Active learning is always the most effective form of learning. But what do you do with those who find concentration difficult?

There is an argument that says that the word “Active” in the phrase Active Learning is somewhat redundant since to be effective surely one also has to be active.

But such a recognition leaves us with a problem, for it is clear in every classroom that some students are more active in their learning than others. Which raises the question: what do we do with those students for whom focus and concentration on learning is just not part of their normal form of existence?

In short, is there a way of engaging all your students in active learning, even those who find concentration difficult?

The answer is yes, there is. “Manipulatives” (or card-sorting to give it its more common name) gets children immediately involved in making decisions about your given subject topic. There is no writing involved, just thinking by arranging and re-arranging the cards.

Of course, the level of difficulty of the cards can be varied according to the level of ability of the pupil or student – and in this way every pupil becomes involved in this activity.

In fact, although they are not widely used, manipulatives are proven by research to have an incredibly strong impact on student learning – which is why they might be called “the hidden learning technique”.

The visual nature of the activity is engaging as moving the cards into different arrangements feels to the pupils and students like a fun, games-like activity.

All students have more on-task and productive discussion when there is a shared visual focus. Manipulatives thus give students the arrangements of cards to focus on and sustain involvement

To see how this can work we have produced a free step-by-step visual instruction page on how to execute the Manipulatives technique on our website. It is completely free, and it will take you no more than five minutes to look through (it’s got lots of graphics to help explain the subject quickly, and then you’ve got a new technique up your sleeve).

There are full details on

There are also details of our whole project for raising the quality of teaching through 100+ techniques on

Fifty Health & Lifestyle-based Group Activities for PSHE Key Stages 3 & 4

Trying to convince teenagers of the need to engage in a healthy lifestyle can on occasion seem a difficult task.

Which is why one PSHE teacher thought about turning the issue into a series of “Life Games” – all based around the curriculum requirements for the health and lifestyle topics in PSHE Key Stages 3 and 4.

These games enable you to inform and engage your students on topics which are notoriously sensitive including relationships, reproduction, substance misuse, sunshine and travel, mental health and depression.

Each game is a stand-alone activity which can be delivered to a range of groups. Most of the games are accompanied by separate student notes. Clear learning objectives, based on the national curriculum, together with session plans, are provided.

The games can be used in any order and are suited to the classroom, although they could be used in other contexts. They are intended for groups of about eight to forty participants and are generally appropriate for teenagers and young adults. Each activity should last about thirty minutes, although they can be adapted for longer sessions. There are also suggestions for extending the activity and “talking points”, useful as fillers.

Life Games is available as a photocopiable book or on CD Rom, and individual activities can thus be readily copied and distributed to students as required. The copies can also be shared with colleagues or given to supply teachers, without any fear of the original book being misplaced.

An extract from Life Games, ISBN 978 1 86083 718 0, order code T1730EMN
is available at


  • Photocopiable report in a ring binder, £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the Ring Binder and the CD £31.94 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report…

  • By post from First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct, Earlstrees Rd, Corby, NN17 4HH
  • By fax to 01536 399 012
  • On-line with a credit card at
  • By phone with a school order number or a credit card to 01536 399 011

When ordering the book please quote the reference T1730EMN.

Primary Headteacher Information and Services

Incorporate Dance in your Topic work – and Enjoy it too!
Madmusik, 62 Holcombe Vale, Bathampton, BA2 6UX

Phone: 01225 313082
Fax number: 0871 528 3291

Is dance just a part of the curriculum that has to be suffered each year? Or an extremely effective way to engage students in wider learning? What if you were shown not only how to effectively and easily structure your classes but were also provided with lesson schemes that do all the planning and preparation for you – and are themed to tie-in with your topic work? Dance Notes provides all this plus relevant, creative music to inspire and motivate your classes. Visit our web site now and see how easy it can be!


Quickest way to boost your School funds…
Intaglobe Schoolwear Limited, 79 Darby Road, Liverpool, L19 9AN

Phone: 0151 427 1222
Fax: 0151 427 1222

Achieve FAST results with the right fundraising ideas…

We have supplied quality fundraising merchandise and printed or embroidered uniform to hundreds of schools for 28 years, so when our customers ask for advice about raising money – we know what works!

Visit our website for some of our best selling items. They’re a quick, easy way to generate revenue – just imagine them sporting your school logo! There’s also still time to create a fantastic customised product that the whole school will love, ready for the Festive season!

Call Naomi today, and find out what makes us the smarter schools’ choice…!

Treat your Foundation Stage to a Circus!
Kevin’s Community Circus,52 Gleave Road,Selly Oak,Birmingham,B29 6JR


This circus is aimed at the needs of your 3 & 4 year olds.

The little ones squeal with delight at all the clown’s misfortunes during the circus show.

Circus workshops can follow for each class.

Unusual items – ezyrollers, whirl-o-wheels, rebound rollers, tightrope (thick rope – low to ground) are all popular in the workshop.

Inviting foundation stage pupils to come dressed in circus costume adds a lovely flavour for the day.

Use your outdoor space, don’t lose it!
52 Oakhill Close, Upper Tean, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, ST10 4JP

01538 724060
07807 063734

Transform your existing outdoor space to allow for year round usage with our range of bespoke designed structures. Offering a stunning backdrop to any outdoor area where there is a requirement for shade, we can provide cover for recreational, educational or purely for decorative purposes.

  • Limitless Design & Colour Options
  • Up to 100% Shade Cover & 100% UV Resistance
  • Steel Powder Coated Structures for Increased Durability
  • Stainless Steel Fittings to Ensure Long Life
  • Designed, Manufactured & Fully Installed
  • Call now to arrange your Free, No Obligation Quotation