It seems to me that literacy skills are too important to risk kids only learning them by chance. This year has been a mission in learning how to teach explicitly every skill that kids need. I have taken nothing for granted and assumed nothing. Ideas rumble around in the back of my head for a while and then I try them out and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. There is definitely a balance when getting ideas for kids at secondary school, part of them likes the childishness and creativity of primary school and part of them desperately wants to be a teenager.
Recently I tried this idea. Teaching capital letters and full stops to 11 year olds can be embarrassing and demoralising. They know the terms but either forget or never quite got when and where to use them correctly. There are a couple of kids in my class who capitalise randomly and one who never uses capital letters when writing his name. After playing a few games, we used googly eyes to show full stops and arrow stickers to show capitalisation. To be honest, I think it could have gone either way. This time it worked and the kids really enjoyed correcting all my mistakes. Fingers crossed next time it will work as well.