Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar workbook for Key Stage 3 ages

Over the summer holidays when I was gathering together our Year 7 resources I did not select anything for Grammar, Punctuation or Spelling. I just did not get around to it and we were still finishing up with a Key Stage 2 book so it just became one of those things that I still needed to find.  I knew what we wanted and it was just a case of finding the correct book for us. So I was thrilled when Oxford University Press sent us a box of secondary resources and they included this stunning workbook – Get It Right Workbook 1.  It is perfect for us – no overwhelming/ overcrowded pages (my daughter does not like pages that look they are bursting with information or pages where multiple concepts are crammed together).  This book has clear explanations followed by about 3 activities – the design is perfect for my daughter to work through by herself and just ask questions when needed. (And yes she is working in her PJ’s – she has flu).

working through her Get It Right Workbook 1. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar for Key Stage 3 ages

The explanations are written clearly onto a page using pastel colours to highlight certain parts (the colours they have chosen work really well as they highlight points without being distracting). They include a few tips but you never feel like the page is packed.  It is really well spaced out and makes reading through the points easy, almost relaxing in a strange way (starting to wish more workbooks used this layout).

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After the explanations they normally include 3  different activities (answers for the activities are in a seperate answer book). I don’t have the answer book and so far we are fine working through without it.

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The topics in the workbook follow a logical manner but I must confess we jumped in and started using some pages in the middle of the book just because they happened to be what we had just learnt about and that worked fine.  You can jump around the pages as you want or you could follow their order (if you do jump around they will reference you to other pages that link up)

So what exactly is covered in workbook 1?

Grammar (this is the biggest section)

  • Nouns
  • Adjectives
  • Verbs (including verbs in context, past and future tense, main and auxiliary verbs)
  • Subject and Object
  • Personal and Possessive Pronouns
  • Determiners
  • Prepositions
  • Adverbs
  • Phrases
  • Conjunctions
  • Clauses
  • Sentence types
  • Single-clauses sentences
  • Multi-clause sentences – compound and complex
  • Paragraphs

Get It Right Workbook 1. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar for Key Stage 3,

Punctuation

  • Capital letters and Full stops
  • Question marks and Exclamation marks
  • Commas
  • Colons and semi-colons
  • Apostrophes for possession and Apostrophes for Contraction
  • Direct Speech

Spelling

  • Vowels and Consonants
  • Plurals
  • Silent letters
  • Prefixes and Suffixes
  • Commonly confused words
  • How to learn spellings

spelling rules included in the Get It Right Workbook. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar for Key Stage 3

I think it is a good base for Year 7 English.

We just have the first workbook but there is a complete series of them – three different workbooks for Key Stage 3 ages and one for GCSE ages. (And if you are wondering we will probably be getting the others for my daughter).

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To find out more you can look on the Oxford University Press website – Workbook 1, Workbook 2, Workbook 3, GCSE workbook.

You can also buy the workbooks from Amazon

Get It Right: KS3; 11-14: Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar workbook 1

Get It Right: KS3; 11-14: Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Answer Book 2

Get It Right: KS3; 11-14: Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Workbook 3

Get It Right: for GCSE: Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar workbook

Admin Bit – As I mentioned above we were sent a box of Secondary Resources from Oxford University Press.  We were under no obligation regarding which items we choose to use.  All opinions expressed are that of myself and my tester (in this case my eleven-year-old daughter).

I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.

Key Stage 3 English workbook. Get It Right. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. perfect for Year 7

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Life Cycle Books

On a recent trip to the library my son spotted one of these life cycle books and immediately borrowed it and brought it home. He really enjoyed reading and asked if I could see if there were any other books in the series which we could borrow from the library (our library allows us to check online and reserve copies), there were and we ended up with four different life cycle books.

Life Cycle Books. Life cycles of animals that live in the Mountain, Forest, River and Ocean

And I must admit I share my son’s opinion about these books they are brilliant. Each book focuses on a habitat – desert, ocean, river, forest and mountain. The book starts by introuducing that habitat (very briefly) and it shows a world map depicting where you can find these areas. It then selects 3 of those areas and choses a food chain from each of those 3 areas. Then it goes through each food chain and shows the life cycle of each animal within the three food chains – so not only do the kids see a number very different  life cycles but they see how they interact with each other within a food chain – I love this. Then at the end of the book they show one food web for one of the three food chains that was discussed in the book.

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Really a well thought out way to present this information and they end up dealing with many topics within these little books. I really am impressed with how this was planned and presented (the only thing I would have liked was if they included the starting point for each food chain – the producer).

Life Cycle book an example of a page layout. The Forest Life Cycle book

Oh and the page layout is also brilliant on the left hand side they show the outlines of the different animals in each food chain and the animal on your page is circled so the kids can also check to see where they are in the current food chain.  I think these are brilliant books for primary aged kids to read.

So to give you a better idea of the food chains and life cycles covered in these books I am going to breakdown the four books that we have been reading to each food chain and the life cycles included in those food chains. (The books we borrowed from the library were older editions and the newer versions have different covers but the inside pages still look the same).

Life Cycles: River

The first life food chain is from the Rivers of South America and includes the following life cycles – catfish, cormorant, piranha and river dolphin.

The second food chain is from the Rivers of North America and includes the following life cycles – mayfly, brook trout and grizzly bear.

And the third food chain is from ponds of Europe and includes the following life cycles – great pond snail, great crested newt, little grebe and the otter.

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Life Cycles: Ocean

The first food chain is the Indian Ocean and includes the following life cycles – coral, crown of thorns starfish, pufferfish and tiger shark.

The second food chain is the Pacific Ocean and includes the following life cycles – pink shrimp, black-eyed squid, silver salmon and bald eagle.

And the third food chain is from the Atlantic Ocean and includes the following life cycles – box jellyfish, sea turtle and the orca.

Life Cycles: Forest

The first food chain is from the forests of southern Asia and includes the following life cycles – honey bee, white crab spider, grey langur and the bengal tiger.

The second food chain is from the forests if North America and includes the following life cycles – white-tailed deer, vampire bat, red-tailed hawk.

And the third food chain is from the forest o southern Africa and includes the following life cycles – stick insect, chameleon, hornbill and wild dog.

Life Cycle books example of a page layout the White-tailed deer

Life Cycles: Mountain

The first food chain is from the Rocky Mountains in North America and includes the following life cycles – earwig, woodpecker, flying squirrel and wolverine.

The second food chain is from the Himalayas in Asia and includes the following life cycles – mosquito, alpine butterwort, mountain goat and the snow leopard.

And the third food chain is from the Andes Mountains in South America and includes the following life cycles – chinchilla, skunk and the owl.

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As you can see the do include a wide variety of different creatures.

Admin – as I mentioned these are books that we have borrowed from our local library

I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love

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Sutton Hoo

Last year we looked at the Anglo-Saxons in quite a lot of detail and we read about Sutton Hoo but our focus was on the life of the Anglo-Saxons, the migrations and the different kingdoms and rulers. We visited the British Museum at the time and saw the Sutton Hoo collection but I don’t think we appreciated all the detail. Quite by chance I happened to see a documentary series called Raiders of the Lost Past which was presented by Janina Ramirez and one of the episodes dealt with Sutton Hoo so I recorded it. It sparked a whole new interest.

The Sutton Hoo Hoard documentary presented by Janina Ramirez

Firstly Janina Ramirez is already popular in our house because she is the author of Riddle of the Runes and Way of the Waves and she also featured in a documentary about the Battle of Hastings which both of my kids watched a few times. But all that aside she did an amazing job – the documentary explained how the Sutton Hoo burial was discovered and how the excavation proceeded. Both of mine loved the fact that it was discovered by chance and that some grave robbers (who left the now famous gin bottle behind) just missed the spot because the shape of the burial mound had changed.

Sutton Hoo the great ship burial

The also started to appreciate the detail and amazing craftsmanship that went into creating some of the Sutton Hoo items. The documentary was such a brilliant discovery and it really brought the entire excavation and the finds to life for both my kids. It also sparked a brilliant discussion about how historians classify the Anglo-Saxon period – both of mine are not happy about the period being called the Dark Ages as they feel the craftsmanship displayed was amazing even by today’s standards.

So we decided that we needed to revisit the British Museum where a number of the Sutton Hoo artefacts are on display. This time we were going to focus on the Anglo-Saxon finds, so I want onto the British Museum website and found some pages to print off about room 41 – room 41 download. (I did this to help on a sensory leave, sometimes the museum can be overwhelming, you never know how noisy or busy it is going to be so having something to focus on can help if it gets crazy inside the room).  

The Sutton Hoo helmet displayed at the British Museum.  Anglo-Saxon history

As soon as we got there we started in room 41 with the Sutton Hoo finds. 

replica Sutton Hoo helmet at the museum

The helmet of course is amazing, the detail on the helmet is crazy but the other items are just as interesting – the shield, the sword, the shoulder bracelets and even that cauldron.  Look at the chain holding the cauldron up and you get an idea of how high the roof of their halls might have been.  Seeing the garnets used and knowing that there was a thin sheet of gold behind to make them sparkle really added something to the trip, all of those little details that we learnt while watching the documentary just made seeing the items more meaningful and really it made us appreciate them on a whole new level.

But we did not just stick with the Sutton Hoo pieces.  There are other amazing items from that time period in room 41. Like the whale bone casket (Franks Casket) and the 5 senses brooch.  Actually there is quite a bit of jewellery in that room and we spent some time looking at the different pieces, talking about the similarities and how hard it would have been to create these items. My daughter actually made a comment that the brooches remind her of the Mandala colouring pages that you get these days – the way the brooches are often divided into quadrants and the patterns are repeated in each quadrant.

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The kids noticed a lot more about the items in the room after watching the documentary – they knew to look out for colours – Anglo-Saxons mainly stuck to red and blue along with the metals (so silver and gold). They also knew to see if the designs where just decorative curves or if they could spot animals or people woven in.

After we had finished with the Anglo-Saxon room (The Museum calls it Early Medieval room) we decided to have a quick look at the next room – the Medieval room to see if the kids could pick out changes. We had a bit of a chuckle in that they both had to pass through the Battle of Hastings and survive to get to the next room – which really meant just walking across the doorway but they liked the idea and it brought that event into our day and helped to order the two rooms in their mind.

In the Medieval Room the both commented on how there was a much stronger Christian influence (in the previous room there are hints of Christianity in the art but we still felt it had a Pagan feeling to it). They also noticed more colours.

After our lovely day out at the British Museum we thought it would be good to go and see the site where all of this originated – well where the Sutton Hoo artefacts came from. So we drove down to Sutton Hoo for the day (it is a Nation Trust Site). I must admit it was quite a drive for us but I am so glad we went.

The Sutton Hoo National Trust Site

The site has been beautifully preserved and it really emphasised the fact that it was a ship burial (27 feet long ship). We all loved the fact that as you arrive you see a ship outline showing how massive the Great ship really was.

The Great ship outline at Sutton Hoo

Walking around the site also emphasized how close the burial mounds were to the river and both kids were amazed by the fact that the Anglo-Saxons dragged the massive ship up the hill to for the burial.

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We also went into the exhibit hall which is brilliant. They have created a really informative display about Anglo-Saxons filled with replicas from the Site but also lots of information about the day to day life, the different people who lived then and the jobs that they did. We spent ages inside the exhibition hall and I honestly think this is one of the best National Trust sites that we have ever visited.

replica shield

Just to mention although they have replicas at the Sutton Hoo National Trust site it does not diminish the experience in fact my kids actually liked seeing the replicas because the detail on them is clear and complete.

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English Literature Update – Black Beauty

Over the summer I wrote a number of “starting Year 7” posts where I mentioned the different resources that we were planning on using. So I thought I would give an update on one item that is proving to be a MASSIVE hit with both of my kids (my eleven year old and her eight year old brother) – Black Beauty.

Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables Oxford Children's Classics

We selected Black Beauty as a book that we were going to do a more in-depth “study” of. Our plan was that we would read it together – so me, sitting on the couch with a child on either side and as I read aloud they would follow (and YES I know they do really follow because any little mistake I made is quickly pointed out to me). This way of reading is something we always do with books, we always have one book that the three of us read together. However this time our plan was to read it more slowly and to try and discuss the different events, themes and characters in the story.

Well we’ve started and both kids Love it, really LOVE IT. They already knew the basics of the story (we had read a condensed version before) but the Oxford Children’s classic version that we are now reading has all the detail that they missed in the condensed version and they are loving it. They are really getting to know the characters – both the people and the horses and they are both forming very strong opinions about how some of the animals in the book were treated – the horses that were treated harshly and the foxes that were hunted.  They no longer view Ginger as a naughty horse but they both really feel for her and understand why she behaves the way she does.  I am finding all these discussions so fascinating. We did an exercise were we looked at the different horses and their character as described in the book and then also wrote down how they had been treated and it was one of those lightbulb moments for the kids.

This is one of the reasons why I picked the Oxford Children’s Classic version of Black Beauty we have read other Oxford Children’s Classics in the past (The Railway Children was hugely popular with both of mine) so I expected that their Black Beauty version would be a good version of the story – and it is.  Now I must confess there have been times when I am reading it aloud that I actually stop and have to re-read certain sentences because it just does not seem to sound right to me – but that is because the characters are speaking English like they would have in that time period.  And I Like this.  I like the fact that it has NOT been modernised, the kids are hearing the older English, they are hearing the phrases and words that would have been used in those times and for me that is an important detail.

Oxford Children's classics

I also must admit that although I was fairly confident my eleven year old would enjoy the book I was not sure about my eight year old.  I thought he might find it a bit slow going but that is NOT the case.  In fact he often sits and re-read sections to himself.  And he even asks if we can read just one more chapter tonight. He is just soaking up the story and learning so much from it.

rereading Black Beauty

We have not finished reading it yet but it has already been such a hit with both my kids that I really just wanted to write a quick update.

If you are looking for a family-read-together book then all of us HIGHLY recommend giving Black Beauty a go (this version – Oxford Children’s Classics: Black Beauty).  It truly is a gem of a story and one of those classics that I wish everyone got a chance to read.

Admin Bit – I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.

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Bee Boy Book 2 and Book 3.

About 2 weeks ago I came downstairs to find my son lost in the second Bee Boy Book (The Attack of the Zombees). We have had this copy for a little while but he has been reading a few series one after the other so he ignored it while he concentrated on his other books. And for some reason that morning he spotted it sitting on his bookshelf and started reading it and then he remembered the joy of Melvin who turns into a Bee. (My son LOVED the first Bee Boy book).

He read the Attack of the Zombees cover to cover and then reread the first one again, all within a few days so I quickly emailed the publishers and asked if we could get the third book – Curse of the Vampire Mites. They sent it and as soon as it arrived he read it cover to cover.

reading Bee Boy curse of the Vampire Mites

He loves all of the Bee Boy Books.

Bee Boy Clash of the Killer Queens, Attack of the Zombees and Curse of the Vampire Mites

I must admit I think they are slightly easy reading for him – he is a confident, independent reader but they are such fun books, they are the type of books that inspire kids to create their own stories. (I have read all three of the Bee Boy books and I consider them excellent for newly independent readers / beginner chapter books).

Bee Boy inside page

All three books follow Melvin who is a young school kid, somone who keeps a bee hive on the roof of his apartment block but the really interesting part is Melvin has the ability to turn into a bee (although he cannot control when he turns into a bee). In all three books Melvin has to go on an adventure to help the bees in his bee hive. A bit of action, but nothing too scary for the kids. All the books have a bad character but the bad character is not what you would call evil so I don’t think anyone needs to worry about nightmare potential.

My son loves that Melvin can become a Bee Boy and fly around with the other Bees. He enjoys the adventure and the characters and always points out the more “interesting” events – like when they were sneezing yellow snot (Huge points with my son – everyone was told about this).

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And he adores that the bees speak with zz’s instead of ss’s in their words – and yes he does sometimes walk around the house speaking like the bees (you know it is a good book when your kids start copying events).

Bee Boy Attack of the Zombee. The bees talk with zz on every word

And I must admit I personally think the graphics in this books work brilliantly – the colour scheme really ties in well with the topic and his illustrations bring the stories to life and actually make it easier to read for the kids – it breaks the paragraphs down into much more manageable sections for new readers (my son had just turned 6 when he read the first Bee Boy book totally independently).

Apart from being a super fun engaging read for young kids (which is what I am always searching for), the author has also managed to include lots of facts about the bees throughout all of his books. After reading the second book my son was actually telling me all these wasp facts and when I asked how he knew all of these facts he simply said it was from reading the second Bee Boy Book.

If you have a young reader in your house who is looking for a fun, engaging adventure then both my son and I Highly recommend all 3 of the Bee Boy Books.

Bee Boy: Clash of the Killer Queens

Bee Boy: Attack of the Zombees (Bee Boy 2)

Bee Boy: Curse of the Vampire Mites (Bee Boy 3)

Bee Boy Clash of the Killer Queens, Attack of the Zombees and Curse of the Vampire Mites

Admin – As I mentioned above we were kindly sent review copies of these books. All opinions expressed are that of my little reader and myself.

I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.

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K’Nex just never gets old

We have recently been going through one of our K’Nex phases where the kids just seem to build creation after creation. And I realized it was just over 2 years ago that we started with our first K’Nex box – first the learning sets and then we bought a few of the general building sets.  Over 2 years and both of my kids are still using their K’Nex on a regular basis.

So what is it about K’Nex that has made it such a winner in our house?

I think the fact that the boxes come with some cool build instructions and you can also download some more build instructions from their website.  So straight away the kids have LOTS of ideas on how they can use the K’Nex.

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I love this aspect, because some of the instructions are quite complex and the kids have to really concentrate and follow the steps, and yes something one of my kids has made an error and then they have to go back and figure out where they went wrong.  But because they WANT to build the helicopter or dinosaur, whatever it is, they don’t get frustrated and give up they actually take their time, figure out their error, fix it and continue. I love seeing this.

And by following the instructions to build models they learn a lot, like how to slot different pieces together to create a basic wheel base or propeller for a plane which they then incorporate into their own inventions.

K'nex creations

And yes we have had a few “original” creations that did not turn out as planned, but I have watched as they alter and try new adjustments to get their creations to work.

It’s also a really great hand strengthening activity. (I have built a few K’Nex models alongside the kids and your hands do get tired.)

building with K'Nex

And a perfect activity for kids to do together (I have an eight year old and an eleven year old and they often build together). I have also seen them build models with their friends and their dad.

building K'Nex together

The creations that they make really do vary from creating wasps (and lots of other animals), to vehicles (trucks, cars, planes, rockets, helicopters), to dinosaurs, even a swing and of course a windmill (we love the windmill). The big variety of items that you can build means there is always something new to try.

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But mostly I think it is the satisfaction of seeing the model come together. I  love seeing that look on the kids’ faces when they have completed a K’Nex build (whether it is one following the instructions or one they have created themselves), they are always so proud.

His K'nex dinosaur

Without a doubt buying K’Nex boxes for the kids was well worth the money.

There are so many K’nNx boxes out there and we only have a few but to give you some idea these are the ones that we have.

K’NEX Education STEM Explorations Gears Building Set for Ages 8 and Up Engineering Educational Toy, 143 Parts

K’Nex Education 78610 Intro to Simple Machines: Levers and Pulleys Set for Key Stages 1 and 2 Construction Education Toy, 178 Pieces

K’NEX Imagine 52 Model Building Set for Ages 7+, Engineering Education Toy, 618 Pieces

K’NEX Imagine 35 Model Building Set for Ages 7+, Construction Education Toy, 480 Pieces

I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.

 

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Free Times Table Dominoes

I have mentioned a number of times that both my kids like to practice maths with dominoes – well a maths version of dominoes. Nothing fancy just match two sides of the dominoe cards together.

I was recently searching for free to download times table dominoes that I could use with my son and I could not find what I wanted so I decided to take the format that I used with the fraction dominoes I made and make my own version of times table dominoes – really nothing fancy at all but it’s a way of him practicing times tables without having to do worksheets. Plus he likes to be moving when he does learning activities and dominoes allows him to move around a bit – he sometimes builds the dominoes under tables and chairs just for fun.

using his times table dominoes created by ofamily learning together

I create two different versions (although I will create more). The first was a combination of the 6 times and four times – just because the six times was the newest one he has learnt and for some reason after the summer holidays he seems to be struggling to remember the four times.

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Then I also created a set which combines – three times, four times, six times and eight times tables.

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Both sets are five pages long and contain 20 cards each.

I am attaching both downloads here.

3, 4, 6 and 8 times table colour ofamily learning together

6 and 4 times table colour v2 ofamily learning together

As always the downloads are here for anyone wanting to use them but please do be considerate and don’t go and post them on your own personal site and claim they are yours.

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