100+ Ideas for Teaching Citizenship (Continuum One Hundreds)

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The pairs can then check their answers against the rules. The use of direct speech in a piece of text, when liUM executed well, has many merits: characters can develop 14 their own voices; pupils can show understanding of more complex, internal punctuation often a way to raise a level and writing is injected with more variety.

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Unfortunately, writing direct speech accurately can cause pupils significant problems: speech marks may be used, but in the wrong place; capitalization is often forgotten and internal punctuation can be a mystery. It seems to be that because there are a few rules attached to the writing of speech, many pupils become confused and apply them inconsistently. One of the most common and easily remedied problems lies in deciding where to put speech marks.

Pupils often place them around every word connected to speech indiscriminately. For example, 'Simon said I am not going to school and you can't make me. Depending on the needs of your class these can be graduated in terms of difficulty. Read out the parts of the sentence that are not direct speech and get pupil volunteers to read out what is actually said. This can then be underlined both on the board and in pupils' books. For example: Simon said why should I go to school Well then replied Jo please yourself Pupils can then, of course, put speech marks in place, using the underlining as a guide.

This very simple method seems to be effective for many pupils, appealing to visual, aural and kinaesthetic learners. Pupils are taught throughout school that a sentence starts with a capital letter and then they are told to start speech with one too, even if it starts in the middle of a sentence. It is, however, a relatively straightforward rule to remember. Continue the exercise from the previous idea asking pupils to start speech with a capital letter, no matter where it occurs in a sentence. Simon said 'Why should I go to school5 'Well then' replied Jo 'please yourself Punctuation is the next step and one that many find quite hard to grasp.

To keep it simple, as a first stage ensure that pupils remember to place a punctuation mark - question mark, full stop, comma or exclamation mark - at the end of speech inside the speech marks. Use a number of simple examples such as those below and allow pupils to select which punctuation mark they think fits best. Matthew shouted 'I won't play then' The next stage is to separate the spoken word from the liilafil speech tag by punctuation - usually a comma.

Again, provide a number of examples for pupils to punctuate.

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A comma is, therefore, always needed when the speech tag comes at the start of the sentence. Simon said, 'Why should I go to school? The final rule for pupils to use is to start a new line for a new speaker, remembering to put the whole sentence on a new line, not simply the spoken words.

To ensure retention of these rules it is useful to ensure that they have been used step by step to build up to well-punctuated sentences and that pupils have them written down in their books and refer to them frequently. Regular, short punctuation tasks can be used as effective lesson starters or homework exercises. Once these rules have been established, encourage pupils to develop their writing by, for example, selecting interesting verbs for speech rather than simply relying on 'said'.

Perhaps create a class word bank of alternative words such as 'screamed', 'suggested', 'yelled', 'sobbed', 'hissed' and so on. Cloze exercises using the word bank can be developed showing how selecting more interesting verbs for speech can create more sophisticated and effective writing. Ask pupils to consider the different impressions created by the following and then ask them to use the word banks to create their own variations on sentences you have provided.

Simon whispered, 'Why should I go to school?

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IDE A While some spelling errors are quite unfathomable, there are certain words which come up time and time again. You are no doubt familiar with these and other usual suspects already! Use this list, or devise one pertinent to the needs of your class, as a spelling test or vocabulary exercise. Ask pupils to keep a spelling diary, at the back of their books maybe, where spelling corrections and troublesome words can be kept.

Other than specific words, common spelling patterns or rules can cause spelling to go awry. Give pupils the following rules to copy and test them on each section. The following tasks and exercises help to clarify some of the most frequently misunderstood. Generally, if a suffix letters added to the end of a word to change its meaning begins with a consonant and is added to a word which ends with an 'e', the 'e' will be kept and the suffix added on.

If, on the other hand, the suffix starts with a vowel, it is usually the case that the 'e' will be removed before the suffix is added. Usually, if a word has one syllable and ends with one consonant, the last consonant will be doubled. IDEA For many pupils, word-processing has been a real boon. Not only can their spelling and grammar be checked - to 18 quite unusual results at times - but their words canbe seen clearly and unambiguously.

While this is, on the whole, a real benefit, it does not do away with the need for pupils to be able to write legibly, both in class and in examinations. While many individuals will find it almost impossible to develop textbook handwriting - particularly during the hurried environment of the examination room - it is possible to provide pupils with some tips and exercises which will go some way to making their writing much more easy to decipher.

Many pupils rush their writing and Ideas 19 and 20, whilst a little rudimentary and old-fashioned, are aimed at encouraging control. The paper should be in line 19 with the shoulder of the hand with which they write, rather than in the middle. Pens should be held by the thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger giving further support, but this can vary to a degree according to what feels most comfortable.

Ask pupils to practise grip and pen hold by moving the pen up and down the page in diagonal and vertical strokes, such as the following: Try to ensure that the pen strokes are as regular as possible and pupils are controlling their pens rather than just scribbling on the page. Similarly, ask them to draw some controlled circles and waves, paying attention to size and consistency. While this may seem a little lacking in focus, these exercises can help pupils develop a 'motor5 memory.

Think about how you sometimes need to write a word to check its spelling - that is your motor memory at work.

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Teaching pupils 'joined up' writing can help with their spelling, as patterns are learned and remembered even if a child may not know a spelling when asked. IDEA Next, move them on to letters. Remember to focus not 20 on notions of 'correctness5 as such, as handwriting is very individual, but rather on clarity.

Many pupils do not form their letters completely. Focus pupils' attention on the difference in size and relationship to the line between, for example, 'd', 'a' and 'j'. This needs to be emphasized, particularly as many pupils often girls for some reason write each letter the same height and width, resulting in a difficult-to-read 'fat bubble' effect. Ask them to write the alphabet quickly, not joined at this point, ensuring that each letter is properly formed. Letters with 'tails' should be roughly twice the size of those without, as are capital letters.

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For some pupils, this sort of clarity will be improvement enough, but for others press on with tasks which encourage appropriate joining of letters. Point out diagonal joins, horizontal joins and those letters that do not join. Or you may think that is a complication too far at this stage! Keeping the alphabet on display,ask pupils to write a selection of words that are joined in a variety of ways, such as: college, date, spoon, twist, should, jump, teach, week and jam. Having already checked pupils' work during the exercise, select pupils to come to the front of the class and share what they have done.

Extend the task by giving further words to write or a short paragraph.

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The time spent on each element and the degree of guidance provided will depend very much on the needs of the class or pupil. Do try to reinforce the skills developed here, perhaps by having a handwriting exercise as a lesson starter and by praising those whose handwriting improves the most. This is one area where practice really does make all the difference. After all, they 21 have been writing them for most of their school lives and are familiar with the form. However, the writing of a 26 good story is not necessarily an innate gift and some of the basic mechanics can be taught so as to improve the story-writing skills of all pupils.

Many of the tasks in other sections, such as Idea 34 'Who? Understanding character', and Idea 4 'Adjectives' can also be used to inform pupils' own writing. The following are additional ideas that can be used to focus pupils on features of a good story and encourage them to improve their own writing. Put the class into groups and distribute three very short stories to each. Ask pupils to put the stories in rank order and to write a brief explanation for their decision. Read through one of the extracts with them, indicating how the story would fit this format. Pupils can then write the plan for their favourite of the three extracts using this format.

You can use pupils' knowledge of, for example, film or urban myth to reinforce this planning format. Give pupils a genre, such as the spooky story, and ask them to write a plan for their own story using the format. Next, distribute the opening paragraphs from three stories - each of which should be effective in a different way. Ask pupils to identify - individually or in pairs - key features such as: narrative voice used; any words or phrases that hint at what is to come; a detailed description of a place, person or object; opening sentence; any characters or situations that are introduced; what action occurs.

If possible, pupils can comment on what effect any of these features helps create. Pupils can feed back to the class and share ideas.


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From the feedback, produce a list of effective elements. Ask pupils to choose which opening they find most effective and use this to model the opening to their own story. If time allows, volunteers can read their story openings and pupils can raise their hand each time a particular effect is noticed and explain what they have spotted.

Ask the class to note how we learn about each 22 character and a class spider diagram can be made on the board from their observations, including points such as: how a character looks; what they say and how they speak; how other characters react to them; any imagery used to describe them, and so on.

Distribute to pairs of pupils cards that identify two characters; their relationship; basic characteristics and, most importantly, how you want readers to react towards the characters.

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  5. Each pair can then write a paragraph that sets the characters up for the reader. Select paragraphs to be read aloud and ask pupils to note down how they feel about the characters, and why they feel that way. After the reading, pupils can share their observations. Pupils need to inject detail and atmosphere into their IDEA stories. Draw the outline of a body on the board. IWB is perfect for this if you are lucky enough to have one. Ask 23 pupils to do the same in their books, leaving plenty of room around their drawing for labelling.

    Initiate a brief discussion about how the body reacts when scared - for example, hair stands on end, shivers run up the spine and so on.