Posted in Christmas Ideas and Resources, Resources from The Goodeyedeers Shop

Christmas At Goodeyedeers

Christmas is almost upon us and teachers far and wide will be looking for resources they can use with their children.

Here at Goodeyedeers, we have been busy and here is just a sample of what we have been up to.

Ready-Made Christmas Carol Service

Save yourself some time with this off-the-shelf Christmas Carol Service. A group of animated animals tell the Christmas story in between the traditional carols (all included in the PowerPoint).

A Christmas Carol Service.001.jpeg

Here is Claude the Camel telling you his part of the story.

The other animals include Maurice the Mouse, Oswald the Ox, Shaun the sheep and Desmond the donkey.

The PowerPoint is fully editable.

David and Mike from Goodeyedeers.

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Posted in Poetry Ideas, Poetry Ideas For Children, Poetry Writing Ideas

Poetry Ideas for Younger Children

In this video for teachers David Horner, our very own children’s poet in residence here at Goodeyedeers, talks you through a variety of poetry writing ideas all using the word ‘when’.

Poetry Ideas for Younger Children

You will find out about how to get your children to write:

  • 7 line week poems
  • 4 line seasons poems
  • 12 line calendar poems
  • festival poems
  • poems for special occasions
  • mood poems
  • weather poem

David finishes by going through, in detail, how to write a weather poem.


David and Mike from Goodeyedeers.

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Posted in Poetry Ideas, Resources from The Goodeyedeers Shop

Halloween Writing Ideas

We have some spooktacular writing resources available in the Goodeyedeers Shop. Each one packed with ideas to help you have a great lesson with your children.

Writing Spine-Chilling Haiku Poems

This PowerPoint lesson starts by explaining what a Haiku poem is and then has the children recognising and counting syllables.

They then have a chance to complete some half-finished Haiku. This can be done as a whole class, in pairs or groups or individually.

Finally, the children are given some picture prompts to help get them started on writing their own spine-chilling Halloween Haiku.

Haiku Poems for Halloween


Writing Spooky Cinquain Poems

In this PowerPoint lesson, the children are introduced to cinquain poetry and how it is made up of five unrhymed lines and a syllable count 2-4-6-8-2.

The lesson takes them through some half-finished examples which the children work together to finish before going off and writing some of their own.

Halloween Poems

Writing Blood-Curdling Kennings Poetry

In this PowerPoint lesson, the children find out what a Kenning is and its origins in Anglo-Saxon times.

They are then shown how to write some modern Halloween Kennings which they then put into couplets to create their blood-curdling Halloween poems.

Writing Blood-Curdling Kennings Poems for Halloween


Happy Halloween from Mike and David at Goodeyedeers.

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Posted in Interesting Facts

What Do You Know About Halloween?

What Is Halloween?

Halloween is also known as All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed every year on October 31 – the eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day.

It is thought that it originates from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, meaning ‘Summer’s End’ which celebrated the end of harvest season.


Gaels (Gaelic speaking people from Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man) believed it was a time when the walls between our world and the next became thin, allowing spirits to pass through and come back to life on the day. Places were set at the dinner table to appease and welcome the spirits. Gaels would also offer food and drink, and light bonfires to ward off the evil spirits.

Why Do We Carve Pumpkins?

The carving of pumpkins originates from the Samhain festival, when Gaels would carve turnips to ward off spirits and stop fairies from settling in houses.

According to an old tale a drunken farmer named Stingy Jack was not allowed to enter both heaven and hell after his death.

His soul wandered in the darkness. He carved out a lantern out of a turnip and coal, to light his way and guide his soul.

Halloween Pumpkins

The Celtics believed in this story of Jack Stingy, so they began to place Jack o’ Lanterns outside their houses. The purpose was to guide lost souls home while they wandered during the Samhain festival eve.

Initially the Jack o’ Lanterns were carved out from potatoes but after the potatoes famine people began to use pumpkin instead.

Where Does ‘Trick or Treat’ Come From?

The phrase trick-or-treat was first used in America in 1927, with the traditions brought over to America by immigrants. But the origins go back as far as the Middle Ages in Britain and Ireland.

Since the Middle Ages, a tradition of ‘mumming’ (Mummers were originally bands of masked persons who during winter festivals  paraded the streets and entered houses to dance or play dice in silence on a certain holiday) has existed in parts of Britain and Ireland. It involved going door-to-door in costume, performing short scenes or parts of plays in exchange for food or drink.

Trick or Treat

The custom of trick-or-treating on Halloween may come from the belief that supernatural beings, or the souls of the dead, roamed the earth at this time and needed to be appeased.

Despite the concept of trick-or-treating originating in Britain and Ireland in the form of souling and guising, the use of the term “trick or treat” at the doors of homeowners was not common until the 1980s

Haloween Traditions Across The World.

In Czechoslovakia, chairs for each deceased family member are placed by the fire on Halloween night alongside chairs for each living one.

In Austria some people leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before going to bed. It is believed this will welcome dead souls back to Earth.

Halloween Traditions

In Germany, people hide their knives to make sure none of the returning spirits are harmed – or seek to harm them!

The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as “Yue Lan” (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts. Fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge.

Halloween is considered to have originated in Ireland. Children play a trick known as “knock-a-dolly” which involves children knocking on their neighbors’ doors and running away before they answer them. The Irish traditionally eat a fruitcake called barnbrack on this day. Barnbrack has a treat baked inside the cake and, depending on which treat is inside, will foretell the future of whoever receives it.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the popular celebration in Mexico. The belief is that on October 31, spirits visit their families and then depart again on November 2. The families set up decorations and food for the arrival of the spirits.

David and Mike – Goodeyedeers.

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Posted in Interesting Facts, Punctuation Activities

26 Letters – 26 Facts

Welcome to Alphabetrivia!

Along with i, this letter is also the shortest word in English. An ‘a’ written like  this – a – is called double storey. Can you guess what a single storey one looks like?

A nuisance letter, added by scholars in the past to make English look more like Latin, and to cause children spelling headaches ever after. So, for example, the Latin debitum became debt. Other examples are subtle and doubtful.

Sometimes hard (like k), sometimes soft (like s). Sometimes both in a single word – circus, cycle for example.

For the Romans, D meant 500.

The most frequently used letter in English.

In Welsh spellings, f is sounded as v and the f sound is spelled ff.


A silent letter in sign but sounded in signal.

A letter seen more in company – ch, ph, sh, th – than on its own. And feel free to pronounce it aitch or haitch, by the way.

Ever wondered what the dot on top of a lower case ‘i’ is called?  A tittle. The word means any small mark or item, as in this from Mark’s Gospel: …till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Ch. 5, v 18)

This is the last letter to be added to our alphabet – around 1500.

A silent letter – but only before n, as in knee, knowledge, knuckle. The shape of the letter is thought to have derived from a hieroglyph (a picture of a thing to represent a word) for a hand.

Pronounced just the same whether alone, as in lamp, or in a pair, as in full. And then completely silent, as in walk.

A whopping 1000 to the Romans and the Head of MI6 in James Bond world.

The letter shape is thought to derive from a hieroglyph for a snake.

Only one country starts with O: Oman. However, O is the longest surviving letter shape in  any alphabet, perhaps over 3000 years old.

Back when printers had to make a text by setting type, letter by letter, they had to do so   by putting each letter in backwards. Put backwards, lower case p looks just like q and this caused those typesetters real problems.

The only letter not to appear in any US State name.

Sometimes called the ‘dog’s letter’ because it can sound like growling. As here in Act 2, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet:

Nurse: Doth not rosemary and Romeo begin both with a letter?
Romeo: Ay, nurse; what of that? Both with an R.
Nurse: Ah, mocker! That’s the dog’s name.

The most frequently used letter to start words in English.

The most frequently used consonant in English.

ewe, you, yew – three words that sound like u but start otherwise.

Confusingly, in old texts, v could mean u and u could mean v. So, at the start of a word upon would be spelled vpon; and in the middle of a word have would become haue.

The only letter to have a 3-syllable name. Pronounced double U, it is written with double V.

A little used letter, but one with many meanings – a chromosome and a kiss, here it is in the X Factor and now standing for Christ in Xmas.

Ye was never meant to be said Yee. The symbol was called a thorn and printers used it consistently in the past for the sound th.

We say zed and they say zee. But the Americans have logic on their side, as several letters, B, C, D, etc. rhyme double ee, while no other letter rhymes ed.

David and Mike from Goodeyedeers.

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Posted in Interesting Facts, Talking Points For Parents and Teachers, Writing Ideas

William Shakespeare – A Man of Mystery

What Do We Actually Know About William Shakespeare?

Despite being one of the best known names around the world, we know very little about the man himself.

Here is just some of what we don’t know:


When Was He Born?

We don’t know.

We know only the date when he was baptised – April 26 1564. As April 23 is St George’s day, it’s become convenient to celebrate his birthday on this date as befits the great Englishman.

To learn more and see the baptismal record, go to

Why Was He Called William?

We don’t know why he was called William.

He had three brothers and four sisters, all of whom were given family names. Yet there is no record of another William in his family.

For more on his family and family tree, go to and follow the link.


What Did He Look Like?

Despite the supposed portraits of Shakespeare, the truth is we don’t know for certain what he looked like.

Certainly Shakespeare himself never commissioned a portrait.

There is no written account of his appearance and there are just three portraits which might be genuine. However, two of these – an engraving on an edition of his plays and a sculpted image on his memorial stone in Stratford – were done after he died.

To see the third ‘portrait’ and nearly 100 other contenders, go to the National Portrait Gallery’s website at and type William Shakespeare into the search bar.


What Was His Handwriting Like?

We don’t have even a single line from any of Shakespeare’s plays in his own handwriting.

The scripts we have amount to around 1,000,000 words in total, but no original manuscript has survived.

However, there is just one script which may contain Shakespeare’s handwriting, when it is thought he was asked to revise an existing play.

Shakespeare’s possible contribution amounts to just 3 pages of manuscript. To get a glimpse and read more, go to


What Does His Signature Look Like?

We have just 14 words in Shakespeare’s own handwriting. 12 of these are 6 signatures and as 3 of these were written on his will, it’s possible others may have written his name for him, if he was too weak to sign for himself.

Interestingly, in each signature he spells his name differently!

To see these go to and put Spelling of Shakespeare’s name into the search bar.


Where Did He Live?

For many years of Shakespeare’s life, we have no clear idea where he was.

He may have travelled abroad or he may just have spent his time in Stratford-upon-Avon and London.
For more of what little we know, and lots we don’t know about the man and his whereabouts, go to and put Shakespeare’s Biography into the search bar.


Was He An Actor?

As well as a writer, Shakespeare was also an actor – possibly in his own plays as well as plays by other writers.

Sadly, we have no record of any part he performed. We don’t know exactly how many plays he wrote; we think he wrote between 35 and 40 altogether, but we don’t know, and we don’t know the order in which he wrote them.

For more, visit


When Did He Die?

We know Shakespeare died in 1616, but not the exact date.

We do know when he was buried – 25th April – and so, as his birthday has been accepted as April 23rd, it’s also been agreed to have the birth and death dates as the same.

And one final mystery: he is buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon–Avon along with four other family members. Strangely, William’s is the only headstone with no name.

To see what is written on it, go to the church’s ‘Visit Us’ section of

If you would like to create some genuine William Shakespeare insults and compliments have a look at our post ‘Can You Be As Rude As William Shakespeare?’

David and Mike – Goodeyedeers

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Posted in Writing Ideas

Can You Be As Rude As William Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare

As well as being known for enriching English Literature with his fantastic plays and sonnets, William Shakespeare also contributed something else to the world – he coined and used some absolutely excellent insults throughout his work.

Here are just a few:
“Thou cream faced loon.” Macbeth
“You starveling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue …” Henry IV Part 1
“Thou knotty-pated fool.” Henry IV Part 1
“A most pathetical nit.” Love’s Labour’s Lost
“Poisonous bunch backed toad.” Richard III
“A thin faced knave and gull.” Twelfth Night

A ‘neat’, by the way, is a bovine animal!

Make Your Own Shakespearean Insults!

Here we have a William Shakespeare Insult Generator.

Get the children to use it by taking a word from each panel to create an insult. So, you might get:

scurvy clay-brained rampaging fool
scurvy greasy pigeon-egg

William Shakespeare Insult Generator

Make Your Own Shakespearean Compliments

Here we have a William Shakespeare Compliment Generator.

Get the children to use it by taking a word from each panel to create a compliment. So, you might get:

sweet honey-tongued gentlewoman
rare fair-faced divineness

William Shakespeare Compliment Generator


10  Ways To Use Your Insults and Compliments

Hold a straight-face-keeping competition. Competitors face each other and trade insults from the list as dramatically as they can. Even better if they have learned their insults in advance. First to giggle is eliminated.

Make posters showing a selection of compliments and insults in speech bubbles around the bard’s head.

The lists can be the basis for some improvised drama – using the old words in a contemporary setting. For example, a child uses the compliments to flatter a parent while trying to get a pocket money raise; two motorists trade insults over who saw a parking space first.

How To Write Shakespearean Insults

From the improvised scenes, youngsters write their own play scripts to become 21st Century Shakespeares.

Write short story scenes, in which two characters trade insults and/or compliments. Include ‘Thou’ and ‘Thou art’, 
whenever possible! An excellent way to revise the correct use of speech punctuation.

Use thesauruses to invent more Elizabethan-esque compliments and insults. Keep the basic model of adjective – hyphenated adjective – noun, as in: 
Poisonous, bunch-backed toad (Richard III) Cheating, lack-linen mate (Henry 1V, Pt 2)

There’s an African poem from the Igbo people of Nigeria, called simply ‘You!’ it starts: You! 
Your head is like a hollow drum. 
And after more insults, it ends: 
Your backside is like a mountain top. 
Ask for Poems to a Worst Enemy, using insults from the list.

Ask also for Poems to a Best Friend, using compliments from the list. Resulting poems can be also included in greetings cards.

The class members choose their favourite compliments from the lists. Use these as the basis for your class award scheme, with particular compliments being granted for certain achievements.

If particular insults were monsters, what might they look like? Make a Rogues Gallery of the titled cartoon drawings.

Have fun thou rascally mingle-brained lumpish varlets!

David and Mike from Goodeyedeers.

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