Standing Assemblies

By Jill Fuller

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aim To help children to appreciate the power of words, for good or ill.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a large dictionary and a candle.
  • Have ready some tongue twisters of varying difficulty for the children to try to say or ask them to prepare some in advance, e.g.

Bertie Bear bought big blue balloons.
Tamsin trickily tried to toss ten trays of treacle toffees.
Thirty swallows swooping through swaying willows swished their wings.

  • Prepare one or two children to tell jokes, or trust to your luck and ask on the day! Alternatively just use the tongue twisters.
  • Be prepared to share an example of being hurt by words or ask the children to think about examples from their own lives, books they have read or TV/radio situations.

Curriculum links

  • English: Making a book of tongue twisters. Work on alliteration.
  • Maths: Graphs of use of different languages across the world.
  • Science: Looking at speech and sound waves.
  • RE: Special words. The special books of the major world faiths.
  • History: How words change and develop through history, e.g. ‘posh’, from ‘port out starboard home’. The development of books and printing.
  • Geography: Awareness of distribution of languages across the world.
  • Art/DT: Using printed words to create a collage picture. Painting a picture in response to a particular word, e.g. anger, peace, war, care.
  • Music: Word rhythms. Composing a rap.
  • SMSC: Development of school rules about how words are used and courteous ways of replying to others. Discussion about freedom of speech.


1. Show the children the dictionary and ask someone to explain what it is full of and what it is used for.

2. Discuss with the children all the ways we use words: to express opinions and feelings, to give instructions, to describe an event, to exchange news, to tell jokes, etc.

3. Share the tongue twisters and jokes with the children, giving time to enjoy the experience of playing with words.

4. Ask if they have ever been hurt by words and if possible give a personal example of being wounded by words. Give opportunities for them to identify when words have been used to bully, taunt or spread unkind rumour.

5. Discuss how the words we use can affect the way others feel about themselves. We can use words for humour, for encouraging, comforting, and affirming each other, or for destroying self confidence and spreading rumours.

6. Read Proverbs 12.18: ‘Gossip can be sharp as a sword, but the tongue of the wise heals.’

Time for reflection
Light the candle and ask the children to reflect in a moment of silence on the way they will choose to use words during the day. You may like to conclude the time of reflection with the following verse:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19.14)

Song 'Peace, Perfect Peace' (Come and Praise 53) As they sing the song, ask the children to focus on the three central words.