KS3 & KS4 Time Fillers - Review

Time Fillers for KS3 and KS4I downloaded both the KS4 and the KS3 time filler PDF’s onto my kindle so that I’d be able to refer to them without printing.

The layout of both PDF’s is very easy to follow, with the first section being split into separate subject areas with at least one time filler idea for one. The second section suggests cross-curriculum activities which could work well as a follow on from the first section's activity.

The KS3 time fillers are at a good level for that particular age group, I also like how the KS4 time fillers could be used to stretch some of the more advanced learners , for example the learning element symbols from the KS3 time fillers could then be stretched into Periodic table bingo.

One of my favourite cross curricular activities from the KS3 PDF is the dictation activity that also includes peer assessment. So often you need students to write something down in a particular way but it’s difficult to make sure they have done so without spending valuable lesson time. The suggested method in the PDF ensures that not only the students keep on track but by per reviewing can also highlight literacy errors amongst themselves.

In the KS4 cross curricular activity section you have some solid favourites such as mind maps and revision posters, but I particularly like the very last one as it’s a way to fill time at the end of class. Having the students self assess their learning before leaving the room is a great idea, and this activity gets them out of their seat which is brilliant for the more active students. On a personal note it would also allow me to leave a note to the normal teacher about which students struggled with the topic. You could also expand this activity but asking some directed questions and maybe coupling it with the pause pounce bounce method of questions. Having the students lined up from confident to unconfident would allow you to tailor questions to specific learners. It may even help you boost the confidence of some of the less confident students who when they answer a few questions correctly about the topic may decide to move in the line.

Overall I will find these pdf’s useful, as I am just entering KS3 and 4 from teaching FE I was worried about the level of work I should set and not having many resources to hand. These pdfs are short and to the point exactly what you need when a 5 minute activity needs to be pulled out of thin air. The fact that there are in some cases example questions you could use or an example definition makes it even easier. I will definitely be keeping these on my Kindle and taking them with me on my supply teaching placements!

The last page in each PDF is given over to different places you can access e.g. the authors twitter accounts, Supply teacher network facebook page and the main website. I would highly recommend checking them out.

Amy is a member of the Supply Teacher Network and is available for private tutoring: wagstaff-weston-tutoring.co.uk

The Cover Teacher's Planner - A Resource Review

The Cover Teacher's Planner - Resource ReviewThe Cover Teacher’s Planner by Gareth Tanswell is a useful tool for secondary supply teachers. Back in the day when I was doing regular supply work it would have been handy to have a copy and keep all my administration in one easily accessible place. The planner starts with a comprehensive section for your personal details, before having pages dedicated to agency details (very handy for those who are with multiple agencies). I like the space it gives for you to note down the schools details where you have been sent, from school hours to behaviour management details and even a space to note where to get yourself a cup of tea at break time!

The Cover Teacher's Planner - Resource ReviewEach day in the academic year is set out on an A4 page and broken down into seven sessions, with space to write a few brief notes about the objectives of each lesson, student achievements and behaviour. As the planner is ring bound, you could sign and photocopy each day before leaving the school as feedback to the classroom teacher – great for keeping notes to refer back to if you return to the same class on another occasion and providing accountability of yourself to the school, which can only help to increase professionalism. Weekends are covered too, so any private tuition or other work commitments can be recorded.

Rather than a standard planner’s pages for marks and grades, this one has a couple of really useful proformas at the back. I particularly liked the space for incident reports so even if the school hasn’t supplied their own version you can leave detailed notes, and once again easy to photocopy. Mileage and expenses are also given space.

One the whole I think this is a well thought out planner, though there are some points I would change. Firstly, the sheer weight of it – I think it is excessive that even the 25th December has a full page to fill up with seven lessons! Also I can’t imagine when I would ever have used the lesson plan proformas, should you be asked to produce a lesson plan you would either have access to the school’s own layout or would adapt a personalised one for your own benefit. Finally, despite only having flicked through the planner a few times, the paper covers are already beginning to come off – a hard back cover would be far more durable, especially as this planner is design to be carried everywhere and used on a daily basis. Overall though, a useful piece of kit to add to the supply bag.

A. Barrett. experienced secondary supply teacher.

The Cover Teacher's Planner can be purchased here.

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KS3 and KS4 Time Fillers - A Resource Review

New-to-supply teacher Keith kindly agreed to write a review for KS3 Time Fillers and KS4 Time Fillers after using them for the first few times...

Time Fillers for KS3 - Essential Resources for Supply Teachers"This is my second placement at a secondary school as a supply teacher. I have given the pupils the task that has been set for them and they are progressing well. However, I do not think it is going to be enough to keep them occupied until the end of the lesson. I reach into my bag for "Time Fillers - Essential Resources for Supply Teachers."

These are two documents, one aimed at Key Stage 3 and one at Key Stage 4. They provide ideas to cover a range of activities and can prove useful, particularly if you are not a specialist in the subject you have been asked to cover. Subjects included are English, Maths, Science, MFL, Humanities, Art, and Design as well as Drama. Some cross-curricula ideas are included as well.

The activities in the documents are described as being 5-10 minute activities. I think that some of these will take longer and can also be developed into something that will occupy more of a lesson, if necessary. They are not a substitute for a full lesson though. If absolutely needed you would have to bolt several activities together.

Time Fillers for KS4 - Essential Resources for Supply TeachersI have made use of the documents in a couple of ways. On first receiving them I read through the pages and considered which activities I thought that I would be most comfortable with, especially those that were outside of my own teaching area. I also thought that I could develop some of these ideas into a fuller piece of work. I am a great believer in the thought that a blank piece of paper is the most difficult to fill. Give me a basic idea and I can expand and adapt.

The second way I have used "Time Fillers" is as an emergency activity. I have needed activities, particularly for the more able learners , when they have completed the task set much more quickly than others in the class. I know that there is no point moving them onto the next topic in the textbook as that will probably be the subject of the next lesson. Mind maps and posters allow for some differentiation.

I think that we could all have sat down and, given time, put these documents together. I do not think that there is anything earth-shattering about them. They are not big documents. However, time is a luxury that we do not always have, either in writing and preparing ideas "just in case" or having to read veritable tomes on being a supply teacher. This is true particularly when new to supply teaching and the placement is short term..."

Keith, Lancashire

Time Fillers for KS3 and KS4 are available at SupplyBag.co.uk

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