Free, fun and top quality, 'Teach Your Monster To Read' finds favour with Ceri Williams
'Teach Your Monster To Read: Fun With Words''Teach Your Monster To Read: Fun With Words'Those of you who may have encountered the first part of, First Steps, will already be aware of the educational value of this free colourful and engaging games-based learning website, launched in 2012, that follows the teaching sequence of the initial sounds of stages two and three of the Department for Education's Letters and Sounds (L&S) phonics programme.

TYMTR part 2, Fun With Words is now available and covers up to the end of stage four of Letters and Sounds. Both games can be played on any internet-connected laptop or PC, including Apple Mac (an IPad app is due but no word yet on an Android version).

There comes a time to lay down your technology burden – and a properly designed bag helps
'Burden' illustration (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)My previous most successful and secure way of carrying a light laptop in inner-city London - apart from a purpose-made bag - used to be slotting it between multiple copies of broadsheet newspapers, double-bagged courtesy of Tesco carrier bags.

In venues frequented by sneak thieves it attracted no nefarious interest whatsoever. Thank you Tesco. There have been many alternatives since then, but eventually I came across STM.

Music teachers already have a great website. Now they have an 'indispensable' handbook, says Hugh John
Digital Media in the Music Classroom is indispensable for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) or veteran music teachers – and anyone in between! Written by James Cross – Apple Distinguished Educator, former music  teacher and now educator in residence with MediaCore – this is a book that manages to be both challenging and reassuring, contemporary but not nerdy and wide-ranging yet never overwhelming.

That’s quite a balancing act considering the seismic developments in music technology over the past decade but, as the author points out: “Many of the classroom ideas discussed here will seem like common sense and that’s where their power lies. It’s the learning and not the technology that’s the focus.”

Ollie Bray welcomes a practical new ICT handbook for teachers from a classroom expert

Rising Stars Essentials: ICT"Practical, professional problem solving for primary teachers" is how Rising Stars Essentials: ICT, written by Ian Addison and published by Rising Stars in association with the Guardian Teachers Network, describes itself. And it lives up to the promise.

As well as Ian's writing, the paperback publication also contains contributions from a number of well-known UK bloggers and tweeters involved in ICT in education, including Tom Barrett, Miles Berry, David Rogers, Mark Warner and Julian Wood.

Teacher educator Steve Bunce shares feedback on how good tools stand the test of time
Planet SherstonPlanet Sherston: boys motivated by football spelling game and othersHow do we engage boys in learning? How do we raise their achievement in reading? These are questions of high importance in schools.

With increasing pressure on teachers to obtain better results and a changing curriculum, can technology offer support? A recent white paper for Planet Sherston explains how this could be achievable.