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Develop your use of resources

Sue Cowley offers practical tips on managing your class and delivering your lessons

Resources offer a great way to spice up your lessons. Often, the most interesting resources are a bit unusual - things that grab children's attention. Spend some time this term developing your use of resources and this will pay dividends for your pupil's learning.

* Be imaginative: Bring in some interesting objects to inspire your pupils, or get hold of some costumes to liven up a topic. Living things add an extra dimension, so bring in some plants or animals, or take the class outdoors. Children respond well to the chance to eat food in the classroom, whether this is Smarties after a maths lesson on probability, or croissants from a simulated French market.

* Be well organised: Resources are only useful if you can access them quickly and easily and at the relevant moment. Sort your resources into clearly labelled drawers or boxes. Involve your children in this activity.

* Have a regular clear-out: Teachers often hold on to lots of stuff just in case it might come in handy at some point. You may find that you have inherited lots of resources from a previous teacher and that these are eating up your classroom space. Have a regular and ruthless clear-out, preferably once a term.

* Make worksheets work for you: Take care with using lots of worksheets as they can be a bit of a cop-out when you don't feel like doing any teacher-led work. Use them only when they are genuinely going to aid learning. Make sure they are visually appealing and take care to simplify instructions for pupils with poor literacy. A single worksheet created on a computer can easily be differentiated for children with different abilities.

* Use people: Pupils respond really well to an expert coming into the classroom, preferably not another teacher. You might get a theatre group to come in and present some scenes from a set play, or parents to talk about interesting or unusual careers.

* Use computers: Find ways to incorporate computers in your lessons, whatever subject you are delivering. ICT is a key part of the modern curriculum, and it will also engage your children. Move beyond simply using word processing programmes to type up written work. Explore the possibilities for using web pages, databases, PowerPoint presentations, and so on. Set clear ground rules for behaviour before you let your class loose on the machines.

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