10 Lesson Starters for Primary Grammar

  1. Read a letter to your class from a wizard, requesting their help in defeating a dragon.  Follow a series of clues which lead to a buried key in the school’s outdoor area.  Use this as a starting point for developing quest stories describing their journey to a faraway land.  How do they feel?  How will they reach their destination?  How will they defeat the dragon and fulfil the wizard’s request? 
  2. Find a letter in the classroom from the Tooth Fairy asking for help in developing a new type of toothpaste because the fairies have found that children are not brushing their teeth well enough. Ask your class to write instructions in the form recipes for making the toothpaste, including magical ingredients that could be used.  This offers an ideal opportunity to explore verbs, nouns and adverbial phrases.
  3. Bring your teddy into school and introduce him to your class.  Explain he has hurt his hand and is unable to complete his shopping list.  Can the children find out what he likes to eat and write his shopping list for him?
  4. Play a clip of a programme or film similar to M.I. High (BBC) or any of the Spy Kids franchise (Dimension Films) which shows the children being recruited. Explain that an international jewel thief has been spotted in their local area and that they need to become agents for an organisation tasked with locating and capturing the fugitive.  Firstly, they need to complete an application form applying for the position and persuade the panel to consider them for interview: what special skills do they possess that will make them an effective agent (the more inventive, the better)? 
  5. Find a torn page from a book either buried outside or behind a cupboard.  Read it together.  What do they think happened before/after the page that they have found?  Can they write a story based upon the page that they have found? Alternatively, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick  (Chris Van Allsburg, 1984)
  6. Read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Dahl, 1964). Can your class design their own machine to make a chocolate bar and explain how it works?  Follow a ‘Dragon’s Den’ format and ask children to present their ideas for a new chocolate bar and design the wrappers and produce an advertising campaign.
  7. Receive a parcel from a local farmer containing a dinosaur bone which has been found in one of his fields.  Ask your class to research the topic of dinosaurs and compose information booklets for the local museum to accompany the bone as one of their exhibits.
  8. Provide suitcases full of artefacts and objects (be as creative as possible).  Ask the children to write a story based on the character that would own such a suitcase and the adventures that they may have.  For example: include a bag of ‘jewels’, fake passports, a number of different hats and sunglasses, a book or some information about the crown jewels and a map of Buckingham Palace.  This will provide children with opportunities to develop character and plot whilst developing their use of adverbials, expanded noun phrases and effective punctuation.
  9. Overnight, a large nest has appeared on the school field.  You may wish to add mysterious footprints or large feathers and introduce ‘witnesses’ that have caught sight of a strange looking bird.  Ask your class to prepare newspaper stories and podcasts informing readers and listeners of the strange goings-on.  Encourage them to interview eye witnesses and incorporate their statements into their new report.
  10. Use websites such as http://www.comicmaster.org.uk/ or http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/comic/ to develop comics and graphic novels.