Sunday, 29 July 2012

Week 31: Something new that you have tried this year

The think that has been most new this year has been teaching in Year Four for the first time. I've enjoyed it!

Friday, 27 July 2012


You might like to check out Simon Haughton's excellent Ask page where he kindly offers support for anyone with a query about teaching ICT. As one of the most innovative and helpful people I've come across on Twitter, his ideas will be very helpful.

He offers support with lesson and planning ideas, product recommendations and support, ICT Class management tips, website suggestions and technical help.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Week 30: Your hobbies

I have had a knee injury for around 16 months now. So I'm not able to play football at the moment. Hopefully I'll get back into it one day. My hobbies right now are:

I'm not the most enthusiastic of runners but I try to go at least once a week, and I will go more during the summer holidays. Running doesn't bother my knee too much.

I love using computers. My plan is to learn more about building websites.

Watching films
I love watching films. We don't go to the cinema as much as we used to, but we use LoveFilm and Sky+ to watch films regularly.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Week 29: 5 pieces of advice you would give to an NQT

Enjoy it
A 40-odd year career in teaching will eventually sound like a frightening prospect. That's why it's so important to make sure you always enjoy what you are doing. This starts on day one. Do your best and love every minute. Teaching is the most varied, rewarding and exciting job in the world.

Don't expect to get everything right first time
You'll get things wrong in your NQT year (mind you, you'll get things wrong in every year that you teach!) No one is expecting you to get the routines right straightaway. Not every lesson can be perfect. Do your best and everyone you come into contact with will be impressed.

Get to know everyone
It's important to build good relationships with your colleagues. But it's important to get to know the pupils, the parents, the support staff - in fact anyone in school. Look after them and they'll look after you!

Be firm
Stick to your guns (not literally) with pupils and parents regarding discipline issues. You are the teacher. They might be under the impression that you are new and so you don't deserve all of their respect. You do.

Have a life
Teaching will take over your life if you let it. Don't feel guilty about having an evening off. Enjoy your weekends!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Good Leadership 3: Duncan Bannatyne

This is the third in my series of posts about leadership skills in people I admire.

Duncan Bannatyne
I loved reading Duncan Bannatyne's autobiography. Here are leadership skills he displays:

Working with the right people
‘Most of my talent is home grown; people that have come in on work experience or in lower positions and have worked their way up. It’s all about empowering people to be able to get on and do their jobs well. A chain is only as good as its weakest link, so you have to have good people in EVERY part of the organisation.

Clear expectations
Duncan ensures that his staff understand his expectations of them. He seems very strong-minded and you have to respect him for it as his vision doesn't sway. This ensures his workers are very clear about the way of working he wants from them.

Attention to detail
Two moments I loved in his book involved paying attention to small details. I loved his story about telling off his staff for buying paper clips! His instructions were to recycle the ones that other firms send to him! In another story he told of calculating the percentage of space in his gyms that were not earning any profit, for example, corridors. He then arranged for new builds to have a lower percentage of non-profit making space. Two brilliantly simple details. It just shows how the attention to detail is what can make a good business great.

Know your stuff
In his autobiography, Anyone Can Do It, Bannatyne talks about taking advantage of government grants to help set up a chain of nursing homes. Later he refers to the process of market research before setting up a new gym. He's a clever guy. He knows what he's talking about. He makes sure that he knows his market inside out. I've seen him many times on Dragons' Den turning down a business because he doesn't know the market. I've also seen him criticise others when they don't know their own market. Knowledge is power!


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Week 28: Things you have planned to do with your class before the end of the school year

This time of year is so busy!

Highlights of the next couple of weeks will be making biscuits with our school cook, and visiting Chester Zoo.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Week 27: Send an idea to and share it your blog

Ideas To Inspire is a website full of ideas for using web tools, equipment and lots of other things in the classroom. The ideas were all added by teachers and so they are tried and trusted. It's well worth a look.

My idea to add is for using 2Simple Software's 2DIY. 

When I was teaching in Year Three I used 2DIY to practice times tables. The children created matching games for the times tables we were learning. The games were added to the school learning platform so that they could be played at home.

Matching games are incredibly simple to make using 2DIY and so it meant that the children could really focus on the maths.

Monthly Review: June 2012

This time of year is brilliant - but busy!

Holiday in Somerset
We enjoyed a lovely four nights in Somerset. I love that part of the county. We visited Weston-super-Mare, Watchet, Minehead, Winsford, Glastonbury and Wells. I loved Weston-super-Mare and Wells in particular. Part of Wells looked familiar and then I discovered that this was where Hot Fuzz was filmed! We were there during the Swan Festival!

Olympic Torch
Something that has proved to be a really popular event this month has been our very own school Olympic Torch which has been travelling around local landmarks over the last few weeks. Teachers have been very generous, giving up PPA time to transport children to various places around the county. You can view the journey of the torch here

Our annual school university began this month. This is an amazing project - this year we had 23 courses on offer for children to choose. The courses are run by teachers, teaching assistants, governors, members of the community, local businesses and high schools. It's a real community event. New courses this year included farming, electronics, candle making and hairstyle design!

Transition Day
We have reviewed our transition policy this year and so our first transition day took place this month - much earlier than in the past. This can only make the transition process smoother for the children.

Lunch times have continued to be busy with football matches for our junior Euro 2012 competition!

Dad returned home
After three months in hospital and in care my dad returned home at the start of the month after suffering with massive lack of mobility caused by a trapped nerve.

Going to the races
I went to the races in Haydock on a stag weekend. This was my first time racing. I didn't do well at all, but was delighted with the £16.25 which I won on one race.

Ruby wedding
It was my parents' ruby wedding anniversary and the party we arranged to celebrate was one of the highlights of the year!