10 gift-wrapped teaching links!

Christmas Tree image by wolfsavard on Flickr

As the Christmas holidays approach, Scottish Book Trust's Schools team takes a look at some great teaching resources we've discovered this year.

As a teacher approaching Christmas, there were usually two questions in my mind. One, how can I keep things nice and light for the pupils at this time of year? And two, now that I’ve got a bit of time, can I learn to use something new over the holidays?

Accordingly, I’ve tried bring together a series of links and teaching resources in answer to my two questions above. Enjoy!


Top 5 fun teaching activities

Lateral Thinking Puzzles from @tesconnect

Things can get competitive when you use these - trust me - but they're great for holding pupils' attention and stopping thoughts drifting to Christmas holidays for a while.

Warning and Mathematics poems

In my experience pupils have a lot of fun doing these tasks. I've learned from bitter experience that you should place careful restrictions on what they're allowed to insert into the blanks for Warning, so if you want the safe option, they'll have fun working out what on earth is going on in Mathematics.

'The best teaching technique ever' by @PhilBeadle

Seasoned pros will no doubt be familiar with this frequently hilarious exercise - and it tests pupils' knowledge of parts of speech too.


Get your pupils generating their own pulp magazine covers with this tool. Could form some nice ideas for stories after the holidays!

Fun optical illusions

Completely unrelated to anything educational, but terribly compelling! 

Top 5 teaching tools

X Ray Goggles

If you want to teach your pupils about coding, this is a fun and simple tool you should try out! It reveals the source code on any website, and allows you to create a mock-up of that page, inserting your own content by changing the code. For example, go to a news story on the BBC website and you'll have the chance to write your own article, replacing the headline and copy. A great tool for helping pupils with their writing! 

Five Card Flickr

This tool generates 5 random Flickr photos at a time to provide inspiration for stories. Some people will choose to use all five cards to include in their stories, others might just be looking for that one image that provides inspiration. Seeing the possibly connections between the images can inspire creativity. Why not use our creative writing blog series by Lari Don to help your pupils come up with stories? 

Weebly for education

Weebly allows you to create your own website, but it's much more than that. You can create individual accounts for your pupils to create their own websites, and your administrator status gives you tight control over the whole process. Have a look at this introductory video to find out more.


Storybird is a beautiful tool which allows users to create their own picture books. You can browse through the site itself, or have a look at a tutorial on undertenminutes.com, a site which gives you short tutorials on new web tools which can be quickly and easily learned and implemented.

Scholastic story starter

This is a brilliant tool which helps children to come up with unique and original stories. It gives them the basic elements of a story through a random selection process, and they can change individual elements as they please. Have a look and try it for yourself!

Incidentally, one of my favourite brain teasers for pupils was to write 'NEW DOOR' on the board and then ask them to make one word using the letters. I want to tell you the answer, but let's see how long it takes the Twittersphere to come up with an answer. If you know it already, as I used to say to pupils, then haud yer wheesht!

Finally, don't forget that we have a great selection of author videos for you to stream or download. Whether you're looking for funny, inspirational or just plain lovely, there's something there for your pupils!


 Please feel free to share any resources or links below!

Follow me on Twitter: @chrisleslie2

Follow Scottish Book Trust: @scottishbktrust

Chris Leslie

Chris Leslie is Scottish Book Trust's School Resource Developer, working to produce helpful things for teachers and run projects in partnerships with schools.