Primary Primary Literacy

Primary – using The Olympics in Literacy

Activity One – Following tweets
Year 4 to Year 6

Tweeting is one of the least known but most popular internet communication methods and enables the world to find out what is happening to famous and not so famous people during their day.

In the run up to the Olympics, athletes will be tweeting about their preparation and during the games, their nerves, fitness, anticipation and their response after they’ve taken part in their events. It’s like following their progress as a friend rather than just an onlooker. Almost all of Britain’s and indeed the world’s athletes have twitter accounts and it’s easy to follow them. Some of their twitter addresses are given below but you may well have a local athlete taking part. Gemma Spofforth is a former pupil from our school and the children will be following her efforts this summer. Your local newspaper will be following athletes from your area in the run up to the event and it’s worth asking the athlete if they can spare the time to come into school and talk with the children.

After the visit, you can then set up your computer or mobile device to receive tweets from them.
You can ask the children to use the tweets you receive and expand them into a piece of diary writing that can be added to each time they tweet!


Activity Two – Reporting
Year 3 to Year 6

There will be a number of key events at the Olympics; from the opening ceremony to events like the 100m sprint, the marathon and other events.

Prior to the events show the children examples of sports reporting on different events. Together highlight the key aspects of them including the language used and the structure.
The structure is quite simple as reports usually begin with the lead up to the event, talking about who is expected to win or to discuss the potential of key competitors in the event. Next, the reporting follows the event chronologically, identifying key events as they happen and finishes with the effect of the result on the competitors or their team or country before looking forward to the next event.
Using the template that accompanies this activity, ask the children to watch an event, either during school time or at home and write a newspaper report.

Activity Three – Explain how it works
Year 2 to Year 6

Many people watch events at the Olympics without realising what the focus of the events are. Whilst it’s simple enough to understand what’s happening in a sprint, it’s more difficult in a relay race when specific rules have to be followed. The same is true of perhaps show jumping, gymnastics or judo.
This activity asks the children to work on writing instructions and a clear explanation of an event at the Olympics.

Ask them to choose an event they are familiar with, or even one they would like to know more about, and to research the rules before writing a set of instructions together with rules for that event. Many of the events will lead to chronological instructions and you should encourage them to use the language of chronology such as first, next, then, finally etc.

Finally, to check their work they can swap with a friend and watch the event after reading the partner’s instruction. It will be interesting to see if the explanation works!

Activity Four – The Journey to Success
Year 3 to Year 6

This activity allows pupils to practise work on biography by focusing on an Olympian.
Use a short biography from a children’s book or a child friendly website to highlight and discuss the format of biographies. The children should note that they are almost always written chronologically.
Use one or more additional biographies to identify content that is common for both and list them ready for their biographies.

They should choose from a list of Olympians selected by you or possibly one of their choice and research facts about them.

Try to get them to focus on what led the Olympian into their particular sport.
Ask them to compile a biography using the format they have picked out from the samples and, when complete, read them out to the class and ask them how well they compare with the examples.

Dave Lewis
Primary teacher

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