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Twinkl/classroom secrets etc

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Daisy169 Thu 08-Oct-20 21:41:16

I'm a primary teacher with leadership responsibility. I'm looking to decrease workload (aren't we all!) and was wondering if anyone has any experience of using websites like twinkl or classroom secrets and can give me their opinion on them. Are they worth it? Currently, we're using the previous year's planning as a base but that will obviously run out at some point and isn't always of great quality or matched to our current needs. We're making 90% of our resources from scratch and SLT have changed the planning proforma from last year (why?!) so workload is an issue in my team and not one I can easily solve.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
Callardandbowser Thu 08-Oct-20 23:04:12

What!?
Twinkl is amazing- why re-invent the wheel?
The art is in the delivery and response from the teacher throughout the lesson. Twinkl planning, resources and assessment has quartered my workload.

ohthegoats Thu 08-Oct-20 23:07:25

We use whiterose for maths, supplemented with/by classroom secrets and master the curriculum.
English we use some bits from literacy shed.
Pshe association.
I use some stuff from twinkl and Hamilton, but they are not the basis for planning - more about not reinventing the wheel for spelling, times tables etc.

School pays for some, rest we buy between us. Good investments.

ChristmasinJune Fri 09-Oct-20 06:15:17

Yes they're worth it, I love Twinkl, am also subscribed to white rose maths, Mrs. Mactivity and classroom secrets but I always go back to good old twinkl.

I find that something that has editable worksheets is useful too though.

Subordinateclause Fri 09-Oct-20 06:23:41

Twinkl is incredibly time saving for displays and also topic work. I don't have time to research new topics in the detail needed, bearing in mind they might be on subjects I never did at school (e.g. Ancient Maya) and we are on a ridiculously long cycle so they don't come round again for years. I think Twinkl got a bad name a few years ago but is much improved now. If you just need a quick column addition worksheet or phonics activity for a specific group of children it's also very easy to find. I would absolutely pay for it if my school didn't, and normally I'm very against using my wages to buy school stuff! We also have access to White Rose which I think is okay but I don't rate it to the same extent a lot of people seem to. Good to dip in and out of and again for any outlying children in your class.

Iamnotthe1 Fri 09-Oct-20 07:27:32

Ultimately, it depends on how these things are used but I'm not a fan of drawing too much from other sources. I think that's because, as a maths SLE, I've seen far too many teachers become deskilled because they've followed schemes of learning for so long that they've genuinely lost some of their ability and confidence to teach without it. I've also seen staff unable to adapt to the needs and progression rates of their class as a result of this too.

I create most of my own things in most subjects but my workload is reduced in other ways: we completely scrapped written planning, for example.

Rachellow Sat 10-Oct-20 00:00:44

Twinkl has some great planning as well to start as a basis. We follow it for Geography, history and art. You do have to adapt it sometimes to avoid death by worksheet especially for KS1. As others have said it’s great for maths so you’re not writing your own sheet for counting in 5s etc

ohthegoats Sat 10-Oct-20 10:25:02

I've seen far too many teachers become deskilled because they've followed schemes of learning for so long that they've genuinely lost some of their ability and confidence to teach without it. I've also seen staff unable to adapt to the needs and progression rates of their class as a result of this too.

That is the danger. I'm having issues at the minute with a member of staff on UPS2 who has totally lost the ability to plan writing or reading response. Has just used external stuff for so long.

Yellowmellow2 Sat 10-Oct-20 14:14:00

Every school needs Twinkl! It saves so much time and is good quality.

Subordinateclause Sat 10-Oct-20 15:15:43

I don't know anyone who uses it to the extent they'd be deskilled. No school I've worked in would allow that amount of Twinkl work in books; everyone I know just uses it for tasks that fit a specific objective on their planning. The other tasks would come from elsewhere or be homemade.

Iamnotthe1 Sat 10-Oct-20 15:55:42

Subordinateclause

I don't know anyone who uses it to the extent they'd be deskilled. No school I've worked in would allow that amount of Twinkl work in books; everyone I know just uses it for tasks that fit a specific objective on their planning. The other tasks would come from elsewhere or be homemade.

It's not just using one source though. If your entire maths curriculum is following 'Maths No Problem' workbooks supplemented with Twinkl or Classroom Secrets then you are becoming deskilled. Everything you're doing comes from someone else. The level of deskilling in maths is the very reason why there are so many schemes that can just bought in and followed for the subject whilst the same level of schemes don't exist for English writing.

Iamnotthe1 Sat 10-Oct-20 16:06:09

ohthegoats

*I've seen far too many teachers become deskilled because they've followed schemes of learning for so long that they've genuinely lost some of their ability and confidence to teach without it. I've also seen staff unable to adapt to the needs and progression rates of their class as a result of this too.*

That is the danger. I'm having issues at the minute with a member of staff on UPS2 who has totally lost the ability to plan writing or reading response. Has just used external stuff for so long.

I had a similar situation a few years ago when I was working with an experienced teacher in another school. She had old resources that she'd created herself years earlier but for the last two years, she'd just pulled from external sources.

When we sat down and looked through stuff, what she had created before was better than what she was using but she couldn't see that because she couldn't believe that she had made something stronger than these established companies.

Callardandbowser Sat 10-Oct-20 17:13:47

It’s not the reality if life as teacher that we have time to craft our own resources and swot up on whatever whim and thing the the DfE want us to deliver!
I hate teaching from rising stars but it’s either that or neglect my daughter/ husband/ physical health! PPA is a joke, I barely get through parent emails before I have to be back in class. It’s shit.
So I’m pro- resource banks and ready made plans because the system is shit bit because I’m invested in becoming a de-skilled teacher!

Iamnotthe1 Sat 10-Oct-20 17:40:46

@Callardandbowser

That's why I'd always argue for the removal of other aspects of the workload. For example, in my own school, another member of SLT and I absolished the requirement for any written planning in any subject. There's also no set structure or format you have to conform to in each lesson (so no elaborate time-consuming powerpoints, etc). Things like that allow for more time to be devoted to the resources and the lessons themselves.

I understand the reality of life as a teacher. I teach full-time with no leadership time despite having leadership responsibilities. However, I can't accept that we should say that a teacher doesn't have to have a solid understanding of a topic they are teaching whether that's multiplication, prepositional phrases or the culture of the Mayan people. We need to strip back other aspects of the workload because allowing that to be the case just devalues our profession.

Callardandbowser Sat 10-Oct-20 17:47:35

I agree, but so many SLs don’t take these things into account.

Iamnotthe1 Sat 10-Oct-20 17:51:12

Callardandbowser

I agree, but so many SLs don’t take these things into account.

Agreed! Which is one of the reasons why, when I go in to support a school, it's often a higher-up decision causing the issue rather than a class-based teacher decision.

Callardandbowser Sat 10-Oct-20 18:42:31

Excuse all my typos. Sausage fingers!

Daisy169 Sun 11-Oct-20 08:00:57

Thank you all for your thoughts. It would seem there's different opinions. I'll look into pricing and maybe pay for a month or two to see what I think (if that's possible)

OP’s posts: |
Subordinateclause Sun 11-Oct-20 15:57:15

It was me who mentioned the Maya. It's Maya culture, not Mayan. Mayan refers to the language. See I did learn something! Being tongue in cheek. I do agree with your sentiment lam but I teach in a tiny tiny school which means planning for multiple year groups on a 4 year cycle. We have a hugely sensible head but the challenges of a small school increase workload massively however much you scale back planning and marking expectations (all subject leadership shared between two people for a start, a 4 year planning cycle). Sometimes a quick topic presentation or set of topic images, which I adapt to fit my own planning and research, is not the worst thing in the world. But I suppose I know that I do research and plan thoroughly, and can be trusted to use sites like Twinkl sensibly.

wasgoingmadinthecountry Mon 12-Oct-20 22:29:54

Definitely not a Twinkl fan, but I'm running out of energy. I know I could do everything better but the children (and my family) don't need a knackered version of me.

Ashard20 Tue 13-Oct-20 23:44:17

I prefer Deepening Understanding to Classroom Secrets. I just think it's more user-friendly when it comes to marking Maths and also has some really great Maths slides for everything - fluency, securing skills etc. Also some very useful comprehensions across different areas of the curriculum. We also have Literacy Shed plus, Maths Frame and Outstanding Science. The Knowsley computing scheme includes a unit on e-safety and is really good - and free. ALso for PSHE, Amnesty international has schemes for early years, KS1 and KS2, again free.

Ashard20 Tue 13-Oct-20 23:49:23

I should add that we create all our own lesson plans, but the bought in stuff really helps as a starting point, particularly for Maths. We also abandoned formal planning for the same reasons @Iamnotthe 1. It's been so liberating and saved so much time.

Iamnotthe1 Wed 14-Oct-20 06:28:34

Ashard20

I should add that we create all our own lesson plans, but the bought in stuff really helps as a starting point, particularly for Maths. We also abandoned formal planning for the same reasons @Iamnotthe 1. It's been so liberating and saved so much time.

I just don't see what purpose it serves unless you're new to teaching or new to a particular topic and not feeling confident.

Even from a scrutiny perspective, what does a lesson plan give you that you can't get from looking at a book or talking to a child.

HyperHippo Wed 14-Oct-20 09:18:28

I use these combinations:

Maths
White Rose small steps as a basis
Then I take questions from:
White Rose premium (great at the moment as if pupils are isolating I can send the Home Learning video as we stay on track with the small steps)
Classroom Secrets
Primary Stars Maths - these are brilliant for practical tasks matching up to the WR small steps, support materials, challenge
NRICH

English
Power of Reading Scheme - but I find this better for children who are used to reading lots and exposed to lots of vocab etc at home
The Art of Teaching Writing is also good for schools with high pupil premium and EAL as it is very explicit

Science
Hamilton Trust with some adaptations

I disagree with the comment schemes lead to deskilling teachers. I have found dipping into different schemes and resources opens my eyes to different ideas and approaches. I don't religiously follow one thing, I adapt to the class and what I know works from experience.

ChristmasinJune Wed 14-Oct-20 15:58:12

I disagree with the comment schemes lead to deskilling teachers. I have found dipping into different schemes and resources opens my eyes to different ideas and approaches. I don't religiously follow one thing, I adapt to the class and what I know works from experience.

I think this is the key, use them as a tool to reduce workload and they can be an asset. Rely on the to spoon feed you every step of the way then yes, you'll find you lose the ability to teach without them.

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