Bright ideas and costume dramas

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
The enormous range of vibrant products being showcased this year includes fingertip recognition systems and fabulous dress-up costumes. Mike Levy reports

There so much to see at this year's show, but spare some time to check out Arrow Tuition (Aural-Read-Respond-Aural-Write, stand IT-M102 www.self-vice.com). This is a multi-sensory CD-Rom learning program developed by teachers for students of all ages and abilities. The student's own voice is used for a range of learning processes, of which dictation plays an important part. The company claims that the Arrow approach makes rapid and sustained improvements in a student's reading, spelling, speech and listening skills within 6 to 10 hours of using the system.

If you've ever been frustrated by the lack of suitable musical shows for your children, then take a peek at Educational Musicals (stand PZ-L32 www.educationalmusicals.com). Each assembly show is supplied with everything a class teacher needs to put it on. Included within the script is a libretto, music score for the three songs, a CD with rehearsal and backing tracks, fact sheets and an art pack.

Also, on the drama front, Charlie Crow Costumes (stand EY-V20 www.charliecrow.com) supplies a range of fancy dress for key stages 1 and 2 children. The company has a wide selection of dressing-up costumes and accessories - everything from Elsie the Victorian maid to Romeo and Admiral Nelson. Costumes are themed by boys, girls, Easter, Christmas, historical period, fairy tales and so on. The costumes cover drama, history and special needs areas. This year's new costumes include Lady Guinevere, Sir Harry Tudor and a lion tabard.

The story theme continues with 2Simple (stand IT-N80 www.2simple.com), which is showcasing a new resource for children in foundation and KS1, that allows children to make talking stories in minutes by combining words, sound, pictures and animation in a storybook format. The software supports literacy and ICT and allows children to learn creatively and independently.

It includes video tutorials to help both pupils and teachers explore the extent of the programme and discover inspirational ideas for use within the curriculum.

For more on the story theme, hop over to Hopscotch Books (stand PZ-K40 www.hopscotch books.com) to see the latest story-card packs aimed at ages 8 to 12. They let children create their own stories for telling or writing using a series of illustrated card packs and supporting teachers' guides.

Each pack contains 36 full-colour cards in six categories, including myths and legends. Cards are grouped into hero, enemy, setting, companion, special item and quest categories.

ZooBooKoo children's cube books is making its first appearance at the Education Show (stand C64 www.zoobookoo.com). The books have a durable wipe-clean covering and offer a range of fascinating subjects. The company also has a new range of Magic Mats and Secret Scholars, which use the concept of "magic ink". Children complete a selection of sums and then rub the "magic ink" to reveal the correct answers. These answers then disappear again, so the exercises can be done again and again.The cubes and mats are designed for inclusive and flexible learning and the children should have fun completing them.

Eye2eye Software (stand SW-N48 www.eye2eyesoft.co.ukschool.htm) is highlighting a resource that allows children aged six and above to explore Britain with the aid of photos and 360-degree panoramas. It has recently been comprehensively updated to cover Scotland, as well as England and Wales. The software has many facilities, including the ability to explore main sites from a selected era, such as Roman or Victorian. Teachers can also plan school trips, use it for new projects (many ideas are supplied in teaching notes) and for updating existing lesson plans, saving valuable preparation time. The resource can be used in conjunction with an interactive whiteboard and pupils are able to copy relevant photos into their project work.

Newcomer to the show is AlphaSmart (stand H93 www.alphasmart.co.uk), which develops affordable, lightweight, rugged portable computing devices. It will be showcasing its new low-cost wireless response system, which provides real-time interaction between pupils and their teacher in the classroom. The company will also be showing the Neo - a lightweight, affordable computer companion designed to increase student access to ICT.

With the advancing of global warming, children need to be protected from the harmful ultraviolet rays. The answer may lie with Northamptonshire-based Keep it Kool Shadesails (stand Q4 www.keepitkool.co.uk), making its debut appearance at the Education Show this year with its appealing shade sails that protect areas by filtering out up to 95 per cent of UV radiation. The easy-to-clean sails can be either free-standing or attach to existing buildings. They also reduce the temperature in the shaded area by a third and are already used by many schools, nurseries and public playgrounds throughout the UK.

Learning Performance (stand J1 www.learningperformance.com) will announce its new range of workshops for primary pupils. Covering all age groups, this range of one or two-hour - and even half-day - practical workshops will be showcased at its stand. The company is also launching its workshop for special education needs pupils. Written by an SEN tutor, this fun and practical workshop can be presented alongside other differentiated GCSE workshops.

A revolutionary biometric system that identifies pupils by thumb or fingertip recognition is being launched by Nationwide Retail Systems (stand IT-N91 www.nrsltd.com). The state-of-the-art system is designed to take money out of the playground. The company has already introduced cashless systems into school canteens and is now introducing a system that allows for dietary requirements, can put a daily limit on food and can even allow for parental control over a child's diet. Out of Ark Music (stand PZ-K25 www.outoftheark. com) will be exhibiting its range of positive songs about Christian values and faith. The company is coming to the Education Show to launch Minibeasts, a book and CD resource, which includes 12 fun songs about bugs, bees, spiders, snails and much more.

Philip Tacey (stand X10 www.philipandtacey. co.uk) will be showcasing the popular Story Maker's Chest which, since winning the ERA Award for Best Primary Resource of 2005 at last year's Education Show, has been very well received in schools. Pie Corbett's Story Generator Cube and Story Teller's Mats will be new at the show and can be used within the chest and also to help with creative writing.

Educational consultant and author Sue Palmer is working with Philip Tacey to develop a brand new resource - Sue Palmer's Synthetic Phonix, which includes games and activities designed to be used for 20 minutes each day in a fast-paced phonics session.

Puppets always have the power to engage children, so it is good news that Puppets by Post (stand EY-X23 www.puppetsbypost.com) will be showing four new additions to its Traditional Story set range. Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Gingerbread Man and Nursery Rhymes Collection have been added to the existing titles, which include Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Three Little Pigs. Each set contains finger puppets of the main characters from the story and is presented in a transparent carry case, with an insert telling the story and showing an illustration.

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