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  1. 2021 May Newsletter
    26
    May

    2021 May Newsletter

    Recently the CEO of a major UK publishing house said in a radio interview that his company published a broad selection of views and it wasn’t their role to espouse a particular view.

    The same can’t be said for Brilliant Publications, at least when it comes to education. We have very firm ideas about how children learn. Our mission statement says that we create easy to use resources, with engaging approaches to learning, so as to inspire and motivate pupils across a wide range of curriculum areas. These values underpin everything that we do.

    Our recent title

    Our most recent title, How to Achieve Outstanding Writers in EYFS and Key Stage 1 is an excellent example of how we put our mission statement into practice. The National Curriculum puts grea

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  2. Exciting grammar
    23
    May

    Exciting grammar

    Is it really possible to make English grammar exciting, fun, enjoyable, and varied?

    By and large, English grammar tends to get a bad press.

    For a lot of everyday speech, and indeed a fair amount of contemporary literature, tends to play fast and loose with correct grammar which can make children wonder why they have to learn any grammar at all.

    After all, most of us can speak and be understood…

    However, as many people do come to realise, if we want to be listened to and have our written communications read and understood, we need to express ourselves both clearly and in an interesting way.

    Thus, perhaps more than with any other subject in the curriculum, the image of grammar really needs to be changed.  The only question is, how to do it?

    This is the task the author of “Getting to Grips with English Grammar” has put at the forefront of her course; a course which covers English grammar from year one to year six in

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  3. One man, two people, accessible to all
    20
    May

    One man, two people, accessible to all

    What is the most effective way of allowing lower ability students the chance to fully appreciate Jekyll and Hyde?

    Jekyll and Hyde is a story that appeals to vast numbers of teenagers, not least because so many of them find the notion of becoming someone else an incredibly exciting idea.

    For such a vision allows them to imagine that they are not trapped by their current circumstances but could change themselves into something and someone totally different…

    However, many lower ability students never get to appreciate the story because of the difficulties they have with reading.  Which is why we have produced a Graphic Revision Guide to The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

    Indeed, this Graphic Revision Guide not only gives the students immediate access to the book, it also prepares them for their forthcoming assessments. 

    The graphic sheets enable the students both to grasp the story and its themes, and to underst

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  4. Be calm.  Hold the vision.  Breathe.
    14
    May

    Be calm. Hold the vision. Breathe.

    Many primary school children are suffering from anxiety and stress.

    Not only does this condition have a negative effect on the child’s wellbeing, but it also impacts on their ability to learn.

    For, as anyone who has ever experienced anxiety and other stress-related issues will attest, in such a situation the mind tends to focus completely on the anxiety-giving issue and is not open to any input from elsewhere.

    But there is a technique that many schools are now using to help children to relax and reduce their stress levels.  What’s more, it is a technique that can benefit all children – both those suffering from anxiety and those who are not.

    The approach involves introducing them to visualisation. The calming effect this brings can help to ease their anxiety and also help them to develop their creative thinking skills.

    It can also ensure that others who do not have anxiety will be able to cope with it more readily should

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  5. Activities that will appeal to boys
    13
    May

    Activities that will appeal to boys

    How to encourage boys to engage in their learning.

    There’s no doubt that some class activities appeal more to boys than to girls. Not exclusively so, of course, but in general terms.

    And it is with this in mind that we have produced a book of 170 practical teaching ideas and strategies that will appeal to boys.

    The book includes information on how to integrate visual and kinaesthetic activities into your lessons and harness the learning approach that boys tend to use more than girls.

    Take, for example, this lesson:

    The teacher reads out a passage which contains deliberate mistakes. As they listen the pupils note the errors and write down the correct facts instead. Pupils could then indicate the correct answers either by voting with a show of hands for the correct answer or by using their personal whiteboards to all display the correct answers together.

    It is an activity which any pupil can engage in, but is one that de

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  6. Get cooking - safely
    27
    Apr

    Get cooking - safely

    I'm sure you have heard of the resurgence of baking banana bread over the past year. As some foods became difficult to come by we were more aware of not wasting any of it. So, we created innovative ways to use up leftovers. We also turned to cooking and baking to stop us going stir crazy in lockdown.

    Cooking became a family activity, something to keep everyone occupied and the best bit was eating the results afterwards. Personally I have churned out more trays of flapjacks in the past year than I care to count. But they are good for you as they are mainly oats, right? (!)

    Introducing children to cooking at a young age, or any age in fact (how else will they cope when they finally leave home?) is a worthwhile endeavour. But how do we keep them safe with all those sharp implements about?

    We have produced 8 short videos showing different skills needed to keep safe in the kitchen.

    For instance, watch this video explaining the

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  7. The 3Ms of times tables
    15
    Apr

    The 3Ms of times tables

    The three factors within the extraordinary 3M method of teaching times tables

    There are indeed three factors that need to be present if all children are going to learn their times tables in good time.
     
    First, the children need to be motivated. Second, they need to be taught using a method that keeps that motivation going from one lesson to the next. And third the children need to find the whole process enjoyable.
     
    Now, as you may have realised, the only problem here is that “enjoyable” rather breaks the alliterative approach that I was building up with the ideas of “motivation” and “method”, so for my third factor I’m going to say, “mighty fun.”  I hope that’s ok with you.

    Motivation, method and mighty fun. That’s our aim.

    So, to begin: motivation.  We’ve achieved this in the “Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables set for Primary Schools” by using superheroes through the materials

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  8. Creative Writing: Cracked
    15
    Apr

    Creative Writing: Cracked

    What is the most effective way of encouraging all children to explore and experiment with creative writing?

    The aim is something that we can all aspire to: to make creative writing an enjoyable activity for all children.

    But how?  Especially with KS2 children who proclaim that they hate writing and can’t do it, and indeed don’t know what to say.

    One particular approach that appeals to many is the sense of the utterly absurd – as with a request to write out the differences between a bicycle and a banana.

    When an activity like this is then accompanied by instructions which seem contrary to the normal approach to writing (such as “write quickly” rather than “plan carefully”) suddenly the whole meaning of creative writing is changed.

    And not only is the child’s vision of creative writing changed at this point, but the child also starts to understand that not all writers work in the same way. For while some do indeed spen

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  9. Art lessons promote creativity – obviously
    14
    Apr

    Art lessons promote creativity – obviously

    They also promote reflection, self-criticism, visual-spatial abilities, and the willingness to learn from mistakes and to experiment.

    Which makes art sound like one of the most important subjects i

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  10. Learn the skill; practise the skill
    06
    Apr

    Learn the skill; practise the skill

    What is the most effective way of enhancing the artistic skills of all primary school children?

    Visual art like so many other aspects of life, consists of skills that can be learned – and as they are learned they need to be applied and practised.

    And improving children’s artistic skills is of enormous value as, with all the arts, competence leads to a sense of achievement and a growth in confidence which spreads across all aspects of the individual child’s life.

    But to achieve this growth, what is needed within the teaching programme is a clear structure.  This is not only enormously helpful for the children, it also allows non-specialist teachers to work with and enhance the artistic skills and abilities of all children in the class.

    The series of books, Drawing is a Class Act, helps teach the child

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