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Dicing with Grammar

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(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 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’.
Placing decimals on a numberline
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Placing decimals on a numberline

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Children will need access to Base 10 (or Diennes) and 0-9 dice for this activity. My year 5 class were struggling with decimals so I made up this simple activity, and had quite a lot of success with it - children fed back that it helped their understanding. First children use 0-9 dice to generate a decimal and record it on the sheet. Next, they make the number using Base 10 and draw it on the sheet. Finally, they place their decimal on a 0-9 numberline. They should record it as a fraction and a decimal at this point. Children repeated this activity three or four times until they felt confident with their understanding. It is differentiated so that children can work with tenths, hundredths or thousandths.
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.
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?'
Use a colon to explain and add detail, dice game, 'Creepy crawly colon sentences'
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Use a colon to explain and add detail, dice game, 'Creepy crawly colon sentences'

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Assessment focus I can use colons to explain and add detail (description: detail) I can use colon sentences in non-fiction writing Colons can be used for various purposes (before lists, introducing quotes), but this activity focuses on the use of the colon to separate two main clauses. By playing this dice game, children get plenty of opportunities to practise this skill, whilst finding out about some very creepy creatures. There is also a version of the activity for learners that need a lot of support, and an explanation of what to do with your high attaining writers. Enjoy!
addition and subtraction facts, root facts, fluency, two grids
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addition and subtraction facts, root facts, fluency, two grids

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All maths teachers, regardless of the age they teach, know how important it is for children to be fluent in their root addition and subtraction facts. I couldn't find them as a word document anywhere, so I made these two simple grids. They can be used in so many ways, for teaching, practising and assessing how children are doing with their basic number facts.
Theseus and the Minotaur, various Key Stage 2 resources
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Theseus and the Minotaur, various Key Stage 2 resources

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I have recently produced a far more in depth ‘Theseus’ unit with masses of carefully produced, differentiated resources and detailed planning. It is available here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/theseus-and-the-minotaur-3-weeks-of-detailed-planning-fully-resourced-and-differentainted-11914692 Here are lots of older Theseus resources, including a model text, comprehension work, story boards, fronted adverbials activity, planning frames etc.
Use modal verbs in a sentence, fun dice game, Will you or Won't you?
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Use modal verbs in a sentence, fun dice game, Will you or Won't you?

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Your class will enjoy playing: 'Will you or won't you?' This is a brilliant way of motivating children to use modal verbs accurately in sentences. Children have to play against each other. One child is trying to go to a sleepover and the other other is desperately trying to avoid it. Sounds bonkers? Well, maybe a little, but it certainly generates a lot of sentence work and discussion. Children will all know what modal verbs are by the end of the lesson. That's a promise. All instructions and resources included - just add dice and counters.
Quiz, Quiz, Trade Cards (Ancient Greeks)
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Quiz, Quiz, Trade Cards (Ancient Greeks)

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Quiz, Quiz, Trade is a fun and active way for children to learn facts. The cards can be tailored to cover any subject area, topic or learning objective and are particularly useful for introducing a new subject area that your class wouldn't already know lots about. You could include a range of differentiated questions, but I have often found that the children you least expect will learn the more complicated facts after playing this game. The idea behind Quiz, Quiz, Trade is that it is a fun, non-threatening and exciting game that is inclusive for all and will help all children in your class to acquire knowledge quickly. Really handy when you just need them to have a bit of background knowledge or learn something quickly in order to apply or develop the knowledge in their work. Quiz, Quiz, Trade can be used for any age group (my cards are all aimed at years 4-6) that will be able to read the questions and answers. I have used Quiz, Quiz, Trade in observations with much success (see instruction page) and consistently use it to introduce new topics in class-the children love it!
Iron Age Quiz Quiz Trade
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Iron Age Quiz Quiz Trade

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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!
Biography - How to structure a biography paragraph - Anne Frank - Paragraph party
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Biography - How to structure a biography paragraph - Anne Frank - Paragraph party

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Working on biographies? Teach your class a simple structure for organising information within a paragraph. This whole class activity supports both reading and writing skills. Assessment focus I can group information into paragraphs I can organise the sentences in my paragraph into a sensible order I have used this 'paragraph party' approach several times for information texts and persuasive texts, and it really helped children to improve how well their writing was organised. That's why I have developed a similar approach to use when tackling biographies. Children will learn a simple pattern and later on they can apply to their own writing. Using lots of constructive talk, children have to work together to organise different sections of Anne Frank's life. Children need to find the host of the party (the 'topic sentence') and throw out any information that is not relevant (the 'uninvited guest'). Then they explore the subtle way information is ordered. Later on, children explore whole text structure. Each paragraph follows the same pattern, and children can use this pattern to support any biography writing that follows.
Paragraph Party! Organisation within a paragraph, fun whole class activity, space
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Paragraph Party! Organisation within a paragraph, fun whole class activity, space

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This is a fun and engaging whole class activity about organisation within a paragraph. Using a non-fiction context (information about space) 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, it's a lively and memorable way of exploring non-fiction paragraphs.
dashes, six ways to use parentheses
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dashes, six ways to use parentheses

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Dice game! Warm up! Presentation! Missing dashes activity! 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 six 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. *I have also included a ‘add the missing dashes’ activity 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.
Unstressed vowels, dice game
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Unstressed vowels, dice game

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I can identify unstressed vowels I can spell words with unstressed vowels Children (and adults!) often spell words with unstressed vowels incorrectly (how about these: diffrent, intresting, seprate, evryone…). This dice game encourages learners to engage with this tricky group of words. Players identify and sort unstressed vowel words into groups. They record them on a game sheet. No marking - peer assessment built in (answers are on the reverse of cards). There is a competitive element to add some fun, but it could just as easily be played collaboratively. I have included ideas on how to quickly differentiate the game, to include all learners. There is also a quick warm sorting activity. My class enjoyed it. I hope yours do too. All you need is 1-6 dice. The rest is all here.
relative pronouns and clauses, dice game, 'Meet the Relatives'
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relative pronouns and clauses, dice game, 'Meet the Relatives'

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I can use the relative pronouns ‘who’, ‘which’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘whose’ and ‘that’ to write relative clauses. Specific relative pronouns are used when referring to different nouns. The fun dice game ‘Meet the relatives’ encourages children to think about which relative pronoun is most suitable for the noun in the sentence. The aim of the game is to be the first player to write an embedded relative clause using each of the relative pronouns on the game card. There are three versions of the game, to ensure that all learners are included and appropriately challenged. Enjoy meeting the relatives!