One of my online tasks at the moment is to create a medium plan for either Maths, English or Science. Lesson plans are something you create from your first placement but medium plans are a great tool for overseeing the whole term/ year. I didn’t start contributing to these properly until my second placement where I helped create the English planning for instructions. On my first placement, I created medium planning but only after I’d taught most of the lessons. Medium planning is also a way that the school can make sure every teacher is teaching what is necessary for their class, so it’s a good thing to learn how to do!
Anyway, this post is all about resources. I am currently sat at my dining table, thinking about what inspiration I can get for activities and the different elements in each topic. I have chosen light and electricity for year 6 because I haven’t got experience teaching upper KS2 and would like to see what is expected for that age group.
Here are some great online resources and I’ll try to say what subjects they are best for and what I’ve found when using them.
- Twinkl – A highly contentious website full of everything and anything teaching. A lot of teachers really don’t like this website because it encourages lazy teaching, download a lesson and it’s activities and the planning is done for you. However, they do actually have a lot of definitions on there as well as lesson plans and activities which is helpful to new teachers.
Top Tip (to prevent laziness ensuing as well as a warning):
Don’t directly lift their presentations and worksheets. Download the editable versions. This is because the information is not always correct(!) and sometimes they throw in curve ball pieces of information which don’t even apply to the topic you’re teaching!
I still use Twinkl because their illustrations are lovely and child friendly, for example, I’ve used their imagery for a plant topic but written my own content. I also like their writing templates as they are differentiated well and it’s less stressful than trying to click and drag boxes and lines all over a word document! I also like using them as a springboard after reading the National Curriculum document because they give me a loose idea of structure. From there I can use my own activity ideas and use a mix of resources.
You can access lots for free or pay a monthly subscription which increases in cost depending on what sort of access you need. I believe during lockdown much of the website is free to access to help home schooling.
- White Rose Maths – This website is a dream for primary maths! They have presentations which you can download and they are laid out in an order that links to the maths required in the National Curriculum. I don’t pay for membership, but if you do you have access to downloadable resources for making activities as well as courses. I cannot recommend this website enough, it really helped me to understand how to teach Maths, which can be hard as suggested methods of working are always changing!
- STEM – Is a great resource for all things science! There are resources for primary and secondary school topics. If you want some inspiration for science experiments then this website is your best friend. Looking at the subject of light in year 6, they have six different ideas for this topic, one for each lesson. They also offer a lot of home learning activities to support science learning during lockdown so a big plus for parents too.
- BBC Bitesize – It’s sort of an archive of all things BBC education! There are video resources that I remember watching as a child on TV, so about 20 years old (Oh Geez). It’s a great resource for videos which can explain anything from prepositions to how plants grow. I really enjoy using their videos to help make potentially more daunting lessons feel more approachable for children. Sometimes you can find really silly videos too which the class love, for example, I found a rap about how flowers are pollinated for the Year 3 Plants topic.
- Hamilton Trust – This website has a breakdown of subjects for each year group. You can pay for access, as with many of these websites, but I just use the objectives to help create different activities. Something I like about Hamilton Trust is that they have a cross curricular section if you click on topics. In this section of the website you can find topics which can link various subjects in the classroom, for example, ancient Greece, including the Olympics, trade and Aesop’s fables.
- Classroom Secrets – This website caters for lots of subjects but I use it for maths. They create great worksheets which are specific to individual maths subjects and seem to follow White Rose Maths and the National Curriculum layout which is really handy. You need to pay for the majority of the resources but lots of schools pay for the whole staff to have membership so you may find you don’t have to! I tend to download them and edit anything I want to use. The only trouble I’ve sometimes had are that the ‘easier’ worksheets have been confusing so I always try to adapt them and cut and stick different questions onto different worksheets.
This is not an advert for any of these websites, these are just the ones I have been using to help create fun and inspiring lessons. As I progress in my training and future work I’m sure I’ll be able to give you a refreshed list! Do comment below if you know of any others to check out.