. When they are ready, the two player game 'Apostrophe Abduction' will provide them with plenty of challenge or support, depending on the version you give them. I have included three versions of the game : A 'support' version - this game uses a very short text, with only 10 highlighted apostrophe words to focus on. An 'on track' version - children have to hunt for plurals, possessive apostrophes and contractions. A challenge version - the same as the 'on track' version, but across a full story - quite a challenge to find every plural, contraction and possessive apostrophe.
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Use a comma in a list - dice activity - sweet shop lists - a fun way to generate list sentences

Use a comma in a list - dice activity - sweet shop lists - a fun way to generate list sentences

Assessment focus I can use a comma (or ‘and’) to separate things in a list Sweet shop lists! You will need: a dice guide (included), a tick chart (included), a 1-6 dice Roll the dice to choose a sentence starter and to decide how many things will be going into your list. Choose your sweets from the tick chart. Tick them off. Say your sentence aloud – say the commas and the full stop too! Write your sentence down. Ask someone near you to check it. When you have ticked off all of the sweets, you have finished the game! Support: Reduce the number of items on the tick list. Use a 1-3 dice and reduce the number of rows on the dice guide. Challenge: For each item in your list add an adjective to extend the noun phrase. There are some helpful words in the ‘Yum word bank’. Example: We shared our chewy fudge, sour laces and delicious lollipops.
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spell words ending ary, ory, ery - brilliant dice game -  fully resourced and differentiated lesson

spell words ending ary, ory, ery - brilliant dice game - fully resourced and differentiated lesson

Assessment focus I can identify unstressed vowels I can spell words ending with ‘ary’, ‘ery’, ‘ory’ Use the presentation to explore ary, ory and ery word endings. Fun two player game with built in self assessment - Word race: ‘ary’, ‘ery’, ‘ory’ Challenge: Try the ary ory ery riddles included (‘challenge activity’). Support: Match the word cards and sentence cards and write the sentences dwon (included).
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Explanation writing, causal connectives, fun dice activity, 'Explain yourself', warm ups, models

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

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.
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9 brilliant spelling games

9 brilliant spelling games

Spelling can be fun when approached through games. Here are some great spelling games that I have perfected over the years. Huge saving available here!
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Persuasive writing and balanced discussion, dice games, model texts, planning frames, toolkits

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

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

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

I wrote this model text for year 3 children learning about the Stone Age. Important year 3 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’ too.
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Theseus and the Minotaur, 3 weeks of detailed planning, fully resourced and differentiated

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

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.
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I can use the conjunctions ‘if’ and ‘although’, fully resourced lesson

I can use the conjunctions ‘if’ and ‘although’, fully resourced lesson

In Key Stage 2, especially from Year 4 onwards, children are expected to use a variety of conjunctions accurately. I think that ‘if’ and ‘although’ deserve as a whole session on their own because they are two of the trickier conjunctions. Children often use ‘although’ inaccurately as they do not understand it’s meaning. Included is: a warm-up activity to get children thinking right from the moment they come in; a 20 slide PowerPoint with lots of activities to engage with; a detailed lesson plan; a simple SAN/low attainers activity.
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Mission Control - an exciting way to learn about questions, statements and commands

Mission Control - an exciting way to learn about questions, statements and commands

From Year 2 onwards children are expected to understand and compose statements, commands and questions as part of their understanding of grammar and punctuation. Bring this dry subject matter to life by playing 'Mission Control'. Why should a fun games-based approach only be used in mathematics? This resource has everything you need: full lesson plan with differentiation; PowerPoint to support direct teaching; fully resourced game. Just add 1-6 die and you are ready for blast off. 10...9...8...7...
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