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

Introducing Simple Similes to Younger Children

Are You Looking For Inspiration?

As a busy teacher are you sometimes looking for quick and easy writing ideas that the children will love and will give you some amazing results? Then we have the answer for you.

This is the first of a series of posts from Goodeyedeers that busy teachers are going to love.

Simple Similes 

This idea can create poems as short or as long as you wish.

It is a great way to introduce the idea of similes to younger children.

Creating Simple Simile Poems

How It’s Done?

  • You need to start with a good thesaurus. This is a great opportunity to explain to the children what a thesaurus is and when they should be using one.
  • Browse through the thesuarus and choose a verb, one with a decent range of synonyms. I like to start with sound, move and see.
  • Next, come up with a title for your poem that fits your chosen verb. So, for sound, you might have ‘A Noisy Poem’ for move ‘A Poem On The Go’ and for see ‘A Poem With Eyes’.
  • Create a list of the verbs that are alongside your source verb in the thesaurus and number them – something like this:Simple Similes
  • Each line of your poem begins with the word It.
  • Then ask the children to choose a number to get their verb. Then, to create the simile, add the word like after the chosen verb.

Introducing Simple Similes to Younger Children

  • So, for move you might get:
    It falls like …
    It twists like …
    It dances like …
  • For sound you might get:
    It screams like …
    It pops like …
    It snores like …
  • Your children now need to complete each simile as interestingly and as vividly as they can.
  • If my chosen verb had been shine I might finish up with a short poem that looked like this:

A Very Bright Poem

It glows like my bedside lamp.
It flashes like fireworks over my head.
It twinkles like a star in the sky.
It shines like the top of my Grandad’s head.

 

This idea has been used by David Horner in classrooms across the country. An here is a short video (for those of you who are visual learners) where David explains this idea in person.

 

Have fun!

David and Mike from Goodeyedeers.

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

11 Great Ideas For Exploring Colour Poems


Let’s Start By Looking at The The Poem ‘Round and Round’

Round and Round

  • Read the poem out loud at least twice.
    See which of all the colours in Rosie’s palette  the children can recall. Make it a game to see how many readings they need before they can see them all.
  • Prepare a version of the poem with all the adjectives and adjectival phrases of colour removed or covered up. Invite guesses as to what goes where. Maybe the children can suggest and argue for other, equally valid adjectives.
  • To look at the poem’s structure, cover or remove the last word of each line except sky, wheat and rain. Once the rhyming and non-rhyming words are in place, use this as a way of showing how a simple rhyme scheme works.
  • Ask the children why they think this poem is called ‘Round and Round’.Somebody will hopefully, mention the three dots at the end. Tell the children this is an ellipsis and explain what that means.
  • Prepare a performance of the poem with one child as Rosie and other groups with appropriate paintings or parts of the poem.

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  • Ask your children to paint Rosie’s picture. They can then make a copy of the poem, substituting their names for Rosie’s. Alternatively, they can paint their own vivid landscapes and write their own third-person, present-tense poems describing what they have composed.
  • Suggest to your children the title ‘My Magic Paintbox’. Lines begin My red is …, My white is … etc.
    The lines are then completed with one or two favourite items that are each of these colours.So, for example, My blue is an Everton shirt and a sky in summer.Using Colour to Explore Similes and Riddles

 

  • Riddles are always fun, and colour riddles can be simply made by children choosing just one colour, brainstorming items that are that colour and then writing a line for each, begining, for example, I am the red that …  A completed line might read I am the red that keeps you alive. (Blood.)
  • Make shape poems by having the children draw or paint simple rainbows. They then write onto each colour-strip things that are that colour.
  • Offer the chance to redecorate the world, to freshen up our old Earth with a brand new colour scheme.This can be a way into similes with lines like I’ll have a sky as green as mushy peas and a sun black like my cat’s fur.Exploring Sound and Colour Together
  • You can explore sound and colour together by asking your children to close their eyes. Make a sequence of noises (slamming a door, rattling keys) and ask the children to say what colour each sound is. I once did this and a child in the class wrote:

    A dropped book is dullest grey. 

    A knife across a plate is electric ice-blue.

    Have fun!

    David and Mike – Goodeyedeers

Visit Goodeyedeers at TES Resources

 

Posted in SPaG, Writing Ideas

An Alphabet Full Of Silent Letters

Is This A Football Score?

Hawaii 12        Cambodia 74

 No, not a football score, though we’d like to have been there if it was!

No, it’s matters alphabetical again and those are the numbers of letters in the countries’ alphabets.

Heaven knows how Hawaiians manage with just 12 letters, while children in Cambodia must have one heck of a struggle coping with all of the 45 letters in their Khmer alphabet.

5

What About Our Alphabet?

Our  middle-of-the-road 26 letters now looks extremely sensible.

But as we’ve said before, they all have to work jolly hard to keep all our estimated 200,000 English words on the move.

In order that so few letters can cope with creating so many words, they all need a rest from time to time.

Silent Letters and The Alphabet

That’s where our silent letters come in.

We all know about silent letters, don’t we? Yes?

Well the truth is we probably don’t, not by a long way, because it seems almost every letter is a silent letter some of the time. Want to see how?

Our List of Silent Letters

Okay, here are the letters of the alphabet; say the words beside each letter to yourself and, though you can clearly see the letter in the spelling, you won’t hear it.

A – bread, logically
B – climb, debt
C – muscle, scissors
D – Wednesday, handsome
E – sleeve, cake
F – halfpenny
G – strength, foreign
H – where, hour
I – suit, business
J – marijuana
K – know, knuckle
L – half, should
M – mnemonic
N – autumn
O – leopard, enough
P – receipt, psychology
Q – lacquer
R – summer, four
S – island, debris
T – match, castle
U – guess, laugh
W – answer, write
X – faux
Y – beyond
Z – rendezvous

Have You Spotted The Missing Letter?

Yes, it’s ‘V’.

We couldn’t find a single word featuring ‘V’ where you couldn’t hear it.

So well done letter number 22!

And we do hope the other 25 letters enjoy their well-earned and very occasional rests.

Where Ae The Silent Letters?

Some Activities To Try Out With Your Children

  • Pin up the Silent Letters list and invite children to add words to it as they come across them. Even better, get out the dictionary and go searching for them. Who can find the most?

    See if patterns emerge – for example, k always being silent before n, knock, knight; the letter b is usually not pronounced after m at the end of a word, comb, bomb, thumb; the g letter is not pronounced when it comes before n in a word, design, foreign, sign.

  • Can you find rules for each of the silent letters of the alphabet?
  • Then there are the exceptions – words that don’t follow the rule. Can your children find any?
  • Ask your children to make up comical sentences featuring words with the same silent letter, eg foreign gnomes gnash through signs.

    Or maybe take a few different silent letter words to create a silly sentence, eg Where’s elephant island?

    Fun to try and it all helps fix the spelling pattern.

  • Ask your children to write comical sentences with the silent letters removed, eg forein nomes nash throuh sins.

    Sentences can be swapped around for giggles and corrections.

  • Try taking the silent letter out of words – do they still make sense but have a completely different meaning? Try it with words like, whole, knight, what, and you get hole, night and hat. Can you find more?
  • Children can make posters for younger children featuring particular silent letters and associated words.
  • Children make cartoon strips showing words not letting their silent letter in and the struggle the letter has to take its place.

Have fun!

David and Mike – Goodeyedeers

 

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Posted in Poetry Ideas, SPaG, Writing Ideas

How To Have Fun With The Alphabet and Writing Haiku Poems

In this post we are going to give you some ideas to use with your class to get them working with the alphabet and writing some haiku poems.

But first of all a question…

Are You An Abecedarian?

The simple answer is – yes, you are.

Abecedarians are people who use, or are interested in, or write about the alphabet. So basically, all of us.

That’s right – all of us who use what’s called the Roman alphabet. And with over 100 languages using it, that’s most folk. Without those 26 small symbols, we’d be stuck – no writing, no reading, no print at all. No texting, no World Wide Web, no War and Peace. Impossible to imagine, eh?

And just those 26 letters do all the work?

What Might An Abecedarian Do?

Abecedarians are immensely important – especially those who write abecedaries – books featuring the alphabet. They can be very simple ones for early learners; huge fun if Doctor Seuss has written them; and they can be engaging and entertaining for older children and us adults who’ve learned our ABC but enjoy seeing it celebrated.

For example, there’s The Shaker Abecedarius, ‘A Peaceable Kingdom’ (pub. Puffin) and Edward Gorey’s very different book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies. This last is the tale of 26 children, each named for one letter of the alphabet – and their untimely deaths. Very funny, very wicked – your class will love it. But you have been warned!

 

How To Combine The Alphabet With Writing Haiku Poems

Here’s a new way to rejoice in those 26 little squiggles: by composing 26 haiku – one for every letter.

A Goodeyedeers blog post about the alphabet and haiku.

The great thing about the haiku form – at least the way it’s become used in English – is that it’s short, it doesn’t rhyme, it’s just about syllables.

Three little lines: first line 5 syllables, second line 7 syllables, third line 5 syllables. Just 17 in all.

This activity is ideal for a class. Everybody gets one letter of the alphabet to work on, with maybe some pairs working on those trickier letters such as Q, V, X, Y, Z.

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Armed with a dictionary, writers now compose their three-line haiku using only words beginning with their key letter.

So, if we take H for example, line 1 could be one five syllable word: hippopotamus or five one syllable words: huge, hot, heart, hum, high or a mixture: head, happy, hope

You will need to remind your children that they’re not writing for meaning, they’re not writing sentences – just words. So, they should hunt down a collection they genuinely like.

So, you might get something like this:

hilariously,
humanoid, hyphen, hustle,
hydroelectric

Go easy on X! Words beginning ax-, ex-, ox- will do the job.

Having Fun With The Alphabet and Haiku Poetry

What About Other Syllabic Poetry Forms?

Any syllabic form will serve.

Another Japanese one is the tanka.

Tankas are 5 lines long, with 5, 7, 5, 7, 7 syllables in the sequence.

Or there’s the cinquain – devised by the marvellously named American, Adelaide Crapsey. Five lines again, this time with a 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables sequence.

So, give some of these a go and you and your youngsters can become members of the abecedarians’ society. The alphabet is always worth celebrating – you’re never going to get another one.

David and Mike – Goodeyedeers

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Posted in Poetry Ideas, Poetry Ideas For Children

10 Great Ideas for Using Rhyming With Younger Children

Why Is Rhyming So Important?

Rhyming teaches children how language works.  It helps them notice and work with the sounds within words.

It also helps them experience the rhythm of language.  As they become familiar with rhyming pieces they learn to anticipate the rhyming word. This is helping them with making predictions.

We are going to look at the poem ‘Imagine’ by Roland Egan and use it to show you ten different ways to use the rhyming patterns in this poem with your children.

 

10 Things To Do With The Poem ‘Imagine’

1. Try reading the poem to your class and see how quickly they can memorise it. Start by treating it as a statement-and-response exercise with you reading the ‘Imagine …’ lines and the children responding with the rhyming sequel. This helps to fix the rhyme of the poem.

 

A poem used in this blog post from Goodeyedeers

2. Make copies of the poem and cut them up into 13 single-line strips. Give these to pairs or groups of children to re-assemble with the rhymes matching.

3. Prepare versions of the poem with all the initial animals deleted and written on separate pieces of card. Ask the children to place each animal on its correct line-end.

4. Make new rhymes by replacing existing ones. These can be minor – e.g. changing big to small and creating rhymes such as Imagine a snail/ As small as a nail.

 

A blog post from Goodeyedeers about rhyming for beginners.

5. Take this one step further by giving the childen more scope to improvise – Imagine a lark/ On a swing in a park.

6. Invite the children to replace those repetitions of big and long with six fresh adjectives.

7. Get the children to fold a sheet of A4 paper to make eight rectangles. Then illustrate each of the rhymes, e.g. a snail as big as a whale and a bee as big as a tree.

8. Keeping the pattern of the original, compose some brand new rhymes. This is an ideal opportunity to introduce the children to a rhyming dictionary.

 

A blog post from Goodeyedeers exploring rhyming with younger children

9. A whole-class poem could be created in the form of an illustrated alphabet book, with children contributing one line each. So, for example, Imagine an ant / bear crocodile … and so on, all the way to zebra.

10. After all this work with animals, why not change the theme and create ‘Rhyming Restaurants’ beginning each line I’m serving a …. Or maybe ‘Wacky Wardrobes’, here starting I’m wearing a… with each item going on to a neatly turned rhymed ending?

There’s lots here to get you started exploring end rhymes. We’d love to hear how you get on so feel free to leave  comments and examples of the children’s work in the comments section below.

Have fun!

David and Mike – Goodeyedeers

Visit Goodeyedeers at TES Resources

 

Posted in Writing Ideas

Create Story Cubes To Encourage Storytelling With Your Children

Why Is Storytelling Important?

Storytelling predates writing.

The earliest forms of storytelling were usually oral combined with gestures and expressions.

Some archaeologists believe cave art may have served as a form of storytelling for many ancient cultures.

I found this quote from Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Centre

“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.”

Storytelling

Storytelling With Your Children

Here are some ideas to help you develop the art of storytelling with your children (mixed in with a bit of maths!)

We are going to create some cubes and use these to create stories. The nets used to create the cubes can be found at the end of this post.

Creating Stories With Word Story Cubes

All stories are made from key ingredients or elements.

Talk to the children about what these are – characters, settings, problems, conflicts, dangers, endings. Accept any fresh ideas they offer, such as animals, superheroes, weather, magic, etc. Settle on 5-6 elements in all.

Choose each of your story elements in turn and ask the children for examples of the element. Onto the 6 faces of each cube  invite them to write the six most popular.

Your ‘settings’ cube might look something like this:

A Simple Storytelling Net

Your ‘character’ cube might look like this:

Story Making Dice

When you have your complete set of cubes, your story making machine is ready to go!

Choose a cube to roll first.

Ask open questions to help you as you act as story-maker-in-chief. So, for example if the Settings dice is rolled first and ‘a damp cave’ comes up, then ask for details – Where is it? Large or small?  Empty or lived in? And so on.

Take the ideas you like and start building the tale.

It’s striking how pleased children are when one of their suggestions is chosen, so obviously spread your preferences around the class.

Goodeyedeers on Pinterest

Creating Story Cubes With Emojis & Symbols

The next idea involves using a smaller net and the emojis and symbols that are commonly used on computers and phones nowadays.

You can download a number of these as images and stick them onto your cube.

Something like this:

Story Making Dice Using Emojis and Symbols

Each cube is made up of emojis and symbols that could represent setting, character, objects, etc.

The idea is to have 5 or 6 cubes and roll them together and then start to build up your story.

Creating Story Cubes Using Images

Here, at Goodeyedeers, we use Pixabay as a source for most of the images we use in our resurces. In particular we like to use the vector graphics.

This example is made up of of a mixture of images taken from Pixabay:

Creating A Story Dice Using Images

And here is another one:

Creating Story Making Dice Using Images

Now It’s Your Turn

To help you get started the examples above and some empty nets for you and/or your children to complete can be found on this PDF. (Click on Story Making Cubes)

Let us know how you get on by leaving a comment below.

Have Fun!

Mike and David – Goodeyedeers

A link to The Goodeyedeers Shop at TES Resources

Posted in Poetry Ideas, SPaG, Writing Ideas

8 Interesting Things To Do With The Alphabet

Making the Most of the Alphabet

Strange, isn’t it that once children have learned – and learned to use – the alphabet, it rarely gets looked at again. It just gets absorbed into the larger matters of literacy and isn’t seen as an item in its own right.

That seems a shame, especially given its age and history – Roman in origin but named for the first letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta.

And it must be getting something right to be so popular, used in over 100 different languages – and by pilots everywhere!

So here, to encourage a small celebration of the Alphabet, are some fun activities for you to try with your children.

8 Interesting Things To Do With The Alphabet

8 Interesting Things To Do With The Alphabet

In Drama or PE –  ask small groups of children to use their bodies to create each of the 26 letters in turn.

The Headteacher’s Cat is a game for pairs or a whole class. Player 1 begins, The headteacher’s cat is an a—— cat and its name is A——-, with adjective and name starting with A. Player 2 repeats the sentence pattern, this time with B. And so on through the alphabet. Players in pairs alternate turns; a class can sit in a circle and take turns in order.

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The Alphabet’s Adjective Adventure –  more adjectives needed,  26 in all, one for each letter. Like this:

A is amazing
B is brilliant
C is cool
D is delightful

 X is a problem for this and The Headteacher’s Cat – just allow ex- and problem solved.

News Headlines – use the 26 letters to make a sequence of news headlines . The first one might be, Ancient Birthday Cake Discovered

8 Inteesting Things To Do With The Alphabet

Simply Syllables – for each letter of the alphabet, make a word-string, with each word in the string one syllable more than the word before. For example: ask / advert / alphabet / alligator / accidentally. For X allow words with any vowel before, so axe / oxen / excellent.

One Daft Dictionary –  offer the children this opening line: You’ll find an …. Whatever noun is chosen must then lead to a rhyme – and as inventive, witty or daft a  line as can be made. So, the poem might begin:

You’ll find as apple as big as a chapel.
Next there’s a blizzard conjured up by a wizard.

And on through the alphabet to perhaps:

Last of all there’s a zebra keen on marrying our Debra.

An Alphabet of Similes – this is where I advise you to ban rhyme! It’s an intrusive beast and here you want attention focused on composing a list of alphabeticaly ordered items, each with an attendant simile. It might start something like this:

A is for adder, silent as snow.
Bi is for baby, warm as fresh bread.
C is for comma, like a lonely, lost tadpole.

A-Z Sequence – we all learn that A-Z sequence quickly and for ever. But what about learning and performing it backwards? There’s a Guinness record for the fastest typing of the alphabet forwards – 3.37 seconds – but no record for backwards performances, so far as I can see. Anyone up for the challenge?

David and Mike – Goodeyedeers

Visit the Goodeyedeers Shop at TES Resources