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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.
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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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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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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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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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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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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.
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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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Spelling games bundle

Spelling games bundle

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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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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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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More personification generators: majestic mountains and creepy caves

More personification generators: majestic mountains and creepy caves

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
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Paragraphs parties! Football, Space, Anne Frank,  Group and order infromation around a theme

Paragraphs parties! Football, Space, Anne Frank, Group and order infromation around a theme

These are fun and engaging whole class activities about organisation within a paragraph. Using a non-fiction context (information about football/space/Anne Frank) pupils go to a paragraph party. They have to work out who is hosting the party (the topic sentence), who is the uninvited guest (information that doesn’t belong) and various other activities. In short, these are lively and memorable ways of exploring non-fiction paragraphs.
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Personification generator! Use personification in poetry - spooky woods and spooky buildings - dice

Personification generator! Use personification in poetry - spooky woods and spooky buildings - dice

Included: detailed lesson plan, presentation, two personification generator dice activities This is a carefully planned, fully resourced and differentiated lesson about personification aimed at upper key stage 2 writers. I used this session to create poetry with personification, but it would work equally well with descriptive writing or story settings. The lesson is structured as follows: Warm up What is figurative language? What is personification? Can you personify your noun using one of the prompts on the screen? Shared writing 2 differentiated dice-based personification generator activities - children use these to create stunning examples of personification about spooky woods (one verse) or spooky buildings (two verse: inside/outside writing) - try it! Peer assessment Fully road tested - in one session the whole class had written superb personification poems (example included), and they really enjoyed the spooky theme. I hope your class have the same success.
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Beowulf fiction unit, Beowulf journalistic style unit and Beowulf sentence construction

Beowulf fiction unit, Beowulf journalistic style unit and Beowulf sentence construction

I’ll admit it! I’m a bit obsessed with ‘Beowulf’. I do have a good reason: it inspires great writing. You are buying: a mega three week fiction writing unit; a four/five session journalistic style unit; a sentence grammar activity that I use frequently - it can be adapted for any text and is worth revisiting often. Of course, they are all strictly ‘Beowulf’ themed. Get involved - you’ll soon get the Beowulf bug.
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Hero Journalism, Beowulf, Greater Depth Writing, Year 5/6, Newspaper Reports, Journalistic Style

Hero Journalism, Beowulf, Greater Depth Writing, Year 5/6, Newspaper Reports, Journalistic Style

Reading comprehension! Drawing! Drama! High quality writing! Newspaper reports! These sessions give children an opportunity to produce ‘greater depth non-fiction writing’ using a fiction context - no research required! Available in Word and PDF. Through these sessions, children will explore 3 news reports about heroes; generate their own toolkits; strip a fiction text (Beowulf) back to its bare bones; create captions and draw scenes from the story; take part in drama activities and finally write news reports using a consistent style and appropriate register. This resource contains four fully resourced sessions (you need nothing else!) pitched at middle and high attaining Year 5 and Year 6 writers. Just work through the 12 page pack with your pupils, and then set them loose on their own news reports - they’ll be ready! It is helpful (though not essential) if the children have previously explored the story of Beowulf - I have written a fully resourced unit that you can purchase from my store. If they have not heard the story before, allow a little extra time to get familiar with the text (included). I ran these four sessions over a day, as a one day writing workshop. It would work equally well as four/five sessions across a week, depending on the speed of the class/group. The outcomes were fantastic and the children enjoyed the sessions. I have also included a bank of good examples from children working at age related expectation (ARE) and some children moving into greater depth - of course these are my judgements - feel free to disagree! These may be useful to look at with your class. Enjoy!
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Beowulf warm up activity,  hunt down and classify words, create multi-clause sentences

Beowulf warm up activity, hunt down and classify words, create multi-clause sentences

Using ‘Beowulf’ for inspiration, play this to develop children’s understanding of clauses and to encourage children to vary the number of clauses they include within their sentences. Assessment focus I can understand the terms ‘clause’ and ‘conjunction’. I can say sentences with one or more clauses. I can write sentences with many clauses, without confusing the reader. This activity promotes lots of talk around word classes and building multi-clause sentences.
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inside outside writing session, a tent at night, camping, simile and vocabulary work, differentiated

inside outside writing session, a tent at night, camping, simile and vocabulary work, differentiated

This is a terrific descriptive writing lesson. Children contrast the inside of a tent (at night) to the outside. Lesson summary: 1. Vocabulary/simile sorting activities for 'meaning breakdown' and then for inside/outside 2. Release high attaining (AMA) writers to do indoor/outdoor writing independently 3. Shared (teacher led) writing of ‘indoor’ for everyone else 4. Rest of class use word bank (developed during part 1) for independent ‘outdoor’ writing It would work well from Y2 upwards - I used it in Y3, but I can imagine older writers enjoying this activity. Children use images and word banks to create wonderfully rich descriptive writing. You are buying: a detailed lesson plan and presentation, with inside/outside image word banks tasks suggested shared writing Enjoy!
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'Dramatic dashes', dice activity that teaches children 6 ways to use dashes creatively, parentheses,

'Dramatic dashes', dice activity that teaches children 6 ways to use dashes creatively, parentheses,

I’ve probably spent too much time thinking about how to teach young writers to understand dashes and to use them creatively. The end result is a dice activity which teaches children some simple ways of using dashes effectively. Children who take part in this writing activity will learn six different (and fool proof!) ways of dropping in extra thoughts and ideas between dashes. It is surprising the depth this can add to fiction writing. *As well as the dice activity, I have also included a 15 slide PowerPoint. This explains how dashes can be used, and it has extension activities. *I have also included a warm up activity that always leads to some useful discussion. Teachers, if you swap the sentences in this activity to match your own writing projects, children can generate superb sentences to add to their own compositions.
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