POST BY:   Rachel Kay – Head of Economics at The BSN Senior School

Making activities for students has to be one of my favourite things about teaching.   When I discovered that using cheap items from pound shops to create resources for teaching is actually a thing (#poundlandpedagogy on twitter) I was delighted to find I wasn’t alone.

There’s no such thing as Poundland in the Netherlands, but there are lots of equivalents to get inspiration from.  I sometimes go upmarket and shop at Flying Tiger (more expensive than Poundland, but it still won’t break the bank) where things seem to jump into my basket without me noticing. Jenga? Check. Giant playing cards? Check. Memory game? Check.

My favourite purchase so far is a label printer.  It definitely cost more than a pound, but has opened up so many options for creating activities for students.  I’ve printed out revision questions and stuck them onto ‘snap’ cards for quick starters.  The cards have animal pictures on them, so the students might answer the ‘penguin’ questions at the start of one lesson and next time will pick the ‘tiger’ questions instead. The animal pictures help students keep track of the questions they’ve already answered, plus they look attractive.

Revision Jenga is a favourite with the students. Students play Jenga as normal, but for each numbered block they remove they have to answer the corresponding question.  If they get it right, they get to keep the block and the person with the most blocks at the end is the winner.  The students are just answering revision questions, but the Jenga game adds a sense of excitement (and jeopardy), and the crash when the tower collapses definitely wakes them up!

I’ve found inspiration can come from anywhere.  When my sister asked me to make some ‘fortune tellers’ to put on the tables at her wedding, I realised I could use these for my students too.  So, this week students have been reminiscing about their childhood whilst answering revision questions on Development Economics.  The fortune teller chooses the question for them and they work in pairs to test their knowledge of key economic concepts.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to set my students to work making their own revision activities.  One lesson to make the activities, another to get their classmates play them.  I’m not sure what they will come up with, but I’m sure they will have some great ideas.  My laminator and label maker are ready to be put to good use.