Brilliant Learning

Wanda Gajewski: Using  topic boxes in the classroom

The arrival of the topic box in the classroom it is a special day for the children as they get extremely excited and cannot wait to rummage through the contents of the box.

‘’I cannot wait to get your box for this next half  term as there are ALWAYS so many rich learning experiences – it truly is magical! ‘’

Teacher from Griffin Primary School

School Library Services across the UK provide excellent , tailor-made topic collections to schools to support their projects. Our topic boxes help teachers with their planning and delivery of the National Curriculum within a framework which is both interesting and flexible.

As a librarian, I am a great enthusiast of the topic box as it seems that all syllabus of the National Curriculum  nestled within it and just waiting to be released. Themed boxes are a wonderful way to support class projects and topics. Each box contains engaging and interesting resources, including  original and replica artefacts of outstanding quality as you would normally find them in the museum,  and they will bring history  lesson to life in the classroom.

Topic boxes provide additional resources in the classroom to enhance the independent learning. The collections may be fiction and non-fiction, supporting specific curriculum areas and literacy. In most cases , schools are usually fortunate to have some teaching materials within the school to help with their learning. However, for example the history topic boxes help the teachers and pupils understand how others lived and the resources assist pupils when they conduct their historical research. 

Starting point for a topic box compilation for me is the clarity of the request. We receive wonderful feedback from our loyal teachers so  we  cannot afford to misinterpret the teachers’ requests even though some of the requests are bizarre or ambiguous. Teachers evaluate the impact of the learning resources and what it adds to the overall learning experience. It is , therefore, imperative that I am clear what the teacher is expecting to receive in their topic box. Key thing that I have learnt over the 20 years is the value of instilling and maintaining curiosity. 

“I look forward to seeing what is in the box for the children to explore”

Teacher from Brandlehow School

With the slimming down of the National Curriculum and the increasing  autonomy of schools in curriculum matters, schools need to access a wide range of materials. Without the SLSs schools would struggle to gather enough resources to cover all subjects they want to teach.  We get it. School Library Services’ librarians will use their extensive knowledge and provide teachers with the best new and quality topic books available at the time of your request. We are constantly evolving and improving our services to ensure that all changes in the National Curriculum have been reflected in our stock. The curriculum celebrates differences and diversity which enabling a better understanding of current issues. The SLSs support the teachers by recommending high-quality fiction so that children can find themselves in books and stories as well as use the story to learn about the experience and lives of others. 

Our topic box collections not only  focus on the core subjects, we ensure that emphasises are also placed on a broad range of topics and that we offer a selection of the best diverse and inclusive  texts for the children. BAME and diverse perspectives are at the core of our collections. We recognise and appreciate the importance of educating children about human rights, justice and equality in the society. 

Why request a topic box?

  • It offers an abundance of resources focussed on subject and learning goals.
  • The teaching materials can be adapted to children’s interests and level of understanding.
  • The materials are designed to stimulate and  enrich learning. 
  • In the topic boxes your pupils will find a fascinating variety of artefacts to handle , investigate and use for re-enactment.  
  • The contents in each box  make a fabulous colourful and informative display.
  • The topic box will be delivered and collected from your school by the SLS’s couriers.

It is always incredibly positive to hear from the  teachers how they feel supported and react to the topic boxes and to think more of how the teachers would make use of the topic boxes.

“It is so easy to order your topic box. All you need to know is what want to teach and ask their advice and they will send it out to you.”

Teacher from Ronald Ross Primary School

“The box I received for this half term was AMAZING, thank you! The children have loved examining the Great Fire of London  artefacts and looking at all the books about History.”

Teacher from Granard Primary School


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