With the advances in technology hitting our classrooms on such a regular basis, we sometimes forget that the old ways are sometimes the best ways. You can have all the technology in the world, but sometimes being creative with what you've got can be a lot more powerful.  I stumbled across a fantastically creative, but amazingly simple, website a few months ago called Dear Photograph. Although the website is not ...
This year, all the pupils in year 6 are using their own iPod in lessons, and they all have their own blog space as part of our class blog. In order to make the most of this technology and potential audience, we have introduced several new features to the way we teach. One of these developments is the introduction of a weekly “Guest Marker” project, where their blog is used to ...
Through the network of teachers in my PLN I have the privilege of meeting some amazing educators from all over South Africa. One such teacher is Robyn Clark of Sekolo sa Borokgo, an independent school in Johannesburg. We met up at a conference in Pretoria last year and met up again at a conference in Durban last month when we both shared as speakers. What I love about Robyn is ...

What I wish I knew as an NQT

Over the last few weeks, lots of bloggers have been giving advice to incoming NQTs about how to deal with behaviour in their first year of teaching. Whilst not wanting to compete with this advice, as the advice comes from more experienced teachers, I would like to give my own personal tips to NQTs, as it is only a year since I was in that position myself. There are a ...
There is a cool little video that is currently going viral at the moment called 'Caine's Arcade'. Many of the messages about learning are far too explicit for me to explain here… pretty much everybody will see that it is a parable on the theme of creativity. However, there are also other, more implicit, messages for those of us “in the business of learning”. Caine would not have been able ...
Across the education landscape, student text messaging is a bone of contention among teachers. It’s not an issue in the lower grades because most K-5 schools successfully ban cell phones during school hours. Where it’s a problem is grades 6-12, when teachers realize it’s a losing battle to separate students from their phones for eight hours. The overarching discussion among educators is texting’s utility in providing ...
One of the remarkable things about laughter is that it occurs unconsciously. You don’t decide to do it. While we can consciously inhibit it, we don’t consciously produce laughter. That’s why it’s very hard to laugh on command or to fake laughter. Local history is a bit like this in that students acquire local historical knowledge unconsciously, but we find that use of this knowledge is ...
This delightful animated video, created by students at the French university for careers in design, Bellecour Écoles D’Art, is absolutely enchanting. Monsterbox is only about 7 1/2 minutes long, and tells the story of a young girl who is trying to find a home for her monster – and then another monster, and then another! There is no dialogue, but the graphics and characters tell the story perfectly. Here are some of ...
I have recently been reading John Hattie’s fantastic book, ‘Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning’. I am only half-way through at the moment but I know it will be one of those books that I dip in to constantly. Reading the book, one of the key messages that really stood out for me was the idea that, ‘…the greatest effects on learning occur when teachers become learners ...
In a MacTaggart lecture full of sound advice - reduce regulation, listen to the Victorians, ignore Alan Sugar - perhaps the most important suggestion made by Eric Schmidt was that computer science be taught properly in schools. This means, as the Google Chairman pointed out, teaching children how to make computer programs rather than merely how to use them.  But in an era when GCSE marks are awarded for linking ...
The work of a teacher is both challenging and complex and requires high standards of professional competence and commitment. However, research shows that formal professional development may not be the optimum means by which such high standards of professional competence can be achieved. The principal reason for this is that traditional CPD tends to be based on one-off events that can often be a solitary activity and can seem remote ...
The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 doesn’t mean a great deal to most English schools but it should. In April this year the Government released a directive that schools must publish certain information on their school website from the 1st September 2012. It will be the first stop for OFSTED before they inspect your school. But what if you don’t have a website? Schools will need to ensure they ...
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