Le ciel est bleu! Spies,code and clues.Some reading and writing challenges

Le ciel est bleu!

I love working with initial teacher trainees and today was just one of those days .This  morning we were considering steps in progression in the four skills of listening, speaking reading and writing over the learning journey of a KS2 pupil as they progress through four years of consistent language learning. 

The ITTs are non-specialist trainees ,who really want to understand how to make a difference to their future young learners’ ability to manipulate and use target language.

So let me reiterate …… “le ciel est bleu!” Well it could be “el cielo” and it could be ”azul” or “der Himmel” and that would be “blau” etc etc etc.

Reading and very simple responding activities

Games we all play


We were considering ways to support children to develop their own independent reading  and writing skills at word and sentence level.We had discussed simple reading and responding activities (such as read and mime, read and select, read and draw etc).


Spy missions

We moved on to spy missions – as teams of three on tables being sent off one by to find for example the fruits, the vegetables or the colours  word cards  hidden around the room and coming back to write them down and inform their team so they could create their own  simple noun, verb , adjective sentences. Each team already has the key verb they need e.g "eat", "buy","is".

Can they create their own complete messages?

The always popular " Physical Dominoes"

From work earlier in the year we discussed a  favourite reading and writing game (that many of us have been using for many years) constructing correct sentences from a series of cards that have written on them components of a complex sentence, which can only work correctly when the key punctuation is also taken into consideration. (I can still see how quietly frustrated one of my wonderful colleagues got , when a colleague tried to put the adjective with the full stop next to it in the middle of the sentence just because it agreed with the previous noun!). It’s the creation of a physical sentence that means we are reading and writing.

This brought us to "

the sky is blue!

" and our


codes and solving clues activities

We discussed simple ways that the young new teachers can help the children to become confident and positive in their use of the written target language with simple games to support sentence construction by de-constructing and rebuilding familiar sentences.

Solving sound and letter clues

It does n’t need to be this sentence of course – it could be any sentence and it could be a much more complex sentence but it combines several stages we had been discussing above  In the first instance we were using it as a simple example of the Physical Dominoes Game .


Le ciel


 Simply reordering the sentence correctly ….

Le ciel



But then what about if this was linked this to prior learning of phonology? 

Could  the children spot the word by the key sound they heard from the words? 

Could they write the full word from a one or two letter written prompt?

For example at word level could they ......

  • In the first instance – complete the words …. when provided with a sequence of sounds or letters...






(ciel/ bleu/ciel/est/ bleu/ le)

  • Secondly given a sequence of letters as above from words in a sentence that are familiar to them, can they write complete the sentence ?












  • This would obviously work too with more complex sentences and an increase in challenge e.g.

Le ciel est bleu,car il fait beau .

Breaking codes .

Now what can the children really do? 

  • Can the children from a range of sentences that are familiar to them, for example from a rhyme, text or song :
  1. Read the sentence/or sentences  you give them?
  2. De-construct the sentence/s for a partner or second team, so the team only has sound or grapheme components of the words either in order or to increase challenge in a muddled up order?
  3. Can the partner or second team reconstruct the sentence/s by completing the words and if necessary re-ordering the words?