Category Archives: resources

Playing maths

Working with Gifted and Talented children can be a challenging experience. My group of G&T Year 6 students are smart, have a range of interests and love challenges, but they are not easily pleased. They know what they want and they expect me to deliver it. And I can tell they have high expectations.

Today I wanted them to work on some fundamental mathematical skills such as logic, memory, spatial recognition and analytical thinking. And what is the best way to introduce those subtle but all important skills to a group of 11 year olds, but a videogame?

So this morning I decided to use “The Clockwork Brain” an iOS game, which consists of a series of well designed original mini-games that encourage players to develop and practice the all-crucial mathematical thinking skills. It is fun and engaging with the level of difficulty linked to the players’ performance.

Train your Brain the Steampunk Way!

My group of Year 6 students were ecstatic and understandably happy to exchange working on problems with playing a game. They soon settled down and I could see them focused on the task at hand, trying to complete the activities before time was up.

They were concentrated and tried hard to improve their scores. To my delight they were also able to reflect on their performance and discuss how they can become better players. I have also encouraged them to discuss strategies and exchange tips.

I can tell they were really pleased and could see that it was a positive learning experience for them.

The good thing about this game is that everyone can play. As it practices mathematical thinking, it does not involve any math work. So even if maths is not your strong suit, you will enjoy it!

The games are accessible to younger children as well as adults. My daughter, who is in Year 3, has been playing the game for about a year now and she still enjoys it. And I have been playing on and off for quite some time now.

I am now on the lookout for some more games to use with primary school children. If you have come across engaging and novel applications/games, please share!

Resources for Reception class children – reading

My son started in Reception this September, so as a modern 21st century mother I had already done my research and found two resources for us to use at home. Having tried them, I would recommend them to anyone with KS1 children who (a) would like to find out more about phonics and reading in school and how to support their children and (b) want some free resources to help children practice and revise.

Learning sound letters with a cute giraffe

I had already come across Mr Thorne does Phonics resources through the TES website. So it was a few months ago that I found out about a new section Geraldine the Giraffe. This is a great resource for reception children as it aims to teach them letter sounds using a fun and engaging way. Geraldine is the cutest giraffe, but a bit clumsy. She is willing to learn and really tries hard. But with her big giraffe tongue, sounding out is not that easy for her and it takes a few unsuccessful attempts before she is able to master her sounds, which add an element of fun to the experience.

Although at a first glance it may not convince the parents, I can see that my son is not only totally engaged but he learns as well. Each video presents a sound and it is only a few minutes long, just the right length to keep him engaged. As soon as he would get back home from school, we would check the Geraldine video of the new phonic sound of the day.

In each video Geraldine has to go on an object hunt and find things that begin with the specific sound. This is the highlight of the experience for my son, as he is full of anticipation for the things that Geraldine will bring back.

Reading with Biff, Chip and Kipper

Now that he has moved on and can read books I use the digital library of the Oxford Owl Tree website. They are the creators of Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy and publish the scheme books used in many primary schools. This is primarily an excellent resource for parents, as it provides tips and advice on helping and supporting young children in reading and maths.

Most of their books are also available on the website as ebooks and are accompanied by activities to encourage comprehension of the story. There is also audio so that children can listen to the stories.

I would really like to find out more about resources for supporting EYFS learning. Please feel free to share websites and books that you have come across and like