WORDS AND HOW WE USE THEM
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.