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Day 15 - Wishes (creative ideas for teaching English and maths at home)

For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 7) choose a stimulus that drives the learning. We hope that you enjoy the blog and can take some inspiration from what we love doing - making learning as engaging as possible!


Wishes are great fun to explore. We all wish for many things each and every day. Whether it be for the sun to keep shining or for today's political briefing to be slightly less ridiculous, the wishes keep coming.

Today's activities are all about encouraging the children to apply their knowledge and imagination to the world of the wish. We hope you enjoy and take some inspiration from the ideas below.



  • List poetry

  • Drawing upon the senses

  • Figurative techniques

  • Imagination

The idea behind today's poetry session hails from Kenneth Koch's book, Wishes, Lies, and Dreams. In the book, Koch tells us:

'Wishes make a very good early writing assignment. Children are great makers of wishes, and they love to write about them. Asking them to do so gives them a whole lot of new subject matter they usually don't think about in school. To help them with form I suggested that they begin every line with "I wish," and to make them feel free about what they said I suggested that they make their wishes as wild and crazy as they liked.'

Kenneth Koch (Wishes, Lies, and Dreams, 1970)

Here are our wish poems:


I wish I were a river,

meandering through the vales.

I wish I were the North Star,

navigating rough oceans.

I wish I were a diary,

filled with secrets and honest thoughts.

I wish I were a fresh idea,

born from a methodical mind.

I wish I were a parent's pride,

dispersed through tears of joy.

I wish I could caress a cloud

as it kisses a sapphire sky.

I wish I could ride a dragon

across sun-kissed valleys.

I wish I could bottle happiness

and quench misery's thirst.

I wish I knew the answers

to the questions that I face.

I wish I could explore my dreams,

my journeys of desire.

© Jamie Thomas 2020

Hear this read:

I Joshua

I wish I could run as fast as a cheetah.

I wish I could ride the largest blue whale.

I wish I could train a Night Fury

and fly through the sky like a dragon rider.

I wish I were a parrot,

squawking through the sky.

I wish I could see my mum's and dad's faces,

smiling at me.

I wish I could see Hogwarts School

of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

I wish I could walk down Diagon Alley

with Harry Potter at my side.

I wish I could ride a broomstick

and capture the golden snitch.

I wish I could see me as a cute baby.

I wish I could hear my father's laugh.

I Archie

I wish I was a monkey,

jumping from the trees.

I wish I could hear electricity,

crackling in the distance.

I wish I could touch the sun's brightness,

shining like a torch in the darkness.

I wish I could walk on the moon,

bouncing up and down.

I wish I could taste a chocolate waterfall

as it poured into a lake of greed.

I wish I could score the winning goal

for Chelsea in the cup final.

You can hear the boys read their poems here:



  • creating puzzles using property of number

  • number bonds

  • multiplication knowledge and application

Like many of you, I am sure that your children are being set plenty of maths and English by their schools. Every morning, my boys complete their White Rose maths activities online. The maths that we explore through the stimulus is designed to give them the opportunity to apply their wider knowledge in a more creative, play based style of learning.

Wishes are a form of desire. Therefore, the idea behind today's maths investigation was simple - if I wish for a number, how many ways could it be presented?

Here is what we did:

  • Begin by working through an example, e.g. "I wish for the answer 7. How could I obtain it?"

  • With the children, brainstorm as many ideas in 2 minutes as possible. You may like to draw on any of the following:

  1. number bonds, e.g. 5+2 / 14 - 7

  2. multiplication (including decimals), e.g. 7x1 / 0.7x10 / 0.07x100

  3. division, e.g. 21÷3 / 70 ÷10

  4. fractions, e.g. 7/1

  5. shape, e.g. square + triangle

  6. abstract ideas, e.g. legs on a spider - 1

  7. connections, e.g. days in a week

Here is the example we did together with no time limit:

And here are the wishing number maps we made playing the game:

The kids enjoyed the game and got better the more we completed. This will be an activity we revisit as it allows them to draw upon and consolidate prior knowledge, whilst having fun!


If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please do follow us. Alternatively, you may like to follow me on Twitter: @JamieWTSA.

My thanks to Pie Corbett and Talk for Writing for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.

Do tune in tomorrow, when our stimulus is:


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