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Enlivening primary English

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Greenleas Primary School uses Discovery Education Espresso to teach English across the school. Year 2 teacher Tom Pearce explains how digital content brings language to life.

At Greenleas we use Discovery Education Espresso across the curriculum in a wide range of subjects. The English resources are especially good. There are hundreds of child-friendly videos which support our teaching. The short clips cover exactly what teachers need. Everything is linked to the National Curriculum and the digital aspect is very engaging for children.

In EYFS and KS1 we use Discovery Education Espresso to teach phonics regularly. The resources are mapped to the DfE Letters & Sounds programme, with videos that can be used to reinforce or introduce phonics teaching. Our pupils love watching the different sounds and joining in with the repetition. They also enjoy the blending and spelling games which we use to consolidate learning. The digital content is exciting for children and the animated characters are very relatable! Espresso Phonics provides a good foundation for literacy in KS2.

One of the best things about Discovery Education Espresso is the interactivity. The resources and games allow pupils to actively participate in learning. They love coming up to the board and taking charge. The English games cover topics such as sentence structure, spellings and grammar. In phonics, pupils can move the letters and sounds around the board. This allows children to experiment with language.

Espresso has lots of exciting resources to help KS1 and KS2 children progress with their writing. We use these to teach VCOP –vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation –and to prepare children for the SPAG element of KS1SATs. The grammar videos familiarise children with key terminology, and there are lots of practical activities to embed learning. We often use Espresso clips as a stimulus for extended writing, encouraging pupils to think about what they’ve seen on screen. Recently we used an Espresso video about the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The children produced some very imaginative writing after watching the clip and discussing it in class.

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This term my Year 2 class have been learning about the Great Fire of London, using resources from the Espresso module. I used one of the videos as the starting point for a non-fiction ‘big write’ about how the fire had spread. I paused the video as the children watched it to allow discussion of their ideas. The children then created handwritten flow charts telling the story of the fire. This lesson helped me to evidence pupils’ use of grammar and punctuation, while showing that they could extend their ideas. The video inspired pupils to go deeper and produce some very detailed work.

Espresso has lots of real-world content which helps us to support non-fiction writing. The British Values resources are very good. We use the videos about Parliament and the police to teach about democracy, and they are very accessible. We also watch the Espresso News service each week and link our written comprehension tasks to the stories. The children take in facts from the videos quickly and this helps them to answer with confidence. Espresso News is also brilliant for teaching about difficult stories. It’s created so that children can perfectly understand, and it’s a trusted source.

Espresso has everything we need in one place. For busy teachers this is very helpful. The search function is brilliant. You search for a topic and it brings up all of the relevant content, sorted into age range. I’m in KS1 and it filters out everything that’s not relevant to the pupils in my class. The content connects perfectly with our curriculum. I always go to Espresso first when I’m looking for resources–particularly visual stimuli!

Espresso helps our pupils to achieve, with resources that are accessible for children of all abilities. The activities make it easy to extend learning to greater depth for children who need it. Lower ability children can also progress at their own pace.

Espresso makes teaching and learning enjoyable. The content is visual, accessible and engaging. Children today love learning online and this makes Espresso very appealing. It supports our teaching not just in English, but right across the curriculum. We really enjoy using it.

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