4th March 2011 at 00:00


DVDs to support language lessons

The University of East Anglia has launched a series of DVDs to support language teaching in primary schools. LinguaSign combines visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning to introduce speaking and listening skills. The DVDs are available from

Online family's book debut

An online "family" will be appearing in print as a result of a partnership with a book publisher. The characters feature in Espresso Primary online resources, which are used by thousands of primary schools, but will soon be seen in a series of books, divided into phonics, short stories and non-fiction. They will be published by Franklin Watts. For details, go to

Download helps deaf children

Oxford University has produced a free teachers' pack to help deaf children improve their maths skills. See


Narrative fiction

TES i-board collection of interactive stories

Discussing stories with familiar settings is a great way to get pupils talking about their own experiences. Themes such as losing a favourite toy or a new baby in the family can help them to make sense of things in their lives and the way they feel about them.

TES i-board has produced six original stories with digital storybooks and related interactive activities. All include the "magic wand" feature, so children can separate characters or props from the background on each page and rebuild scenes in their own way.

There are also supporting resources for each of the books, which will help to draw out themes, settings and characters. For example, pupils can choose a character, change their pose or expression, and add a label.

Other functions encourage pupils to look at the differences between characters, add speech bubbles or key words, plus an editing mode for pupils to re-tell the story in their own words.

The six stories fall broadly into two categories. First, those aimed at foundation stage or early key stage 1: Josh's Favourite Toy, Josh's Cake and Harmeet's Teddy. These books feature two young children and their families, looking at situations four or five-year-olds might encounter.

In the second group, aimed at later KS1 pupils (Sam and Ella at the Park, Sam Goes Swimming and Ella's School Trip), the slightly older characters learn new skills and embark on new experiences. Themes include perseverance, kindness, honesty and following rules.


Songs and lyrics

Bringing together a collection of music - from traditional nursery rhymes to classical choral

Rather than spend all your free time trawling the internet for lyrics to well-known songs, this collection brings an exhaustive selection of them together. From an interactive whiteboard rendition of Happy Birthday to a version of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star with the lyrics "Twinkle, twinkle, chocolate bar" (both provided by chocolate.eater), they are all here.

For younger children, chocolate.eater has also shared links to songs such as Five Little Speckled Frogs, Humpty Dumpty and One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Once I Caught a Fish Alive - each with vocal backing so children can sing along.

In a different vein, Michael Griffin has uploaded 100 different choral MP3 files, for listening or downloading, across a range of styles.

NGfL Cymru, meanwhile, has supplied a selection of traditional and modern "call and response", or echo songs. And if you are keen for children to hear early music played on traditional instruments, there is a collection of MP3 samples of medieval music (Musical Contexts).

In terms of lyrics, there is a wide range to download. Elmsdale1, for example, has supplied all of the lyrics from the film The Wizard of Oz.

Annajo AR has uploaded lyrics for a selection of seaside songs, such as I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside, suitable for early years and key stage 1.

One of the challenges many teachers face is getting boys to sing, despite the fact it can make them feel more positive about themselves. Mudsailor has uploaded a song, complete with lyric sheets, music and a link to a video called "It's Fun to Be a Boy".


Primary Christianity

Gear up for Easter with stories and assemblies

March 2011 is Celebrating RE month, and the team behind this initiative has uploaded a selection of resources for pupils of all ages and abilities (ProjectSupportOfficer).

This includes a link to a list of competitions schools can enter to showcase what they are doing in RE to other schools in England and Wales.

This extensive collection also includes resources on climate change, religion and the community and advice on telling young children religious stories.

There is also a useful link to the specialist website REonline. There, teachers can download stage-specific resources on different themes across six religions: for example, Jesus' life and teachings within Christianity.

For teachers looking for assembly materials, icthus has supplied a link to the site Sermons4Kids, which includes artwork and PowerPoint presentations. There are also quizzes and colouring sheets attached to many of the themes.

For an introduction to Christian symbolism, jodyo has created a PowerPoint lesson that asks pupils to recognise famous symbols such as the McDonald's logo and discuss what they represent. This leads into a discussion of what symbols such as the cross or the fish mean to Christians. Pupils are also asked to draw a symbol that might represent their class.

Finally, there are a number of resources on Christian rites and ceremonies, including baptism (Lbrowne), a wedding role-play resource (Andy7painter) and a funeral (Kyleb99).

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