Author Archives: Sue

Paint the Squares Updated

We’ve made our popular Paint the Squares resource even better adding more paint and hide number options, more grids including negative numbers and decimals, and also puzzles. Paint the Squares is designed primarily for use on an interactive whiteboard for starter and plenary sessions, but it also works well on tablets and desktop devices.

Paint the Squares Grid Options
Grid Options

The grids have missing number puzzles which can help children to learn the order of numbers and how they are arranged on a grid. The puzzles can be tweaked to include adjacent numbers where the default is to have them hidden. They are also arranged in order of difficulty.

Default Cross Puzzle on 100 square
Cross Puzzle with adjacent numbers

All of the grids are configurable so they can begin at either 0 or 1 and they can all be flipped if you wish to display the numbers from bottom to top. We have also added a fun splat image which is likely to appeal to younger children. The negative number and decimal number grids are designed for older primary age pupils.

Explore the new features on Paint the Squares.

Lifebuoy’s Soaper Heroes

The National School’s Partnership and Lifebouy have teamed up to launch a new hygiene education initiative called The Soaper Heroes. Free educational resources and a host of other printed and take-home materials will be on offer, aimed specifically at primary age groups.

The rationale behind the campaign is to promote good handwashing behaviour and to stress the importance of regular handwashing with soap – not just during the pandemic, but as part of their daily routine. The first 100 schools to register will receive FREE 50ml samples of Lifebuoy hand sanitiser for the whole school (based on an average of 268 per school).

Register now for a chance to get your hands on Lifebuoy Hand Sanitiser and Soaps.

Maverick Early Reader Books – New Releases

If you are a teacher looking to update or supplement the range of your reading schemes, then take a look at Maverick Publishing’s Early Readers. They’ve just launched a further 16 books their growing collection which now numbers over 180 titles.

Maverick Early Reader New Releases

We’ve been a fan of these Early Readers for some time, being really impressed with the lively stories and brilliant, engaging illustrations. The books are well designed and sturdy enough to withstand the general wear and tear of a classroom situation.

As the books are levelled to the Institute of Education (UK) standard they are ideal for guided reading where pupils will be supported in their reading by an adult. We particularly like the way the stories are written in a natural way, so that although they are phonics based, the sentences don’t appear contrived to incorporate particular words, as they can be in some schemes. They are likely to appeal to boys and girls alike.

We have read all of the new titles and we think children will love them. We initially had some reservations about one particular book, Wild Wilf. In this story the boy Wilf takes himself off to the woods and among other exploits eats nuts from a tree. After giving this some consideration we realised this title provides adults with a good teaching opportunity to discuss the boy’s reckless actions.

The new releases are Blue, Green, Orange and Turquoise, Levels from 4 to 7 and as such are from the mid-range band of the scheme. They each have one story per book, some with identifiable themes such as ‘friendship’. There is a quiz page at the end of each story which is a useful tool as a comprehension check, especially for parents supporting their child’s reading at home.

Many books in the Early Readers scheme have freely downloadable activity packs and Maverick Publishing are working to make these available for all titles. There are also free videos and audio files in MP3 format, for the Pink, Red, Yellow and Blue Bands of the Early Reader books, which are intended to be used alongside the printed books. These can be helpful to children as a model of how language is spoken.

The RRP of each book is £5.99. Find Maverick Early Readers titles in all good bookstores and online. Enquiries from educational establishments are welcome via educational suppliers.


Disclosure: Topmarks was supplied with a selection of the Early Readers books by Maverick Publishing, free of charge for a fair and honest review, with no obligation.

New Place Value Investigation launched

Bead Numbers is our latest online maths game which is designed to challenge children’s understanding of place value. It involves a tens and ones abacus. Users need to select how many beads they want to work with from 1 to 9. Either start with one bead and work through the solutions for each number in order or select a particular number of beads to work with. All the selected number of beads need to be arranged on the abacus spikes to discover the different numbers which can be represented. These are entered using the keypad.

Bead Numbers Game Screen

Our Bead Numbers investigation provides a good context for learners to think systematically in order to find all possible combinations. It offers 6 to 8 year olds the opportunity to focus in particular, on reasoning and problem solving. This activity is suitable for either the classroom or for home learning.

Try Bead Numbers now.