Friday, 20 May 2016


At some recent training with Dylan Wiliam, he asked us a question just before a coffee break and before lunch. He told us we'd get the answer after the break - you know, like Eastenders. So, I've been doing it. Pose a question just before break or lunch that'll be answered at the start of the next lesson. Some of the children actually go away and think about it. Of course, it's very easily done with a book that's being read to the class too...

Monday, 16 May 2016

Lynne Truss' Books for Punctuation

I can remember when 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation' was first published. I was at university at the time and a house mate purchased it as a gift for his mother. I had a flick through and found some of the contents of interest. A few years later, and now teaching, I came across the 'child version' of the book. So, I made a purchase and often us the three child-friendly versions of the original in class. Although aimed at children, these books often act as an aide-mémoire for me too!

We've recently been looking at how commas can change the meaning of a sentence. 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves For Children: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference' is ideal for introducing this. After looking at the examples in the book and some of what's in the other two books pictured above, we had a go at writing some of our own:

Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Piano - Some Resources

Another post prompted by a Tweet. We recently saw the below Tweet and our answer was of course, "Yes", but knew our full response wouldn't possibly fit in a Tweet, so here's the blog post answer...
Between us, we've taught the English module based upon 'The Piano' since it was added to the English curriculum. Every year we've been amazed by the writing it produces

We've not written about our work with 'The Piano' before as we were a little unsure about its copyright status. However, in October 2015 Aidan Gibbons, who made the short, told us "it's a free for all".

So, here's what we've got to share...

- First of all, just listen to the sound track. What do the children think the film might be like? 

- Watch the film through and collect responses via a Google Form.  

- Carry out a film review: 

- On a tablet, take screen captures and make memes that can be used when writing about the film.

- We edited the original animation. Does the order of the scenes change the narrative?

- We've played the film with a Yakety Sax soundtrack and a Ludovico Einaudi soundtrack instead of the original, as well as playing it with the sound off to show how much the sound track impacts. We can't share those here as we don't have copyright permission for the music.

- Some of the above resources and others can be also found here.

- If you write a voiceover, use some technology to put it onto the original film: