KS2History, a popular primary Author on TES, explains what inspires her creative resources, how she uses the curriculum to target her resource packs and why history can be a great vehicle for improving children's literacy.
Tell us about your professional background.
I trained as a primary teacher in 2008 and have since had experience teaching both KS1 and KS2. I have always enjoyed spending time planning creative and engaging lessons, but I know how frustrating it can be as a teacher when the endless lists of other duties squeeze out time to plan well.
This is one of the reasons that I started making resources to share with other teachers. When the new curriculum came in, I wanted to spend some time developing high quality plans that covered some of the newer topics and I began making them available through platforms like TES.
My master's degree in children's literature also inspired me to find ways to connect literacy to the rest of the curriculum and one of the resources that I enjoyed making the most is the Stone Age Boy literacy planning pack, which links a literacy unit on narrative to the Stone Age history topic.
Where do you start when making resources?
I usually start by finding an area of the curriculum that has few or no resources available, or for which teachers have told me they need some planning.
When I first made the Stone Age resource pack in 2014, teachers were panicking because there were very few other resources available to help with the Stone Age to Iron Age topic on the new curriculum. The pack was an instant hit as soon as it was published and this inspired me to develop more resources like it.
Once I have found a curriculum area for my next resource, I focus on the learning objectives and look for ways to teach them that will be fun and engaging for both pupils and teachers.
I usually use activities and resources that have worked well with my own classes or that I can imagine my pupils really enjoying.
How do you make a subject such as history accessible to primary students?
The key is to make it as hands-on as possible. My lesson plans involve everything from making Roman roads out of biscuits and sweets, to creating podcasts about mystery artefacts from the Kingdom of Benin.
History comes alive when children are able to engage imaginatively with the past and all of my resources aim to make this happen in as many creative ways as possible.
Cross-curricular links are also important so all of my planning packs include ideas for linking history to other subject areas.
In general, what makes a great resource?
The best resources are ones that teachers can easily adapt to suit the needs of their own class. Great lesson plans give teachers the flexibility to engage students in creative ways while also fully covering the learning objectives.
For subjects like history, I find that it is helpful when resources include enough background to help teachers to improve their own subject knowledge, especially for less well-covered topics in the curriculum like Benin Kingdom and the Shang Dynasty.
What advice would you give any teachers out there who are considering selling their resources?
Go for it! If you have poured time, energy and passion into making high quality resources for your own class, then selling your resources could benefit other teachers and pupils across the globe.
If you know the sort of resources teachers like you need, then why not earn money from sharing them with others too?
KS2History's TES Shop
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