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?