Christmas Writing

I have to say that it is a bumper year for great christmas adverts .  I am in love with Mog and his christmas calamity and think it beats the John Lewis advert hands down. I do think that the John Lewis advert and Baboon on the Moon are very similar.
Here is my list of favourite christmas adverts that would be great to use to support writing and as a little present, there are three teaching sequences now available to go with them – one for Yr1/2, one for Yr3/4 and one for Yr5/6.

mogThis is such a fun story where a chain of events lead to Mog escaping quickly from the kitchen, which is in ruins.  I love the expressions on Mog’s face as he moves through the catastrophe.  We have a sequence for Yrs 3 and 4 based on this advert.


mononthemoonThis is a great advert, which if Mog wasn’t around would be my favourite this year.  It tells the story of a man (grandpa) far away and his loneliness.  The little girl goes to endless trouble to get in contact with him and because this is Christmas, she manages it. We have a sequence for Yrs1 and 2 based on this advert and Baboon on themoon . Although the sequence moves onto invented writing, you could stop at the end of the innovate stage. Download the sequence at .

spanishlotto My third favourite christmas ad is the spanish lottery advert which tells about a man who goes to work every day in a rather boring job and the things he does to pass the time. The staff then win the lottery and he thinks he is not included. But it’s christmas so I am sure you can guess the ending.  We have  a sequence for Yrs5 and 6 based on this advert at


kwikfitMy final ad is one from KwikFit  just for the joy of Christmas and the magic of Santa Claus for children. I love the reindeer nose peeking out at the end. is where it can be found.



Do you have a favourite Christmas ad to support writing that we should know about?




Harold, the purple crayon and dipdap

One of my favourite books for the fantasy unit in Yr1 is Harold and the Purple Crayon.  It follows a fairly popular tradition in children’s fiction where the pencil crayon draws the character into trouble and out of it again and again.  Anthony Browne’s Bear Hunt did the same thing as did Doodling Daniel.

The book lends itself to children doodling or drawing their own stories on large sheets of paper telling the story as they draw.  In fact the doodles become the story plan.

But I also think this type of book links well to animation.  In fact there is a 1950s animation of the book, see below, but what I  think it links best to is the wonderful CBeebies animation DipDap.  Children could explore drawing lines bit by bit and capturing this using animation software.  They could then choose some suitable music to go with the animation.

Getting Going Slowly

I haven’t written a blog post since the end of the summer term and strangely it is taking me a long time to get going and back into the swing of blogging.  I suspect it is because we are so busy at the moment but really that is a poor excuse because we are always busy.

So what have we been up to?  Well  our number 1 piece of news is that we managed to get ourselves onto the government approved list of phonics trainers.  What that means is that the training we offer through their catalogue (out on the 16th Sept) will be match funded meaning that schools pay half price!  Our training is based around Letters and Sounds.

We have also been keeping up with new ideas and tools to support learning in literacy.  Tim Rylands recently shared the wonderful site Little Bird Tales which is so easy to use and designed specifically for children. I’m looking forward to using this with children.   Pie Corbett has a new book out, Evidence of Dragons, which is just waiting for a class of children.  And talking of dragons we also came across the wonderful site about dragonese as a precursor to the How to Train Your Dragon 2 film.  The site has a book of dragons which is a great model that children could imitate.

A great film that can be used as a text in literacy particularly the Yr5 unit, film narrative, is Paraphernalia.  We are currently using this in some of our Talk for Writing training in schools.

It’s good to be back!

Using film to support literacy learning – can you help?

filmI am currently in the process of writing a book about using film to support learning in literacy.  The book is divided into chapters that relate to the BFI areas of focus in film:

  • character
  • composition
  • colour
  • camera
  • cutting
  • category
  • setting
  • story
  • sound
  • symbolism
  • sequence

I am particularly interested in creating film and have developed a range of activities related to each of the above headings.  If you would be interested in trying out one of the activities then leave me a comment letting me know which year group or groups that you teach, your  email and which which area of focus and I will send you the activity.  In return I would ask that you give me feedback about the activity and access to the films that the children make as a result of trying the activity.  Films can be uploaded to Vimeo and I can then reference them in the book.

Each activity is in the first draft and so there will be typos and may not be expressed in the clearest way. This is part of what I am looking for feedback about.

There are three ways in which you can leave me your email and details of the focus area you would like to try and age range.

Twitter – I am @joysimpson


A comment on this post.

If you are interested in trying out an activity, please contact me.