speech marks

Quick tips for grammar: inverted commas

The 2014 National Curriculum requires children to start using inverted commas to indicate direct speech from Year 3 onward. This work should then continue throughout Year 4 so that children are able to accurately use the full range of punctuation when writing dialogue. Here are a few quick tips for teaching the use of inverted commas.

Create a speech progression

Writing dialogue correctly with all the punctuation in the right place and a new line for each speaker is challenging, and that’s without the demands of asking children to have interesting, engaging dialogue with a variety of synonyms for ‘said’. The 2014 National Curriculum recognises the challenge of speech, which is why both Y3 and Y4 have objectives relating to speech (see National Curriculum Appendix 2). As a teacher, year group, school have a clear idea about how children will progress through the writing of speech. I like to think:

  • Identify speech in texts
  • Write in speech bubbles
  • Use inverted commas
  • Use inverted commas and the correct punctuation with the reporting clause before the speech
  • Use inverted commas and the correct punctuation with the reporting clause after the speech
  • Use inverted commas and the correct punctuation with the speech broken by the reporting clause
  • Write dialogue punctuated correctly with a new line for each new speaker

 

I’ve made a handy classroom prompt for punctuating the three patterns of direct speech which you can find on the Resources Page. This is free to download and is handy if you need to remind yourself where the commas and capitals go in each pattern of direct speech.

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Quick tips for grammar: using question marks

The 2014 National Curriculum requires children in Y1 to be able to demarcate sentences with full stops, question marks and exclamation marks. By the end of Y2 children need to be able to use these punctuation marks whilst also recognising the sentence types with which they work: statement, question, exclamation and command. In this article I look at ways to introduce question marks in Y1 and Y2 and also how to reinforce their use throughout KS2.

question_mark1

Question words

Create a classroom ‘question display’ with the words why, what, who, where, when etc. on display. Add to this over time with further question words such as ‘how’ and ‘which’, and question phrases (or question stems) such as what is the most…how can I tell…who is the… 

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Quick tips for grammar: capital letters and full stops

full stopUsing full stops and capital letters to demarcate sentences is a requirement of the 2014 National Curriculum from Y1 onward. The following activities have been devised by teachers for working with the youngest children in school but they may still be useful to teachers working with older children who continue to struggle with demarcating sentences accurately.

Human sentences

Use strips of paper to create human sentences with children. Say a sentence, write the sentence, cut-up the sentence and then give separate words to different children so that they can then work collaboratively to recreate the sentence. Use the capital letter and full stop as clues to work out where different words go in the sentence. Over time this game can be repeated with the omission of the capital letter and full stop for children so that children can activate their own understanding to punctuate the sentence accurately.

Tennis ball full stop

Use a tennis ball or other small ball to mark the end of the sentence when building human sentences as a class.

Get physical

Create actions and sound effects for full stops. Use these actions and sound effects when reading text as a class. Encourage children to use them to decide which punctuation marks to use when reading unpunctuated sentences.

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Primary English Christmas Quotes

Literary Christmas Quotes

In this blog post I share some much-loved quotations from songs, poems and stories on the theme of Christmas.

From the lips of one of my favourite literary heroines, Jo March, “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents.”

Primary English

Little Women. Artwork Primary English Education.

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Beautiful Book Quotes

Drawing children’s attention to beautiful books is all part of promoting a love of reading and is essential if you’re aiming to create a reading school. In this blog post we take some of those beautiful books and consider how to use some of the quotations within them to inspire children to read.

Use quotations as advertising soundbites

Consider collecting quotations that you love and display them in the classroom or library. Display the books from which the quotations come side-by-side. This way the quotations work as short adverts for the books.

Set a challenge and develop home-school links

Create a collection of great quotations by working as a staff team. You could also consider asking the children and their parents to offer their favourite book quotations. Set it as a challenge with book related prizes for the most quotations, or a particularly funny or poignant quotation.

Get visual with a rolling Powerpoint of beautiful book quotes

Create a rolling Powerpoint presentation of book quotes (or ask some children to make one). This can then be displayed in the library, as children enter the hall for assembly, or in classrooms as children arrive in the morning. You could share this one that I made if you’re able to access YouTube in your school.

Build vocabulary by collecting great words from great literature

Encourage children to collect interesting words that they find in book quotes. Provide them with notebooks to record the words they find and then ensure that they have time to use dictionaries to research the words so that they can go on to use them in their own writing.

Get grammatical by spotting grammar in practice

Look for examples of grammatical forms in different quotations. The Charlotte’s Web quotation in my video uses the perfect form. Other examples in my video make good use of question marks, inverted commas and apostrophes for contraction and possession.

Don’t forget poetry

There are many, many well-known and well-loved poetic quotes. Why not create a collection of poetic quotes to promote a love of poetry in your school?

These are just a few thoughts about how to use book quotes in your school. Let me know how you use book quotes in your school

Rachel Clarke – Director: Primary English

All content on the Primary English website is protected by copyright and owned by Rachel Clarke.

 

 

 

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RIP Assessment Focuses. Hello content domains

In this short blog post, I introduce the updated Primary English suite of materials for reading.

content domainsFrom September 2015 onwards, the new national curriculum has been taught in all year groups across the primary range but it’s not just the old curriculum content that has gone. The Assessment Focuses have also been retired. Of course, this makes total sense; if you’re going to change the curriculum then the criteria for assessing it must also change. So, in this blog post we say RIP Assessment Focuses, and welcome to the world Content Domains.

KS1 Reading Content domain reference KS2 Reading Content domain reference
1a draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts 2a give / explain the meaning of words in context
1b identify / explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction texts, such as characters, events, titles and information 2b retrieve and record information / identify key details from fiction and non-fiction
1c identify and explain the sequence of events in texts 2c summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph
1d make inferences from the text 2d make inferences from the text / explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text
1e predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far 2e predict what might happen from details stated and implied
  2f identify / explain how information / narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole
  2g identify / explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases
  2h make comparisons within the text

 

For more information about the reading content domains  click KS1 reading here  and KS2 reading here.

The content domains work in much the same way as the old assessment focuses. They’re not the curriculum but the broad headings under which skills have been grouped for assessment. They were initially formulated for test developers so they could ensure their materials covered the range of the curriculum programmes of study. Just like the assessment focuses they are also useful to us as educators for assessing where gaps exist, for analysing formative and summative test data, and then for planning next steps in learning. As I said, they’re not the curriculum but knowing the content domains and how to ensure that they are all covered in teaching and learning is important.

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Picture from huffingtonpost.co.uk

A tiny bit of poetry

In a tiny blog post, I muse on the crossover between poetry and music and share a few things I’ve enjoyed listening to recently.

Two things have prompted me to write this blog post. First up, this week I have been mostly enjoying this advertisement on the television:

I love Dr John Cooper Clarke’s poem, the sound of the sea in the line ‘Dishevelled shells and shovelled sands’, the rhymes ‘shrieks, creaks, weeks’ and the repetition of the ‘And that’s where the sea comes in…’ at the end of each stanza echoing the tide repeatedly breaking on the shore. As an inhabitant of landlocked Coventry, this poem makes me yearn for the coast. It isn’t finished yet and you can help Dr John Cooper Clarke finish it by sharing your memories and love of the coast using #lovethecoast. To get an idea of the ideas being shared for this Nation’s Ode to the Coast just click here.

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Pack up your troubles

Pack up your troubles

A blog where I mine my experiences of the end of year ‘pack-up and preparations’ with a few quick tips to ensure you get the most out of your summer holiday. Oh, and a tenuous link to one of the most notorious football kits ever.

The end of the academic year is almost upon us and with it comes the annual classroom tidy-up and pack away. As the old saying goes, “It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it…”

Be ruthless – if you’ve not used it in three years, the chances are that you’re not going to. Tough I know. A couple of summers ago I finally sent my old Junior Education magazines to the paper bank. They were great resources: at the time (circa 1995 – 2000). However, there have been goodness knows how many reinterpretations of the National Curriculum since then and even the gorgeous topic posters look dated by today’s standards.

But not too ruthless – if you still keep a paper diary (and I do), don’t throw it out just yet. I‘ve lost count of how many times I’ve needed to go back through my diary to check the dates of: a course I attended; meetings I’ve had with colleagues or parents; or to help determine which week should be set-by for the disco/school fayre/trip because it had worked so well last time.

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Dads in Books

Dads in books

With Father’s Day fast approaching here’s a quick round-up of Dads in Books.

Dads

My first choice is a book that works well for a whole-school assembly on Dads – My Dad by Anthony Browne. This book is sufficiently accessible to avoid fidgety bottoms from YR and Y1 children and suitably humorous to uncurl the most pre-adolescent of lips in Y6. Try asking the children to draw a picture and write a few sentences about their dad, which you could then scan and make into a rolling PowerPoint for use during the assembly.

Dads in Books

My Dad by Anthony Browne.

This blog from Dad Info lists several children’s books where dads play a prominent role. It’s organised by year group which makes it useful for thinking about books that will interest children in each year group. There are also some good suggestions in this list, including My Dad by Anthony Browne.

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Source: Goodreads.com: I'm bored by Michael Ian Black

Bore on!

An article proposing that boredom is a good thing: a source of creativity. Told from the perspective of someone who has, at times, been phenomenally bored.

Sometime in the late 1970s and early 1980s…

“Mum, I’m bored.”

“Why don’t you read a book, or go out to play?”

I can assure you that there were longer and more complex exchanges between my mum and myself but this particular snippet typifies how mum dealt with my need for mental stimulation. Mum, if you’re reading this, thank you it was the perfect answer.

Source: Goodreads.com: I'm bored by Michael Ian Black

Source: Goodreads.com: I’m bored by Michael Ian Black

In response to my mum’s directive to ‘read a book’ I generally sought solace in The Famous Five, E. Nesbit and C.S. Lewis. In a serendipitous twist (which I’m not convinced my mum foresaw), I then further occupied my time by desperately willing the sitting-room carpet to transport me on journeys around the world; urging my wardrobe to open a portal to Narnia, and spent long summer holidays of riding bikes, building dens and cooking sausages on *small* bonfires in the field at the bottom of my mum and dad’s road. My sister was always in tow and occasionally my little brother (in his role as The Lamb from The Phoenix and the Carpet, Five Children and it, and The Amulet – see I remember all three stories). Whilst my time was thus filled, my dad was at work and my mum was busy performing her ‘Blytonesque’ role of baking cakes and bread, and doing the family’s laundry.

That Mum and Dad were absent from my adventures is important. When Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog set out on their adventures they did so without parental interference. There were also no parents fussing about clean nails and grass-stained clothes in E. Nesbit’s or C.S. Lewis’ stories. Therefore, I didn’t need my Mum and Dad joining-in with a trip on the sitting room carpet or coming down to the field to build a bonfire (I suspect they’re relieved not to have been involved in that one)!

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Video from Primary English

Clips from two guided reading sessions in John Shelton Primary School in Coventry. Rachel is using two of the titles from The Mini Tales Pack with a year 5 and year 6 group of children whilst addressing some key reading objectives.

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