Lessons shared around the world
Teachers from across the globe come together on the TES website. Victoria Grace Walden discovers some of their favourite resources
Global demand for creative classroom resources is huge and growing all the time. Each country has its favourites: some might seem predictable; others are surprising. But all shine a light on the way those nations see themselves and the wider world. Here we reveal the front-running TES online resources in a who’s who of popular lessons.
US: Pow! Wham! Bang!
Resource: mrwatt1’s superhero pack
Subject: Secondary English
The country that gave us Spider-Man, Batman and the Incredible Hulk is still obsessed with superheroes - particularly in the classroom. One of the nation’s favourite resources is this series of PowerPoints and worksheets designed to help pupils understand the genre while developing their own storytelling skills. Pupils analyse film clips and comic books, develop character profiles by creating top trumps cards and design a map of a fantasy city for a superhero to live in. They then create their own superhero, write their biography and develop a short story on the theme “The day I discovered I had superpowers”.
Saudi Arabia: Shifting sands
Resource: TES partner GreenTV’s video on the global outlook for deserts
Subject: Secondary geography
The second-largest Arab state is about 95 per cent desert, so it’s not surprising that schools are so interested in the future of their own landscape. This seven- minute video explores the potentially destructive nature of desertification (when fertile land turns barren). It also highlights the importance of natural deserts and their ecosystems - including more than 300 plants that can be used for cancer treatments - and the potential for deserts to provide the world’s electricity through solar and wind power.
Australia: Made to measure
Resource: cathyd’s maths definition posters
Subject: Primary maths
Australia certainly has a lot of space: with an area of 7.7 million km2 it is the world’s smallest continent but the sixth largest country. Large tracts are uninhabitable. The most popular resource is a set of 45 posters that helps pupils to learn about measurements. The collection explores how to measure perimeters, area and volume and provides instructions on calculating angles and fractions. It also offers cheery reminders to young children about how to remember the number of days in a week and the number of minutes in an hour.
Ireland: Ship of dreams
Resource: Lizdoig’s Titanic pack
Subject: Primary cross-curricular
The opening of the Titanic Belfast museum in Northern Ireland this year commemorated the centenary of the sinking of the “ship of dreams”. But the Republic of Ireland’s schools also caught Titanic fever. This resource pack contains a PowerPoint that explains the ship’s history and a presentation pack that explores each deck of the doomed vessel. Pupils are introduced to the moving story of survivor Ruth Becker, who was just 12 when the ship sank. A timeline, statistics and descriptions of crew members prepare pupils for literacy and maths assignments, wrapping up with the chance to create a 3D ship.
Romania: Goodwill to all
Resource: jodirola’s scheme of work on Skellig
Subject: Secondary English
Designed to develop pupils’ literacy skills, this pack includes resources that help with essay writing (using point, evidence, explanation or PEE), debating, reading aloud and exploring subtext and metaphor. It is based on David Almond’s novel Skellig, in which a young boy named Michael discovers an emaciated, winged man (Skellig) in the garage of his new home. Michael cares for this strange character, who has powers he could never have imagined. Romania’s top five resources also include gill.benet’s lessons on Stone Cold, a novel about homelessness (bit.ly/tesStoneCold), and krista_carson’s activities based on A Christmas Carol (bit.ly/tesChristmasCarol). It seems there is a taste among Romanian educators for stories of hard times and goodwill.
Pakistan: Disco dancing
Resource: dawnsalter1’s displacement activity
Subject: Secondary chemistry
Teaching in Pakistan has traditionally been teacher-led, with classes structured as lectures. But the popularity of “disco displacement” turns that on its head. In this interactive PowerPoint, characters representing metals and sulphates dance to 1970s disco music. The pairs make up a compound. The formula of each character - including a Saturday Night Fever John Travolta - is shown in a bubble above their head. When a sulphate finds a better dance partner (a more reactive metal) they leave their current metal and dance with the newcomer instead. So when a more reactive metal comes into contact with a solution containing a less reactive metal, displacement happens. And that’s true love.
Kenya: What’s the story?
Resource: MissHumbug’s creative writing project
Subject: Primary English
Kenyan educators’ favourite resource reflects the country’s heritage of oral storytelling. The lesson helps primary pupils to develop their own character and story. First, they write a character profile: what does their character look like? What do they like and dislike? What is their job? They then create a storyboard highlighting the twists and turns of their tale. Each activity is differentiated, stretching the strongest pupils while supporting those who are less able.
Nigeria: Phonics fever
Resource: klbishop’s weekly lesson plans for phonics phases 1-6
Subject: Primary English
English is the official language of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council is finalising moves to include synthetic phonics in the national curriculum. Indeed, it may soon become the standard approach to teaching literacy. Several states, including Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Cross River, have already started to teach language phonetically and others are expected to follow suit. English company Jolly Learning has supported the introduction of phonics to the country’s schools, cooperating with non-governmental organisations to provide state schools with free resources and coaches. The resource shared by klbishop helps young learners to master high-frequency and tricky words with a clear step-by-step guide.
These resources were some of the most popular downloads by country during the past academic year (September 2011 to July 2012).