Resources of the week

24th October 2014 at 01:00
Three subject teachers recommend a high-quality resource that they have tried and tested in their own classrooms


Practice makes perfect

What is it? This collection of interactive spreadsheets, uploaded to the TES website by daniels2, has been designed to improve students' numeracy skills. Many crucial areas are covered, including mental arithmetic, fractions, percentages and rounding up. The pice de rsistance is the starters sheet, which contains more than 150 activities that can be randomly generated and projected at any point in a lesson.

How can it be used? With the new curriculum in England bringing an increased focus on mastery learning, this resource will become a key component of my teaching this year. Students must have basic skills in place before they can become problem-solvers and independent learners, so I plan to dip into the starters worksheet throughout my lessons to focus students and keep them on their toes.

Find it here: bit.lyPracticePerfect

Craig Barton is an advanced skills teacher at Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton and a TES secondary maths adviser. Find him on Twitter at @TESMaths


Creative writing challenges

What is it? This PowerPoint, uploaded by felpetai, is a brilliant tool for getting students to write creatively. A selection of writing prompts have been organised into four categories and hidden behind numbers. Students select a category and number, but have no way of knowing which challenge they will receive. The element of chance means that they will agonise less over story ideas and can get straight down to the business of writing.

How can it be used? These tasks would make excellent warm-up exercises before students attempt a longer piece of descriptive writing. You can use them for independent working or ask small groups to produce pieces of collaborative writing on A3 paper. This work can then be shared with the rest of the class as inspiration for individual stories. As an extension task, get students to devise their own writing prompts to challenge their peers. This is a versatile resource to help students practise a creative skill that can be tricky to teach.

Find it here: bit.lyWritingChallenges

Helen Amass is a former English teacher who writes for the TES website


Lab safety

What is it? All science teachers know that combining uncoordinated and occasionally unruly students with hazardous chemicals can be a toxic mix. This resource by Charlotte Dawson aims to boost practical lessons by improving students' knowledge of safety (as well as the mental well-being of their teachers).

How can it be used? Consisting of three PowerPoints, a card-sort activity and a worksheet, this resource contains enough material for two whole lessons. It is ideal for making students aware of laboratory safety rules and hazard symbols. The suggested activities, which include learning to light a Bunsen burner and safely melt an ice cube, are ideally suited to the lesson objectives. I have used this with my Year 7 class and thoroughly recommend it.

Find it here: bit.lySafeLabs

Aimee Mckeon is a science teacher at St Andrew's CE High School and Sixth Form in Croydon, South London

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