Say That Again!

A Hive of Activities

images (1) This is a good activity for practising paraphrasing skills, or for introducing an FCE, CAE or CPE -style Sentence Transformation exercise.  I’ve used this activity in both CAE and CPE classes and I think the students have been surprised at how many different ways they can think of to say something.  They’re also surprised when they find the transformation exercises easier.  Credit goes to where I got this idea from.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Either have students write short sentences on bits of paper, ideally something they might say in everyday life, eg. “I like your hair,” OR use the original sentences of a Transformation exercise.
  • Collect the slips of paper and re-distribute, face down, to groups of 3-4.   A student takes the top one, turns it face up and reads the sentence. They then have to produce a paraphrase of the sentence, as does the next person…

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Literacy – Noun Phrases. Use 2 or 3 adjectives before the noun:

Year 3 @ Two Moors

In Literacy we have been trying to improve our writing by adding 2 or 3 adjectives before the nouns so that we give the reader the information we want them to have. Today we used these simple noun-phrases below as starters before extending them with some interesting adjectives. Take a look at our sentences and see what you think?

the jewels = He picked up the sparkling, silver jewels.

the door = The camouflaged, rock-hard, stone door was pushed open by Paneb. (Billy & Joe)

the boxes = Smooth, wodden boxes were stacked neatly full of treasures. (Charlie & Amy)

the statues = Paneb and Dhalifa filled lots of bags with golden, solid, tall statues. (Billy & Joe)

the rings = Behind the statues were shiny, precious, expensive rings with jewels on top. (Isla & Rosie)

the heads = Golden heads of King Tut and his widow decorate the tombs…

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How To Use Adverbs and Adjectives

All That's Written ...

Adverbs, let’s look at them and determine what they are and if we really need them.

From the Oxford Dictionary:



  • a word or phrase that modifies the meaning of an adjective, verb, or other adverb, expressing manner, place, time, or degree (e.g.gentlyherenowvery). Some adverbs, for example sentence adverbs, can also be used to modify whole sentences.


late Middle English: from Latin adverbium, from ad- ‘to’ (expressing addition) + verbum ‘word, verb’

And let’s also look at Adjectives, the words we need to set the scene.

Again from the Oxford Dictionary:



  • a word naming an attribute of a noun, such as sweetred, or technical.

Let’s start with looking at the real troublemakers among the adverbs,  those that answer the question how.


Generally speaking, if a word answers the question how

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Grammar quiz!

Those are hiring words

Face it, we writers are word nerds and often more than a touch OCD when it comes to getting it right. I thought it would be fun to take a look at grammar tripwires that drive us nuts. But some of them are debatable, even among writers. Here’s one to ponder over your morning coffee. And because it’s nowhere near as much fun without knowing the “why” behind your choice, please explain in comments!

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Creative (adj.) Creatively (adverb) Creativeness (noun) Creativity (noun)

Pass the buck!


Producing or using original and unusual ideas.


a creative person/artist/designer/programmer
creative talents/powers/abilities
creative thinking

Too many rules might deadencreativity.

Creativity, ingenuity, and flair are the songwriter’s real talents.

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An Apple for the Student: Descriptive Writing



As a teacher’s aide I work with students from every grade–kindergarten through sixth–who need a little extra help.  For a number of years my schedule has included two or three writing groups a day, with children from a wide range of abilities.  I’ve used a variety of writing programs and approaches over the years.  I modify content and the expected rate of completing each assignment, to the needs of my students.

It’s always been a challenge to keep their interest and inspire them.  They come from a full spectrum of cultural backgrounds and life experience.  Expressing themselves is especially difficult for students who, for a myriad of reasons, have a limited speaking vocabulary.  When they don’t know how to say something, their natural instinct is to leave it out, resulting in short sentences that are vague and void of all the captivating details.  They miss out on the joy and interaction associated with sharing what’s on their minds, and of course that kind of writing isn’t fun

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