Monthly Archives: January 2013

100 Word Challenge GU #75

Starting with the photo here, 100 words from the perspective of one of those really tiny people.

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-Wow, it’s a long way down, and how on earth is this walkway staying up? I can’t see any supports.
-I’m hot. Where did those birds come from?
-They look like seagulls to me. They are quite a long way in land though. Do you think they came looking for food?
– Oo, food. I’m hungry, can we have dinner?
-No not, yet. It’s not lunch time. Look at those cliffs. And all the lovely layers. All laid down over millions of years. It’s so big, I can’t see the end.
-I’m scared, I need a wee. Where’s the toilet?

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STEM Session 3

So, a new term and it’s back to ‘Flight’ with, as one of our students calls him, ‘the pilot’. Ken isn’t a pilot. He works for JLR and volunteers at the local air museum. However, he’s doing well at sharing his love of flight with ten of our most able students.

This week, we looked at how much ‘pull’ you need to move a mass. This started with each of us getting weighed, and then sitting on a chair with wheels. The pupils took it in turns to pull us using a Newtonmeter, and I was in charge of recording the results. We also tried on a different surface (plastic instead of carpet) and saw that this made things easier.

Then came the tricky bit. We had to plot the data, not as a bar chart, but as a line graph. This was beyond most of the pupils, although a couple started to get the hang of it, so it involved quite a lot of moving around the room, finding numbers and then helping pupils work out where to put the cross. The line of best fit was the easy bit, and we already knew that heavier people take more pulling!

To round off the session, we made gliders and launched them around the room. They weren’t too keen to go in a straight line, and I think I’ve mentioned before about the difficulties some of my pupils have with coordination. The pupils enjoyed it, and all took their planes home to show their parents.

polystyrene-glider-plane-making-kit-1339-p

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PE and Snow

Painting the snow

Painting the snow

So, my plan for PE yesterday said ‘practice throwing technique. Measure distances’. I don’t need much more that that, I know what I mean! This was written over the holidays, so by chance, there was enough snow on the ground that the pupils managed to make a large snowman at lunchtime.

We put on our wellies and wrapped up warm and trudged over to the far side of the field so that we wouldn’t disturb any lessons. Pupils made snowballs and threw them – first towards a member of staff a distance away – they couldn’t reach her. Then, they turned on each other and were marginally more successful.

They had fun, we’ve found out that most pupils can’t throw very far, and can’t aim very well, but they all have quite a good technique that we can work on inside over the next few weeks.

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ASE Conference

A much delayed post on the sessions that I attended at the ASE Conference. Some were great. Others, sadly not so good. This was partly due to presenting, partly due to ambiguous content in the programme.

I attended the conference on the Friday to take part in various sessions, which I recorded with Evernote and shared on Twitter at the time.

The first session was about using Online technology to enhance CPD. Now, I will be biased here because the reason that I attended the session was because I had been a participant in something that Emily and John from NSLC were going to be talking about. I found it a useful hour and we discussed how important dialogue is in CPD. There were people in the room who wanted to use video conferencing to train teachers in Africa – a great use of the tech!

The second session, bearing in mind the discussion of the previous and that I was missing the #asetu to attend, was very disappointing. It was one of several primary focussed outdoor learning sessions and promised so much from the programme. Sadly, the presenter didn’t draw breath to allow us to ask questions, didn’t find out who we were and where we came from and generally just talked us through an extensive list of things you could do outdoors. I know about things to do outdoors with my class, thank you, I was hoping for ideas of how to put it into the curriculum and schemes of work so that everyone will do the same. How to use an outdoor learning opportunity to cover more than one subject area, cross curricular thinking, for instance. Sadly that was lacking and I left frustrated. From my notes, there were some good ideas shared, it was just the method of delivery that got to me. You need to forward plan before taking your class out, share information across the school to encourage it. Perhaps start with making sound trails, making instruments with things you find outside. Look for things growing where you wouldn’t normally expect.Think about questions that pupils should answer while outside, for instance.

I then attended the NSLC Keynote Lecture on Space Exploration. It was interesting, but won’t inform my teaching really. Perhaps the most interesting thing from that point of view was the videos of space and the reminder that NASA has an awful lot on line.

Final session of my day was CSciTeach – how to get it! I have already got RSci, more to prove to myself that I was still learning than anything and I see gaining CSciTeach to be an extension of this. Useful questions were asked and answered and I’m more confident to ‘go for it’ now. I’ve even started keeping a record of my CPD. That’s a job for February half term.

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100 Word Challenge #74

From 100 Word Challenge, this week’s words were ‘…the extreme weather meant…’

The following is a true story!

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The extreme weather meant that there was chaos everywhere. Schools closed, public transport put on shortened runs, plans cancelled.

The most frustrating part was the run up to the weekend. Were we going away or weren’t we? Curries and cakes were made, bags packed, maps acquired and routes planned – a low one for the kids, a medium one for most of the adults and a serious one with lots of caches for the hardened walkers.

And then a call from the Youth Hostel. ‘The weather is closing in, we can’t get on or off site, and a tree has come down on the drive!’

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Music #100wordchallenge

This week’s 100 word challenge is to use the words ‘the notes from the piano’.

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‘Don’t forget to collect the notes from the piano on your way out,’ she said as the bell went and pupils started noisily packing away.

It had been a hard week, and it was only Tuesday. First, the visiting woodwind teacher had been off sick and the replacement couldn’t tell his bassoon from his oboe. Then, the pupil librarian dropped a whole pile of orchestra music that had just been sorted into sections and now needed sorting all over again. Finally, the Y12 mock grades just hadn’t been good enough – more work to do.

Here came the next class, time to start all over again.

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CDP record 2013 – a work in progress

(for my CSciTeach)

s2.1 Work based learning
Mentor for new staff members – regarding subject leadership, reporting and recording procedures.

Lesson plan scrutiny – identifying good and not so good points on Science lesson plans and sharing this back with colleagues.

Moderation exercise (Feb, March)- this involved working as part of a small group to write assessment grids for Science at p7 and p8 and then working with pupil evidence from across my school to check that they were viable. They weren’t, so some amendments were made.

Sept 13 learning walks and feedback to staff. assisting with afl training

s2.2 Professional activity

January – I attended the ASE Conference in Reading for two days. During that time I attended sessions on ‘On line CPD’ -where I was asked to talk about some work that I took part in, Space – a keynote lecture from NSCL, Outdoor learning (rather disappointing) and Completing my CSciTeach application. I also took part in the #asetu, meeting other teachers who I otherwise knew from interactions on twitter and spent quite a lot of time in the conference exhibition.

As part of the conference, I blogged about my experiences, and these were highlighted by the ASE as one of the top 10 blogs to read!

Taking part in West Midlands Special Schools Science meetings – moderating and producing APP grids for use in asssessment. This led to me hosting one of the other teachers for half a day, so that she could see how we taught Science to our learners.

s2.3 Formal/educational

Half day course on ‘Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring’ (Jan 2013)

Teaching GCSE Science to adult learners

ASDAN – moderation refresher course, then leading a whole school, half day moderation exercise

Three INSET sessions on ‘Achievement for All’. Yes. And a further one 6 months later

July 2013 – half day course on ‘Creative teaching and learning for SMT’. Some interesting ideas, just need to be allowed to implement them now, please

Sept 13 two day team teach course

s2.4 Self directed learning

s2.5 Other (e.g. voluntary work)

Ongoing – I am the treasurer of our local Gateway group. This is a social club for adults with learning disabilities and is linked to Mencap. It is a voluntary role, of course. I collect money off club members each week, pay the bills, make sure we don’t go overdrawn (oops) and organise extra trips out. Currently, this includes trips to see the Scout Gangshow and Lion King.

Ongoing – I write monthly articles for #onfire, the Coventry Blaze fan magazine. This involves interviewing ice hockey players and turning their responses into a coherent article.

Ongoing – I am currently Assistant Manager for NIHL Blaze, the second ice hockey team in Coventry.  This involves registering players, producing team sheets for the games, collecting money off of them at training and putting out press releases about games and results as well as other news

EMM-tech course, one day (July 2013)

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