Resource author profile – @TJohns85

This is the second in a series of articles talking to authors who write or share science teaching resources. Some of these authors have chosen not to reveal their identities and some are happy to be identified.

An interview with Tom @TJohns85 

Tell me about your background – subject, phase, experience Secondary Science

9th year at the chalkface

Held a TLR (whole school) for 5 years

Where in the country do you teach?  Academy (MAT?) or LA school? Southwest, Academy
What sort of resources do you share? I shared paid resources which I specifically make to sell – these are not just powerpoints but mainly ‘interactive notebook foldables’ and quizzes. They are a bit like creating and selling a book. Most of my TES resources, however, are free
Where do you share them? TES, own site, other paid site, within school, subject association? TES and TpT

Free within school/department

Do you get paid for creating your resources? Do you sell or charge for your resources? See question 3 above
How lucrative has sharing/selling your resources been? I cant retire on it however it is enough to pay for a family holiday in the summer.
Do you know how many downloads or how widely shared your resources have been? On TES

All (paid and free)  resources as of 12/11/17

Views 473590

Downloads 208186

Paid for purchases 1000+ (over 2 years)

Why do you share your resources? I have added free resources since my PGCE – I decided long and hard to ‘sell’ some as they were a little bit different. No one forces any to purchase the resource and many take hours and hours (as does writing a book)
What advice would you give to other would be resource authors out there? Find a niche, don’t just upload powerpoints.

Don’t use rip off TES, price fair and be open and honest

Anything other comments Please link to my blog post – joining the dark side

 

You can find Tom’s resources here on the TES

Teach students with SEND? Make sure you have all the information

The most important thing when teaching students with SEND is to know what their needs are. I was staggered when attending an ASE CPD event at the weekend that the majority of teachers have students in their class with SEND but have received no information about them.

The special educational needs can be divided into four main groups (important to know for teaching and for access arrangements)

  1. Communication and interaction
  2. Cognition and learning
  3. Social, mental and emotional health
  4. Sensory and/or physical

Students don’t all have the same level of need and the less severe will be identified within the school and appropriate support and interventions put into place.   Those with a higher level of need will have an EHCP (these replaced statements of special needs a few years ago).  The EHCP is a very useful document which has background information about the student and specific details about their needs and strategies that should be employed to meet their needs.  EHC plans aim to be “forward-looking” and aim to raise aspirations, and outline the provision required to meet individual needs.

Some schools will summarise the key information into an education plan (an EHCP might have numerous actions, a SENCO might identify the most important to act on first).   If you haven’t got access to an IEP or an EHCP you might want to approach your SENCO for more information as you could be missing a key piece of information that will help you in your teaching.

Schoolsweek reports that students with EHCPs are being pushed out of mainstream schools. A lack of information and understanding of their needs can only make this situation worse.

What I learned in my AQA hub meeting…

Earlier today I attended an AQA hub meeting. Kudos to AQA for the efforts they are putting in to make sure schools are well supported in the run-up to the new 1-9 GCSE.  The hub meeting was useful in determining which tier to enter borderline students, to look at how practical skills could be examined and to look at the types of questions that could be used to test A02.

As always, these meetings are often as useful for what you find out from networking with the people there…

  • AQA hadn’t considered teachers might want to photocopy the resources they provided as a spiral bound booklet.
  • Teachers say they don’t have enough assessment materials to rehearse the new 1-9 GCSE with students
  • The age range of science teachers ranged from the very young to my age (and even older!) so I’m reassured to know that not every school drive out older staff through an excessive workload
  • Assessment systems are equally despised in schools across the region with data requests from SLT being a common cause for complaint.
  • Some schools are doing mocks now and again after Christmas (one even enquired about teachers putting on extra lessons in the holidays to make room for another mock – it wasn’t clarified if the school offered to pay overtime…)
  • Linked to assessment systems many students have targets that are unrealistic. One school assigned grades based on a distribution and predicted some students a grade 8, SLT said those students need to get a grade 9 now in the exams…
  • Time allocated to science teaching is inconsistent and varies from school to school (and widely between double and triple  in one school…)
  • That teachers are determined to do what they can for their students whether than be attending hub meetings or putting practice materials and lessons together.

 

Resource author profile – fiendishlyclever

This is the first in a series of articles talking to authors who write or share science teaching resources. Some of these authors have chosen not to reveal their identities and some are happy to be identified.

An interview with myself – Rob Butler

Tell me about your background – subject, phase, experience I’m a secondary science teacher by training. I’ve taught in a secondary age special school for 20 years teaching up to GCSE level
Where in the country do you teach?  Academy (MAT?) or LA school? I teach in a special school academy in Mansfield in the East Midlands. We are part of a small MAT
What sort of resources do you share? I’ve uploaded many of my earlier resource to the TES and my own site. These are resources I’ve made in the course of my own teaching. The resources are a mix of powerpoints, word files and non-editable PDF files.
Where do you share them? TES, own site, other paid site, within school, subject association? I used the resources to drive traffic to my own site but then the TES offered a bulk upload for me and so now offer my resources on there too. Hopefully, I’ll have lots more resources to share after Christmas as I will have more time to sort through what I have and share any which are 100% my own creation.
Do you get paid for creating your resources? Do you sell or charge for your resources? I’ve made a very small amount of money from Google Adsense which covers the hosting but not enough to think of it as a revenue stream. I’m considering offering paid resources through the TES after Christmas.
How lucrative has sharing/selling your resources been? At the peak (when everyone was doing BTEC Science to boost their performance scores) I could make £20 a month from advertising on my website. I’m lucky to make a quarter of that these days!
Do you know how many downloads or how widely shared your resources have been? I’ve no idea how many times the resources have been downloaded from my site but I’ve passed over half a million downloads from the TES. I’ve been at meetings before where people have recognised me from my resources/website.
Why do you share your resources? To save other teachers having to reinvent the wheel and to share (what I hope is) good practice
What advice would you give to other would be resource authors out there?
  • Keep resources simple
  • Think of the presentation – some look a bit naff
  • Use images approved for reuse
  • Think of what teachers need to know – link to schemes of work and specifications etc.
Anything other comments I’d like to hear from teachers as I start the next chapter in my life what resources are missing from their collection? What resources would they pay for? How much are teachers willing to pay for resources?

 

Vocal recall – an easy app to give verbal feedback to students

Feedback is a key driver for improvement. Students know what they have done well and what they need to improve upon,  however, feedback can be time-consuming when given individually.

That’s where this app comes into play. The teacher installs the app on their smart device (link here).  The first step is to order a set of QR codes which can be delivered by email or bought through Amazon. Within seconds I’d got two sheets of QR codes delivered by email and was ready to try the software out.

The interface is basic but effective – you start off by recording your verbal feedback on your phone.  You can play back your feedback – it does get easier recording verbal feedback once you get used to it and start to feel less self-conscious.

Once your feedback is recorded you hit the upload button and you are asked to scan a QR code and name your recording (you can hit ok and save it with a filename of the date and time of recording for simplicity).

That’s it – the student would scan the QR code which launches a URL with an audio player which will play the clip on a suitable device.  The quality of the audio is a little tinny but it’s perfectly acceptable and easy to make out the speech.

 

If you want to save the hassle/expense of printing onto stickers you could simply get the students to stick the QR codes in their books at the start/end of a lesson so they are ready for you to use to record feedback.  This method also has the advantage that students can listen to their feedback over and over.

Vocal Recall has tried to address any privacy concerns in their privacy policy but I’d avoid giving personal details in the message as a simple precaution, and remember that your feedback can be recorded and shared to a wider audience so be careful what you say!

The biggest barrier to adoption would be students having an appropriate smart device to use to scan the QR code and they need a QR reader installed.  Don’t take my word for it – give it a go (I have no connection to Vocal Recall – I just happened to come across it when surfing)