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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.
Fronted adverbials, dice games, presentation
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Fronted adverbials, dice games, presentation

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

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Lesson plan, presentation and two dice games (the main game is differentiated 3 ways) included. Ready to go! Apostrophes! Why do so many of us get them wrong? 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.
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
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.
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.
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!!!
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!
Mission Control - an exciting way to learn about questions, statements and commands
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Mission Control - an exciting way to learn about questions, statements and commands

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

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Three writing unit for Year 3/Year 4. A fully resourced and differentiated unit including all slides and activities. Drama! Talk! Reading skills! Grammar skills! Organising information in fun and inviting ways! It’s all ready to pick up and use. 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’)
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
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.
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.
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.
Goodnight Mr. Tom, three drama activities leading into diary writing
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Goodnight Mr. Tom, three drama activities leading into diary writing

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If you are reading Goodnight Mr. Tom here are three very short drama activities for children to try in pairs. They could be used just to help children engage with the story. I asked children to use these three short pieces of drama to support them in writing a diary entry and they produced some wonderful writing. If you like this creative and active approach to teaching, you will love my pack of 40 grammar games - available to buy in my TES shop. Hope they are of use to someone out there in teacherland. If you use it, please review it! *2200 downloads…2 reviews
parentheses, dashes, fully planned and resourced lesson, brackets, semi-colons, games, US version
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parentheses, dashes, fully planned and resourced lesson, brackets, semi-colons, games, US version

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There are two useful resources here: 1. A carefully planned lesson about parentheses using 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 parentheses; I can use parentheses 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.
I or Me? A Pronoun Lesson and Game
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I or Me? A Pronoun Lesson and Game

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I or Me? These two pronouns are used regularly in English spoken language and writing, but often incorrectly! In KS2 children are expected to make an 'appropriate choice of pronoun or noun within and across sentences to aid cohesion and avoid repetition'. This resource provides a lesson plan outlining the rules regarding when to use 'I' and 'me' correctly (focussing on using I or me with another name) through a Powerpoint presentation with working examples and a board game. It also teaches the children a 'trick' to use to self-check that they have chosen the correct pronoun. There are 'support' and 'challenge' versions of the game and the grids are complete with no cutting out required, saving you plenty of time! The game is a fun way to consolidate the learning and includes a simple lesson plan, the game, the powerpoint presentation and the game boards, all of which can be edited and adpated to suit your pupils. I or Me? is best suited to Years 4-6 for use with children who speak english as their first language or for older children for whom english is an additional language.
40 grammar dice games (US VERSION!), fun to play, all fully resourced - just add dice!
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40 grammar dice games (US VERSION!), fun to play, all fully resourced - just add dice!

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*This version is for United States buyers. There is a UK version too. This is a large word doc. containing all 40 of my grammar games. This represents a fair few evenings and weekends (I know - get a life!). 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 grammar 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. Here are some of the skills covered: commands, questions and statements/ simple and compound sentences/ adverbs/ proper nouns/ classifying nouns/ contractions/ pronouns/ prepositions/prepositional phrases/ apostrophes/ adjectives/ sentence variety/ parentheses/semi-colons/ discussion/ persuasion/ complex sentences / causal connectives/ fronted adverbials/ speech/ relative clauses/ modal verbs
inside outside writing session, a tent at night, camping, simile and vocabulary work, differentiated
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inside outside writing session, a tent at night, camping, simile and vocabulary work, differentiated

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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!
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!