Our Top Five Secondary Resources for the New Term

Creating learning resources is a tricky business. Some teachers and librarians value open-ended activities which can be easily modified and built upon; others prefer something clearly structured and detailed. And the latter doesn't inhibit creativity - far from it - I actually much prefer to see a fully formed and structured idea so I can more easily identify the thought process and underlying aims. These are the things that, as an educator, I find easiest to tweak - not the big picture, but the little parts that make it up.

As Scottish Book Trust's Schools Resource Developer, I commission most of our resources from teachers and librarians, and create some myself, and I see a lot of different approaches. I'm glad about this. You'll see from our small selection below that some of the people we commission prefer a very open-ended approach and others have created clearly structured units of work. What's important for me is that all the resources show a belief in creative learning which inspired curiosity. I believe that rote learning has its place - whether you agree or not, I experienced it in school and enjoyed it at times. But where exploration of reading and writing is concerned, creative application of what we learn is crucial.

It's important that resources show a belief in creative learning which inspires curiosity

We've got a huge and ever-expanding selection of resources, from units of work on top children's authors to innovative approaches to creative writing, but we thought we'd provide you with a handy selection of the most popular ones from the last while and the new ones we're most excited about. We always appreciate feedback on our resources, particularly where stakeholders feel there are gaps in our provision, so feel free to tweet us or drop us a line!

Malcolm McNeill Learning Resource - Podcasting and Filmmaking

We create lots of resources inspired by the work of a particular author and their books, but it's important to us that educators who don't have access to the books can still find the resource useful. Malcolm McNeill is an exciting new author whose debut novel, The Beginning Woods, features a series of mysterious disappearances at its core. This is an ideal opportunity for pupils to try their hand at creating podcasts about famous disappearances. What better subject for a podcast than the disappearance of Amelia Earhart or the mystery of the Mary Celeste? This resource provides a highly structured guide to creating podcasts, and points to a lot of useful supporting resources too. The resource was written by Emma Lamont - you can follow her on Twitter here.

How to Write a Comic Book Scene

You'll see this one soon in a roundup of our best graphic novel resources, but we couldn't resist telling you about it now. This resource by comic creators Metaphrog provides an easy-to-follow introduction to the conventions of comic writing. It guides pupils through the process of adapting a novel scene into comic format, focusing on setting, character and style. You can approach Metaphrog to visit your school or library - check out our Live Literature page to see how you can apply for funding!

What better subject for a podcast than the disappearance of Amelia Earhart or the mystery of the Mary Celeste?

Jackie Kay Learning Resource

This resource comes to you from Gordon Fisher, PT English at Lochend Community High School (he's also written us an excellent resource on the books of Malorie Blackman). There's a fine balance between the demands of the National 5 exam and a full, creative exploration of Kay's work, as well as a comparison between Kay and other poets who write about similar themes.

Writing in Scots

Matthew Fitt is an important figure in advocating for Scots in the classroom, and this handy guide is perfect for teachers and librarians who are keen on implementing Scots but not sure where to begin. There are plenty of exemplars and some nice suggestions for easing pupils in to communicating in the language.

Resources for National 5 and Higher Scottish Texts

We've got activity packs for the prose texts on the list to help you explore themes, characters and the various writers' styles. Ahead of the review of the list, we're excited to see what's going to be on there for next session, but given that the SQA have promised a 'light touch', hopefully most of these resources will still be applicable to National 5 and Higher next year too!

Check out our resources section, where you can search by author, curricular area and much more. Why not search by tag, where you can navigate to resources for reluctant readers and additional support needs?

Top image by Aleks Dorohovich on Unsplash.