A game of Articulate!

I have always found that making learning activities into games is effective and rewarding for young learners.  As a parent and tutor of children who can be reluctant or even afraid to write I have found it useful to develop writing games. One of my favourite games is one I call Articulate.

I start the game with a word sort which is based on the focus for the day’s game e.g. connectives.  The pupil must sort all the connectives from the words provided.

I have always found that making learning activities into games is effective and rewarding for young learners.  As a parent and tutor of children who can be reluctant or even afraid to write I have found it useful to develop writing games. One of my favourite games is one I call Articulate.

word sort

Word Sorting

I start the game with a word sort which is based on the focus for the day’s game e.g. connectives.  The pupil must sort all the connectives from the words provided.

Picture Cards

Picture Cards

Once completed some picture cards are laid out and  I read through the instructions.

The focus for the game can be altered dependent on the age and needs of the child/ren e.g. adverbs, punctuation, adjectives etc. The rules can also be changed to match the child’s ability and skills.

The game is designed to be played in pairs though it could be also used in small groups. A child selects a picture card (but without revealing it) and then writes one or two sentences to describe it.

The sentences must include any key features specified in the instructions and must not included any prohibited words such as the ones shown below.

rules

These rules encourage the child to produce high quality and imaginative writing.  Once completed the partner must read what has been written and try to correctly identify which picture it relates to.  It can often help to have some pictures which are similar such as a hamster and a mouse to encourage the use of precise vocabulary and detailed description.  Once the correct picture has been found the partners swap roles.  During the game the child can be encouraged to check they are sticking to the rules and also to be as inventive as possible with their descriptions.

If you have any writing games you have found to be successful please let me know!

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Using Science to inspire writing

As a tutor and parent I am constantly looking for ways to excite children about writing.  Recently I came across the idea of using Science as a stimulus for writing.

Through a simple search it is easy to find lists of simple but exciting science experiments which can be tried out either at home or in the classroom.  Two websites which I have used are http://www.shell.co.uk/gbr/environment-society/shell-in-the-society/social-investment/science-education/shell-education-service/home.html and http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/online/science-bites.html.  There any many experiments to choose from which makes it easy to find those which fit with a particular topic or for which you already have the resources available.

Recently I tried out the ‘Dancing Raisins’ experiment (which can be found on the Glasgow Science centre site).  I used this as a follow-up activity to some work we had already done on nouns as my pupil had been struggling to identify them.  Firstly I asked my pupil to identify all the nouns in the instructions for the experiment and then during the experiment he had to list all the nouns he could observe such as bubbles, fizz, lemonade, container, raisins etc.  This and other experiments would also be ideal for using as stimulus for verb, adverb or adjective activities.

DSC_0906

I found that because the pupil found the experiment so engaging, they became enthralled in the activity and despite being often reluctant to write he was keen to list everything he could observe.  The activities also encourage the use of more precise and powerful vocabulary and scientific terminology.

The experiments could also be used for more extended pieces of writing such as creating own instructions, writing up the results of the experiment or writing questions for other pupils to answer.  They are certainly well worth trying out as a way of encouraging writing whilst also extending scientific skills and knowledge.