Week 3 Lipograms

I was first introduced to Lipograms when I was fortunate enough to travel to Manchester for a conference on ‘Developing writing in the Modern Classroom’ led by Alan Peat and Lee Parkinson. Over the last 18 months these two have had a significant impact on the teaching of a range of subjects through their innovative use of a combinationof high and low tech strategies to engage learners.

Lee Parkinson’s blog is inspirational for anyone wanting to use iPads and digital technology to raise standards.  I have used many of his ideas over the last two school years to great effect and would highly recommend reading his blog.


Alan Peat is a former teacher, now a writer and speaker who has written a number of books and successful apps to develop the use of literacy skills.  I first came across him through Twitter and was introduced to his ‘Exciting Sentences’ which I introduced to my school and have been embedded in our practice for over a year. You can find out more about them from his website.


When I went to the conference I was introduced to the idea of Lipograms, something I’ll admit I had never heard of. A lipogram is a constraint that is used when writing and can often be developed as a task for deepening the challenge for higher attainers.  The concept is very simple: a piece of writing is produced in which a particular letter is omitted. The example we worked on during the course (and I tried out with my class on return to school) was of Humpty Dumpty, rewritten without the use of the letter a.


Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again


Humpty Dumpty rested on the structure

Humpty Dumpty tumbled off the structure

Every one of the King’s horses, followed by every one of the Kings’s men

Couldn’t return Humpty to his previous condition. 


When I asked Alan for a suggestion of activity for the GRA, he suggested that we try writing lipograms for a section of the text, and to enhance this further, to read the version we have written alongside the printed original in order to see where changes have been made.

It has also been suggested that we video or audio record these reading and share them so that children can hear different accents/voices from around the world.  This could be done using Write About This.

Here’s an example from Billy Miller that I will use with my class (differentiated to accommodate the ability of my students).


(The quality of these pictures is better if you click on them – I couldn’t open the file on my iPad as the font was different!)


Viki Allen, Tollgate School, Eastbourne, UK

Hello from 3A Miss Alexis’ class!

Hi Everyone,

We are 3A from Brisbane, Australia. We are excited to participate so thank you!

We will be submitting our work from the book, The Year of Billy Miller, soon.

We are enjoying  the book very much. We really laughed out loud today! We are up to ‘Teacher’ part 3.

We would like to share a little bit about our class with you. They are as follows:

  • We have a big ‘ Think‘ sign at the front of the room because Ms Alexis wants us to think a lot
  • We have just found Mr Skully
  • We laugh a lot in class
  • We work hard and try our best
  • We have crows that are very loud outside our classroom
  • We have swimming on a Monday
  • Our school is very big
  • We greet and say goodbye in Spanish

We would like to hear about your class!

Thank you for reading this!


from 3A 🙂

Phillip Brooks’ Inspired Learners


Hello from California!

Hello! We are the Phillips Brooks School. We have six classrooms participating in the Global Read Aloud. The 4th and 5th graders will be reading Fish in a Tree, and the 3rd graders will be reading The Year of Billy Miller. We are so excited be a part of the Global Read Aloud. Phillips Brooks is located in Northern California, not far from beautiful sunny beaches and mesmerizing snowy mountains. Here are the top five things we love about our school.

1. The kind students and faculty

2. The technology we get to use

3. Fun specialist classes we have like music and art.

4. After- school activities such as cooking, art, and chess.

5. Our core values – kindness, community, love of learning, and courage.

Written by Emma and Rhea

Week 2 – Character Descriptions – The Year of Billy Miller

In novels, the deliberate creation of good characters drives the story. Effective characters can create memories for the reader, which can last a lifetime.

Welcome to Week 2 of the Global Read Aloud Challenge. This week is about the characters that we have met so far in our novel. Characters are an integral part of a quality story. As readers, we make connections with the different characters and learn from their experiences during the story. There are many layers to a character, which the writer uses to keep the reader interested and to develop the plot.

This week, you have the choice to participate in the Padlet, the Popplet or both.

Task 1 – Padlet

This task focuses on describing a character.  For the Padlet, you need to answer the question as a class, and then post your response. Alternatively, you can take an image of your work as a class and upload the image. We will be moderating the Padlet, so posts will be approved prior to being published (this may take several hours). A big thank-you to Viki Allen, who has kindly offered to be a co-moderator for this task.

Task 2 – Popplet 

The character analysis guide below is for those classes wishing to create a Popplet to share their ideas about one of the main characters. You can save an image of your Popplet and post it on the Global Readers blog, or you can create your class response using a different method and share with the group.



Characterisation Analysis Popplet
Characterisation Analysis Popplet

I hope you enjoy this activity!

😄🌈🌏Mrs Helena Tully (Qld Tech Brekkie Crew)




Mrs Helena Tully is currently a Primary school teacher (Grades 5/6) with a passion for reading, writing and all things creative! She is located in Tropical North Queensland and works in a small school. Mrs T is absolutely delighted to be introducing students to the wider world through technology! She is a member of Queensland Tech Brekkie Crew. She loves to connect and collaborate with teachers from around the world and can be found on twitter @tullycrew.


Mrs Boyd’s Bunch, Bowen Australia

We are a class consisting of 23 students from a small coastal town in North Queensland called Bowen. This is our first time participating in the Global Read Aloud Challenge and we are very excited about this learning experience. Our school is a Primary centre of nearly 500 students from Years Prep to 6. We are part of the beautiful Whitsunday region and are at the gateway of the Great Barrier Reef, making us a very desirable tourist attraction. We have a very family friendly small school environment which fosters learning and growing together. We look forward to sharing and reading all of the contributions to the Global Read Aloud Challenge.

Swing into 2K, Bowen Australia

We are a class of 23 Year 2 students in Bowen, Australia. 2K enjoy swinging into a great book and sharing their writing. We have just completed the Premier’s Reading Challenge. It is the first time we have participated in the Global Read Aloud and we are extremely excited to learn from you all.

Bowen is a beautiful town on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia.


The picture of the BIG mango represents the delicious fruit we are well known for.

bowen big mango

Our school is a couple of streets away from the beach. As you can see we are extremely spoilt.

bowen beaches

The Year of Billy Miller – Sketchnoting


Sketchnoting builds a connection between verbal and visual components. It is a personal form of note-taking that activates the brain in the process much the same as doodling. Doodling is a way of thinking, of drawing information around a thought process.


Make visual notes (sketchnotes) about the main events from a chapter in the book. Take photos and upload your notes to the blog or use any available apps to make your visual notes. Label which chapter you are sketching about.

Consider.. Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?

What visual representations will best describe…

* The sequence of events?

* The emotions of the characters?

* The impact of what happened?

* The text you will use?

Paper & pencil or black felt tip pen
Ipad apps – Bamboo Paper, Paper53, Bookcreator
(It’s easier to do your first sketchnote on paper)



Sketchnoting – Intelligent Notetaking – explains my passion for sketchnoting, what and why we sketchnote with basic shapes and examples to support beginners.

Sketcho Frenzy – Basics of Visual Notetaking – explains fundamentals of text hierarchy, words as images, and the structure of sketchnoting.



Zeina is the Leader of Learning & Innovation at a Primary school in Sydney. She loves sketchnoting, lego and coding on her ipad. Zeina runs the makerspace (you can check us making at #stfmaker) at her school where students come to code Sphero Robots, create things with Littlebits and Makeymakeys, create amazing structures in Minecraft and sometimes even cardboard! Zeina loves connecting and collaborating with teachers from around the world on twitter. She would love to share your sketchnotes with her followers @ZeinaChalich