No Pens Day Wednesday – 5th October 2016

npdwNo Pens Day Wednesday encourages schools and settings to put down their pens and to run a day of speaking and listening activities.

This year’s No Pens Day Wednesday will take place on Wednesday 5th October 2016.

Why don’t you try putting away the pens and pencils for a day, and looking at ways to develop your pupils’ oral language?


Click the image above for the No Pens Day Wednesday 2016 Activity Pack. The pack is full of information and ideas how Early Years, Primary and Secondary settings can support this. The official date is Wednesdy 5th October 2015.

See a video from The Communication Trust on the impact of No Pens Day Wednesday

Check out the Building Vocabulary for Better Literacy PowerPoint from The Literacy Toolkit to look at strategies for pre-teaching vocabulary – a great resource to support schools in Closing the Vocabulary Gap.

Pre-Writing Skills Handout

When using the Pre-Handwriting Skills Continuum to support motor development, learners develop Fine Motor Skills, Scissor Skills and Pre-writing Skills.

Check out the Pre Handwriting blog page under the Emerging Literacy tab to access the new Pre-Writing Skills handout and the updated handouts for Fine Motor Skills, Scissor Skills and Posture and Seating.


Many thanks to colleagues within Occupational Therapy in Highland.


Pen Fifty Words – September 2016

It’s time to delve into the past for this month’s ’50 Word Fiction’ from the Scottish Book Trust. This month’s stimulus is a great opportunity for learners to pen a piece of fiction of no more than 50 words on the subject of historical fiction.

For inspiration, you could use an image such as ‘memories’ from Pobble 365 or one of the Victorian Diaries from ‘The History Shed’ section of The Literacy Shed.


The deadline is Friday 30th September 2016. The Young Writers category is open to all children and young people under 18.

CLICK HERE – 50 Word Fiction (Historical Fiction) 

Futurelearn – Teaching Literacy through Film


Want to develop Film Education and Media Literacy in your classroom?

Futurelearn are offering a great free four week online course – Teaching Literacy Through Film beginning Monday 26th September 2016.

Course Information

Over four weeks, you’ll explore a range of strategies and frameworks that you can use to engage and inspire young people when teaching literacy, and improve their progress and levels of attainment in both reading and writing.

You’ll have the opportunity to share best practice, download classroom-ready resources, including how-to guides, activities and worksheets, and access an exclusive playlist of short films and clips to use in school.

We will also discuss the benefits of creating film content in the classroom and how this can be used to aid deep learning, which is more easily retained. You’ll have the opportunity to make your own short film for use in the classroom, which can be shared with fellow educators on a YouTube playlist.

CLICK HERE – Teaching Literacy Through Film

Check out the Media Literacy tab on the Highland Literacy blog.


Using a Semicolon

It may seem like the semicolon is struggling with an identity crisis. It looks like a comma crossed with a period. Maybe that’s why we toss these punctuation marks around like grammatical confetti; we’re confused about how to use them properly. Emma Bryce clarifies best practices for the semi-confusing semicolon.


Click on the image above to access a short TED-ED on the use of the semicolon, ideal for using during the writing process.

CLICK HERE – How to use a semicolon

Language Rich Environments

To support the development of literacy, language and communication it is recommended that practitioners across Highland develop language rich environments to support the development of Oral Language.

The Communication Trust have a series of videos for practitioners to support practice.

The following video provides guidance on how practitioners can develop a language rich environment.

Check out the Building Vocabulary for Better Literacy PowerPoint from The Literacy Toolkit to look at strategies for pre-teaching vocabulary – a great resource to support schools in Closing the Vocabulary Gap.

The following video provides guidance on how practitioners can scaffold language, supporting the development of the Words Up Key Messages.

Check out the Words Up Key Messages to support the development of Oral Language specifically in the Early Years. Later in the session Key Messages will be produced for school years.

Authors Live: Matthew Fitt


Teach children between P4 and P7? Join the Scottish Book Trust on Authors Live as we celebrate 100 years of Roald Dahl, with writer and translator Matthew Fitt!

Matthew will be exploring the world of Scots language through his translations of Roald Dahl’s most popular stories. Matthew will show how he translates these well-loved stories, making this an excellent way to introduce your pupils to the wonder of reading and writing in Scots!

CLICK HERE – Matthew Fitt Authors Live

To support your teaching of Scots check out:
CLICK HERE – Scots Hoose Website – a great starting point for the teaching of Scots
CLICK HERE – Education Scotland Scots Language – suggested resources at each CfE Level 
CLICK HERE – Scots Language Booklet, Highland – practical Scots language activities