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Day 21 - Dragons (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!



Dragons have to be one of the most exciting stimulus for a young child to write about. There are so many amazing writing opportunities - we are spoilt for choice. We hope you enjoy today's activities. Our thanks to Roslyn Everson and her children Laura and Hannah, and Kimberley O'Connor and her boys Finlay and Benjamin for the theme.



  • Word class: adjectives, verbs, adverbs

  • Rhetorical question

  • Metaphor

Activity 1 (Vocabulary): Ink Waster

Ink waster is a short, sharp activity designed to get vocabulary out of children. Using a bank of images, get the children to write down as many words as they can in a set time limit, say 1 minute. Encourage them to write down all ideas, however random. Then share and discuss the words you have generated. Encourage the children to magpie ideas off each other, and you!

Activity 2 (Grammar): Fast Poem (taken from Jumpstart! Literacy by Pie Corbett)

The next activity is to begin to consolidate some of the vocabulary generated and revisit word class. This activity is really lovely as it can be done with any stimulus and produces fast, effective poems.

Looking at an image, write down:

  • 1 noun

  • 2 adjectives

  • 3 adverbs

  • 4 verbs

This is a great way to revisit basic word class but also to discuss relevance of word choice.

Here are our fast poems. We began by naming the dragon (as in type...not Bob!)

Dragon of Hades,

fiery and fierce,

malevolently, mysteriously, menacingly,

glides, claws, rampages and destroys.

© Jamie Thomas 2020

The Fireball Dragon,

evil and spiny,

secretly, terrifyingly, distressingly,

thumps, clashes, fires and flies.

by Archie

The Rocky Lava Dragon,

spiny and spiky,

ferociously, sickly, terrifyingly,

kills, rips, pounces and whacks.

by Joshua

Activity 3 (Poetry): Dragon, Dragon

The main activity is inspired by the William Blake poem, The Tyger. This is a poem that I adore and have done a lot of work on with past Year 6 classes. The following is a simplified exploration into the poem.

Begin by having a discussion about the dragon - which things amaze you? (e.g. the claws, eyes, scales, etc.) We then explored asking the dragon questions, like Blake does in The Tyger. You could ask:

How are you made?

Where have you come from?

Why are you the way you are?

As I write this, I immediately am reminded of the fantastic opening to Ted Hughes's Iron Man. Indeed, this has a lot of similarities.

Below is the model I wrote to contextualise the learning with the boys, their versions and recordings of all of our poems.

The Dragon

Dragon -

why are your eyes filled with fiery hatred

that pierce the the darkness?

What evil lies within your soul,

fuelling your hatred?

Dragon -

what possesses your anger?

Who created such claws,

twisted in turmoil?

Who dare unleash such loathing?

Dragon -

where beneath that armour

lies your stone-grey heart?

What blood taints your veins?

How can horror ever be destroyed?

© Jamie Thomas 2020

The Dragon by Archie

Dragon -

why are your eyes so evil?

Dragon -

why are your claws as sharp as a crocodile's tooth?

Dragon -

why are your wings so mighty?

Dragon -

why are you burning and boiling?

Dragon -

why are you sharp, spiky and fierce?

Dragon -

why are your feet so loud and thunderous?

The Dragon by Joshua

Dragon -

why are your eyes so deadly?

Dragon -

why are your claws sharper than a shark's tooth?

Dragon -

why is your tail so strong?

Dragon -

why are you so scaly?

Dragon -

why aren't you extinct?

Dragon -

why does your body sound like thunder?



  • Problem solving

  • Number bonds

  • Mathematical equations and reasoning

Whilst brainstorming ideas for dragon-related maths, I came across this amazing logic puzzle worksheet. Unfortunately, I was not able to find its creator so cannot give credit where credit is due...but the boys loved it!

Dragon Logic Puzzles
Download DOC • 2.36MB


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

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:


I think you know where this is going...

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

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