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Some of you may have seen my review on Primary Education entitled 'This who can,,,,teach!' Following on from that I decided to write this review about an amazing website I use nearly every day of my life, in school (for my pupils) and out of school (for my little cousins and Godchild).
FOR THE TEACHERS Firstly imagine this,
1. You are a primary school teacher. 2. You begin the new school year with a huge classroom. 3. You walk into the classroom and the walls are completely bare and tatty looking with a few staples still intact from the left over displays of the class before you. 4. You spend the 1st week, in your spare time at school or at home, making number lines to 100, alphabet freezes using the plain white paper, maybe a few other colours if your lucky, from the resource room. 5. You spend another 1 hour laminating all of it and stapling it to the walls. 6. You then begin teaching with peace of mind that your classroom looks good enough.
(Approx total time taken, 1 week, 1 hour)
Now imagine this,
1. You are a primary teacher. 2. You begin the new school year with a huge classroom. 3. You walk into the classroom and the walls are completely bare and tatty looking with a few staples still intact from the left over displays of the class before you. 4. You spend 15 minutes looking on Sparklebox.co.uk browsing for themes alphabet freezes and number lines to 100. 5. You spend 5 minutes printing them all out, about 1 hour laminating it all and stapling it to the walls. 6. You then begin teaching with peace of mind that your classroom looks absolutely captivating.
(Approx total time taken, 1 hour 20 minutes)
I think you will gather that my point is STOP wasting your time making new resources every year, now is the time to take advantage of the fantastic FREE teacher resource websites out there and stop wearing yourself out the first week of school trying to make your classroom look fun and exciting. Some of you think it is a waste of paper but actually it saves paper because your homemade resources will probably start to look a bit discoloured by the end of the year and I guarantee that you will get fed up of looking at them ands will just continue making more each year, on the other hand when using the resources from Sparklebox you can use them year after year and I personally have kept the same alphabet freeze for 3 years! In the long run you will be saving paper.
SPARKLEBOX.CO.UK Sparklebox.co.uk is my top choice and will now follow by telling you what is available to you on the website.
When you first enter the site you will see the brightly coloured icons on the left and side as well as many links to pages that may appeal to you (again very bright and inviting). The icons on the left are the main place to find what you are looking for. The sections are as follows… Literacy Numeracy Topics Signs and Labels Miscellaneous Sharing Zone Books Photo Gallery Welsh Parents Key Stage 2 New Resources 1000 sites for teachers.
Wow! And this is only the beginning the exploration.
When you click on Sign and Labels, for example, you will see that you are even more sections to choose from. Water area, writing area and so on. Once clicked on the section you want you are then given a theme you would like. Fish, transport, flowers, balloons, robots and many more. THERE IS A CATCH! Not all resources are free! You choose what you like and if it has the DOWNLOAD NOW option underneath then you are in luck and you can print it out, however some of the them will not have that option therefore you have to sign up and pay a little fee and they post it to you prepared and laminated!
I have never purchased anything from Sparklebox; I merely browse through all the free things and choose the nest suited for my classroom. Believe me when I say that most of you who want to use the site will never pay anything as there are 1000's of resources free to download and it states that on the front page of the website in big letters. Most people who pay are the schools and councils who have agreements with Sparklebox to purchase heavy loads of resources for their school, which is a fab idea and I recommend it to all Headteacher's who want to save their staff precious planning time, pressure, printer ink and even more paper just for a little cash!
FOR THE PARENTS There are thousands of resource websites out there for teachers but not many parents realise that they should reap the benefits of these sites as well and make a little educational area in their children's bedrooms. Many of my parents have printed out the Keywords for their Reception children and plastered them over their children's walls to help them when at home. There are signs and labels for bedrooms as well, such as desk area, colouring pencils, toy area etc. It's a good way for children to be able to organise their bedrooms and build on their life skills for the future.
As stated above there is a Parents section that Sparklebox recommend parents to use with their children at home and it contains….
Reading and Writing Art and Craft Recipes Celebrations Numbers and Maths Behaviour Bedroom/ Nursery Special Needs Top recommended resources for parents.
Fantastic if I may say myself. Also the Special Needs section is fantastic for both teachers and parents because if a child does have specific learning difficulties there may be resources on there that the teachers and adults can use together to move on the childs progress at a steady pace. Continuity is vital!
We all know about the recent and ongoing Credit Crunch and this is the perfect way to help your child with their early year's education instead of paying money for books and worksheets. Children learn through VAK, Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic learning. A very high percentage of children learn through Visual resources and Sparklebox definitely cater for those children. That's one out of 3, not a bad start!
DO NOT miss out on their Christmas and winter specials.
I hope you have found this review helpful and recommend Sparklebox.co.uk to all teachers and parents.