Thoughts on the BETT show 2012

Teachmeet So on Friday I dashed away from Northampton to catch the train down to London to catch up with friends old and new at the BETT2012 TEACHMEET . as soon as a it through the door I was me by a sea of friendly faces , people there to share there ideas and strategies to elp their pupils become better learners . Giving up their Frday night some of whom had already done 3 days of BETT now that’s commitment ! so there ‘Mr Gove ‘ I attended my first Teachmeet 2 years ago in the same room and sadly missed last years although I did attend BETT .I was looked from the off , because it was a revelation o find that there were teachers like me , who wanted to experiment with new technology in order I engage and enthuse pupils. I had seen the fantastic Tim Rylands speak in Milton Keynes and had already started to experiment with blogging and websites etc Anyway I filled a couple of pages of my notebook with lists of websites to visit , twitter names etc (I found the original the other day ) I think the thing that struck me most was that everyone was just like me. There was no one claiming to be doing it the best way , just enthusiastic real teachers sharing what worked well for them . There was an attitude of I’ve it a go and try it for yourself . This year we had two trainee teachers up and I was inspired to hear how they were using blogging as a tool to develop as teachers . I was also impressed that they were specialising in ICT (if only I had the chance when I was training ) So this years Teachmeet didn’t disappoint . it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and people who like me just kept coming back.Plus I got say thank you to Mr Rylands himself. I feel part of something exciting , I feel proud to know so many exciting and innovative teachers .

This year I am going to aim to get to more teachmeets if I I can and maybe even shedfest . BETT I don’t really come to BETT for the stands , although there are always a few I make a point of visiting (brainpop,rising stars,2simple etc ) I go for the people. I remember meeting Mary for the first ime haing arranged t meet up through a teaching forum . She had to call me to come out with some change to park .Mary is an inspirational teacher and extremely well deserving of all the accolades she has picked up. People are what make BETT for me , I can remember quite a few of the conversations I have had and I have gone away with my head buzzing with ideas about teaching and gone straight back into school and done something about it . I am definitely a better teacher because of that .

Three things that were highlight for me apart from the people .

1. Listening to Pie Corbett talking about sentence building games on the Nelson Thornes stand .Ideas to use on Monday that  and will have an immediate impact .

2. Eavesdropping the # domoredu session . I had seen the hash tag on twitter , despite the dodgy wi if so decided to investigate . I spent a good half an hour listening to educators collaborating and discussing a range of ideas , haven ‘t had the chance to look back yet .

3. Being handed an iPad and getting a 2 hour practical demo of some of the best apps for education .Filled a notebook up with names and ideas( fell in love with garage band)


2011 some educational books I enjoyed last year

So where was I – ah yes

I had given the overview of my thoughts about year 4 so far .


So the last year has been one of my most challenging , but one that I have survived . I think I am now in a place to develop and grow as an educator. Here are some things I have learnt  this year

Books that have inspired me( links to amazon if you click)

Why do I need a teacher when I have Google-Ian Gilbert

I am a big fan on Ian Gilbert’s work ,he talks a lot of sense and has an understanding of what really goes on in the classroom. His style is engaging and a lot of what he says is  common sense ( but remember I was going through the year from hell and common sense can be lacking when you are in a fight or flight situation) .

It is a scary thought when you consider that children in  class right now are learning  and preparing for jobs that may not haven’t even been invented yet . Which brings me nicely onto:

The Element – How finding your passion changes everything  Sir Ken Robinson

Again another amazing orator and educationalist just look up some of his TED talks . He reiterates a lot of what Ian was talking about , but also  makes you consider your own motivations .

Throughout my darkest days last year I never once considered quitting teaching – ( perhaps I may have had to leave , or change the place I worked , but teaching runs through my veins )




The lazy teacher’s handbook- Jim Smith

Aah another great book , which again as an easy read , but full of tips and techniques for use in the classroom . I am now in the beginnings of experimenting with techniques such as “teach the cat” and have seen some great results and increased confidence from my children. Its early days and If i manage to keep up blogging I will detail  further.


Talk for writing across the curriculum – Pie Corbett and Julia Strong

As a literacy leader I was lucky enough to attend one of Pie’s Talk for writing conferences  and came away enthused and inspired raring to go . But you know how it sometimes is : those notes get misplaced, “oh what was it he said again ?” ” “what type of text was that ?”

Well this title  is inset / lesson planning and inspiration in one handy place  and there is even a DVD included with Pie himself talking ( filmed at the courses he delivered)

What I love about Pie’s work is that it works ! We had so much fun doing our work on dragons  and the structured was that it was taught helped even  my children who struggle come up with their own ideas. I am looking forward to getting stuck into the persuasive writing unit this term 🙂


and if you needed further convincing  just watch this



I could go on and list all of the educational books I have read and sorry if I didn’t mention  all – but these are a great starting point for anyone who is either starting out in teaching , or like me just wants to keep learning .

Here’s to a great 2012 




Well that went well ! first term of year 4

So I find myself back on my blog , having just signed up to attend teachmeet at the Bett show . I have just dusted away the cobwebs and found that I have had very little to say this year so far . Well that’s not true , it’s just that life has taken over  especially school life .

So i find myself nearing the end of this year  having done very little in the way of blogging . I feel a bit disappointed about that as I had such high hopes for myself . But hey! , a new year is on the horizon so rather than make it a resolution to start in the New Year , I will just get on with it now .


OK thoughts

Teaching Year 4

If you read my previous entries you will know that I had the most difficult year of my career last year .  I survived and  am now a term in with my year 4 class who are brilliant ! . They are enthusiastic about pretty much everything ( from my random breaking into ukulele songs to on the spot poems ) I feel rejuvenated and much more able to cope . Ofsted came and monitored and that went OK , I was pleased but still not convinced it was my doing ( still needed so much support)

So far we have covered light and sound  ( a very science based topic ) and also taught one of my favourite books ” The Lost Thing” by Shaun Tan . I was so pleased the kids loved it too .

I think I have also relaxed back into maths teaching . I am really keen to work on my lower ability children especially one boy who is only low ability because he is EAL ,I  know that he will fly once  he has the language skills in place . I want that to happen while I am teaching him .

What I have found beneficial is that I  have a better understanding of where the children need to be  by year 6 and i think that has led to me having higher expectations especially with my higher ability children . I find it much easier to move them on quickly  and long may this continue !

I really enjoyed our Vikings topic and  i think the children did too , right from videoing the first discovery of artefacts in the school field to the final exhibition . I tried really hard to let the children’s questions lead the teaching, but I still think there is a lot of room for development here .

Personally I really enjoyed getting my kids to make up their own dances to “Immigrant song” by the mighty led zep !!!




What I find tricky about our connected curicculum is the timings as we are required to do so many other things and my mind wants to join everything up . but i have two half days out of class which means it can be tricky to fit everything I want to in . I am not very good at  prioritising. Another target .



Anyway our next topic is “Chocolate” the children have to design and make their own chocolate bar . I am going to run it a little like Junior Apprentice I think so that there will be a winning team . We will be enlisting the help of reception children and in ICT lessons we will be creating our own advertisements and posters for our products .They will also have to pitch  their product 


I think I will split up these blogs into sections . so  the next one may be more  personal development and then some thoughts about technology . Otherwise I will just “ramble on” ( god bless yah Robert Plant!



Blogpost -The evening before the morning after

So here we are again . Where did that last week go ?

Have spent the best part of the day planning , writing timetables and doing all kinds of other last minute bits and pieces.

I am going to stop in a moment after writing these posts because I need some downtime. Ok I may laminate , but that can be done whilst watching telly  or reading.I have decided that I want to start this term with a fresh attitude and to stay strong in the face of adversity.


Tomorrow is INSET , but I think it will be a very busy day !  There is a lot to do with about half of the staff being brand new . I think it is really important to make them feel welcome and make sure we all become a team. I have already been round the classes for a natter just to say hi and offer any help I can .


This week we are not teaching standard lessons. On Tuesday we will be delivering content  related to the Fish Philosophy which is something linked to the Edison curriculum ( a bought in whole school curriculum) , that I enjoy doing.

There are 4 areas or messages .

Play this is all about how we can make the activities that we do  more fun ( I am a great believer in this  both for kids and the teachers!) I have some videos from you tube to share with the children



teacher flashmob

Be present This is all about making sure you are in the room with whoever you are communicating with and giving them your full attention ( I am going to work on this as a teacher. Its all too easy to give a cursory answer if you are busy)


Choose your attitude Kind of speaks for itself ( I know I am making a concerted effort to choose my attitude this year and how I will deal with the challenges that I face)


Make their day  How can you brighten someone’s day?What can I or they do that will go the extra mile?


Now some of this could come across as a bit lovey dovey and pschobabbly , but I think that  the messages are actually what we all try to achieve as a good teacher .


I will post on how we get on 🙂

My classroom


It’s getting there .Not sure how it will fare once 32 little year 4s get in there but am sure it will be fine!

Blog post Look both ways before crossing.


Shibuya crossing ( you could find me here most Friday’s 12 years ago)

So a new year is just about to begin and I find myself sat here at my pc .However I have not started any work tonight and am fairly unlikely to as it is already 8.30. I am not really an evening person. I will probably write a to do list and get started properly tomorrow.


So I wanted this post to clear away the year that has gone and to set me up for the new year to come – hence the title.


Janus – God of transtitions and beginnings

I have had the most challenging year of my career . What could go wrong has gone wrong. I have doubted myself  more times than I care to remember and I have  been given some of  most devastating feedback  about the thing I spend my life thinking about and doing – teaching.

I can’t really put a finger on what went wrong this year , but I do know that I will not be having that happen again to me . Without going into personal details, I guess things started to crumble when I  lost the plot in a  maths lesson that was being observed by a LEA  person. She wasn’t even there to judge as such , but I just panicked and fled the room .

The class I had were a very difficult bunch of characters and I went in too soft with them ( they had a rough ride the year before with a ridiculous amount of teachers). Anyway my card was marked and I found it difficult to regain respect and control. Don’t get me wrong , they liked me – perhaps too much. So every lesson was me trying to give them all the attention I thought they all needed and of course failing miserably and not really getting a lot taught.

In contrast the year before had been great , the class was also a little challenging , but somehow I was getting good lesson observations and  holding everything together.

But the change was dramatic as I struggled to keep going  in a workplace that had its own problems.


I do not have an issue with maths , but every lesson that was observed was a maths lesson . Ofsted came and said I was satisfactory , but whenever  school staff came it all fell apart- not once but probably 3 or 4 times.

I am a literacy leader and it got to a point where I doubted my ability to even have a decent lesson there .

Luckily for me , people saw what was going on and tried their best to support me . I was offered another go at lesson obs and would always come out satisfactory  on a second try. I didn’t feel like my lessons were terrible , because my children had work in their books and seemed to be learning and enjoying what they were doing.

I was given some amazing support by one particular  person who turned my vision of maths teaching on its head . It was like a light went on . A light that was there anyway , but this person helped me to believe in myself and to find my own voice where it had been so often shouted down.

It was too late for the class that I had ( only in terms of numbers )- Sats came and went and the  results were unfortunately terrible ( some children were so close ),

but remember those children had  a previously not had a teacher for the whole year . 


 I looked at the data  and yes they had made progress – despite everything .( some of them amazing progress- I never once gave up on them ). Once I realised this I could begin to rebuild myself as a teacher.


So here I am ready to take on the challenge of a new year group and a new way of teaching.


I have spent the summer resting , but also learning .


I took an online course in maths teaching on the NCETM site, I have read a range of books about teaching practice and twitter has been an amazing source of support and inspiration. I am no quitter – when I fail I want to prove everyone wrong – so now I will work on teaching the way I probably always knew I should . I have been fed so many initiatives and ways of doing things I have just lost sight of what it means to teach and what it is to learn.I hope I have now redressed that balance.

I am excited about the year ahead although I know that almost immediately I am going to face challenges and battles.That is why I have spent most of the summer  doing nothing .

I am fully recharged and ready to go ….

This blog will act as a reflective journal ( with some  other stuff added in )……






Blog post 50 day challenge DAY 4 A photo of you taken over ten years ago



I must have been about 5 and as you can tell it is Christmas day .This was in our little flat on South Eldon Street. We had an outside toilet that used to freeze over in the winter and also housed various scary creaures. Eventually the flats were condemned and we moved to Boldon, to the house from which I am now writing this .

I always love coming back in the holidays , although eveything changes .


Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Vocabulary Ninja

"Words unlock the doors to a world of understanding."

Steps in teaching & learning

Using technology in the classroom


Bev's adventures in ICT

Adventures in Learning

in an EBD Classroom

Classroom Tales

Reflections, Resources and general musings from a primary school teacher.

%d bloggers like this: