Blog

  • James Clements: Teaching Macbeth to Tom

    ‘We’re not reading that, are we? It looks so old-fashioned,’ says Tom as he returns to class after break time. ‘Just look at the cover- it’s not my type of book.’ Well, it seems some members of my inner city Year 5 class are not as keen to study the story of Macbeth as I had hoped. This is going to call for a first class PR job, so I begin the lesson with a monologue extolling the virtues of this classic of English literature.
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  • Hosting an Author Event: a school's perspective

    Emma Carroll's visit to Sunnymede School At Just Imagine we organise hundreds of author events every year and we are always delighted when we see a school that has integrated the event into the pupils's learning. These visits are always the most satisfying for the pupils, teachers and for the author as well. One recent example was our visit to Sunnymede and we asked subject leader Laura Maclean to write a short blog for us about her experience of hosting and author and how good preparation ensures that the pupils get the most from it. Laura said improving the school’s...

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  • Five Reasons to Teach Your Kids to Code

    Rosie Dickins is an award-winning author who developed and wrote Lift-the-Flap Computers and Coding and Coding for Beginners Using Scratch with help from computer experts and the team at Usborne Publishing. Rosie is now working on Coding for Beginners Using Python, Look Inside;  How Computers Work and a coding activity book.   Rosie says: Until about a year ago, I didn’t know much about coding. I wrote a couple of simple programs on a BBC microcomputer sometime in the 1980s, and then… nothing. For my generation, the emphasis was on learning to use software, not learning to code. So working on these...

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  • Big Books vs IWBs

    Remember Big Books? Perhaps you thought the Big Book was dead? After all IWBs and visualisers make it possible to project any book in a blown up format that can be used with an entire class. The impact has been the virtual disappearance of new Big Books published for the classroom. We often get requests fro Early Years teachers for new Big Books, so it is frustrating that the range has been reduced to those very well established favourites such as We Are Going on a Bear Hunt and Farmer Duck.We were delighted therefore when BLOOMSBURY CHILDREN'S BOOKS launched a...

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  • More than Information Reading Non-Fiction for Pleasure

    A few years ago, I organised a conference at the London Institute of Education, celebrating the best of non-fiction publishing and innovative teaching with non-fiction texts. The day brought together teachers, writers and illustrators who advocated for  non-fiction as an essential part of children’s reading for pleasure repertoire, not solely reduced to a resource used mechanistically to teach research and information retrieval skills. That is  not to say that those skills are not important, but to pigeon-hole non-fiction as reading  research purposes only is reductive and does not do justice to the wealth of literature available or the ways in which readers chose to engage with it. Read more →