Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Tunes of 2014

This has been a great year for dance music. Therefore, most of my favourites of the year are dance.

In no particular order my favourite tunes are:

  1. Gorgon City featuring Jennifer Hudson - Go All Night
  2. Kiesza - Hideaway
  3. George Ezra - Budapest
  4. Take That - These Days
  5. Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
  6. Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud
  7. Idina Menzel - Let It Go
  8. Rixton - Me And My Broken Heart
  9. Sia - Chandelier
  10. Faul & Wad Ad & Pnau - Changes
  11. Sam Smith - Stay With Me
  12. Nico & Vinz - Am I Wrong
  13. ZHU - Faded
  14. Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass
  15. Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj - Bang Bang
  16. Jimi Jules & Oliver $ - Pushing On
  17. Sigma & Paloma Faith - Changing
  18. The Script - Superheroes
  19. Sam Smith - I'm Not The Only One
  20. Angel Haze & Sia - Battle Cry
  21. Robin Schulz & Lilly Wood - Prayer In C
  22. Vance Joy - Riptide
  23. Ed Sheeran - Sing
  24. Ella Henderson - Ghost
  25. Oliver Heldens & Becky Hill - Gecko (Overdrive)
  26. Charli XCX - Boom Clap (Cahill Remix)
  27. Clean Bandit - Rather Be
  28. Sam Smith - Money On My Mind
  29. Rita Ora - I Will Never Let You Down
  30. SecondCity - I Wanna Feel
  31. John Legend - All Of Me
  32. Pharrell Williams - Happy
  33. Mr. Probz - Waves (Robin Schulz Remix)
  34. Route 94 & Jess Glynne - My Love
  35. Coldplay - A Sky Full Of Stars
  36. Pitbull & Ke$ha - Timber
  37. Paloma Faith - Can'r Rely On You (MK Remix)
  38. Tiesto - Red Light
  39. Sigma - Nobody To Love
  40. Zedd & Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant - Find You
My Top Ten

Kiesza - Hideaway
What a way to debut! A brilliantly catchy tune.
Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
The complete pop smash hit!
Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud
A perfect love song.
Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj - Bang Bang
Brilliant pop.
Sigma & Paloma Faith - Changing
Love this dance tune,
Ella Henderson - Ghost
A great song and some great remixes.
John Legend - All Of Me
Another perfect love song.
Pharrell Williams - Happy
Although it was released last year, Happy has continued to dominate this year.
Sigma - Nobody To Love
The best dance track of the year.
The Script - Superheroes
A great song,

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A clip of Steve Jobs talking about how companies with a monopoly can fail has surfaced

It's a great clip. He used Xerox as an example of how a technology company with a monopoly fails when sales and marketing people are in charge, instead of product people. 
 ‘And the product people get driven out of decision making forums. And the companies forget what it means to make great products. It’s the product sensibility and the product genius that brought them to that monopolistic position. And it gets rotted out by people running these companies who have no conception of a good product versus a bad product. They have no conception of the craftsmanship that’s required to take a good idea and turn it in to a good product. And they really have no feeling in their hearts usually about wanting to really help the customers.’ 

This really applies to education. When the sales and marketing people (SLT) begin to care only about targets and Ofsted, they lose track at what makes a school really successful - the product people (the teachers). Lose the innovation and you lose the children. 

 Let teachers teach.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A big year ahead

This school year marks a crucial school year for me. It is the year when so much will happen for me personally and the year that I want to shape my leadership style for the future.

The previous school year was an extremely busy time for me. This was mainly because I was working hard to complete my NPQH. It involved a lot of time out of school and a lot of time working on it at home. The relief when an email arrived in August to say that I'd passed was enormous. The course inspired me to apply for a couple of headteacher positions. I feel ready for the next step. There was one in particular that I really wanted. I was very pleased but also disappointed to finish second in the interview. Around about the time of my interview we found out that we were expecting another baby, due in January. This made me question my career plans for the next year and I am putting applying for other jobs on hold until after the baby arrives. All around the same time, several staffing changes at school have created an opportunity to become a non-teaching deputy head in my current school in the next year.

All of these circumstances make for an exciting year ahead:

  • Although I am not based with a class I will still be teaching. I am teaching a couple of high ability maths class (challenging for Level 6s). This is one of my passions! Also I will be teaching Year Six for a couple of afternoons, teaching Computing and PE. These subjects are lessons I love and I can't wait to get into this. I believe that a senior leader must continue to do some teaching and I want to make sure I do this well.
  • My headteacher has asked my to do a lot of observing and scrutinising planning and books this year. Although I don't necessarily agree that these should be massive priorities (another story) I am working to the head's vision for brilliant teaching throughout the school. I want my monitoring role to be supportive, nurturing and fair. I will make sure the NQTs have an inspiring start to their teaching careers.
  • A massive reduced marking schedule means that I can concentrate on aspects of my leadership which I believe will make a real difference. It also means that I can find time to do a few things that I haven't had time to do over the last year - such as blogging!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Are you ready to become a headteacher?

I stumbled upon this tonight. With the subject of possibly becoming a headteacher very much at the front of my thoughts this week, this video highlights some important points for my to think about.

Are you ready to become a headteacher?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Lazy Teaching

No, this isn't an admission that I've become complacent in the classroom!

I recently read The Lazy Teacher's Handbook: How your students learn more when you teach less (Independent Thinking Series) by Jim Smith. I enjoyed the book a lot. I found it refreshing in the way it encouraged teachers to take risks and try something new. But I love the way it wants us to shift the work rate within the lessons on to the children - over the course of the lesson the children should be working hardest.
The big challenge for teachers taking on board the Lazy Way is often dragging themselves away from the safety net that is the scheme of work.
Here are some great ideas from the book:

  • Like airlines - record any set routines on video. Display messages that you need to give.
  • Use audio and video for teaching.
  • "Too many teachers are paraphrasing children's answers then adding in anecdotal by-line for good measure meaning the majority of the students disengage with a crucial part of the learning. Why the vast majority of teachers feel compelled to repeat and add something to every response they receive is beyond me. You have a whole class of students who should be asked to comment on what has been said."
  • "Send one member of the group (to be known as the 'envoy') to visit another group. The envoy is there with two missions: 1 to listen to the group's ideas so he can report back to his own group and 2 to share his own group's ideas with his hosts. This is a very lazy way of making sure everyone remains engaged with the task and hears other viewpoints."

  • Use this formula to outline how much time the group has using the following formula: People x Time - Number of hours worked. If you have a group of four students working for a sixty minute lesson, this equates to four hours of time. Ask the students what they would expect an individual to produce in four hours. Use the formula to set the expectation for the group.
  • Allocate specific roles to members of the group, e.g. facilitator (keeps things moving and records what is happening), time keeper, resource manager, quality checker and team rep (represents the team at 'emergency meetings'.
  • Never use silent work as a punishment as it is a valuable way of working, not a consequence of poor behaviour.
  • Establish how long you are going to be silent for and make it clear to your class that you do want that amount of time spent in silence and will reset the clock of people talk.
  • Model working in the silent time as well.
  • Have a whiteboard where questions can be posted by the students. When someone posts a question only ever tell that person the answer and write the name of the person you have told under the question on the FAQs board. Anyone else in the class who wants to know the answer to that same question can talk to their classmate rather than you.
  • The 'feel good Friday' phone call: choose three students whose parents/carers you are going to ring to say just how well their children are doing.
  • The high jump: Introduce the high jump approach to maths - children start the challenge just before you think it is going to get too difficult for them. There is no point in students completing work that has proved nothing, other than the fact that it is too easy or too hard.
  • Have a Connect 4 Championship!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Start With Why

The message in the video clearly applies to schools. Start with WHY.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A review of 2013 and setting goals 2014 has in store...

I've read a lot of #nurture1314 posts. I have to admit that I find it hard to muster up the energy to think of 13 things to write about from 2013 and then come up with 14 things to hope for in 2014. I seem to remember a similar hashtag on Twitter last year. Surely by the time #nurture2021 is up and running the craze will be over!

However, reading about everyone else has inspired me to write my own thoughts. Here goes...

Review of 2013:

My Goals for 2014:

In general I want to be less harsh on myself when I fall behind with things. I want to live in the moment a bit more.

  • Complete my NPQH placement.
  • Complete my NPQH qualification.
  • Begin to apply for headteacher jobs.
  • Blog more.
  • Use Twitter more productively.
  • Manage my time more effectively.
  • Keep the house tidier.
  • Continue to find ways to save money.
  • Run 100 miles.
  • Give more thoughtful presents.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Continue to help with the church PCC.
  • Begin to write a book.
  • Reach level 75 on Hay Day!
  • Build a timeturner.