THE TEACHER RESOURCE

Our teaching resource is a step-by-step programme of learning, which gets right to the heart of the skill of writing. It is designed as the grammar and sentence construction element of a comprehensive English curriculum. Learners become highly knowledgeable about word families, punctuation, grammar conventions and sentence construction techniques, and highly skilled in applying this knowledge in their writing. Teachers become empowered to help children set firm foundations for good writing thanks to detailed guidance, excellent resources and a set of simple but highly effective principles. Grammar and sentence construction do not need to be boring and over-facing for children and a dull headache for teachers.

These all-important aspects of writing can be developed through simple but effective lessons which children really enjoy. They can be developed through a teaching and learning programme which gives teachers practical ways to set firm foundations for effective writing - a programme that helps learners to make real progress.

The Sentence Café


The Sentence Café is a programme with a unique approach to delivering grammar and sentence construction lessons and a wide variety of quick, fun consolidation activities all of which can be easily integrated into existing curriculum. We know that children learn best when they are having fun, so a rich mix of high quality experiences and games is used for maximum impact. Sentence Café fuels learning which:

  • Addresses key Literacy objectives
  • Is deepened through repeated consolidation
  • Is progressive
  • Is practical and readily accessible
  • Is served up in highly engaging, interactive lessons.

Grammar and sentence construction are areas that tend to be a struggle for many learners and a barrier to their development as writers. Finding ways to overcome these barriers often makes the job of the teacher anything but easy. The Sentence Café offers an easily digestible solution.

Learners at The Sentence Cafe quickly commit fundamental principles of sentence construction to memory. They become comfortable with manipulating clauses in different ways to create a variety of effects and with following grammar conventions to make their meaning crystal clear. Get children to this stage and they are well on their way to becoming accomplished writers. Crucially, they have confidence in their own ability to write, for any audience, for any purpose. The ability to communicate ideas clearly and effectively is a skill necessary for success in an academic setting or the 21st century workplace.

The Sentence Café Approach


The Sentence Café is designed for children to have fun, to enjoy learning and to become better writers through:

  • Engaging alien characters that help guide learning
  • Instructional lessons
  • Activities and games that reinforce learning
  • Dynamic supplemental resources to enhance their learning
  • Collaborative learning experiences.

 

 

 

 

Children taking the lead


Far from being passive participants who are spoon-fed knowledge, students are actively engaged in all lessons, thinking for themselves yet receiving the structures and scaffolds they need to reach conclusions on their own. Deeper learning takes place when children reach solutions themselves as opposed to being given solutions by others.

The Sentence Cafe recognises the fact that children learn just as much from each other as they do from their teachers. Learning at The Sentence Cafe is led, so far as possible, by the children themselves. Each lesson gives children opportunities to share and refine their thinking with a partner. There are also opportunities for the children to enhance their learning through coaching. Research tells us that one of the finest routes to deep learning is to teach someone else. In the role of coach, children prompt and question and simplify to help improve another child’s understanding, in much the same way as teachers do every day. The more the children work in these roles, the more powerful they become in maximizing learning.

Why the Sentence Café is so effective


Acquiring these fundamental building blocks for effective writing requires deep learning – learning which has been transferred to long-term memory. Much of the learning that takes place, particularly rote learning, involves children storing information in their working short-term memory. This information is very easily lost over time. The most effective teaching involves helping children to make connections with existing knowledge and to recognise patterns so that a neural pathway is created to the frontal lobe regions of the brain, and into long-term memory. This can be achieved by stimulating several senses, making learning novel and helping children to attach positive emotions to the learning. This is why children will often say that they learn best when they like their teacher and when the teacher makes learning exciting and fun.

 

Engaging Characters


At the Sentence Café, the children meet a complete family of amazing animated 3D characters who, alongside their teacher, guide them through their learning. The characters are designed to appeal to today’s children while embodying key elements of learning. For example Punc, who is an exclamation mark-shaped character and kung fu master, slices through errors and is a champion for accurate punctuation. Children interact with these characters through lessons and activities, watch animations and have exciting opportunities to experience cutting edge Augmented Reality technology in which the characters seem to come to life!

Instructional Lessons


Fluent, meaningful writing depends on the ability to spell quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphological (word structure) and orthographic (spelling structure) pattern of words. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and eventually, speedy handwriting. The Sentence Café assumes that users have reached or are approaching this stage of development. All lessons feature starter, main teaching and plenary sessions that focus on sentence construction, grammar and punctuation. These lessons should form part of a comprehensive literacy curriculum that includes reading, phonics, spelling, text structure and organisation, composition and effect.

Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas and then organising them coherently to the reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.

The Sentence Café helps children organize their ideas at a sentence level. This requires a sound grasp of grammar conventions that are crucial to ensuring that sentences can be understood. Only when children have real confidence in constructing sentences accurately and clearly, in different ways to convey subtleties of meaning, can they really grow as writers able to communicate effectively for a range of purposes and contexts.

Underpinning the programme of learning, there are four basic sentence types. Each food-related sentence type is readily identifiable and comes with a very clear set of rules, which help children get a foothold in what can be a very ambiguous and confusing discipline. Add in a logical, step-by-step teaching sequence, a rich variety of engaging instructional strategies catering to different learning styles, and opportunities for students to consolidate and reinforce their learning – now you have a child-friendly recipe for success.

Opportunities for reinforcement of learning


Supersnacks are short, fun activities and games which allow children to revisit key teaching points from each lesson in a slightly different way. Used to consolidate learning, Supersnacks can be delivered as reinforcing activities following a literacy lesson or can be accessed via computer for individual student interaction. This flexibility in how Supersnacks are delivered allows either the teacher or the student to set the pace for learning.

 

 

 

 

Then it is about repeated practise. Once a neural pathway to long-term memory has been created in the brain, it is rather like an exercised muscle. The more it is exercised, the more efficient it becomes. The more a neural pathway is used through repeated learning, the stronger that pathway to long-term memory becomes. Finally, there are many revision activities that give children numerous opportunities to practise new skills and consolidate learning. In this way, the chances of learning reaching long-term memory and making a real difference to a child’s progress over time are vastly increased.

The Sentence Cafe is strongly committed to learning through fun and to giving children numerous, stimulating ways to return to the same principles. The Sentence Café approach models and instructs educators how to introduce and reinforce a complex set of rules for grammar and writing. Students’ level of understanding and their ability to become better writers and communicators is greatly enhanced when educators are fully versed and comfortable with the content they are teaching.

Learning is delivered through auditory and visual stimuli, as well as through touch and movement, as the child interacts with the various tasks. The novel and fun alien characters that help lead the learning ensure that students will have positive emotional associations with the learning. Students are fully engaged with every lesson and are provided ample opportunities to interact with their peers in a collaborative environment. The Sentence Café is a place where teachers and students want to return, time and time again, to share in the learning process and express their ideas.