Free resources that you might find useful while schools are closed



UPDATED 29 May 2020 – see NEW! items below

During the schools closure, HWDA will try to keep you informed about ideas and free or low-cost resources that we have become aware of.

Please note HWDA is not responsible for the accuracy of these details and does not endorse any of the resources listed. The duration of any offer to use these resources will vary and HWDA cannot guarantee their availability.

Please email hwda.webmanager@gmail.com with any corrections or suggestions for additions to this list – thank you.


Keeping in touch

Maintaining contact when we can’t visit family and friends will be important to aid mental health, provide a sense of normality and can be a source of fun! Pupils at home may really appreciate video calls with their school mates and family.

There are many free apps and web-based programs available to make video calls. Most, if not all, of these can handle video conversations with just one other caller or a group of callers at the same time.

All you need is a smart phone, tablet or computer with webcam and, in most cases, internet access (although some calls can be made over the mobile phone network).

If you’re not sure how to use these, their support pages on the web show how easy they are. Quite often all users need to be using the same program so some co-ordination beforehand will be necessary.

Examples are FaceTime (Apple / iOS only), Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Hangouts (for Gmail users), Facebook Video Chat (needs Facebook Messenger), Houseparty and many more.

Safeguarding – Obviously take the usual precautions to ensure your children are only contacting known family and friends.


Health, fitness and exercise

There are lots of online resources to help keep everyone fit, and kids might find some of these great fun!

BodyCoach TV shows Joe Wicks’ 30-minute daily exercise videos, streamed live at 9.00 am each morning and then view-able as YouTube videos, are proving enormously popular with kids and parents alike.  Search YouTube for “P.E with Joe”

Health For Kids offers advice to parents, including how to explain coronavirus to children, as well as information for kids on health and fitness and exercise videos.    https://www.healthforkids.co.uk/

NHS Fitness Studio Exercise videos – https://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/


A selection of Educational Resources

Amazon UK have announced that –

During the school closures, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and many other audio books are now free to stream on Audible Stories.

They say, “No sign up required.  Right now, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Explore the collection, select a title and start listening.”

Click here for their collection.

The Harry Potter audio books are read superbly by Stephen Fry. Because the text is complete and unabridged, you can read the printed text while listening to the audio book, which could be a real help for reluctant or hesitant readers. Find ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ in the ‘Tween’ section of the catalogue.

British Dyslexia Association (“BDA”) free webinars for parents

NEW!   Study skills at home – Free webinar for parents – Wednesday 3 June 2020  7.30pm – 8.30pm

Studying during the COVID-19 school closures can be particularly challenging for young people with dyslexia. This FREE session looks at how parents can help young people with dyslexia (11+ years) develop the skills needed.

The session will cover:

• What are the study skills involving in reading, writing, numeracy, organisation and revision
• Examples of common and effective study skills
• Core strategies for strong study skills
• Assistive technology available to support study skills

At the end of the session there will be a live Q&A for parents.

About the presenter
Lynn Lovell is a trainer and tutor on several specific learning differences and dyslexia courses with the British Dyslexia Association, teaching both face to face and supporting learners online.

Who is this suitable for?
This session is designed for parents of young people with dyslexia aged 11 years or over.  The session may also be useful for young people with dyslexia aged 14 years or over to join.

Book your place here

You can view details, useful information and  recording of previous webinars here. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think may find it useful.

Some previous webinars have been –

Creating without language: Why the arts are so important to our dyslexic community with Qona Rankin – Dyslexia Co-ordinator at the Royal College of Art

How to prepare your dyslexic child for success in life with Dyslexia expert Margaret Malpas, MBE

How to manage you and your child’s anxiety during school closures with Professor Amanda Kirby

How to support your dyslexic child during school closures

BDA has also issued a statement about access to training

“We know, even at the best of times, many parents cannot afford to access paid training, and for many parents the COVID-19 restrictions have made money very tight. However, we have been asked by some parents what services we sell to support you during the school closures. Our eLearning platform remains fully operational and many eLearning modules are suitable for parents and available to buy.

NEW! Claro Reader

FREE trial until the end of July!

Claro reader is Text to speech software for Windows computers.  Ged Bretherton at Claro has told HWDA that they are kindly offering a free licence to trial the program until the end of July.

Claro say, “ClaroRead is a simple, easy-to-use and flexible software program that helps you to read, write, study, sit exams, and increase your confidence. You can read any on-screen text out loud and improve your writing in Microsoft Word. ClaroRead Plus and Pro also let you read aloud scanned paper books and documents.”

Please link to their website here for details about the various levels of software and pricing options after the free trial.

If you would like a free licence key please email him at         ged.bretherton@clarosoftware.com

There are weekly webinars detailing how to use the software. Also, Ged stated that you can email him regarding support with the program.

Clicker and DocsPlus

John and Ann Crick of Crick Software are offering free licences to use Clicker and DocsPlus during the school closures.

Visit https://www.cricksoft.com/uk for details. They ask you to complete an online form to receive your licence codes and installation information.

Clicker – for primary schools – works on iPad, Chromebook, Windows & Mac.  Crick describes Clicker as “the complete writing solution for the primary classroom, providing every pupil with just the right level of support and challenge”.

DocsPlus – for secondary schools – works on Chromebook, Windows & Mac.  Crick describes Docs Plus as “a talking word processor for secondary school students”.

Crick are publishing many new information pages and training videos on their website, and producing Clicker@home webinars.

Their curriculum team is producing new LearningGrids, resources specially designed with home use in mind.  Visit cricksoft.com and learninggrids.com as we are adding more all the time.

Crick have applied a free extension for all Clicker@home users until May 31st.

WordCardGenerator

Linda Adey (former Senior Tutor at HWDA Bromsgrove Workshop) is offering a free home licence to use WordCardGenerator.

Visit http://www.wordcardgenerator.co.uk/ to download the software and then email Linda at wordcardgenerator@gmail.com for your access code.

Linda describes WordCardGenerator as “easy-to-use software allowing teachers, TAs and parents to produce printed games and worksheets. As well as providing ideas for games using wordcards, the program offers other activities including word searches, crosswords, dominoes and jigsaw games. To provide variety and reinforcement, the same words can be automatically used in all the activities. The program contains phonetically structured sets of over 17,000 words so users can choose which to concentrate on, or users can easily add their own.”

Sir Linkalot

Award-winning app Sir Linkalot uses animations to teach children clever tricks to improve spelling.  It has the backing of lexicographer Susie Dent.

Sir Linkalot has decided to give schools, parents & carers access to their App for 12-weeks (from March 20).  Enter your email at this address to get a free access code.  https://www.sirlinkalot.org/coronovirus/

Tynker – offers coding lesson for kids, and if there is a Minecraft fan at home, they claim that Tynker makes it easy and fun to create Minecraft mods, add-ons, texture packs, and more.

Tynker is offering free access to premium coding courses during school closures. Sign up as a parent at this address.  https://www.tynker.com/#/join/parent

BBC Bitesize offers lots of resources that are clearly divided into subject and age categories, and the broadcaster has promised to offer lots more in the coming days.  Visit  https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

YouTube’s Free School offers a range of videos looking at subjects as diverse as the US constitution, coral reefs and the solar system. Visit https://www.youtube.com/user/watchfreeschool

Twinkl  has just offered free access to its resources for a month and is providing a simple guide for parents to use it.  However, as far as HWDA understands it, Twinkl will first have to have issued you a code, probably through your school. If you have a code, setting this up is really easy to do – go to www.twinkl.co.uk/offer  and enter the code that you have been sent by Twinkl or by your school.

Ted-Ed – The organisation behind the Ted talks has a division called TED-Ed, full of “lessons worth sharing” from teachers around the globe. Information for parents is at this address https://ed.ted.com/parent.