Top Marks: A teacher's guide

Paul Main

How can parents and teachers use Topmarks to develop fundamental learning skills?

What is Topmarks?

Math and literacy skills are important for everyone, not just students. They help us understand our world and develop critical thinking skills. Science is essential for understanding the natural world and developing technology. And history helps us understand who we are and where we come from.

All these subjects are taught at school, but many parents don't realise that there are free resources available online. Whether a child is playing a counting game or spelling game, they are being given the freedom to have a go and try out an idea without any fear of failure. Quality games provide engagement to a child and as long as they are getting feedback and learning then they could be seen as an integral part of the educational process. Developing calculation skills using educational games might be the carrot on the stick that keeps them practising.

Topmarks is a UK based company founded in 1998, created with the mission to providing quality, safe and inspiring learning experiences for children. Topmarks brings a wide range of quality educational resources that are enjoyable. 

Billed as an educational search engine, you can find the best educational websites for kids, from preschoolers to teenagers inside Topmarks. Topmarks is free to use, with no subscription fees.

The Range of Skills Taught with Topmarks

Mathematics

Multiplication table practice is essential for students who need to learn multiplication facts. It helps them memorize the multiplication tables and use them when solving problems. Students who struggle with math often find it challenging to remember multiplication facts. This is because they don't understand the concept behind multiplying numbers together. When learning multiplication, it's important to understand the process involved. Students should be taught to multiply two numbers together using the same method used to add two numbers together. This way, students will not only learn the multiplication tables, but also develop a deeper understanding of how to perform this operation .

To help students master multiplication, teachers can teach them to use the following strategies:

1. Memorizing multiplication tables

2. Doing mental maths 

3. Writing out answers

4. Solving problems

5. Visualizing multiplication

Apart from multiplication, other essential maths skills like counting skills, subtraction skills and calculation skills are all covered in the platform.

Topmarks sequencing game
Topmarks sequencing game

Top Marks Interactive Math Games  

Math has always been a difficult subject for kids. But if you are looking for fun ways to teach math concepts to your child, then Topmarks Games is just the right place for you. These are a range of educational math games for children aged 3-14 years. These games cover all topics from addition to multiplication and division. They are designed to keep your kid engaged in learning.

Every child deserves to learn and grow up with a firm foundation in mathematics, so these games are  easy to understand and play. The games are based on real-life situations and are designed to develop problem-solving skills while teaching basic mathematical concepts.

One example is the Blocks game, which teaches children aged 5 to 8 what each digit of a two or three-digit number represents. For 5-7 year olds, there is the Helicopter Rescue game, designed to help children count up to 100 on the number square and back again. 

Literacy Games by Topmarks

Topmarks offers fantastic resources for teaching (and learning) English. 

Phonics is the study of sounds and letter patterns in words. It helps children learn to read by breaking down complex words into simpler ones. 

Letter Sounds is a fun way to learn phonics, of course. The phonics programme comes with a set of games and activities to practice letter sounds. The Balloon Phonics game teaches students simple three-letter words. With Forest Phonics, you can choose which phonemes to focus on learning.

The set of activities can be used as a class activity on an interactive whiteboard or as a group activity on a tablet. 

There is also a handwriting demo tool where you can write letters and practise your penmanship–on the  computer screen. The game "Finish the Story" lets you finish a boring horror story by coming up funny, inspiring or plain scary ways to end it. 

A great resource for teaching spelling is the Spell Checker game. Children can get to test themselves on how well they know the alphabet and its letter combinations. 

There are countless other interactive activities and games. 

Topmarks interactive maths games
Topmarks interactive maths games

Activities to Use for Whole-Class or Small Groups

There are many activities in Topmarks that can be conducted for the whole class or for small groups. 

Sound Sayer is a free interactive learning game that lets teachers teach phonics to their class. Teachers can use it to reinforce lessons, review concepts or just experiment with unique word combinations. The tool uses a series of videos to teach children the sounds associated with English letters. Each video shows a child saying a word while the letter sound is played back. Children are then asked to identify the letter sound using a touch screen. This activity is excellent for the entire class or small group activities.

Another great tool for teaching phonics is the Letter Sound Quiz Game. You can use this tool at home or in school. Your child will have to answer questions about the sounds of the letters in words like cat, hat, bat, etc.

Topmarks Indexes Best School Resources 

Topmarks has linked up with some of the best organizations– like Google, BBC, NASA Kids Club, STEM.org and more– to bring you a unique resource of free educational content. The content ranges from videos, articles, quizzes, podcasts, games, apps and much more. 

With these links, you can access high quality educational content to offer your students or child.

What makes this special is that most of these resources are available for free. Many don't need either a subscription or registration. 

Some popular resources in the Topmarks index are:

  • IXL.com is an international resource offering content for Maths and English, used by more than 13 million students around the world.
  • UK Research and Innovation offers a Minidiscovery pack, an activity booklet for 5 to 12 year olds, introducing children to the fascinating world of invertebrates, or ‘minibeasts’. 
  • NASA Kids’ Club: NASA provides a fun website where kids can explore space and learn about NASA. Content includes images, video, and activities on topics including the entire Solar System, all the Space Missions, and everything else related to space. Download the app for free.
  • Pet Education Resources: Provides pet-themed resources for teachers, neatly organized by learning stage, subject and pet. 
  • Minecraft Education Edition: An educational edition of Minecraft that teaches kids creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving. If you're interested in coding, learn to code in Minecraft too.
  • BBC Teach: The BBC Teach site offers videos on a wide range of educational topics for children, but teachers especially appreciate the historical content offered by the website.

Interactive Whiteboard Resources from Topmarks

These interactive videos support teachers and parents in teaching children from primary school up to secondary school. Each topic has been developed by experts from across the UK and includes activities to reinforce learning. Each lesson covers all the essential knowledge and skills required for success in the new curriculum. The following topics are covered in these free whiteboard videos:

Foundation Years (3-5 year olds)

Maths: Counting; Ordering and Sequencing; Calculations; Money; Shape, Position and Movement Measures.

Literacy: Letters and Sounds; Stories; Songs and Rhymes.

Key Stage 1 (5-7 year olds)

Maths: Counting; Ordering; Sequencing Numbers; Place Value, Odd and Even; Addition and Subtraction; Multiplication and Division; Fractions; Money; Shape, Position and Movement; Measures; Data Handling;  Problem Solving.

Literacy: Letters and Sounds; Words and Spelling; Learning to Read; Writing Stories.

Science: Plants and Animals; Light and Electricity.

History: Events; Victorians; Twentieth Century.

Key Stage 2 (7-11 year olds)

Maths: Ordering and Sequencing; Place Value; Addition and Subtraction; Multiplication and Division; Fractions and Decimals; Money; Shape, Position and Movement; Measures; Data Handling; Problem Solving.

Literacy: Grammar and Spelling; Writing.

Science: General Science Topics; Materials and their Properties; Plants and Animals; Light and Electricity

History: Ancient Civilisations; Tudors; Victorians 

Hit the Button Game App for Children

Children are often bored when it comes to learning mathematics. Hit the Button Maths game app comes to your rescue. It keeps children engaged and motivated while teaching them basic mathematical concepts such as counting (multiple levels), adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. 

Children learn best by doing rather than listening. The game is fun and interactive so that children enjoy playing it. It features a variety of game modes including: Number bonds, Doubles, Division facts, Time tables, Halves, and Square numbers.

Available on iOs, Android, Windows PC, Mac and Kindle Fire, the app costs £3.49 GBP (or $5.99 AUD, $3.99 USD, €3.99 EUR).

The app can be used offline too. You can play all the above mentioned game modes without an internet connection. 

FAQs

Is Topmarks free?

There might be a one-time or subscription fee on some of the third-party resources that Topmarks has indexed on its website. However, all the resources offered by topmarks.co.uk are completely free of charge.

Is the Topmarks a real school ?

Topmarks is not a school. It is a resource hub for school students aged 3 to 14 and above.

Can I download Topmarks lessons?

All the Topmarks materials can be accessed only online; you cannot download them. The exception being the Hit the Button app, which includes several game modes.

How do I access Topmarks lessons ?

Visit the topmarks.co.uk. and you can search for lessons, videos and games by age group and subject.