Helen Macdonald, TES Author helenmacdonald81, has experience tackling difficult geography topics with students of all ages. Find out how she makes her resources engaging and what’s next for her shop.
Tell us a bit about your professional background
After completing my degree in geography, I worked in a pupil referral unit, catering for students aged 4 to 16, before starting my PGCE. I converted my PGCE into an M.Ed, focused on teaching and learning, and taught geography in secondary schools until 2012 when I decided to become a stay-at-home mum.
Since then, I have written a primary geography resource book, worked as a consultant in primary schools and marked GCSE exam papers. I now work one day a week in a primary school teaching maths and science.
Why did you decide to join TES to share your resources?
Throughout my teaching, I have always used resources that have been made available by other teachers. A primary school commissioned me to write a geography resource book but when it was complete, I struggled to share it with other primary schools. Unfortunately, but understandably, geography is not seen as a high priority amongst primary teachers.
I was on TES when I spotted an advert inviting teachers to sell their resources. I took the opportunity to share elements of my resource book as a mixture of free and premium resources. Watching resources be downloaded, or bought, is exciting and gives me a real boost.
How do you make sure your resources are interesting and engaging?
I approach my teaching with the fundamental belief that you can teach any child anything as long as you can break it down into enough steps.
My resources are interesting because I’m not afraid to tackle challenging geographical topics, like hurricanes or tornadoes. By breaking down these complicated ideas, you have the opportunity to deliver pure geography which is accessible to everyone.
I feel it’s essential to think about what is required at GCSE and work the knowledge and skills back all the way to the foundation stage. At any age, I want my students to be practising good geography skills that can be built upon and will keep them engaged in their work.
I’d like to start bringing together and publishing some of my science and maths resources. When I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted for a fractions lesson, I spent a while fiddling with fraction layout so I definitely think this would be a good one to share in order to save other teachers that time. Saving time is essentially what sharing resources is all about!