Sunday, 27 January 2013

Homework vs Family time

Being a Mum and a full-time Teacher means weekends are hectic. I have my own schoolwork, and three children bring home a lot of homework. Sometimes homework dictates how we spend our Sunday, but I was determined not to let it get us down today.
We have made a sock monkey, got out the Lego, watched our favourite movie and later we will bake.
As Teachers when we are setting homework, we need to think is it worth it, how long will it take? What is the outcome I am trying to achieve. In the current world family life is hectic, family time is the glue that holds us together and shapes the people we are and we become. Next time before we dash off a last minute worksheet, invent a project or send an extra reading book home, think the family may have creative ideas of their own...give them the time back. The Student you welcome in on Monday morning might then surprise you...

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Inspiration Day

This week at School we held our first ever Inspiration day. All the year groups were mixed up, all abilities were mixed. It may sound like organised chaos, but it was quite calm and the outcome was amazing. Each activity was aimed at developing Bloom's taxonomy and using HOTS (higher order thinking skills)

We had a wide variety of activities on offer:
  •  The chocolate fair trade game - a hive of activity, How does your chocolate bar get to the supermarket? Students simulated fair trade and non fair trade methods.
  • Song writing- compose and record a song in a day - I found this session very moving,  Students had written their own lyrics, created their own tunes. Six groups recorded original songs on the day. This was really inspiring, one particular song brought a tear to my eye.
  • Sub-aqua try dive - exciting, I would have liked to get in the Pool myself. Students were truly able to try a new experience. A number of Students are now going to take this up in their spare time, so we are making a difference.
  • Cupcake decorating master class - not quite what it says on the tin, an array of colours of icing, a mixture of Food technology and Science. With an element of design producing  a cupcake box using computer software. All you need to start a cake business.
  • Sewing - make your own Sock Monkey I never realised you could make a monkey out of a pair of socks, but you can...
         I wonder what other animals you could make with a pair of socks?

  •  Creative cookery  I have never seen Students so proud of themselves.They made a 3 course meal that they could take home. Asparagus spears, Roast Chicken, Roast Duck breast, risotto balls, lemon and vanilla syllabub. The smell was delicious. Many thanks to the Chef that came to lend an experienced hand.
  •  Design an Electric car the element of competition always causes a stir, using their skills and knowledge they built an electric car of their own design to race.
  • CSI crime scene brilliant for future Careers and deep thinking, Students had to examine the crime scene, once evidence was gathered write a report on what they thought had occurred
  • Historical model making much patience was observed in this session as Students built air fix kits, to make a historical display. With a modern twist using the Internet to gather information for accurate painting and science setting.
  • Learn Mandarin  another totally new experience, astounding after only a few hours seeing Students communicating in mandarin, by the end of the day also writing some of the symbols
  • Light based sculpture using scientific knowledge of light, to create sculptures. We have an array of fantastic pictures and we are trying to narrow it down to two for a local competition.
  • Designing Video games and Apps so important that we learn how to design games and apps, particularly teenagers. Skills to lead us into the future.
  • Designing Visual aids bringing learning to life, making cardboard models to enhance learning in lessons, spears, helmets, a mock up of a computer to see the components, a life size body.
  • Creative writing sticking with the body theme, this classroom had amazing visuals to make it really spooky, perfect for creating a Horror story (not a real body may I add- just a realistic mock up)
  • Murder Mystery  Maths meets English, all the clues are provided, can you put them together and work out who did it? Write the report of what happened and why?
  • Smart Art Maths meets Art, at one point the main corridor was an explosion of colour as Students tried out their designs on the corridor windows with chalk pens. Mood boards were created, all culminating in their own canvas design using symmetry.
  •  Introduction to Body Language Students may look at us differently now they know what it all means!!
  • Zumba health and fitness evaluation of the wii and Xbox as fitness tools. Healthy food groups, muscles, heart rates - the full package. A Zumba instructor on hand to help Students customise routines.
  • learn to play table tennis much more than a game, coaching, tactics, moves and tournaments. Playing to win.
  • Coastal cycling It was cold on the day due to recent snow, Students braved the weather to try out Coastal orienteering.

  • At the centre of the whole day we had a LIVE newsroom. Students were given reporting badges and video cameras. They went out and about during the day collecting stories to make a magazine and a selection of videos and pictures. We were lucky to have a visitor in School who had first hand experience of working in a real newsroom.

    I decided to host this day after reading inspiring blogs of fellow twitterers, learning is so much more than a textbook and a pen. To prepare Students for the future we need to awaken the senses, provide new experiences, hands on activities to allow independent creativity. Inspiration day was all of the above and more. Every school should try it at least once (then you will want to do it again). I am already planning the next event.
    Be inspired and start planning one today....

Saturday, 19 January 2013


This is the start of a journey for me, not so long ago I only new how to text and email. Since joining twitter I have enjoyed reading other people's blogs, and using their ideas at home and in the classroom. Now I feel it is time to give something back, so I am going to start my own blog to share ideas I have had and things I have done. My next post will be about Inspiration Day.
I teach Maths in a Secondary school in the UK, with the role of Curriculum Innovator. This role sounds fancy though really translated it could mean surfer of the net, think tank, putting ideas into practice. My role is probably what brought me to this blog.