Once again, it's been far too long. The website tends to get an overhaul every three to four years and as I now head into the 8th year of Key Stage 2 Literacy, I thought it was time to make some much-needed changes. In my own life, I have had a lot of changes such as moving jobs and homes, so it has been a busy period for me meaning that the site has taken a bit of a back seat. I've tried to maintain the Facebook and Twitter streams but the site itself has probably not undergone the evolution that education has in the UK. So, many of the pages look sad and old fashioned and hark back to the old days of 'grades' and even VCOP (although I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the pyramids just yet!)
It has been incredibly enjoyable being able to sit down for a few hours over this weekend just making some changes that I've so desperately wanted to make- such as a new logo for the site and a completely different navigation using more intuitive buttons rather than a lengthy navigation bar that flings options out at you as your cursor moves down the list. A lot of the pages on the site need changing, updating or generally a bit of TLC and I have hundreds of ideas about what I want to do- it's just finding the time to do it! So standby for a new and improved site and as always, please keep coming back to check out any new content! I'm very excited about a current project to bring the SPaG Grid Online. This will hopefully be the crowning glory of the site and will provide readers with a must go-to area for spelling, punctuation and grammar!
Until next time, take care and don't forget to 'Follow' 'Like' and 'Share' on Facebook!
Quick note from the Editor: Naomi contacted the website at the beginning of this academic year and has offered to share her insight and ideas with the Literacy World, so in advance I thank her for her contributions to the site. I will regularly upload Naomi's suggestions, as well as develop a *Featured* page with all of her ideas as well. On a side note, it has been very rewarding to receive such positive feedback on the website and to now have connections with others who share our passion for Literacy. Thank you.
How to Teach Spelling with Sticky Notes
If there’s one thing many of us struggle with as children (and as adults), it’s spelling. For some it comes naturally, but for others, it’s a case of trial and tribulation as we trip over the formation of letters and the bizarre rules (and exceptions to the rules) that the English language is crammed with.
So, how can we make learning to spell a little bit easier? Well, one thing that we can do is to make a game of it using stationery. Yes, really – here’s how to teach spelling with sticky notes.
First, begin by telling the students the rule you’ll be focussing on. For instance, if you’re teaching spellings of nouns ending in ‘y’ where it’s necessary to change the ‘y’ for an ‘i’ and add ‘es’ to make it plural (for example, changing ‘party’ into ‘parties), recap the rule first. Ensure that everyone has a grasp of the rule, as you’ll shortly be asking them to spend some time thinking without your guidance.
Then, divide the students into pairs or threes. Give them approximately ten minutes to come up with as many words as they can that follow this rule, keeping in mind that you’ll need to make this challenge age-appropriate. Expect the quantity and quality of words to be within a particular range depending on the developmental stage of the children you’re teaching, and take care when grouping children to ensure that there’s a good balance of ability within each team.
It’s also a good idea to incentivise children at this point. For instance, award house points (or a similar reward system) to encourage children to think of the most interesting or unusual words they can. This brings about an additional learning benefit whereby a strong knowledge of words learnt from reading can be rewarded and encouraged further.
Then, once the ten minutes is up, ask each pair or group to choose the most interesting or unusual word they have found. They’ll need to be prepared to explain its meaning to the rest of the class. Then (and this is where the sticky notes come in), ask them to write the word, spelling it correctly, on a sticky note. (If you need to buy sticky notes to ensure that every child has an adequate amount in their groupings, check out stationery suppliers such as GLS).
Once the word has been written on the sticky note, ask the class to check the accuracy of the spelling, correcting it if necessary (and explaining what was incorrect to begin with). Similarly, ask the class to confirm that the word fits with the studied spelling rule (so for this particular lesson, words such as ‘balcony’ and ‘adversary’ would be excellent examples from children of early key stage two level).
Then, stick the sticky note on the wall within a special feature display titled ‘We Love Spelling!’. Doing so will encourage enthusiasm for the game, make children feel that their effort is appreciated, and will also keep spelling rules fresh in their minds.
If the class is struggling to follow the rule or spell the word correctly with its proper ending, use sticky notes to write the front half of the word, and on a separate sticky note, write the back half of the word. ‘Swap’ the endings (i.e. remove and replace the sticky notes) so that children can see how a noun is spelt when it’s singular, compared to how it’s spelt in its plural form. Encourage them to join in with this activity, challenging them to show you how the word should be spelt if it’s a single noun or a plural noun.
I need to do this now! I've sat back and watched this site deteriorate really and there's little content here that's relevant or needed in the 2016 classroom. I've fallen behind the times and it's really important to me that this site picks up and generates the content that will warrant the incredible support I've had over the years. I'm tough on myself because even though I run this site for free, it started out as a labour of love and excuses like 'I just don't have the time' are not like me at all. An hour a night is probably not beyond the realms of reality and so I am hoping to check in more regularly and make small updates here and there to a number of pages as well as upload new content, ideas and resources. I just hope I don't return in 6 months to see that this site hasn't returned to previous levels. At it's peak the site drew 6,000 unique visitors a day. I'm on Page 1 of Google for a number of Literacy and English based searches so it's time to bring old guests back and to entice new guests to enjoy and spread the word.
For those of you who have already started the new term, I hope your first few days with your new classes has gone well. No doubt you'll be found hidden under lists of jobs to do this weekend and at the beginning of next week- class displays, learning names, finding new resources to make lessons fun, maybe even finding ideas for your first in-house lesson observation! To those of you who are yet to start, I hope you are enjoying the last few days of relaxation and I wish you all the best for the start of term.
I have recently been inundated with registration requests over the last few weeks since adding the 'register' button to the website. I shall be developing a lot more new content over the coming weeks and will be making sure that members know as soon as this content is available for you to view on the site. Five years ago, I had no idea how big this site would become- originally being set up to help children in my class share what they were doing at school with their parents at home. I wanted parents to have a really good understanding of what it was that we were trying to achieve in school, especially as it changes so suddenly from one year to the next.
Over the last few weeks, I have made a few alterations to the KS2 Literacy community, not only adding a members registration but also adding a Twitter feed (@ks2literacy) and a new personalised email account (email@example.com) This has made it easier to share new posts and updates on the site and has hopefully given readers a new and efficient way to communicate with me. Over the years, I have always suggested that readers feedback on areas they would like developing on the site. There are a few sections like the Reading and Spelling areas that I would really like to work on, as well as continuing to develop the 'Power of Music' page. I also hope that as the term goes on, you would be so kind as so to share excellent examples of writing from Year 2 to Year 6. I know Year 2 isn't Key Stage 2, but I have moved down to Year 2 for the past two years and would love to keep using the site to support the children I teach as well!
Just some quick stats to share: we hit one million page visits in one year between August 2014 and August 2015, which is just incredible! There are also (as of 4th September) 325 members of the Facebook group. Thank you to everyone who has supported this site and the project- it really gives me the enthusiasm to keep coming back here to edit and improve the site. Take care.
Many of you reading this blog will be grateful of the Spring holidays arriving when they have. Working in Dubai, we have had no February half term either so it has been a 13 week slog with a yearly government inspection, reports to parents (yes... spring reports!!), parent consultation meetings, assessment weeks, sports day and so on! You name it, it happened in the spring and yet again, very little change or addition to the site. I hang my head at the shame. I added a little to The Highwayman page and have also added a huge number of your suggestions for the Scenario Zone in the Early Morning Work section.
Despite the lack of care and dedication, the site continues to gain more followers, both through hits on the site and through the Facebook group (which now stands at 128 members)! The site now receives approximately 5000 - 6000 unique hits each day and regularly features in the top three returns on a Google search for Key Stage 2 Literacy. To be up there with the BBC and the TES is a massive compliment. The site is also a testament to the fact that anyone can have a go on the internet if they choose to. I am incredibly grateful to Weebly for giving me the chance to create this site and offer a number of tools to help those who teach, who are taught at school or home, and to advise a multitude of parents who aren't quite sure about what a subordinate clause or an opener is! Trust me when I say that we are bringing up a world of children who know their connectives from their metaphors. Just how useful it will be to them later in life is up for discussion, but I know that the basics are essential in creating writers who have all of the tools they need in order to be as creative and as formal as they wish to be in their writing.
I won't make promises to write again in a given time as no doubt school will get busy again, but I just wanted to reassure you that this is site will only continue to grow and will not be left to fester in the dark recesses of the world wide web. Take care.
Wow! Time really does fly! It has been another long and tiring academic year for us teachers and I'm sure the children are looking forward to a well earned rest as well. I know that in the UK, the children have just had their half term so should be reasonably refreshed for the final half term. However, where I am currently based in Dubai, we are nearly ready for the end of year at the end of June. It is hoped that I can use July to update all of those activities, ideas and resources that I haven't managed to over the course of the year. The site continues to maintain a healthy audience although I am really keen to get some games on here or at least links to games that are available on the web. I hope that like BBC Bitesize and Woodland's Junior, that KeyStage2Literacy will become your one-stop-shop for everything you need to do with Literacy in the Upper Phase of Primary! There are going to move developments with the website as the year goes on. I do hope that those users who have been here a lot over the last year, have noticed and like the change of layout to the webpage. I feel it is slightly less business like now and more child friendly! Please keep sending your kind comments through the Blog- these are appreciated and make this site worth the hours that are put in after all of my other jobs are done! Take care. I promise my next post won't be another four months in the making!
A Happy New Year to all of you who are regular and new users of this website. I hope that you have found or are about to find something useful on this site... even if it's a recommendation to another site! I'm sure that as a parent, a teacher, a guardian, or as a child, you have searched a number of sites that will help you to improve Literacy skills. I know that there are also people viewing this site that support older pupils as well as those in the Primary Phase. New teachers and teachers brushing up on some of the basics are regularly dropping in. I appreciate all of the support you bring. The site has climbed 6 places into 2nd after the BBC when a search for 'KS2 Literacy' is typed in and is attracting the attention of between 2 and 3,000 unique visitors every single day. On January 27th, the site enjoyed a record 4,077 visitors. This is over and above my initial expectations for this site and I hope that there are areas that justify this many viewings. I know that there is still a long way to go. I must return to this site more frequently to update. The number of Facebook followers also increases as time goes on and I hope to provide you with a service that justifies your loyalty. Thank you to everyone again for your support. Keep recommending this site to your friends and enjoy the monthly website recommendations on the Home Page.
Despite falling four places to 8th on a Google Search for 'Key Stage 2 Literacy,' the site has continued to set new records. The site not only broke its record for most visitors in one day, which now stands at 1785, but also received an average (across the whole of September) of over 1000. It is great to see the site being genuinely used as a tool for teachers, students and parents and now that I am teaching out in a British school in Dubai, have a number of followers here as well. I have been busy with the move but I hope to add more soon, especially to the Myths section and the Instructional Writing pages. Imperative Verbs has become one of the most followed pages, even above Early Morning Work! I also want to add a section on EDINGLY openers, AANVA and Sentence Tricks, which I have recently been introduced to. As always, any advice or feedback is always welcome. I look forward to hearing from you!
As was to be expected, numbers of visitors to the website reduced significantly over the summer holidays with all of you taking a well earned rest. Numbers have returned to about 500 visitors a day and we will see what happens as this term gets going. I have been aided by Google, who have now placed the website at position 4 when you look for us!
Hi there! I am Mr Birch, a full time primary school teacher and creator of 'keystage2literacy.co.uk...' This website is currently dedicated to Literacy in the curriculum and hosts a collection of ideas that I have used with classes in the early years of my career.