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Category Archives: Thoughts & Musings

Dear Parents…

Definitely worth a read.

Ramblings of a Teacher

Dear Parents,

When you receive your child’s report this year, things might not look as clear as they once did. Having spent years getting your head around levels and sub-levels, I’m afraid they are no more. And as much as this might come as a shock to you, believe me, we as a profession were no more prepared for it.

It comes at a time when – as you’ll know – so much else has changed in our schools. Teachers the length and the breadth of the country have been doing our utmost to provide the smoothest and most effective transition for your child as we move from one national curriculum to another, but it hasn’t been easy.

It means that when you receive the report on the attainment of your child at the end of this academic year, the picture may look very different from the past. Children who were comfortably…

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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Thoughts & Musings

 

WWI resources

Below is a list of links to a trove of fabulous resources for teaching WWI.

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo as an audio broadcast from the BBC

Every Man Remembered – a site to commemorate fallen soldiers. Find a hero that has a surname the same as yours and the regiment they served in.

http://onesworldwar.com/

Archie Dobson’s War – 3-part audio book from the BBC

http://ictmagic.sharedby.co/share/m19y9W – massive list – well worth looking at.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01n4mfq

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/schoolradio/pdfs/private_peaceful.pdf

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Thoughts & Musings

 

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A mastery model for Writing: moving away from the text type treadmill

Really interested in this at the moment. Hoping to re-shape literacy based on some of the ideas here.

Ramblings of a Teacher

hell Are we deceiving ourselves about cohesion?
(Cartoon from xkcd.com/724)

I wrote back in the autumn of 2013 about how I found the endless march through text types to be ineffective in really securing children’s skills in Writing. I have spoken at several events since about how our perception of a joined-up curriculum in primary schools may not be conveyed as well as we like to the children we teach. We often build our writing tasks around a common topic or text and describe this as building a coherent curriculum, but too often the cohesion is in the topic, and not in the skill of writing. I have likened this in the past to trying to build a wall with bricks simply by dropping lots of randomly-shaped bricks and hoping they’ll fall into place.

This year, I have tried to improve on this model by bringing greater coherence to the…

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Posted by on August 31, 2014 in Thoughts & Musings

 

#C2C – the final countdown

Two weeks ago, the boys and I attempted a 30+ miler, with hills, to help prepare ourselves for our #C2C journey at Easter. We were aiming to cycle all over Derbyshire, up hill and down dale. We made just under 30. Pretty much a marathon. We did indeed encounter plenty of hills (some fearsomely beastly) but it was all good training. We had an enjoyable day, a cracking (if not over ambitious) pub lunch and an opportunity to test out the bikes in the wild, as it were.

What concerned me slightly was, as we arrived back at the Team Leader’s ranch, wet and tired, that we had cycled only half of the first day’s target. Could we have cycled the distance again? Unlikely. But, we knew we were at home, we’d finished. Mentally, we’d clocked off.

The rest of the Wheezy Riders have been training brilliantly, thighs are pumped, bikes are serviced and endurance is brimming at an all time high. Not for Benji however…

Tonsillitis hit me this week and the knowledge that I had to fit yet another flat tyre. With less than a fortnight to go, there are lots of preparations, including some night-time rides that need to be squeezed in to my hectic schedule.

So why then are we doing it? Why are a group of wheezy riders cycling the width of our country? For charity, it’s simple.

Andy & Nigel are cycling for Sarcoma UK – LINK

Rhys is cycling for the Dogs Trust – LINK

Matt is cycling for Anthony Nolan – LINK

And I’m cycling for Derby Kids Camp – LINK

So, if you’ve got time, click a link or text WBEN75 to 70070 with your amount.

Don’t let us push ourselves without good cause. Thanks.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Thoughts & Musings

 

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Tweetable links and goodies.

Have recently prepped a load of my (and @batttuk’s) more popular links into a ‘tweetable’ form. Lots of good stuff here – not all mine. Take a look.

My TMMidlands presentation – Ben’s Google Tools: Boogle #ukedchat http://bit.ly/1eYOwkF

GTAUK: food for thought and stomach http://bit.ly/19XmeFK

#esafety poster idea (used in anti-bullying week) http://bit.ly/1gRxb2F #ukedchat

Maths: layered learning – an Ofsted like. http://bit.ly/1byjSy1 #ukedchat

#Y3 #tagrugby plans http://bit.ly/1gXqRaZ
#ukedchat

Macbeth resources: a veritable hoard/horde http://bit.ly/1eR7yzq #Y6 #shakespeare #ukedchat

Positive behaviour card http://bit.ly/19mcipF #ukedchat

Circuit training cards with Action Man
http://bit.ly/16UMphw #ukedchat #pe

#Y6 spellings: a collection to use & abuse http://bit.ly/1dgdsW7 #ukedchat

Maths & writing marking policy – a step in the right direction? http://bit.ly/193Mmi0 #ukedchat

Punctuation tally stickers – very useful. Levels 3,4 & 5 http://bit.ly/1fSi0jZ #ukedchat

ICT AUP – acceptable use policy http://bit.ly/19R7f2a #ukedchat

Level 6 grammar resources (not mine – just passing them on) http://bit.ly/1cDplcU #ukedchat

Alice in Numberland – a large problem-solving pack. Can be tailored to suit. http://bit.ly/1kDMPB3 #ukedchat

Who is responsible for the death of King Duncan? http://wp.me/p14oAb-g9 #shakespeare

Adverbial phrases homework http://wp.me/p14oAb-eF #ukedchat

#esafety presentation to parents http://bit.ly/1leM3Yu

Shoved-in-clauses: embedded clauses, a festive take… http://bit.ly/1ec9TPz

Want 20gb of FREE cloud space? A couple of clicks and you’ll be there. COPY is fab. https://copy.com?r=MvTLGC

Using twitter in education. http://wp.me/p31ZCF-6a @ianaddison @ideas_factory

Surviving an EBD school via @njthurly http://wp.me/p31ZCF-5B #ukedchat

Twitter Magic – guest post by @ICTMagic http://bit.ly/1ak4kza

#batttie by @johnmayo http://bit.ly/1ak4kza

#battt week guest posts – old but still great to read. #inspiration http://bit.ly/128DNmx

10 ways to use twitter – a helpful guide. http://bit.ly/128DNmx #ukedchat

Twittering Tweachers @sorrell_km http://bit.ly/NIUpMP #ukedchat

School Twitter Account @basttuk http://bit.ly/Yx5MZQ #ukedchat #bastt

Twitter Tips from @syded06 @mracolley
http://bit.ly/14SQjVF #ukedchat #battt

What the # are hashtags? http://bit.ly/X5Cxg1 #ukedchat

The 10 stages of Twitter: stolen from @syded06 http://bit.ly/Y7gp0Q #ukedchat

Pimpin’ the profile – make yourself ‘followable’ http://bit.ly/X0kEzh #ukedchat #battt

Breaking out of the egg shell – show us who you are. http://bit.ly/UYDvfS #ukedchat #battt

 

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That first half-term…

… I’ll not lie, it was tiring.

I just secured my first official deputy post and first time as class teacher of Y3. I have done both before but only on a temporary basis. After 12 years in education (16 if you include the 4 at university in intensive training) and 5 of those as assistant head; I felt I was ready for the next step.

I have learnt loads, how to deal, encourage and communicate with different staff – I am by no means an expert – how to transfer the skills I learnt in my previous posts and embed them here. I am learning. All the time, learning. No one gets it right first time, and that includes me.

I think the hardest thing I had to get used to was the come down from year 6. From leaving them in the summer as nearly Y7 to picking up Y3 who had only just left Y2! I knew I would have the constant questions, the continual patting of my shoulder (only when sitting down, I am tall) and the need to ask me everything about anything. All. The. Time.

It’s a different mindset is all. My wife teaches in Nursery and Reception and to her, Y3 are pacey, independent, sharp and ‘grown up’. To me, compared to the ‘big league’ they’re not. I do love my class though, they are fun and after a few weeks, they are already beginning to form into Mr W’s class.

The main thing I’ve learnt this half-term though: expectations. Not lowered expectations, that would be wrong. I have high expectations and the children and parents know it. Just, differently pitched expectations. I have had to adjust what they can do in a certain amount of time. Two lessons prove this more than anything else: PE and ICT. I planned a unit of tag rugby for the children and they were fab, just a lot less skilled than a Y6 group would be, obviously. With ICT, their hands are constantly up, constantly asking for support as they can’t find this or click that.

So, I’ve adjusted. I’ve tweaked. I have a specific number of children who are ICT comfortable and they are my class leaders. They are the ‘go-to’ people before me. Teaching Y3 is very different to Y6 but I like it. I love their innocence and happy acceptance of new things. They are thrilled by simple things and are desperate to improve.

Next update at Christmas…

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Thoughts & Musings

 

#C2C – the battle of man v bike.

… or rather, man and bike. I have no intention of going to war my trusty steed – it has to support my rotund buttocks for 140 miles.

So, the story. My good friend (and team leader) Nigel cycled the width of the country last year and had been encouraging (pestering) us to join him the following year. I was up for it, to be honest. I love a challenge – I have been known to make some rather bold and ridiculous ones during the last couple of decades: walking Lands End to John O’Groats, climbing to Base Camp and a personal favourite: Rowing to France in a two-man boat. This, however, I could do.

We leave in 8 weeks!

I’ll be honest (again) I have been monumentally busy at work (a different blog post or two) and being a #distressedad is never conducive to bizarre, macho challenges, so when the date was agreed, I thought I had ages to prep.

We leave in 8 weeks!

I mean, I’ve ridden before, you know to the park and back with the boys. Sometimes even with a bag of papers on my back but this was different. It seemed…bigger.

We are to ride the 140 miles or so over three days: day 1 – 60, day 2 – 40 (mostly uphill) and day 3 – 40. I am looking forward to it very much, the idea of pushing myself physically is not something I’ve done for a while and I am relishing the chance to train and to spend time with Team Wheezy Riders.

We are: Rhys Morris, Matt Waldram, Andy Barker, Paul Doyle, Steve Baxter and Team Leader: Nigel Woodings.

There is another reason for cycling: I believe that if I am doing this, then someone should benefit from it. I have worked with Derby Kids’ Camp for a number of years and think the work they do is brilliant. Take a look at their website for more information. You can sponsor me in a number of ways, probably the easiest is via a text.

Text WBEN75 and your amount to 70070 – just a couple of pounds is all it takes to make a difference. Site HERE

Thanks.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Family, Thoughts & Musings

 

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