New Year Resolution complete – new resources uploaded

I noticed that the TES resources have had a holiday sale.  I recently tweeted about paid-for TES resources as I find it totally bizarre how teachers are expected to purchase resources without being able to inspect them properly first.  Previewing is an important requirement as I reject 75% of the resources I download as they don’t suit my current setting.

Thinking about this I’ve spent a couple of evenings sorting through my resources and have uploaded many of them to the pages on this site. Unfortunately there are resources that I can’t upload, many have had to be compressed or have video clips removed in order to put them online.

Please take a moment to read the copyright information and get in touch if you find something that needs removing (for dodgy science or for any other reason) or if you can’t find what you are looking for.

I hope you find these resources useful – remember I don’t charge for these resources and would actively encourage others to do the same.

Why aren’t teachers sharing more?

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At the York Tweetup/Teachmeet I attended on the 22nd August, Alex Weatherall asked how we could work better together as a profession to share resources and ideas.  I’ve been asking this question since 2010 in one form or another.

My original answer to this was to upload the resources I used to my website. Initially I used a wiki to upload the resources but then I brought them within the main site using a WordPress plugin.  Many of my resources were uploaded to the TES site (where they have had over 600k downloads) but someone else did this for me (it was a huge job)

I’ve had to change the way that I share the resources on my site because the plugin I used wasn’t updated and posed a risk to the security of my site.  I put the resources in my OneDrive account and put links on my website but this is far from ideal as cloud storage is blocked in many schools (my own included).

I’ve since made hundreds of new resources that I’ve used to deliver Activate (ks3) and AQA Core GCSE but I haven’t shared these on my site.   Unfortunately the internet has become an increasingly litigious place and there is increasing competition for screen time and clicks.

My lack of time (it wasn’t always like this!) means that if I’m honest I’m not as careful about the source of my images as I used to be.  I used to meticulously hunt down creative commons or public domain imagery to use in my resources, now I check that they don’t belong to a stock imagery reseller and that’s about it.  The latest version of Office doesn’t help as you can insert creative commons images from Bing search but who goes to each site and checks the images are actually covered by a creative commons licence?  I also tend to ‘steal’ slides from different TES resources and use these within my own presentations – and it would be wrong to pass these off as my own.

I keep the working copy of my teaching resources within cloud storage and have been known to share folders when asked, however I just don’t have time to sift through all my resources to find out which are able to be shared.  I also lack a (free) technical platform on which to share them, one in which I retain control and I know won’t be closed down in the near future.

I know other publishers aren’t so careful.  Only this week I’ve downloaded resources from the TES with slides from Boardworks embedded in the presentation, or images that clearly display copyright information.

Schemes of work are tweaked to suit a department and resources end up being tweaked by conscientious teachers to suit their teaching style. Is there any value in sharing teaching ideas for individual topics and lessons instead?  I don’t have time to go to the IoP, RSC etc to find the best ideas when I might be planning for several year groups and topics each week.  If so what would a suitable platform look like?  Who would curate it and who would have access to upload materials?

We have come a long way, professionally and technologically, over the last few years but individual teachers (and departments) are still reinventing the wheel in schools all over country.  There has to be a better way of sharing what we do but even if there is many of us are lacking the time to put it into practice…

 

 

Recommended resource – The SAPS website

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From time to time I like to plug a resource that others might not have come across.  This time I would like to draw your attention to the SAPS website (Science and Plants for School).

As a science teacher I can confirm that biology teaching can be the dull and lacking in excitement (compared to chemistry and physics anyway!).  Even less engaging than animal biology is plant science and this is where the SAPS site comes in.  Full of teaching ideas, practical tips and downloadable resources it is worth checking out if you teach about plants.

There is an informative newsletter that contains teaching tips and interesting facts to engage your students.  The website contains practical guides and interactive resources to enhance your teaching, many of which are downloadable for you to keep for next time.  There are resources from primary age all the way up to A-level so something for everyone.  Other useful strands include careers in science (I wish I’d had this when used to have to deliver the science jobs module in the old BTEC), cutting edge biology news and links to current GCSE/A-level specs.

Top Tip

Use Evernote to save the webpages and downloaded resources so you will always have access to them in future.

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The Christmas lesson – I’ve given in this year (free resources)

xmas treeLast year I didn’t bother with Christmas lessons (bah humbug I hear you say!) although I did the classic Cookie mix up the year before.

I recently followed a link on an email from the RSC which led me to this delightful page and I thought that I would give this a shot with my students.  Feel free to take what I’ve created and modify it to suit your setting and students.  I’ve also uploaded the same resource to the TES under a CC agreement (I did wonder how many £££ I have lost on in doing so!)

I’ve tried to include some ISA terminology so those of you who will still have ISAs to do (or a second ISA to do if the first wasn’t too good) can use this to reinforce some of the things that carry marks in an ISA!

Let me know how you get on with it – I haven’t shared any resources for a while so I’m a bit rusty! 🙂  Let me know in the comments how you stand on the issue of Christmas lessons.

Santa’s Candy Cane Calamity

santa07The links below are for the Powerpoint and accompanying worksheet

Santa’s Candy Cane calamity

Santas candy cane calamity

Where did your free teaching resources go?

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You’ve probably come to this post because you are wondering where did my free resources go?  The good news is that I haven’t stopped sharing them, the bad news is that I’ve had to change the way I go about doing this.

Unfortunately technology moves very quickly and the wordpress plugin that I was using hasn’t been updated for several years and poses a security risk to my site (and in turn to visitors of my site).  This means I have had to look for a new way to make these files available.

The files are now hosted on Microsoft OneDrive in which I have plenty of storage.  More importantly it allows me to easily embed folder links into a WordPress page, and to update these folders without having to tinker with the site.  This isn’t as easy for Google Drive or Dropbox (who require a paid upgrade for the functionality I require).

Unfortunately I can’t just share my working folders as these contain copyrighted materials (from bought in resources) and modified versions of other teachers work (for example downloaded from the TES) that I am unable to give credit for.  I’ve taken the opportunity to group resources together and simplify the categories under which they are grouped. I realise that the new system is not as convenient as the old but there a limited number of free plugins available on WordPress which provide the functionality I need.

If you have any questions about the change, or you think you know a better way of sharing my resources then please let me know by leaving a comment below.