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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.
Stone Age information writing, model text
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Stone Age information writing, model text

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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.
Beowulf, 3 week writing unit
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Beowulf, 3 week writing unit

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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
The Tear Thief, 3 weeks of planning
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The Tear Thief, 3 weeks of planning

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Three weeks of creative and fully resourced Year 2 Talk for Writing planning involving drama, reading skills (information retrieval and then inference), poetry, grammar skills, drawing, diary writing and story writing. Each lesson is fully resourced and differentiated - there is also a focus on greater depth opportunities. To get the most from this writing project, it would be useful if the class had access to a copy of ‘The Tear Thief’ by Carol Ann Duffy - a magical picture book. If you buy this unit, PLEASE USE THE ZIP FOLDER - everything you need is in there. Each session is organised into a separate folder. The other files are simply there as a preview to show some of the resources included. Over the three weeks, the following Y2 objectives are thoroughly covered: Grammar • I can say and write a sentences with a capital letter and a full stop • I can use different joining words (conjunctions) to join my ideas • I can use carefully chosen adjectives/expanded noun phrases • I can use an apostrophe to show ownership Reading • I can spot meaning breakdowns • I can visualise a character from a story • I can find information in a story • I can read like a detective (inference) Composition • I can retell a story in sentences • I can add a new part to a story I know • I can create a character • I understand how a story can be organised • In my own writing, I can use words and ideas from a story I have read • I can write a story (using the skills I have been learning) This unit could be easily adapted for use in other year groups.
Stone Age, 3 week writing unit
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Stone Age, 3 week writing unit

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Drama! Talk! Reading skills! Grammar skills! Organising information in fun and inviting ways… It’s all here in this fully resourced and differentiated 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
Theseus and the Minotaur, 3 week writing unit
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Theseus and the Minotaur, 3 week writing unit

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Massive 3 week writing unit, planned in detail and fully resourced and differentiated. It is pitched at Year 4, but 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 lot of files, so you can’t see it all in the preview. When you buy, please use the zip folder. The contents of the zip are organised into weeks and then into individual lessons (the other files are only there so that people can preview the unit!) . The zip 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 - and you can edit to suit your own needs - no PDFs! There are many, many resources included. Here are a few key examples: model text (short and long versions); 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 gathering 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.
SPAG 40 English Grammar Dice Games
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SPAG 40 English Grammar Dice Games

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**Please also take a look at '30 more grammar dice games' available in my store** This is a 145 page word document containing 40 fun grammar games. Unlike a lot of sellers, my work is a Word document, so you can edit-and-adapt to make it work in your classroom. All of these games have been tested in class and adjusted if needed. They have a real impact on learning. For each grammar skill there is: a child friendly explanation of the concept; printable rules and resources for a lively dice game; suggestions to challenge or support learners; suggestions for application of the skill in written work. For some grammar games there is also a lesson plan and a presentation. Some of the games included are: 1. Mission Control - Write commands, questions and statements 2. Mythical Six 3. Simple or Compound 4. Adverb Sea Monsters 5. How many proper nouns? - Use proper nouns in a sentence 6. Castle of Nouns - Classify different types of nouns 7. The Memory Test – contractions 8. Apostrophe abductions - Identify possessive apostrophes and contractions 9. Synonym racers (adjectives) - Use more adventurous adjectives 10. Unplanned Story - Use sentence variety 11. Whose side are you on? - Learn the language of argument 12. Whose side are you on? (advanced) - Use extended arguments in a balanced discussion 13. Sentence Extenders - Extend simple sentences in a variety of ways 14. Battle of the complex sentences - Create complex sentences 15. Simple, compound or complex - Create simple, compound or complex sentences 16. Explanation game - Use causal connectives 17. Fronted adverbials - Use a variety of fronted adverbials 18. Warrior swords - Vary the length of fronted adverbials 19. Score my speech - Punctuate direct speech accurately 20. Score my interrupted speech - Interrupt direct speech by dropping a reporting clause in 21. The relative clause team game - Drop a relative clause into a sentence 22. Will you or won’t you? - Use modal verbs in sentences 23. ‘Time’ or ‘Place’ - Classify prepositions into two groups 24. Add a prepositional phrase - Add a prepositional phrase to a main clause 25. Punctuation show-offs - Use dashes, brackets and semi-colons 26. Plural planets - Explore 6 rules for making plurals 27. Battle words - Use this for any spelling rule! 28. Determiners ‘Point or show quantity’ - Learn all about determiners 29. Determiners ‘Introduce the noun’ - Classify and use determiners 30. Unstressed vowel race - spell unstressed vowels 31. Follow the rule/break the rule - spell ‘ie’ and ‘ei’ words 32. Paragraph Party 33. Creepy crawly colon sentences - Colons to explain 34. Colons to introduce lists ...and more!!!
Myths and Legends, 10 weeks of fully planned and resourced lessons
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Myths and Legends, 10 weeks of fully planned and resourced lessons

4 Resources
I always seem to get the best writing from my class when there are strange creatures and beasts involved. If you do too, I think you’ll love these plans and resources. Here are three of my favourite writing units. I have used them in Y4, Y5 and Y6. There is 3 weeks of myth writing, inspired by the traditional story ‘The Asrai’ (a mysterious lake creature). There is 3 weeks of legend writing, inspired by a short version of ‘Beowulf’. There is 3 weeks of legend writing, inspired by a short version of ‘Theseus’. There is 1 week of poetry writing, inspired by ‘The Kraken’.
dashes,  parentheses, resourced lesson, extra activities
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dashes, parentheses, resourced lesson, extra activities

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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.
Bog Baby, three week writing unit
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Bog Baby, three week writing unit

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Talk! Drama! Reading skills! Sentence skills! Making and drawing! Spelling skills! Writing a narrative! This is a creatively planned and fully resourced three week writing unit. It is aimed at year 1, or the beginning of year 2. The planning and activities have been carefully differentiated and there are plenty of opportunities for greater depth writing. If you buy this, please use the zip folder. It is organised into folders, lesson by lesson. The following objectives are covered across the three week unit (many are covered more than once): Drama • I can explore a story through improvisation and role play. I can act out a story I know using voices for characters. Spelling • Suffixes that can be added to verbs) with a focus on -ed endings: I can add the –ed suffix to verbs. Sentence/Punctuation • How words can combine to make sentences: I can show what I already know about sentences. I can talk in sentences. I can spot sentences. • Introduction to capital letters, full stops demarcate sentences: I can add full stops to the end of a sentence. • Joining words and joining clauses using and: I can join my ideas together using ‘and’. • Capital letters for names: I can use capital letters for names. Composition • Sequencing sentences to form short narratives: I can put sentences in a sensible order. I can use the skills I have learned to write a story. • Similes: I can write a simile. **Reading: ** • Vocabulary: I can fix meaning breakdowns. • Inference: I can tell you about why a character does or says things. **Terminology: ** • letter, capital letter, word, sentence, punctuation, full stop
I can structure a persuasive paragraph
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I can structure a persuasive paragraph

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*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.
Explanation writing, causal connectives
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Explanation writing, causal connectives

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Fun dice activity exploring causal connectives, also warm-ups and model texts 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 9 model explanations to give some ideas of things to write about.
Greater depth writing workshop - suspense and science fiction
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Greater depth writing workshop - suspense and science fiction

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This is a one day greater depth writing workshop aimed at upper KS2. There are 13 resources attached and a detailed plan of the day. Children have a complete piece of writing by the end of the workshop. Here is a brief summary of the day: Part 1 Get to know the model Reading as reader: How did the story make you feel? Reading as writer: How did the author do that? Drama (pairs) – bring the text off the page Part 2 Know your animal! Part 3 Know your mysterious object! Part 4 Quick plan Part 5 Parentheses activity Part 6 Extended writing time Success criteria for extended writing I can organise my story creatively and keep the reader in suspense (withholding vital information and using flashbacks) I can create suspense using modal verbs and rhetorical questions I can interrupt my sentences using ‘dramatic dashes’ (parentheses) I can use technical language appropriately in my creative writing (precise language around my animal’s physical features, habitat, behaviour and offspring) I can use figurative language
Talk for Writing planning frame
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Talk for Writing planning frame

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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.
The Kraken, poetry unit
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The Kraken, poetry unit

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Drama! Talk! Poetry map! Scavenger hunt! Reading skills! Team work! Creative writing! 13 resources included! This is a seven 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.
Amulet by Ted Hughes, poetry with patterns
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Amulet by Ted Hughes, poetry with patterns

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KS2 poetry with patterns - 4 lessons - fully resourced 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. 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!
Whole school fluency map, fluency grids for year groups, fluency grids for parents, other resources
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Whole school fluency map, fluency grids for year groups, fluency grids for parents, other resources

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These resources are designed to promote the teaching and learning of basic number facts across primary school. If children are fluent they do not need to keep going back to inefficient counting methods! Many of the fluency skills promoted here may be the same in Key Stage 1 as they are in Key Stage 2. This is because for many children it is just as important to learn root addition and subtraction facts in Year 6 as it is in Year 1. These number facts will support children when facing the very large numbers they have to deal with at primary school, so it is well worth promoting fluency across your school…and I’m not just talking multiplication tables! Everything is fully editable, so adapt it to make it work for your school. Resources included: A whole school fluency map, showing the number facts that must be learned from Y1 to Y6 ( a lot of skills are repeated across every year group. This is intentional! Fluency guides for each year group, linked to the whole school map Fluency guides for parents (please make sure you send out with the ‘addition and subtraction roots on one page’ document copied onto the back of the sheet) Addition root facts Subtraction root facts Optional reward chart for parents to use at home, linked to parent guides Multiplication facts pre and post assessment sheet Division facts pre and post assessment sheet In the zip folder: Multiplication and division - bronze, silver and gold timed challenges, including medal chart and medals. We give out a times tables wristband anytime a child gets a gold medal - this has proved a big hit. Bronze - times table in order, 30 seconds Silver - times table out of sequence, 40 seconds Gold - times table with division facts, 80 seconds Good luck! I hope your fluency work has a positive impact on mathematics teaching and learning at your school. And remember explicit teaching of fluency skills is just as important as practising and rapid recall.
Beowulf fiction unit, Beowulf journalistic style unit and Beowulf sentence construction
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Beowulf fiction unit, Beowulf journalistic style unit and Beowulf sentence construction

3 Resources
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.
Persuasive writing and balanced discussion
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Persuasive writing and balanced discussion

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Orally rehearse the language of persuasive writing and balanced discussion before writing using these dice games, model texts, planning frames and toolkits. 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
Castle of Nouns, dice game, sort proper, common, abstract and collective nouns
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Castle of Nouns, dice game, sort proper, common, abstract and collective nouns

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Key Stage 2 nouns A fun game for 2 players exploring proper, common, concrete, abstract and collective nouns. I designed it to support children preparing for the Y6 grammar test. It could be useful for anyone exploring different types of nouns. Enlarge the game board and playing cards up to A3 for less fiddly fun. Enjoy! If you would like more like this please download my other games. They come with presentations and lesson plans. If you use this, please leave a review - it's good teacher karma!