Preview of the National Exhibition and Conference, Cardiff International Arena, May 27-28
Yolanda Brooks selects some of the useful new resources at Wales Education 2004
Here's your chance to try out and compare dozens of teaching resources.
More than 80 companies are exhibiting at this year's show, providing everything from nursery management software and maths puzzle-days to playground equipment and Welsh-language publications.
Geography teachers are not the only ones who will be interested in the Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping software from Digital Worlds International, attending the show for the first time. Its package allows every school in Wales to collect data on their local area.
As well as aerial and satellite images of the 10 square kilometres around each school, it includes historic maps, Ordnance Survey maps, local information from the 2001 Census and lesson plans that can be used across subjects such as ICT, history, citizenship and geography. Stand B9 Another new ICT resource is Shannon's Game, from Resource Education. It enables key stage 1-4 students to improve their spelling in English and other languages by helping them to develop strategies and word-building skills. Teachers can edit the software's lists of words and group them under themes. Stand A33
For lessons in Welsh there is Mathemateg 5-11, from nferNelson. The package enables teachers to monitor the progress of pupils in a range of areas, including mathematical application, interpretation, understanding numbers and computation. Stand E22
On the same stand is Taclau'r Tasgau, a Welsh language version of SuperTools from BlackCat. This versatile toolkit for the primary classroom contains eight software programs, including graphics, Logo, spreadsheets, data handling, desktop publishing and word processing. Stand E22
Maths teachers should also stop by at the Mathcymru stand. The organisation, which promotes activities to enrich maths teaching and learning, will be showcasing electronic resources and a teaching package for using interactive whiteboards. Stand A22 (with nferNelson) Visitors will be able to talk to children's writer Margaret Isaac. She is the author of Tales of Gold, a collection based on Welsh folklore, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an adaptation with contemporary themes of the 14th century story (Apecs Publications). She will be previewing The Tale of Twm Fiom Cati, a soon-to-be-published story about an outlaw who was pardoned by Elizabeth I and went on to become a respected gentleman. Stand E13
Multi-sensory story packs from Bag Books are available for children, teenagers and adults with multiple learning difficulties andor sensory impairment. Each story comes in a box with a laminated storyboard, cards and objects to see, feel, smell and hear. Stand S13
Another company producing tactile resources is Active Designs. Its new items include a fold-out food chain and the class-size Lifecycle Bag, containing brushed perspex butterflies, frogs, chickens, flowers, dragonflies, ants, trees and a mouse at four stages of development. Stand E9
A variety of all-weather resources that can enrich your outdoor areas will be on show. One is We-Go, from Mindstretchers, a colourful collection of six waterproof handling bags that are hung from a base bag. Teachers choose the resources to go in each bag, and the pupils simply pick a bag containing equipment for a ready-made activity. The curriculum-based materials available include wooden books, twig pens, carved pens, mosaic squares, metal egg shakers, duck callers, wicker rings and number confetti.
The curriculum also comes to the playground with colourful, all-weather wall displays from Playground Pictures. New items include a sheep numberline and caterpillars made of discs featuring 45 high-frequency words. The company also supplies butterflies with number spots on their wings, and flowers with clusters of consonants. The displays are made from 3mm PVC and can be fixed easily to walls. Stand A36 (with Sweet Counter) Large-scale playground equipment, including climbing frames, seesaws, labyrinths, slides and multi-play systems, can be seen at Lappset on Stand A13 and Wicksteed Leisure on Stand A2.
The show website is www.teachingexhibitions.co.uk