Sunday, 25 November 2012

Week 48: Resources you have used from

Gareth Pitchford's Primary Resources is the teaching resource site I have used the longest. I will never forget a friend introducing it to me during my B (Ed) degree. I was in my final year, so that would be 2000 or 2001.

I couldn't believe that someone was making all of those resources available for free! In fact, I still can't!

I love the site and I still use it, although, a little differently than I used to. In the early days I would find the resource which I would use to plan my lesson around. Quickly I learned to plan my lesson and then find a resource which would enable me to deliver the objective.

These days, I sometimes use the English and Languages resources, although, occasionally I find a Maths resource which I can adapt.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Parkinson's Law

Parkinson's Law states, "Work expands to fill the time you make available to it."

This means that the longer you are prepared to push the boundaries of work into the rest of your life, the more work will spill into your personal time.

This is why it is important to limit the amount of time you set aside for your work.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Week 47: What changes would you like to see in the new curriculum

The change which I believe is vital is the 'upgrade' of ICT to be a core subject. Technology has developed exponentially since the last curriculum was published. Being digitally literate is more vital as a life skill than most of the foundation subjects, in my view. If the government want our future generation to be employable on a worldwide scale, it is essential that children develop skills in ICT.

This quote from the re-elected President Obama sums it up pretty well:

"In a 21st century world where jobs can be shipped wherever there's an internet connection, where a child born in Dallas is now competing with a child in New Delhi, where your best job qualification is not what you do, but what you know - education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity and success, it's a prerequisite for success... I'm calling on our nation's governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don't simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity." 
(President Barack Obama at the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 10 March 2009)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Week 46: What three words sum you up?

I have written about three word branding before.

I'm going to update my own branding. The three words I would use to describe myself are:

Motivated because I am always active. I get quickly frustrated when I can't get on with things. I have plans for the future and I reflect upon things and try to develop and improve when I can. I am ambitious in the short and long term. I am fun, hardworking and I hate laziness.

Responsible. I believe that I can be relied upon to do a great job, relied upon to be a caring and loving family member, and a loyal friend. I take a responsible approach to everything I do.

Awesome! I belief in myself.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Be happy, live long

Spotted in The Week (27th October):
"People with a sunny outlook in middle age are likely to live longer than their grumpy peers, a large-scale study suggests. Levels of happiness among over-50s were found to have significant impact on the onset of disability, walking speeds and the incidence of coronary heart disease, even after factors such as gender and education had been taken into account, reports the Daily Telegraph. In fact, the link was so pronounced that psychological well-being could be used to predict which patients are going to develop serious health problems in their 60s, said the report from the ongoing English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. 'The difference between those who enjoyed life the most and those who enjoyed life the least was marked,' says the team, with the former 'more likely to still be alive nine to ten years later than other participants."

So I guess the message is - enjoy life whilst you can!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Week 45: Your favourite possession

My favourite possession ever is my iPhone.

It can be a little cheesy when people say that a gadget changed their life. But getting my iPhone certainly changed the way I relax, the way I work, the way, I remember, the way I photograph, the way I communicate, the way I learn and the way I buy and sell things on the internet. It's probably done more than that.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

"Transparency and Trust"

In an interview with Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter and Square), his approach to organising his company is explained:

"Key to the success of this organization is transparency and trust. Dorsey is insistent that everyone who works for him knows what the company is up to and why it's doing it. So he instituted an astonishing rule at Square: At every meeting involving more than two people, someone must take notes - and send them to the entire staff.

"It doesn't matter what the meeting is about: bug fixes, new partnerships, pending contracts, a new launch, important metrics. Everyone hears about them. Dorsey says he often gets 30 to 40 meeting notes every day. He filters them in his inbox and reads them through on his iPhone when he gets home at night.

"More incredible is that with such massive scads of sensitive information circulating to the 400-plus people at Square, not a single item has surfaced on the Web."
I wonder how a similar approach would work in schools?

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Monthly Review: October 2012

This has been an extremely quiet month for me. I've been off work for most of it recovering from a knee operation. There have been lots of mention-worthy moments though.

The beginning and end of the month was all about the NPQH. At the start of the month I had my Gateway Day at CEL in Manchester. This was an interesting but challenging day. Whilst I doubted myself a bit as I waited for the decision about whether I was successful, I was confident that I could not have done more. During the last couple of days of the month I received confirmation that I have been successful and I am on the NPQH. I will be taking a place at Edge Hill who will deliver the professional development course. Working towards achieving the NPQH is the next step in applying for headship. I hope to start looking in 2013.

We had a lovely few days holidaying in Porthmadog. Despite hobbling around on crutches, we were able to visit Caernarfon, Beaumaris and a few other places. As I've not been able to drive, I was proud of my wife who drove the furthest distance she ever has during that weekend!

Michael McIntyre
We finally were able to use the tickets I was given for my birthday in January to go to see Michael McIntyre at the Manchester Arena. He was brilliant!

Catching up
I've used my time off work to catch up on lots of jobs that have been hanging around for some time. It's quite satisfying to be able to get on with some work whilst watching Sky Movies 007.

Knee Operation
As already mentioned, I had a knee operation earlier this month to reconstruct my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which I tore 18 months earlier when playing football. My knee hasn't been right since and I was keen to get it corrected. Frustratingly I've been off work for quite a while. My knee is getting there but there's lots more physio, exercises and building strength ahead of me. Here is a picture of my reconstructed ligament:

Lessons from Apple 3: Working collaboratively

Jobs worked hard to foster a culture of collaboration at Apple. many companies pride themselves on having few meetings. Jobs had many. "Our method was to develop integrated products, and that meant our process had to be integrated and collaborative," Jobs said.
From Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography  

I think collaboration is really important. Education is an example of an integrated product. It's vital that senior management teams meet frequently, and often, with a clear agenda, to ensure that the team is collaborative.

This approach also applied to key hires. He would have candidates meet the top leaders rather than just the managers of the department where they wanted to work.  
It's important that everyone in the senior management team meets any potential new members of staff. The new employees have to fit in. They have to be right for the team. That means that all leaders need to meet them.