Literacy Ideas for primary and elementary teachers

When I first started teaching many moons ago finding resources on the internet was quite a different process to what it is today.

There was a lot less commercialism, things were a great deal more disorganised and so on... I always remembered using a website with my kids called Jenny Eather's writing fun which just had great ideas for teachers and students about teaching different styles of writing.  It was really easy to use, engaging for the kids and just made sense... It was great.

Anyhow, writing fun got bought out by a larger company and became a paid website which greatly reduced it's appeal.

But last week I was introduced to a very similar site to writing fun called literacyideas.com.  It's completely free, broken down into different styles of writing and actually has a a load of great free content to downlaod or share on an interactive screen with your students.

I strongly recommned taking a look at literacyideas.com if you teach writing to primary / elementary students and would love to hear if you know of any other great sites similar to this. 

Seven simple poetry styles your students will love

Poetry is one of the few styles of writing which openly encourages students to let go of their emotions and share them with others.

This is not an easy thing for students to do and can the process can be made even more difficult if we expect them to write deep and meaningful styles of poetry such as ballads and free verse without developing an appreciation and understanding of poetry through fun and simple structure.

These eight styles of poetry are a great entry point for teachers and students to approach poetry with confidence yet still allow for creativity and emotion to be part of the writing process.

Each style contains a clear structure you can teach your students by following the instructions, alongside diagrams and the highly recommended audio recordings by our resident voice actor Alan Munro.  Just click the audio button for each style.

These poems come from a collection of 19 styles of poetry from Innovative Teaching Ideas which include 44 pages of templates, rubrics and more for all major styles of poetry.

Clerihew

A Clerihew is a light hearted poem consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming scheme of AABB.

A clerihew usually deals with a person or character within the first line.

Clerihews have frequently been used to mock famous people such as politicians and celebrities.

As a class start with a familiar character such as Harry Potter and compare efforts.

 

The Epitaph

An epitaph is a brief poem inscribed on a tombstone praising a deceased person, usually with rhyming lines.

Epitaph’s are usually written in a light hearted manner but they can be serious if need be.

Epitaphs have a simple rhyming pattern of AABB

Epitaphs can be used to teach us a lesson for example why we shouldn’t eat candy too often.

 

Irish Limerick

A Limerick is a rhyming humorous or nonsense poem of five lines.

It has a rhyming pattern of AABBA

Lines 1, 2 & 5 should contain 7 – 10 syllables

Lines 3 & 4 should have 5 – 7 syllables

Limericks frequently start with “there once was a…”

 

Palindrome

A palindrome or shadow poem reads  identical both forwards or backwards.

You must use the same words in the first half of the poem as the second half

Reverse the order for the second half

Use a well considered word in the middle line as a bridge from the first half to the second half of the poem

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Shape and Concrete Poetry

Poetry takes on many forms.  An artistic expression is for your poem to adopt the shape of its subject.

Shape poems are either an outline or fill the space within an outline.  Poetry within a space is also known as concrete poetry.

Any style of poetry or writing can be applied.

Start with an easy shape and change your text size for best fit.

 

Diamante

A Diamante is a seven-lined contrast poem laid out in a diamond shape.   It is highly structured and simple to understand.

Line 1: Noun or subject

Line 2: Two Adjectives

Line 3: Three -ing words

Line 4: Four words about the subject

Line 5: Three -ing words

Line 6: Two adjectives

Line 7: Synonym/antonym for the subject

 

Monorhyme

Monorhyme is a poem in  which the end of all lines rhyme.

There are no rules as to how long or short a monorhyme should be.  Stanzas are not used in monorhyme poetry.

This is a great starting point for developing rhyming skills.

Words ending in Air, Ate, it, Ing &Oh have many rhyming words.

 

I hope you find these styles of poetry useful with your students and remember to check out the entire collection of 19 styles of poetry here.

 

Student Goal Setting Template for Maths and Literacy

Just a quick addition to our thinking tools and graphic organisers collection today.  This simple goal setting template will help your students to be a little more accountable of their own learning in maths and literacy.

You might want to go through the SMART goal system with them to ensure that each of their goals are.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

It is a great process to work through at the beginning or mid point of the year or even when parent teacher interviews occur.

You can download the template here, and enjoy.

Free Classroom Posters: The 8 Parts of Speech

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I must admit that as a student I never really understood the difference between nouns, adverbs, interjections and the other parts of speech all that well.

Then when I went to university I almost convinced myself that they were an area of superfluous knowledge when I succeeded at a tertiary level with little to no knowledge of them

As a teacher though. I was quickly found out when trying to give my students the tools and language to make their writing more mature and appealing to specific audiences. 

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To address this I have spent quite a bit of time brushing up my own knowledge on the 8 parts of common speech.

  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Pronouns
  • Adjectives
  • Prepositions
  • Conjunctions
  • Interjections
  • Adverbs

To remind me of this I have made 9 posters to share with anyone who wants them that outline the purpose, example words and sentences for each of the 8 areas.

Click here to download them and enjoy.

*Please note all of our posters are originally designed using high resolution images and fonts at A3 paper size.

Be aware it will be automatically resized to your default paper size when using Adobe Acrobat Reader without any loss of quality. If you would like to print these documents at larger sizes you can read the Adobe Resize & Scaling FAQ here.

We recommend laminating them for best results.

Finally if you would like to purchase a completely editable version of this document to alter without any restrictions you can purchase it for $10.00 simply by emailing us.

Free Halloween Themed Writing Pack - A Horrifically Useful Resource

Horror, suspense and mystery has produced some of the greatest literature and film of all time, and what better time of year to capitalize on this genre of writing than Halloween.

This Halloween writing pack will provide plenty of incentives and visuals to help your students produce their scariest work yet.

These themed writing packs look great and will inspire kids to write and step up their presentation skills as opposed to simply writing on standard paper.

Download the Halloween themed writing Pack Here.

The Pack looks great, and has 8 different themed pages that include.

  • A Visual map for planning the characters, setting, problem & plot.
  • A planning tool for constructing a narrative.
  • Half Page Dotted thirds with a space for a picture
  • Full page themed dotted thirds with images.
  • Bordered Themed lined writing paper.

We have a number of themed writing packs and other printable paper for teachersand students that can be downloaded for free.

U PLan - Narrative Planning Tool

Planning a narrative can be a difficult task for younger and inexperienced writers.  Narratives allow so much freedom and versatility over other text types that they can become a mess of well meaning ideas if a poorly planned.

This planning tool allows students to work through 8 simple stages to plan a well constructed  narrative including the editing phase. 

It is best suited to elementary / primary students or older writers who have difficulty organising ideas.  Enjoy!

Download the U-planner Here.

10 Quick Classroom Games to improve Literacy Skills

A colleague of mine recently shard these 10 great ideas to impove literacy skills in the classroom.  They are simple to play and can be applied to nearly all year levesl.  Enjoy.

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Remember that if you are looking for more great free resources and structured guides to teaching all aspects of English especially writing be sure to visit literacyideas.com


Sentence Stretching

Start with a short sentence or group of words.  Pass it around to about 6 people, with the rule that each person must add (a word or a group of words) or change ONE word ( to another word or a group of words) to make the sentence more specific and more interesting.

Rebus writing

Students write sentences or longer texts and substitute drawings for the nouns.

It’s in the bag

Place an object in a bag- make sure the students don’t see it. Students feel the object in the bag and use words to describe how it feels. They take it out and add /alter their adjectives.

Touch and tell

An object is passed around a group of students. Each student suggests an adjective to describe it.

Alternative

Students provide an adjectival phrase or clause to describe the object

Verb Draw

Students randomly select from a box a picture of an animal, person or objects that move. They brainstornm action verbs for the chosen object.

Alternative

The students can supply verbs and adverbs

They can supply adjectives or adjectival groups

Hot Seat

Read a text ( this case narrative) and at a particular point stop and ask students to select a character and suggest, for example:

  • What the character  is doing, thinking, feeling ( focus on processes)

Change the meaning- change one word

Students locate and change one word that will alter the meaning of the sentence.

They share their alterations and discuss which part of speech was the most important in changing the meaning.

Locate and classify

Read a text and ask students to write nouns on cards ( red), adjectives (blue), articles on orange. Rearrange words to create different noun groups. Students can also locate verbs ( green card) and adverbs (yellow) . Rearrange all the worsd to create new sentences.

Alternative

Students can locate adjectival phrases or clauses or adeverbial hrases and write these on other coloured cards.

Grammar toss- Sentence making

Players must throw a 1 before they can begin. The winner is the first person to make a sentence that includes all of the following:

  1. A group of words that tell what or who ( singular)
  2. A group of words that tell when
  3. A verb in the past tense
  4. An adverb telling how
  5. A group of words telling where

They can then rearrange the sentence parts to see how many ways they can make another meaningful sentence. 

Alternative

Other parts of speech can be used for each number thrown.

Toss and write

Prior to the activity, a cube is prepared. Upon each face of the cube is written a task that requires specific grammar knowledge. For example:

Make a sentence

Make a question

Provide two adjectives

Provide two verbs

Create a noun group ( eg article, adjective/s noun)

Provide a noun and an adverb

Students select a subject ( noun) from a tin. They throw  the cube and  whichever side of the cube faces up is the task they must attempt.



Dinosaur themed writing pack for young writers.

I am sure that both parents, students and teachers alike will find this free Dinosaur themed writing paper and templates a brilliant prompt and resource for getting younger kids wrting about dinosaurs, or a dinosaur related adventure.

These themed writing packs really inspire kids to write and step up their presentation skills as opposed to simply writing on standard paper.

Download the Dinosaur Themed Writing Pack Here.

The Pack looks great, and has 8 different themed pages that include.

  • A Visual map for planning the characters, setting, problem & plot.
  • A planning tool for constructing a narrative.
  • Half Page Dotted thirds with a space for a picture
  • Full page themed dotted thirds with images.
  • Bordered Themed lined writing paper.

We have a number of themed writing packs and other printable paper for teachers and students that can be downloaded for free.