It's been an incredibly busy year with more and more teachers sharing resources, ideas and blog posts than ever before. Regardless of its pitfalls, social media has allowed everyone to share the resources that are having an impact in their own classrooms. Here are 20 which we think deserve a special mention this year. Of course, here at Mr A, Mr C and Mr D Present, we tend to focus on English so, in no particular order, with loads of other great resources missing, here are a few of our favourites:
1.) One-Page Answer Schemes - Anyone in Year 6 knows how long it takes to either flick through yet another photocopied version of the old SATs papers, or worse still, save the paper and scroll through a PDF version. This superb resource by @_MissieBee condenses all the answers onto one page and has saved teachers hours of laborious page turning. Hurrah! Also, well worth checking out Sophie's Maths Knowledge Organisers too.
2.) Vocabulary Ninja: Mastering Vocabulary - With schools shifting their focus to reading, the importance of vocabulary has produced a wide variety of 'go-to' resources for the classroom. Important books such as Bringing Words to Life and The Vocabulary Gap have become staple reading for many and so this book provides much needed practical solutions to an ever growing need to redress the imbalance of vocabulary in classrooms. With more comprehension books arriving next year, the @VocabularyNinja is becoming a key resource in all primaries.
3.) Grammar Cards - Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. @SarahFarrellKS2 has created a handful of easy to complete grammar reminders for the classroom to help plug the gaps that children have in their understanding, all presented in an easy-to-use set of cards. What's not to like? Another great little game devised by @MrBoothY6 is to use a set of grammar name cards to play 'Heads Up'. Simple, easy to make and incredibly effective.
4.) Knowledge Organisers and Mini-Quizzing - This year, far and away our most popular resources have been our knowledge organisers in history, geography, science, music and even books. With a shift to a knowledge-rich curriculum, more and more teachers and schools are keen to develop a systematic approach to knowledge within their curriculum. Schools have been keen to download and edit these to suit their own curriculum needs and help them develop practices which link to retrieval and the moving of knowledge into long-term memory.
5.) The Mega Book of Fluency - Over the last decade, the teaching of synthetic phonics has seen a huge shift in the way early reading is taught. Reading comprehension has also been a staple in classes over the last few years but the teaching of reading fluency has lagged behind. This books has helped bring a vital reading skill back to the forefront of our minds and the importance of teaching reading fluency is now higher up the agenda.
6.) Classroom Screen - A one-stop shop for everything you need on your SMARTBoard before the day begins: traffic lights, volume expectations, random name generator, notice boards and more. This little website can help you feel more organised in moments. Well worth checking out.
7.) What I'm Reading - A simple way of creating a poster where staff can either print off what they are reading themselves, or what the whole class are reading. This can showcase reading in school quickly and effectively. Why not get SLT, office staff, caretakers and everyone else to print off and display the poster too?
8.) Reading Road Posters - The Reading Road poster set by @misterbodd has 7 different, well-crafted posters that focus on class reads within a variety of genres. What's nice about these, is that that they start at Key Stage 1 and lead up to Key Stage 3, giving staff and children an idea of where the genre can lead to within primary school. Also worth checking out the Tube Map posters on his site too.
9.) Parts of Speech - A really useful little tool which shows all the grammatical terms required in KS2. Simply type out a sentence and then it colour codes each word for you.
10.) The Reading Realm - This superbly made iPad app by @MrEagletonIan has over 200 children's stories, interactive games, discussion guides and lots of quizzes. Not only does it look great, but the choice of texts are phenomenal. It's well worth a download!
11.) Writing in Clusters - A useful blog article by @JasonWade71 was accompanied with a PDF download which outlined his thinking when planning units of writing. This involves writing less, more often and in clusters. The approach focuses on using the best literature available and a range of scaffolds and vocabulary acquisition to support children when crafting their own writing. This could also be used in conjunction with techniques such as structure strips and slow writing.
12.) World Book Map - Our poster has been downloaded thousands of times and showcases a range of KS2 books from around the globe. It also has an extensive list of novels set in hundreds of other countries, some of which have only recently been translated into English. It's a useful support when planning class reads linked to topics, much like the excellent Books for Topics website.
13.) Picture News -A new set of resources promoting discussion and speaking and listening skills based on recent news stories. The resources are designed to provide opportunities for children to learn from our world and develop respect for other’s beliefs, feelings and faiths. If your class enjoy First News, then this is a valuable yet different way to interact with what is happening in the world today.
14.) National Poetry Day Resources - Worth downloading and joining in with every year. This year saw some great resources to help support the writing of a haiku, poetry by Benjamin Zephaniah and Philip Gross, as well as toolkits to keep poetry on a pedestal for the rest of the year.
15.) EdShed - Rob's @LiteracyShed has continued to pave the way for teachers to focus on reading skills using VIPERS and use film studies to enhance and develop writing. With a whole range of new writing units now available, the site is a must-have to help with the planning process. The Spelling Shed is also having a fantastic impact all around the country too!
16.) Harry Potter SATs-Style Reading Comprehension - @TeachUsMrBlack produced a set of Potter reading comprehensions, including the fabulous Sorting Hat poem comprehension which was a stroke of genius! Year 6 children were clambering to give it a go and it inspired us here to produce a set of SATs-Style Reading Papers based on the question stems and word counts from previous years.
17.) Reading Theater Scripts - A massive range of PDFs with the number of readers required for each script. A fantastic resource to just print and do in order to practice reading fluency and developing expression when reading aloud.
18.) Google Keep App - Take a photo of a page in a novel with your phone. Press a button. Email it to yourself. You now have a fully editable page of text you can manipulate how you like for lessons. Your welcome.
19.) Boxed Criteria - Having huge long lists of success criteria can be daunting at the best of times for some children. This simple but unique way of looking at success criteria should definitely be given a go if you haven't already. @jdurran says on his blog, "It is just a visual device for focusing the thinking of teachers and pupils on what writing is actually about: communication and effect, not just the performance of skills." That's why we think it's so good!
20.) The Pirate Game - I just couldn't leave it out! Originally made in 2012 by @mrcollinsmaths, then updated in August 2018, this game has seen a huge resurgence of late and has spread like wildfire online. It may just feel like fun and games but there is nothing better out there that can create camaraderie, belly laughs and a bit of tactical game-playing than this whole-class beast!
We can't wait to see what comes our way next year!
Thanks for reading and we hope you found some of these resources useful.