Writing Rivers

I originally saw Jon Biddle's excellent Reading Rivers report on the Open University's Reading for Pleasure website. It stems from an idea originally explored by Pamela Burnard (2002) whereby the 'river' was used as a reflective tool to represent key musical experiences. It was then further explored by Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges (2010) with secondary readers and... Continue Reading →

Happy New (school) Year!

The start of a new year always brings a raft of changes and challenges. As teachers, we are constantly reflecting on our own practice but, at times, it’s important to remember not to be too self-critical. Obviously, reflecting on what you would improve is a worthwhile pursuit, but it’s also important to focus on what... Continue Reading →

Encourage creativity, set writing free

‘A love of writing can unlock children’s imaginations, aspirations and academic potential. Yet half of school children tell us they don’t enjoy writing because they struggle with spelling, punctuation, and knowing what to write.’  Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust Half of children in the UK don’t enjoy writing. Half. I’ve often asked... Continue Reading →

The Day War Came

The Day War Came by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb Published by Walker Book, £10 (£1  from each copy sold donated to Help Refugees)Recommended Key Stages: 1 or 2 Year Group: 3+ In 2016, our own government refused to allow 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees to enter the UK. Around the same time, Nicola Davies... Continue Reading →

20 Tools for Teaching Vocab.

If you’ve read my posts about building vocabulary and spelling in a reading rich curriculum, you’ll know that I am keen on instilling a love of reading, an interest in the etymology of words and an inquisitive nature about word origins and meanings. I believe the teaching of spelling and vocabulary should be through fun,... Continue Reading →

Harnessing the Power of Working Walls

When I started out in teaching, it was easy to confuse pinterest-perfect classrooms with those that actually had an impact on learning. As well as being vibrant and welcoming, the classroom environment can also be a valuable learning tool, a way of engaging and supporting children. With careful thought and planning, an effective classroom environment is... Continue Reading →

Getting to grips with Grammar

I became a teacher shortly after my 30th birthday. I had not stepped foot in a primary school for almost 20 years and, to be honest, the grammatical terminology required to teach Year 5 English came as quite a shock. I had done well in my SATs, GCSEs and A-Levels, I'd gone on to achieve... Continue Reading →

Writing for Pleasure Conference

On Friday 13th July, I attended the UKLA's first ever Writing for Pleasure Conference, hosted at Canterbury Christ Church University. As a huge advocate of writing for and with pleasure, I wanted to find out more about what this might look like in the classroom. The conference featured an introductory talk from Tracy Parvin (UK Literacy Association President),... Continue Reading →

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