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?




Collaborative Video Editing

This has to be one of the best resources that I have come across recently. Many thanks to Tim Brook for sharing on his blog Magic Lantern Movies.   A widget that allows others to upload film clips and then remix all the clips.  This would be a great activity for pupils to do over the holidays, bearing in mind e-safety issues.  Instead of writing the ever present ‘What I did in the Summer Holidays’ on the first day back, the class could make a video of what they did. Let’s have a go!  Upload a short video clip of somewhere that you visited or have visited previously during the summer and then edit and remix the clips. Want one of these yourself?  Then go to Kaltura Open Source Video and sign up. Linked posts: What else can I have on my blog?

Great Video for the Literacy Classroom

This has to be my all time favourite video to be used as a model for children to create their own instructional videos.

How To Make Folding Machine TshirtClick here for more blooper videos

I love the way it uses still images to show what you need and that these are are inside the film rather than as a list at the beginning.  The music gives it a jaunty, easy to do rather comic feel and the end product is just so good!

More great videos to use in the literacy classroom


Xtranormal haspopped up in bookmarks and blogs for a couple of weeks and I have finally got round to having a look at it and I love it!

Xtranormal is movie making with cartoon characters but what makes this site stand out is the way in which you create the movie.  First you type in a script and then to that script you add the details such as actions, expressions, camera angle for filming, background and sound.  There are a range of voices to choose from plus background music.

I originally sat down at my computer to think about creating a few podcasts for grammar and ended up creating this rather rushed film

What I particularly like about this site is the fact that you can remix other people’s film.

If this wonderful site will pass through your school filtering system it has a wide range of uses.  In literacy it could be used to write a speech thinking about the actions and what angle you should be filmed from when saying particular things.  It can obviously be used for playscripts and to rehearse persuasive discussions with two points of view.

It can also support the development of character in story writing.  Children can make a short film of the character speaking shwoing through actions and expressions how the character is feeling.  This can then be turned into writing which shows not tells.

Now to the work I should have been doing!

Where the Wild Things Are


A wonderful trailer for use in literacy.  How soon before you know whether the thing carrying him is friendly or not?  What are the clues?  What effect does looking up at the tree canopy give?  How would you describe that opening in writing?  From whose point of vew?

Children could capture an image of the text and put it into Photostory or MovieMaker and add their own images to show what they hope for, fear, consider to be an adventure  and how they are a wild thing.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Safe From Harm by Rollo Armstrong make a great pair of books to use in guided reading to compare and contrast.

Read this post to find out how to download from YouTube to take a film into the classroom.

Animoto for Digital Storytelling

   On the wonderful site you input the images and choose the music and the site will then analyse them, add movement and create a film for you.  What could be easier?  They have even thought about e-safety features and offer a secure environment for teachers and schools.  (Scroll to the bottom of their page and click on education).

  To see some examples that children have made have a look at the Redbridge Primary ICT Consultant blog

To see how easy it is to use Animoto, let Mark Woolley show you how.

 So.  What is the difference between Photo Story 3 and Animoto?  If you have

  • time
  • want to focus on how to put together images, sound, text and movement together to see the effects that it will have

You will use Photo Story.  If you need

  • somthing that is quick
  • that demonstrates the thinking behind the images

Then Animoto is for you. With thanks to  Gail Lovely  and  @jennyluca for helping me come to these conclusions.

5 Uses for Animoto in the literacy classroom

  1. Create a film to show the meaning/theme behind a poem or a story
  2. Take images and use Animoto to produce a film to persuade parents to send their children to your school
  3. Create a reminder of an important event to embed on a blog, wiki, website
  4. Create a series of images that summarise a whole story and use Animoto to create a film of them
  5. Write interesting vocabulary and phrases from a story/poem onto sheets of paper.  Use appropriate fonts and colours.  Use Animoto to  create a film of them and then use this as a prompt to include them in your own writing.