Primary Primary Literacy

Literacy Activities for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Activity One – Letter to the Queen
EYFS to Year 6

This activity allows the children to practise the style and format of letter writing.

The queen will receive many letters of congratulations this year and the Jubilee website has a section where the public can add their messages of congratulation. Word count is limited on the site so why not do things the old fashioned way and write a proper letter to Her Majesty. The youngest children could have a template prepared for them and have the teacher go through a list of things they might want to say, writing down some ideas for the less able.

Older children could be asked for suggestions on what might be included in a letter congratulating a monarch for ruling the country for sixty years whilst an extension could be to look back at the school’s history and tell the queen some of the things that have happened to the school during her reign. Ideas might include; being built, being extended, moving site, famous pupils etc. She might also be interested in hearing about what the school did for her silver and golden jubilees and the plans you have for her diamond jubilee.

Try to follow the tenets of letter writing so the children get practice in what is becoming a dying art with the advance of email, SMS and social networking.

Activity Two – Present for the Queen
EYFS to Year 6

This activity offers the opportunity for some creative writing. On her wedding day the queen received over 6,500 wedding gifts and over the years of her reign has received many more gifts.

Take a look at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/7384170/A-gift-fit-for-the-Queen.html
for an idea of the weird and wonderful gifts she has received over the years including the grasshopper wine cooler cum wine table!

Now ask the children to think what they might want to give the queen as a gift to mark her jubilee. It can be anything they want as long as they can justify it. They can write their story in the form of a letter e.g.

Dear Queen Elizabeth

I have enclosed a ……. as a present for your diamond jubilee. I thought it would be perfect for you because…

Or you can compose it as a piece of writing beginning:

I would send the queen …. because… and then they can continue to explain the reasoning behind their gift.

Activity Three – Queen’s Speech
Year 4 to Year 6

Each year at Christmas the queen gives a short speech to the nation as previous monarchs have since the introduction of mass communications. In this activity you are going to write a speech including what you think the queen might say in her speech to the country.

Get the children to watch one of the queen’s Christmas speeches and discuss its format and what it includes. Talk about things that the queen may want to include in a fresh speech to mark her diamond jubilee and ask the children to write a speech lasting a minute or two and using some or all of the ideas.

If you want to extend the activity you can get the children to read the speeches out to the class or to assembly and even video them. Some may like to dress up as a king or queen to read the speech for added fun.

Activity Four – Debate: Monarchy or Republic?
Year 4 to Year 6

Over the years in this country and around the Commonwealth there has been a lot of debate on the value of the monarchy with some saying they are an institutional icon and representative of the country whilst others say they live off the population’s taxes.

For this activity, split the class into two and ask one to think of their own reasons why we should retain the monarchy whilst the other group thinks of ideas why we should have an elected head of state.

Next ask them to research reasons why members of the public think the monarchy is good or bad together with information on the times and events that have affected public opinion. You could even organise a survey.

Once they have their notes ready, set up a debate between the opposing sides. If numbers are too big to be manageable, you can set up two debates with one set of debaters watching whilst the other debates, swapping over halfway through the session. You can then ask the observers which side had the most convincing arguments and talk about the skills used in debate.

You’ll need to have a process by which only one person speaks at a time. Wearing a crown is a topical variation on holding the pencil or teddy bear and could add more fun to the proceedings.

At the end of the debates, ask the children to list the main points for and against and come up with a decision of their own backed up by reference to the arguments.

Dave Lewis
Primary Teacher

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