# purpose

24 01 2013

“What is the purpose?” Is a question i seem to be asking more and more every day as a class teacher. As Head of ICT I feel I know exactly what the purpose is , but as a class teacher, the permutations are much wider.. An easy activity with less real purpose so I can hear readers or a great activity that i cant move forward enough as I hear readers? An easy activity to build confidence or a tricky one to deepen learning… So many decisions to make!

As my first year back as a classroom teacher for a few years, it is interesting to see my beliefs and understanding change. Today I trained a new member of staff how to use activinspire. She had used activprimary in the past, but Inspire and the new wonderful features needed explaining. And On reflection, I feel my training was quite different now I am back with a class full time. Still the same tools were discussed, still the same activities described and given as examples, but a subtle change of emphasis has taken place, away from the teacher ‘wow’ing others by using tools, to the whiteboard being almost unnoticeable as the teacher concentrates on the main focus of the day… Children’s learning. No longer were the tricks the ‘highlight’ of the training, but the more subtle tools were taking centre stage in my training such ad changing the toolbar and adding personal resources.

The purpose has changed. Now. Want my whiteboard to blend into the background, to become secondary to the learning rather than the focus, an invisible tool rather than the shiny new one.
Many of the materials i worked through were the same ( the manual i have written and the ten minute tasks which are really popular with staff) just the purpose of the whiteboard itself had changed, but to try and make my whiteboard invisible, because I love it, was nit something I had expected…

Purpose, it’s all about purpose.



22 01 2013

Today I went solo, probably prematurely, as i haven’t quite managed to read past the first few chapters of my new book,but I was so excited, and my ‘snow lesson’ ( despite Edinburgh being the last place in the UK NOT to be snowy) leant itself so well.

So rather than the research and present content,( rather shallow learning) we researched, put ideas, information and learnt concepts into hexagons and connected our thoughts, and then presented our learning. ( probably nothing approaching abstract relational, but nevertheless deeper learning than it would have been.

I enjoyed my role as Devils Advocate, questioning children’s ideas and concepts, forcing them to re jig and reconnect and rearrange . Other children picked up on this role too, so that when sent to question other groups they were quick to try and spot links and connections that they thought the others had missed. All in all, a fun and constructive 2 hours for my class, the test will be tomorrow when I ask the what they gave learnt!






15 01 2013

Today was a dream day for a primary school teacher teaching weather!

It was cold enough for children to demonstrate their knowledge of condensation when breathing, a variety of cloud types were visible to identify out of the window, and to topi it all, rain, sun, sleet, snow all in one lesson.

All that was needed was wind! Well I could sort that one! Even the children were a little surprised when I showed them a balloon and told them I was going to make wind in the classroom! Certainly a raised eyebrow from the other adult in the room!

An hour layer they had watched vidoes, created diagrams, acted out how wind is made, talked, discussed, questioned… and everyone could describe how low and high pressure and heat from the sun made air move, known as wind. Result! No doldrums in my class today. ( and it was o much fun too!) My pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Time to get out the bubble mix tomorrow!


11 01 2013

Talk has definitely been the theme of today, right from the first ‘chat’ of the day in the car park whilst unpacking my marking from the boot of my car. More talk as I install a visualiser on the way to my classroom, and yet more talk as the class excitedly ask one member about his birthday.

Talk fascinates me, some talk too much, some not enough, some control exactly what they say, others seem to have no control. The task today was to take a ‘Just so story’ summarise it to 100 words or less and then present to the class. The different styles the class used was fascinating, as were their presentation styles. As usual some totally blew me away. The group which took the story about how the camel got his hump, managed to turn the story into a very short and very funny play! Genius!

MORE Talk as I run through maths plans, reading levels, art resources, ICT equipment with colleagues, ‘talk’ as I catch up with friends from other parts of he school, ‘talk’ about the future technology school might deploy. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk….

I have to admit i find talk easy, but in my drawer i have the stuck in the following quote stuck by Steven Covey…, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Like most people, I still do this from time to time…today in my rush and excitement I know i have done this too much… Bad move- two ears, one mouth for a reason! Understanding is so important, whoever i am talking with. And reflecting on today, the most important moments were the listening ones, where I remembered to really focus on the message the talker was sending…Maybe my next blog post should be #listen.


#dance in the rain

9 01 2013

Today it rained in my classroom and i danced inside. I had previously planned to show my class the ‘rain in the classroom’ experiment to complement our work on the water cycle, but rather concerned that it was all becoming a bit theoretical, I decided to hand it over to them. I challenged them to proove the water cycle to me, I told them I didn’t trust the evidence, I wanted to SEE it with my own eyes before I believed, and that was their job, and so they were let loose. They came up with puddle evaporation experiments, evaporating in the classroom, condensation using hot and cold surfaces, and one brave group rose fully to the challenge. They devised the whole thing, kettles, icepacks, cups, metal trays and built a makeshift water cycle at the back of the classroom. Twenty minutes later it rained on my boots! A couple of precious drops that none of us will forget because they dared to grasp the moment and they danced with it.



#rewind, play, fast forward…

7 01 2013

Rewind a couple of weeks and i was hot footing it out of the school, ready for a holiday and yet here I am, feeling Great to be back at work today, ready and fresh to start a new term!

One device i couldnt have been without during the two weeks was my ipad, which other than on one task, has prooved invaluable in my hectic life. 7 hour car journey to London, turned into a 7 hour internet trawl for resources, a time to make keynote presentations and explore new apps. Buying and selling on ebay, ordering from Amazon and Argos, recording videos to send to family, tweeting and pinning, liking and commenting!

So now the question is, what will I use it for in my classroom… Time to play! For now, i am content o sit on the sofa and browse you tube clips to introduce my weather topic.

The year of the hashtag…

6 01 2013

An article I read whilst browsing ‘Zite’ applauded the choice of the word ‘hashtag” into American society as word of the year 2012. Hashtags are something I am getting the hang of sine the activadvocate weekend… And if truth be told, it may well take me the year to fully comprehend the subtleties now used by ‘professionals’! (Andy, you know who you are!) This, coupled with discovering the blog of a very talented lady over at ‘a year in my shoes blog’ has tempted me back to the blogging fraternity.

Being back in the primary classroom as opposed to being a primary subject specialist has made me reexamine education from a variety of viewpoints, so lets see where the hashtags will take us!