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Day 16 - Coral (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!



Unfortunately, around a quarter of the world's coral reefs are irrevocably damaged. This is due to a wide range of factors, but the majority are all man-made problems. For many years, my brother worked for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in Queensland, working to conserve and preserve the reef.

When the boys asked to explore coral as a theme, I couldn't miss the opportunity to raise their awareness of this growing cause for concern.


English / Maths / Art / Science / Geography

  • Information text

  • Fronted adverbials

  • Rhetorical questions / engaging the reader

  • Statement / facts

  • Percentages / fractions

Today's session takes inspiration from this poster, that I came across when researching coral as a theme for the day.

What I loved about this is the way that it appealed to the reader, with colour and design at the heart of the poster, whilst the intent is to educate and inform. This hybrid of non-fiction texts is really engaging for children and one that I knew the boys would enjoy recreating.

Our first task was to gather our own facts and figures. We searched the internet and gathered our interesting facts, as well as watching the first instalment of David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef

With the facts and figures stored in our jotters, we then turned out attention to making this interesting and engaging for the reader. Each morning, we use activities from the Talk for Writing Home-school units to support our reading, grammar knowledge and sentence work. The units can be found and downloaded here:

This morning's activity, thanks to Dean Thompson, was to look at the engaging adverbs:

  • Interestingly,

  • Surprisingly,

  • Amazingly,

As well as the rhetorical question opener:

  • Did you know...?

We began by playing around with these in a totally creative and fictitious context. This helped the boys to used the words without fear and to understand how they form a sentence.


  • Amazingly, pine trees are actually sleeping tree porcupines.

  • Interestingly, if you swallow a cloud you will live forever.

  • Surprisingly, fish cannot drive cars.

With these fronted adverbials under our belt, we began to form our sentences, using the facts that we had found and writing them onto fish templates.

We then coloured in and cut out the fish, ready for the reef.

The final step was to create the coral reef. For this, I can take no credit and applaud the creativity of my wife, Laura.

Then we introduced the informed fish into their natural habitat.

Today's session was a celebration of the wider curriculum. We used the theme of coral to research not only English, but also elements of geography, art, maths and science. What's more - I have a wonderful piece of family artwork to now brighten up my office. Do share your photos with us should you decide to make a coral reef of your own - we would love to see them!


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.

We are so thankful to those of you who have inundated us with stimulus requests. We have made a list and will do our best to explore as many as we can. Do tune in tomorrow, when our stimulus is:


Our thanks to Rebecca Farmer for the theme.

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1 comentário

ali dunkerley
ali dunkerley
28 de abr. de 2020

This is such a great blog. I love the wishes idea! I am planning writing lessons for my P4s all this term and I will definitely use this idea. Thanks so much!

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