Sunday, 12 October 2008

Hello Mrs Townsley's Class

You've been working really hard - I loved your rollercoaster writing and the noun doodling your teacher sent to me. I am definitely going to be showing my class as I think your descriptive writing is fantastic and your handwriting is absolutely fabulous!

These are my favourites - if this is your work, could you get your teacher to give you a special award - in my school we get a 'Heads Special' Award and I think getting your work published on VCOP Teacher is a great achievement, well done!

Now can you work out why I like these descriptions?
Your teacher said you keep asking her "Why does she have pencils in her hair?"

A very good question - why do you think I have pencils in my hair?

I wonder if you can guess how many pencils are in my hair?
Keep Writing!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Open it by adding more detail and making it interesting

You could play this game with a friend. Tell your friend a boring sentence such as:
Tasneem went to the park.

Can they add more detail and make it more interesting?

  • Tasneem trudged angrily to the park.

If you think your friend can do better ask them to try again!

  • Long-haired Tasneem, who had a chocolate-chip ice cream, trudged angrily to the park because she had a meeting with an alien, to discuss something important.

Thanks to Tasneem for this example.

Portmanteau words

A portmanteau word is a word that has been made up of two other words. Here are some examples:
  • brash - brave/bold and rash
  • edutainment - education and entertainment

Using a dictionary, can you find two words and make up a portmanteau word? How many can you make in two minutes? Can you put them into a poem?

What did you have for dinner last night?

Thanks to Meg for this lovely adjectives poem. Can you write an adjectives poem about what you had for dinner last night?

For dinner I had chicken.
It was a golden-brown chicken.
It was a roasted, golden-brown chicken.
It was a crispy, roasted, golden-brown chicken.
It was a mouth-watering, crispy, roasted, golden-brown chicken and it was delicious!
By Meg

Thursday, 9 October 2008

It was so quiet...

I couldn't hear a sound except for pens going crazy writing at a hundred miles an hour! Can we do VCOP Teacher stuff all day miss? I think it was the fact I'd introduced them to the Chillimeter and the game show idea that made them want to write all day!

How's writing in your class? Have you used the chillimeter yet?

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Wishlist poem

A Snowman’s Wish List
Let me be deep in snow,
let my carrot nose be the juiciest,
let the sun take pity on me,
let me rest by the safety of the house,
no rocks or stones thrown by small boys.

Don’t let my stick arms be weak,
let my hat be warm, big and snug,
let the snowflakes fall softly,
tickling my smooth white cheek.

Let the new fallen snow settle deeply,
fresh, cool, quickening my icy brain.
Let my melting snow be re-built every day
with loving caring hands,
and please, please,
let the hands be those of a caring child.

Matilda Benjamin (9)

If - can you write an If poem?

IfIf you were the sun then I'd be the moon
if you were the yoghurt then I'd be the spoon
if you were the paper then I'd be the pen
if you were the egg then I'd be the hen
if you were the dog then I'd be the bark
if you were the torch then I'd be the dark
if you were the hinge then I'd be the door
if you love me then I love you more.

Vicki-Lee McCann (11)

More great poems by children on this website

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Magical Mystery Tour

Advertise the first ever tour to this magical lake deep in a mountainside cavern. Remember to use all your senses in your persuasive script.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


Think of someone special- could be real or imaginary, dead or alive.
You only have three questions to ask. Think carefully. What would you ask and why?

Apostrophe song - cn you write one?

Apostrophe (Oh Christmas Tree)
by Eileen Thorpe
Apostrophe, apostrophe
You drive me oh so batty.
Apostrophe, apostrophe
Your overuse is a travesty.

Some people just can’t get enough
They must think you’re hot stuff
Apostrophe, apostrophe
Some rules to avoid catastrophe.
It’s hers and theirs and yours and its when you want to possess a bit
And when you need to pluralize,
You don’t need to apostrophize.
And what of words that end in esess?
An apostrophe will only make a mess’s.
I wonder why you so confuse
I’m sure you’re tired of this abuse.
Apostrophe, apostrophe
You drive me oh so batty.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Adjectives in poetry

I ‘stole’ this idea from the poetry zone
If you like creating poetry its full of good ideas

Adjectives are describing words. If I say "Tom is playing with a red ball." then the word red describes the ball. Write a poem by repeating the first line but each time adding another adjective.

For example.
On my way to the zoo I saw a bear.
It was a brown bear.
It was an ugly brown bear
It was a wild, ugly, brown bear
It was an angry, wild, ugly, brown bear
It was a hungry, angry, wild, ugly, brown bear
It was an escaped, hungry, angry, wild, ugly, brown bear
And it wanted to eat me!

Now create a start sentence and get creative (if you’re stuck use the sentence about Tom)

WoW word detective

Pick a book and go through it making word lists of words or phrases you might like to include in your future work.
For the words try to organise them into columns for verbs, adjectives, adverbs etc too.
If you've got time pick one or two of the words you really like and write a completely new sentence about your teacher using them.

Pick a connective and uplevel

Choose any two of these short simple sentences. Firstly try joining two with a connective to make them into a longer sentence (it can be silly).
Then look at verbs can you keep meaning but make them more powerful?
Now are there adverbs you could add to describe these verbs?
Could you add in any adjectives?
If you've run out of ideas use one of these as a starter then add a connective then your own ending before doing the above.

The cat sat on the mat.
The grass was wet.
The rain didn't stop.
The boy knocked over the drink.
The dog ran down the road.
The mouse hid in the cup.
The cat went to the shop.
The girl walked across the grass.
The sun came out.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Alliteration poem

Big Beefy Bill the Beef Burger Burglar

Meet big beefy Biff the beef burger burglar
burgling big beefy burgers of beef.
Boldly he burgles the biggest beef burgers
big beefy Biff the biggest meat thief.

He battered and broke in the Big Beefy Burger Bar
burgling burgers in bright broad daylight
biting the best biggest brown buttered breadbuns
bagging the beefiest burgers in sight.

He bit bits of burger and bits of breadbuns
busily biting between and beneath.
From breakfast he battled and binged beef and breadcrumbs
belching big burps that baffled belief.

Big beefy Biff the beed burger burglar
burgling big beefy burgers of beef.
Big beefy Biff the beef burger burglar
Big beefy Biff the beef burger thief.

Paul Cookson

Now it's your turn choose a consonant and make up an interesting alliteration poem.

Guess who I am?

You need to choose a character from a familiar text, such as a traditional tale or it could be from the class novel you are reading. Now say something in the style of one of the characters.


"If only I didn't take after my Dad with his size 14 shoes! I'd be with that dishy chap with servants waiting on me. Ho hum!"

Food Glorious Food

Write autobiographically on the subject of food.

Think about a meal you really enjoyed. Start to describe the food in detail.
Use your senses:
  • what did it smell like
  • what was its appearance
  • its taste and texture
  • how did it make you feel

Think about wow words and phrases that describe the food. Look at your examples can you comment on any of your ideas that work well. Try to turn your notes into complex sentences.
Make your account personal and use a chatty style.

Adverb poem

Slowly the tide creeps up the sand,
Slowly the shadows cross the land.
Slowly the cart-horse pulls his mile,
Slowly the old man mounts his stile.

Slowly the hands move round the clock,
Slowly the dew dries on the dock.
Slow is the snail – but slowest of all
The green moss spreads on the old brick wall.


Write an adverb poem. Remember to plan all your ideas first before you start.

Adverbs list

quietly, gently, softly, lightly, swiftly, brightly, loudly, frantically, jocularly, sternly, jovially, awkwardly, cunningly, cautiously, furiously, monstrously, desperately, bravely, luckily, mysteriously, tragically.

How was it performed?

Adverb practice

Adding adverbs will help you describe "how" the action was performed.

The snow started to fall.

Make sure you choose the right adverb!

More sentences to explain how it was performed:
  • Misty gazed across the field.
  • The car careered forwad and smashed into the fence.
  • The birds flew into the treetops.
  • The prince sat down in the kitchen with a sipper in his hand.
  • Connor awoke and climbed out from beneath the covers.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Can you judge a book by its cover?

Look closely at this picture. Which five of the following words would you choose to describe this character?
kind, compassionate, thoughtless, untidy, heartless, mean, ruthless, savage, vicious, cruel, inconsiderate, insensitive, malicious, mean, uncaring, charitable, kind-hearted, caring, considerate, faithful, fond, tender, warm.
Why did you choose those words? Can you really tell what sort of person this is just by looking? Do you think this person would help an old lady with her shopping bags? or give up a seat on a bus for an old man? Can you really tell?
One thing you can be more certain of is appearance, write a list of words to describe this persons appearance.

What story do the wrinkles tell?

Look carefully at this face. Imagine the wealth ot events this woman has witnessed or experienced in her lifetime. Write up one of her memories making sure you use range of ambitious words to really bring the memory alive and show her true feelings.


It's a hot sunny day, you're sitting on the front seat of this brand new roller coaster! Describe your feelings.

Dressing up Day

I'm Alfie and I'm a wasp!

Describe my life as a wasp!

Guess who..

Who am I? What kind of person am I? Can you describe how others see me?

Write my story in 50 words!

Thoughts in the Head

My name is Max.
What am I thinking?

Scaaaaary Settings

Can you think of some descriptive words to describe this haunted house? What might you see, hear, smell, taste and feel?

Things you can do now:

  • How about writing the plan for the story? What will happen to your character?

  • How will you create an exciting opening and a suprising ending?

  • Why not write the part when your character reaches and enters the house; how does he/she feel? What do they find in the house? Try and use longer sentences for description and shorter sentences for action/suspense.

  • Try and create a character who lives in the house. Who is she/he? What do they look like? What type of personaility do they have? Try and think about what kind of person would live in that house.

Be scarrrrrrrryyyyy!!!


Can you write a list of adjectives for each letter of the alphabet? What about the letter Z or X?
Then try it with with Wow verbs and adverbs. As a challenge, you could try and create exciting sentences using ideas from each letter!

Overheard Conversations

Practice your dialogue, and speech punctuation by writing overheard conversations.

Try this one between a shop assistant and a customer in a shoe shop!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Cartoon Capers

The original caption is Sometimes cutting an onion can be so emotional! can you come up with alternative captions?

Senses Detective

Looking at the picture imagine you are there and make word lists for each of the five senses- Sight, Hearing, Touch, Smell, Feelings(how do you feel when you look at it or would you feel if you were there)

Extension- Use your word list to write a short snappy paragraph for a tourist brochure really making me want to visit. Remember all the rules of good sentences writing!!!

Verb family race

IS family - is, are, was, were
HAVE family - have, has, had
DO family - do, does, did

2/3 players
  • decide which player has what verb family
  • read your class novel together looking out for your verb family
  • try to spot your verb family working together helping another verb


1 point everytime you spot your verb family helping others!

Winer is first player to get to 10 points.

Openers - what can you do with these words?

Can you make a great Opening using these words?

summoned trepidation anticipation

sense of dread anxious accusing

butterflies in my stomach stuttering heart beating

hoarse whisper

Up Level it!

The empty house was on fire. Flames were everywhere. The fire engine turned up and put it out.
Can you Up Level my very very boring writing?

Dangerous Job - Amazing Life

Write the opening to an incident which was dangerous and exciting.

You could be any of the following people involved in an exciting incident:
  • police officer
  • fire officer
  • mountain rescuer
  • soldier
  • paramedic

Think about the dramatic and dangerous incident - make it really exciting!

  • make a list of adjectives that you could use to create danger
  • show different points of view
  • use adverbs
  • set the scene carefully
  • build up tension

Have a look at your Opening - have you shown the danger?

Monday, 28 July 2008

Sentence Detective

Make up a sentence on your whiteboard, for example:
After we've been swimming, we'll drink hot chocolate in the cafe.
You write like you do in a hangman game. (Make sure you show punctuation so you can quiz your partner about what each punctuation mark signifies.)

You can guess either letters or whole words.
Scoring system:
  • start with 10 points
  • wrong guess costs 3 points
  • correct guess 2 points
  • try to complete the sentence before your points are used up

You can ask your partner to explain reasons for their choices.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Give it some ummmmppphhhh!

Can you change my writing to give it more impact?

The girl, whose courage and daring had been so amazing, stood on the edge of the cliff and shivered as she stared at the water below. Her name was Cherry and she wanted to get home.

What's in the news?

Write as many headlines for all the traditional and fairy tales you can remember. To get you started:


Extension: you could show two different versions of the same story

Odd words story starter game

Select two nouns that do not go together and think about a narrative that would link the two together.

astronaut scooter crumpet rucksack

bath football hippo toaster

tent pumpkin trainers christmas tree

Crazy Questions!

Write down five crazy questions that you would ask this object (the tent not the horse!)
e.g. Tent, why are you so still?
Write down five commands to boss the tent about.
Now write the conversation between the tent and horse!

Noun Doodling

Today we're going to be doodling with nouns so we can create little bits of description like this example:
busy road
alarmingly busy road
the alarmingly busy road
The alarmingly busy road near the Old People's Home.

Try noun doodling with these nouns:

table statue cardigan trainer dog

grapefruit gate lane supermarket

boy bike basketball car

Wish You Were Here

Working in pairs, you are going to write an imaginary holiday postcard.
Decide who's going first and take it in turns to write your bit of the postcard.Remember to fold it over so your partner can't see it. When you've finished share with the rest of the class.
  • opening/greeting
  • hotel
  • weather
  • entertainment
  • what you miss about home
  • signing off

Connectives, connectives, connectives

Create a group story with each sentence beginning with a connective from the list below.
  • Just then
  • Fortunately
  • Moreover
  • Consequently
  • Later
  • Meanwhile
  • For this reason
  • Also
  • On the other hand
  • Therefore
  • At that moment
  • Anyway
  • Nevertheless
  • Despite this

Use in any order!


Sort into the different jobs done by the connectives. For example: to add to, to contradict, to explain cause and effect and to indicate time.

The Questionator

Another great Pie Corbett game!

This is a quick-fire observation game where you need to describe what's going on in a particular setting.
Look closely at this supermarket setting
Who is there?
Where are they?
What are they doing?
What else is there?
What has just happened?
What do you think will happen next?


VCOP Teacher was always moaning at her last class to vary their openings but this year she is trying to have a moan free year so can you stop her moaning by varying your openers?

Just in case you need reminding, here are some examples of openers:

  • use a connective

While Dad sat on the sofa, Mum cooked the tea.

  • try an 'ing' clause

Waiting for his tea, Dad watched the 6 o'clock news.

  • try an 'ed' clause

Shocked by the breaking news, Dad called Mum in from the kitchen.

  • use a simile

Like an olympic sprinter, Mum rushed in to watch the breaking news.

  • try an adverb

Solemnly, she sat and watched the disaster unfold.

  • use one word

Sad, she went back into the kitchen to continue cooking.

  • use 'But'

But Dad realised he was no longer hungry, as he was so worried that his parents were caught up in the hurricane disaster.

  • use a prepositional phrase

At the end of the worktop in the kitchen, Mum stood with tears slowly falling down her face.

Can you write an example of each opener?

Vocabulary - Using a dictionary

VCOP Teacher is not a walking dictionary - this is a dictionary and this year you WILL use them!
Dictionaries contain lots of information about each word:
  • its definition
  • what word class it is (n= noun; v = verb; adj = adjective)
  • its origin
  • related words or sayings, if it has any.

Use your dictionary to check these spellings:

















Write the words correctly - can you put them in a sentence?

Friday, 25 July 2008

Vocabulary - More Stolen Words

Where do our words come from?
Well, as you quite rightly know, we do steal them from other countries but where do our other stolen words come from?

Have a look at these words and make some guesses?

jangle autobiography August pizza

wellington banquet solo sandwich

sphere thump photograph biro gurgle

splash spaghetti soprano cuckoo

hiss alto concerto

What country are some of these words stolen from?

Our words are also stolen from names, old languages and sounds. Can you find more?

Did you spot any connections between words?

What do we call it when words sound like the sound the word makes?

Can you build up a Stolen word collection from other countries, old languages, names or sounds?

Vocabulary - Stolen words Challenge

English is a living language and we do borrow words from other parts of the world. Your challenge today is to find the area of origin of these words.


The words have been stolen from....

  • The Netherlands

  • France

  • India

  • America

  • Australasia

The Stolen words:

  • cafe

  • moose

  • kangaroo

  • shampoo

  • smuggle

  • pyjamas

  • blizzard

  • sketch

  • verandah

  • moccasins

  • dingo

  • boutique

  • toboggan

  • billabong

  • banquet

  • buoy

  • chauffeur

  • kiwi

  • okay

Now can you put them into a Red Hot Sentence?

Connectives Game

Why not start today with a great game from Pie Corbett?
You take turns to say a line in a story which you then hand on to your partner by suggesting a connective, e.g.
Child 1: Once there was a woodcutter who
Child 2: spent many hours in the forest because
Child 1: his wife spent so much money at Marks & Spencer, he had no choice to work while

Here are some connectives for you to play with!
  • meanwhile
  • furthermore
  • however
  • nonetheless
  • alternatively
  • although
  • because
  • nevertheless
  • whereas
  • whoever
  • consequently
  • because
  • besides
  • until
  • yet
  • since
  • henceforward

(If your teacher hasn't got the following book then nag her until she buys it - Jumpstart ISBN 1-84312-102-6)
Get it from Amazon

Wow Word Catcher

How many wow words and phrases have you caught today?

Tell Sid the Sentence Spider some of the ones you think are amazing!

Remember to use them in your own writng!

Thinking about your writing!

Daily use of your VCOP Journal will certainly improve your writing. Now let's get started!

Think about your writing, what do you like to write?

What does your teacher nag you to do?
What do you keep forgetting?
When were you most proud of something you had written?
What are your strengths?