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Day 27 - Owls (creative ideas for home schooling)

For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 8) 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!



Joshua has a mild obsession with owls. I think that this has hailed from the introduction to Hedwig in Harry Potter. Having seen a photo of an owl on my computer that I was using for some online short-burst writing training, he was desperate to choose this as today's focus.

They are such beautiful creatures - no wonder we associate them with magic and wizards.

Today, we went back to using vocabulary for effect, tuning into the stimulus and writing with clarity. Drawing on recent sessions, we then turned our poetry into prose.

For maths, we decided to explore the world of shape and created our own versions of these masterful birds. Hope you enjoy!



  • Poetry - spine poems

  • Vocabulary generation

  • Turning poetry into prose

  • Word search

Grammar Warm Up

I learnt that the collective noun for a group of owls is called a parliament. If only we had that wisdom in out parliament right now! Anyway, this inspired today's grammar game.

Create two piles of words. One pile of concrete nouns in plural form (i.e. things that you can touch such as dogs, cars, pens, etc.) The other pile, concrete nouns that we associate with groups (such as crowd, garden) or things that hold or contain (such as pool, jug, cup, etc.)

Shuffle each pile and then pull one from each pile randomly. Join them with the word 'of' to create a new collective noun, never heard of before.

We had some corkers - I particularly loved a scream of clocks and an army of donkeys. We then discussed the difference between concrete and collective nouns.

Inventing a character

If you have children around the same age as mine, you have to read this book to them. It is an absolute masterpiece. I love it so much, I have gone on to read the entire series. Today's lesson is based on the amazing planning by my colleague and friend Maria Richards. If you are interested in the full lesson, you can see the planning here:

The idea is simple. You find an opportunity in a book to introduce a new character. Then work with the children to generate language around the key 3 or 4 prominent features of that character. This, again, is training the children to look closely and observe. Next comes the short, poetic sentences, focussing on words and their meaning and effect on the reader. Then, connect the ideas into a short narrative that could slot into the novel.

Here it is in practice:

And here are our poems and narratives:

The owl watches.

Flamed eyes pierce the night sky.

A scythed beak,

speaks in tortured screams.

A chainmail of feathers

proudly protects.

Bladed talons tear

into frozen fear.

Then Podkin saw it. On top of one of the ginormous pillars stood the guard to Boneroot. It watched them with flamed eyes that pierced through the night sky. The voice that had penetrated the silence had faded into nothingness, but the scythed beak twitched, ready to speak again in the voice of tortured screams. Podkin cowered in fear as the owl soared from its perch, an angel of chainmail prepared for battle. As it landed in front of him, its bladed talons tore into the snow, heightening the frozen fear that cripples him from within.

"I said, who goes there?" it screeched.

© Jamie Thomas 2020

The owl stared.

Fierce, fiery eyes twitched.

Its shark fin beak hooked,

hiding beneath ferocious feathers.

Pavement-piercing talons pounce.

Suddenly, two fierce, fiery eyes twitched onto him. Then he noticed its shark fin beak, hooked, hiding beneath ferocious feathers. The owl flew down off its perch. Its pavement-piercing talons pounced upon Podkin's shoulders, throwing him into the snow.

by Archie

The owl stared.

Blood-angry eyes filled with lava.

Its swordfish beak clicked like a computer keyboard.

Bat feathers rustled.

Its talons curved like a crescent moon.

Then Podkin saw it. High, almost in the clouds, a snowy owl sat and stared. Its blood-angry eyes filled with lava. A swordfish beak clicked like a computer keyboard, plotting, warning them to stay away. Its bat feathers rustled as crescent moon talons crunched the snow beneath its feet.

by Joshua



  • 2D Shape

My thanks to the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary for their online resources for home fun. We downloaded owl word searches, colouring in and a 2D shape puzzle, which the boys loved. Whilst creating, we discussed the properties of 2D shapes, including number of sides, corners, faces, parallel sides, etc. We also clarified that the so called 'diamond' is, in fact, a rhombus.

Finley, my 3 year old, also was desperate to get involved and made an owl of his own.

Download PDF • 230KB

Download PDF • 1.98MB

Download PDF • 626KB


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. Tomorrow, we shall be using the following stimulus:


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

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1 comentário

Rachel Jones
Rachel Jones
18 de mai. de 2020

I stumbled across your blog on a Facebook teacher group and I’m so glad I did! The doors unit is fabulous and I’ll use it as an idea for my year 6 class after the half term break. My daughter has decided on an owl theme too this week so this was a perfect find too! We’re reading the owl who was afraid of the dark. Thank you again for your work

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