We currently live in a world where school budgets are as tight as Donald Trump’s border controls. It is arguable that this lack of funding can make creative and engaging resources hard to afford and access. However, I think it’s quite the opposite. Being more cash-conscious means you have to get more creative. You have to think more creatively. In doing this, more often than not, you pique the interest of the children much more through your questionable and imaginative choice of purchases. Furthermore, an absolute bargain often excites you and this energy can be transferred to the students themselves within their lessons. Resources don’t necessarily just need to be used to develop your pupils academically. They can also be used as a motivational, behavioural or social development tool.
I stumbled across the term ‘poundland pedagogy’ the other day and loved everything Isabella Wallace said about this notion.(http://www.innovatemyschool.com/ideas/poundland-pedagogy-and-the-power-of-play). Wallace explains the difference between using resources to stimulate, inspire, develop, motivate and engage pupils to learn and using resources purely to have fun. I’m a sucker for an exciting resource and so I try to be incredibly careful ensuring that my purchases are also beneficial to my children’s learning and/or personal development. With this in mind, I wanted to discuss just a few of my poundland pedagogy purchases:
Trigger Spray Bottle
My children have used these to spray the correct homophones when I’ve used them in sentences. This has been useful to identify whether my children can recognise the correct use of a homophone in the context of a sentence. These could be used in other areas of the curriculum e.g to sort concepts into different categories. For example, students could spray the appropriate mathematical method to use dependent on the word problem provided. In this respect, they act as a great assessment tool.
They were also incredibly popular during the heatwave as children would be offered sprays at the start and end of lessons, as well as during opportune moments within the lesson, to cool them down. It made a huge difference to their engagement throughout the day and honestly made my life more bearable too.
“Is that the world’s cheapest chandelier?” mused one of my children the first day it was hung up. Why, yes. Yes that could be the case. However, it’s also useful for a number of other matters. It can be used to hang up children’s responses to open-ended questions. These responses can then be observed by all the class and referred to throughout a lesson – or even for a more extended period of time.
They can help to visually represent the notion of umbrella terms – ‘a word or phrase that covers a broad interval or set of functions or items that all fall under a single common category.’ This can be achieved by displaying the umbrella term on the top-most peg and then dangling extending ideas below. It can also be used to explore how words can be applied in different contexts by writing the word in isolation on the top-most peg and then using it in a range of contexts from the lower pegs.
Additionally, they’re great for hanging photos of the children during their learning. They are much more space-effective than using a washing line. Some children loved pointing out their favourite moments to their parents who were visiting the classroom after our upper school assembly.
Egg timers can be used to help recognise and appreciate the passing of time in various intervals. More practically, however, these can be used to create a greater sense of urgency during independent or group tasks. Ideally, it will help to force the group to work together more efficiently. Useful collaborative techniques could be discussed prior to the beginning of such an activity to prevent any major issues occurring as time ticks away. These egg timers also aid in eliciting an understanding of the pace and fluency of my pupils when faced with particular tasks.
I’ve got one egg timer for each table to inspire competitiveness against other tables and cooperation amongst their table. One single egg timer can be used for a whole class though. I’ve also found timers really beneficial for my own practice, too. I can set time limits for myself in terms of input, modelling and other activities to ensure that the pace of some lessons carries a necessary, slight sense of urgency and excitement.
Who doesn’t love a super shiny trophy? This can easily be used as a motivator for children to try their best in lessons with the promise of being a trophy-wielder. Next year, however, I’d like to encourage children’s self belief in themselves. In order to achieve this, I hope to create a ‘How It Feels To Be A Winner’ book. Each week, a child will receive the trophy and their peers will have to consider reasons as to why they have received this award. These reasons will be recorded in the book along with a photo of the child wielding the trophy. The child will then take the trophy and book home and record how they feel as a winner. The aim is for all the children to experience feeling like a winner throughout the year and for all to understand what different qualities may have contributed to them having been awarded the trophy. I hope this aids in building their self-esteem, motivation and reflective skills.
All of these items range from £1 to £3 so I didn’t have to break the bank to think outside of the box and have a bit of fun with my class. I’m a self-proclaimed sucker for resource shopping and am fairly certain the summer holidays were invented purely for teachers to go IKEA shopping.
What poundland pedagogy purchases have you made? What do you do with them?