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Dicing with Grammar

Average Rating4.65
(based on 175 reviews)

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.
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
SPAG 78 English Grammar Dice Games
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SPAG 78 English Grammar Dice Games

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This is now the original 40 grammar dice games (a 145 page word document containing 40 fun grammar games) and also 38 more grammar games (included in a zip folder). 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. Creepy crawly colon sentences - Colons to explain 33. Colons to introduce lists ...and more!!!
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.
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.
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.
hyphen dice game 'Creepy compound adjective creator'
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hyphen dice game 'Creepy compound adjective creator'

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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!
varjak paw diary unit
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varjak paw diary unit

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This is a 3 week KS2 writing unit based on an extract from ‘Varjak Paw’. Each of the 16 sessions has a clear and detailed lesson plan, presentation slides and differentiated activities (greater depth, on track and support) complete with resources. It’s all here! For a large chunk of this unit, children explore a wonderful extract from chapter 21: Varjak discovers a toy shop and meets a toy cat. Using this passage for inspiration, children create short bursts of writing whilst learning and applying new skills. These short bursts are eventually combined to create a diary entry. When you open the zip, you will find a folder for each session - everything is organised in a user-friendly way. As with all of my resources, all files have been created using PowerPoint and Word, so you can edit and adapt as you wish. I have aimed this unit at Year 4, but it could be used in any KS2 setting - I would happily do this project with Year 6 pupils. This unit has been very carefully sequenced and builds towards quality writing outcomes. It is packed with talk, reading, vocabulary, grammar and composition skills. Unit Overview Session 1 Prewriting activity – I can visualise a story setting Session 2 Cold task – What do you already know about diary writing? Session 3 I can notice and define adventurous words and phrases Session 4 I can reuse adventurous words and phrases Session 5 Reading activity: I can read like a detective Session 6 I can use prepositions to show where something is (in relation to something else) Session 7 I can use preposition phrases to organise a paragraph Session 8 I can describe how a character is feeling using their body language Session 9 I can punctuate direct speech correctly (sentence level) Session 10 I can punctuate direct speech correctly (text level) Session 11 I can use ‘but’ to change direction in an unexpected way Session 12 I can write sentences using adventurous vocabulary and prepositions Session 13 I can pick out the key features of diary writing Session 14 I can use the key features of diary writing Session 15 I can plan a diary entry independently Session 16 Independent diary writing. Children have the opportunity to demonstrate their new skills and knowledge.
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. I have 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 added an ‘eco-explanations’ activity. I have also added 9 model explanations to give some ideas of things to write about.
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
expanded noun phrases, science fiction writing, KS2, short burst, sci-fi
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expanded noun phrases, science fiction writing, KS2, short burst, sci-fi

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I couldn't find much out there on KS2 noun phrases. Lots of stuff for KS1, but I feel it still needs pushing in KS2. On top of that, I couldn't find any decent short texts for sci-fi writing... So here is a very exciting - but also brief - sci-fi text. Children have to expand the noun phrases. There are 6 suggested ways they can expand nouns and a detailed word bank to support them. The text could also be used as a model for writing - it would be easy to play with it create something entirely new. Worked for my class.
Persuasion, argument, discussion, debate MEGA BUNDLE
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Persuasion, argument, discussion, debate MEGA BUNDLE

4 Resources
Everything you need to get your KS2/KS3 class using the language of argument, persuasion, discussion or debate. This set of resources includes games to develop vocabulary and resources that lead to extended writing. You'll love these - I use them often in year 5 and year 6!
expanded noun phrases, dice activity
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expanded noun phrases, dice activity

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There are lots of resources already available for expanded noun phrases, but none that really challenge children to develop their vocabulary and make really adventurous or precise choices. This dice activity encourages children to try out new word choices from extensive word banks, and it is fully differentiated into three versions. In its simplest form, children add adjectives and pairs of adjectives to noun phrases. In its most challenging form, children may have to add two compound adjectives and a preposition phrase - this can result in some wonderfully descriptive sentences. It all depends on the roll of a dice. Of course, teachers that love using my games will have guessed that already! Try it with your class and then ask them to apply the skill in their next composition. Fully editable so that you can easily adapt it to the unit you are working on by changing the single clause sentences that the children will be developing. *The main version here works well with myth, legend and adventure, but I have added a sci-fi version to show how it can be adapted for use with any fiction.
Determiners, two dice games, presentation
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Determiners, two dice games, presentation

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Two dice games for KS2: ‘Point or show quantity’ pupils explore the two basic functions of determiners. ‘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: 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.
Direct speech, reporting clauses, dice game
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Direct speech, reporting clauses, dice game

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How many times have you taught your class about the rules for setting out direct speech? Worksheets are not the answer! How about trying a playful approach? Working in pairs children roll dice, create sentences and score them. They have to look closely at punctuation and think carefully about reporting clauses to be successful at the game. This game can also move more able writers on because players often need to add further chunks (or phrases and clauses) onto the end of the direct speech sentence. If they apply this skill in their writing, it can add depth. I have also added a more advanced version of the game, teaching children to interrupt direct speech by dropping the reporting clause into the middle of the sentence. As with all of my resources, everything is included (teacher/child friendly explanation of key concepts, score cards, rules, dice guides) apart from the dice and the paper!
Drone Debate! Persuasive Writing
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Drone Debate! Persuasive Writing

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Updated for 2019! Young people are interested in drones, so if you are teaching argument, persuasion or discussion, make the most of their enthusiasm for these popular flying gadgets. Also, drones are always in the news and it is motivating to pick a current issue. Here are two fantastic drone themed lessons (around 150 minutes required) broken into nine activities, suitable for Key Stage 2 writers and no doubt useful for KS3 as well. All children will have opportunities to ‘talk the language of debate’ and produce a piece of writing either ‘for’ or ‘against’ drones. It’s a winner! There is also drone background information; links to videos; key argument cards; banks of useful sentence openers; modal verbs; suggestions for support/extension activities; a planning sheet; an example text and a detailed self/peer assessment sheet (or toolkit). Everything you need. The nine fully resourced activities are: 1. Get to know drones! 2. Meaning breakdown – understand tricky new words 3. Pick a side 4. ‘For’ or ‘against’? 5. Organise your debate 6. Useful sentence openers for debate and persuasion 7. Switch sides! 8. Write a persuasive letter/blog for the school website 9. Self assessment/peer assessment
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.
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.
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’.
How many proper nouns? - an exciting way to learn about proper nouns
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How many proper nouns? - an exciting way to learn about proper nouns

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Children are expected to capitalise proper nouns from Year 1 onwards, but many children in Key Stage 2 find this tricky to remember. Often, children do not understand the difference between common and proper nouns. This lesson, complete with presentation and an exciting game, will give children experience of using a wide variety of proper nouns, from book titles to shop names. Classes about to undertake the Y6 Grammar Test would find this a useful refresher on common and proper nouns. Make missing capital letters a thing of the past by playing: 'How many capital letters?'