The Best of Topmarks - December 2008

clock January 12, 2009 by Sue

Chinese New Year Resources

At present one of the busiest site areas is our Chinese New Year section as many schools use this for reference for this popular topic. This year we have added further resources, namely video footage of the Dragon Dance and Lion Dance to add to our existing information about these traditions.

We have also designed a simple to make Ox, as the Year of the Ox commences on 26 January. It consists of a photocopiable template which you can download for your pupils to colour, cut out and assemble. There are accompanying instructions. In addition we have added a table of future Chinese New Year dates.

In case you haven't see our Chinese New Year resources they include information on the festival such as the traditions and customs of the festival and the story of the Chinese Zodiac. We also have an accurate calculator for discovering what zodiac animal year you were born in and the features associated with each animal sign. Many websites just stipulate a table of years and since Chinese New Year follows a Lunar rather than Gregorian calendar these are not always accurate for people with January or February birthdays.

Additions to Our Search Engine

As usual we have been adding lots of sites to our search engine and our interactive whiteboard pages.

Early Years - Foundation Stage, Ages 3 - 5

Cookery Quiz Baked Potato
The site goes through a sequence of instructions for making a baked potato with baked beans and cheese. Children need to listen carefully to each question and click on the pictures to choose the required things.

Shopping Time
Here the pupils listen to the questions and see if they know what to buy in different shops. The game works well on an interactive whiteboard.

Maths - Early Years, KS1, P1 - P3, Ages 5 - 7

Number Bonds
A super activity for finding number bonds of the numbers up to 10. It is great for investigating different number bonds and works well on an interactive whiteboard.

Number Sequences 2
Drag and drop the numbers in the gaps to order the numbers 1 to 10. There are mixed examples so some sequences of numbers go down.

Maths - KS1, KS2, P3 - P5 Ages 7 - 9

Dino Dig
A game where pupils are archaeologists searching for dinosaur bones. They have to use the grid to put in the coordinates to see where to dig. The game works well on an interactive whiteboard.

Maths - KS3, S1 - S3, Ages 11 - 13

Order of Operations
A useful interactive resource which can help your students to understand the order of operations in maths. It shows teaching strategies, solutions, print activities and rewards the user with a game to play.

English - KS1 KS2, P2 - P5, Ages 6 - 9

The Owl and the Pussycat
The website has an animation of the nonsense poem by Edward Lear. Listen to or read the poem or try one of the interactive activities which go with it.

Science/Environment/Geography - KS3 KS4, S1-S5, Ages 11 - 16

Clean Energy
The BMW Education Programme CleanEnergy resource is aimed at 12+ year old students and their teachers, CleanEnergy explores the issues relating to current and future energy sources. It has useful interactive whiteboard activities.

Look out for more new additions next month in my Best of January post.


Free downloadable resources for teachers

clock December 20, 2008 by Sue

We all know that there are amazing free educational resources on the Web, in fact that is what Topmarks is about, but every now and again I come across a site which has the WOW factor.... and Mrs Pancake is one such site.

Firstly Mrs Pancake is beautifully designed, as are the free downloadable 'Doodads' which are suitable for children across the age range from 4 to 11.

The high quality resources range from original ideas for things you can make with your class to fantastic items for classroom displays. What makes Mrs Pancake different is that the featured resources are professionally designed and don't just make use of clipart. So I recommend that if you are an early years or primary practitioner you take a peek and see what gems are on offer.


Free Books for Schools

clock December 3, 2008 by Sue

Here is a way to add some bright new books to your school shelves and for nothing! The Times and Sunday Times newspapers are about to launch the Books for Schools promotion. It is open to schools in the UK, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands and it will be running from January 2009 to November 2009.

There is a super collection of titles suitable for age groups from 3 to 14 years.

If you think your pupils' families are likely to be readers of either newspaper all you need to do is register your school for the scheme. From January you will be able to collect the cut-out tokens that will be appearing in the newspapers. What's more if you sign up before 12 December you will get 100 free tokens to get your collection underway.

Happy collecting!