Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Festive 100 word for grown ups

Having spent the last few days with my lovely family eating, drinking and chilling out (and a few walks, party games into the mix!) Have had a go at a couple of these so far.
My brain is obviously pickled as I am not sure how to link to them so I have put my endings in the comment boxes on the posts.
I will have a look at the others later in the week (off to see Puss in Boots later :O)! ) and may also finish off my own ...
There are so many fabulous posts this week. Check them out at http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=121648&type=basic

Here are the two endings I have done...

http://midlifesinglemum.blogspot.com/2011/12/dancingintherain-season-part-1.html

http://nellyache.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-24/#comment-68

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Season .

I thought I would have a go at a different style of writing this week, this is my second effort for Julia's 100 word challenge (this week called the 50-50 challenge http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/5050-word-challenge-week24/)

The Season

Celeste snapped the blinds shut with a flick of her slender wrist. She wasn't quite fast enough and her amber eyes narrowed as she stared at the blistering skin on her forearm.

The church bells pealing reminded her of times long past when Christmas had been a time of joy...






Check the others out at http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=121648&type=basic 

Special 100 word challenge...,

This week , Julia has set a challenge with a twist:

  • Write a 50 word piece on the theme (The Season)
  • Post it as usual on your blog & here at Julia’s Place
  • Wait until you have got fed up with all the festivities and there are a some entries and chose one
  • Write the next 50 words of the entry you have chosen as if you were continuing the story. It’s like the old party game of consequences when you wrote something on a piece of paper, folded it over and passed it on. This will give you the opportunity of writing in the genre chosen by someone else!
  • Link to the piece you are continuing. You should have lots of visitors over this time!

So, it is a bit like "consequences"

Here is my 50 word piece. It is going to be fun to read each others and see how they get finished off! 

The Season.



Driving home for Christmas ♫” played as Kyle flicked the cruise control. He patted his pocket for the umpteenth time...still there. He smiled to himself as he pictured the scene that was to come. He had everything in place: this Christmas would be like no other. 


That's it- 50 word max! Up to each other to finish them off next week. 
Can't wait :O)


I have done two this week- the other one is at http://mrshalford.blogspot.com/2011/12/season.html


 Check the others out at http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=121648&type=basic




The first term as a job share teacher

Well, it is the holiday now (yippeee) and the first term working 3 days a week has come to it's end.
How has it gone?
Amazingly well...I have loved it. I have tried very hard to "get over" the classroom no longer being mine, but "ours" and stopped trying to squeeze a whole week's work into three days.
Of course I still felt shattered at the end of term, but considerably less so, and the whole build up to Christmas was so much more enjoyable having been there less! Early play rehearsals left me not knowing what was going on, but that didn't last long.
Have learnt that trying to split APP is a challenge; next term will do two subjects and my JSP will do the other and we will swap that each term. Found that there are quite a few things that didn't get covered this term...but that we know now exactly what we need to work on next term. In some ways I feel I know the class better at this stage of the year than previously due to the amount of conversations we have had about the children.
It has made me realise that we all, whether we are full time or part time, need to spend a lot more time talking to each other about what we do in our classrooms...staff meetings each week should focus on the teaching and learning rather than bogged down by bureaucratic discussions.
Next term we are going to do some observations of each other teaching with a view to this leading to some coaching... I am really looking forward to this and will write about how it goes.
Do I have any regrets about working part time? No! Salary taken a nose dive but quality of life is so much better. I have found some things harder, for example I run the class blog and have found it difficult to keep the momentum going with the class as my JSP is not a fan of ICT; one of my challenges is to try to change that (!) as well as try to keep my class enthusing about it when I am not there...watch this space.
Still going to the gym, caught up with friends more, been less of a stress head and had great fun taking part in various writing challenges particularly the 100Words one.
http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/5050-word-challenge-week24/

I am going to have  go at that later on today...

I know that I am lucky to be working with a colleague that I have known for years...we are both keen to make job sharing as successful as possible. Communication is key. Would love to hear from both experienced and new job sharers for how they make their partnership successful and continue to develop their roles.
Twitter has been (and continues to be) a wonderful place to share ideas, gain inspiration and support each other. Love it.

Here's to a great 2012...

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Festive 100 word for grown ups

This week the lovely Julia has set a Chrismassy theme; choose a carol and use that as the basis for a Christmas dinner themed pioece. It has to scan so it can be sung along to the tune, what fun!!
Check out the details on Julia's blog here-

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week23/

I have had a bash and here is mine- to be sung to the tune of "Ding Dong Merrily!"


It's Christmas Dinner Time!


Carrots , parsnips,  sprouts and peas,
Sausages,  bacon  and turkey,
Will you have a glass of wine?
Go on, after all it’s Christmas...

Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ackers
Go on and Pull my cracker!
Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a—a-a-a-a-a-ackers
Let’s get this party started!

Cranberries, gravy and bread sauce
Add to my delights
Yes, I’ll have another glass
Now let’s have some pudding.


Bra-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-aa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-aa-andy 
butter on  my pudding.
Cu-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-ustard 
Calories? Who’s counting!

*  *  *

Last week I wasn't feeling particularly creative. This week, a little more so, so to make up for it, here is my Ode to a sprout ...
Enjoy:-

To a Sprout


Wee green and white seasonal veggie
O’ what powers thee has to divide
Opinions round yonder festive table!
Rich in flavour , crunchy and wholesome
Yet,  discarded wi’ ne’er a care
Mercilessly  ridiculed beyond compare.

Wee humble sprout- I salute you.
Part of Christmas for e’er and a day
You’re always welcome in my home
And not just on Christmas day!






I'm going to take a look at the others now; find them at 
http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=120567&type=basic

Thursday, 8 December 2011

100 words week 22



Goodness what a busy time it is at the moment. I can hardly believe there is just one more week in school to go. 
This week Julia's prompt has had me stumped 
http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week22/

This is what I have come up with this week... hope that next time I will be feeling a little more creative.  I am going to have a look at the others now; maybe I should read the other ones first ? 




100 words in 100 words

100 words , it’s not exactly an essay is it? So why can I not think of ANYTHING to write about? Perhaps it’s just that time of year when everything seems to go, shall we say, crazy? Play rehearsals, performances, lunches, menu planning, gift buying, staff dos, extra rehearsals, parties to organise. Oh yes, and teaching, assessing and report writing to slot in too. Is it me? Or are bells ringing to say time to slow down a bit? No chance- love this time of year and the buzz of end of term run up to Christmas.
 Now, what to write...

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

100 words for grown ups week 21

I have finally got round to this week's effort. Have still not come up with a great idea for the other competition, but loving the idea of randomly choosing a prompt. Is on my "to do" list.

I would welcome any constructive criticism on my 100 word pieces. If you like it/hate it/feel ambivalent please let me know! I very much enjoy the weekly challenge set by Julia (find it at http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-21/ ) 
 I hope to develop my writing; as a teacher I am constantly providing my class with (what I hope to be ) stimulating writing opportunities with follow up to improve work. I'd be very interested to have feedback to help me improve my writing.

The other entries can be found by clicking here- http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=117959&type=basic

I'm going to take  look now.
In the meantime, here is mine for this week. The prompt was a photo showing a view through a wooden window. I took this to be the shed in the garden that Kit had been back to in previous posts of mine (http://mrshalford.blogspot.com/2011/09/100-words-for-grown-ups-week-10.html )

SECRETS IN THE GARDEN

“You’ve got a nerve, turnin’ up after all these years!”
Kit spun round at the familiar voice, “I... was just...”
“Stickin’ your nose in. It’s been too long. Just turn round and this time, never come back.” With a dismissive sniff she turned sharply and headed towards the garden gate.
“Wait! Please. I can explain.” Kit’s voice was barely a whisper. “Mum!”
The older woman stopped as though frozen, quickly regained her composure and walked slowly back, her face set. “Don’t ever call me that again, d’you hear me? You’re no daughter of mine, not after what happened.”
Kit pulled the letter from her pocket.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Ramblings on writing...

I haven't (yet) written this week's 100WCGU...have been pretty busy with one thing and another. Is on my to do list for tomorrow.  One of the reasons I haven't written it yet is because a friend thrust a magazine at me last week saying,  "Read this and have a go!" I dutifully obliged. It was the details of a 100 word writing competition. "Ah-ha!" thought I, "No problem, I've been doing these each week for the last few months, sure I can think something up."
And that is where I am at. The weekly 100WCGUs set by the wonderful Julia over at Julia's place http://jfb57.wordpress.com/ have been great fun and I find myself eagerly looking forward to the next one. Some have been harder than others, but I have managed to put something together each week.
The difference with the competition is that there is no prompt. Nothing. Not even a clue. Write 100 words (exactly- no more, no less or instant disqualification) about ANYTHING fictional.
That is the problem...where on earth to start! Having a prompt, whether that be a picture, a phrase even a few words, helps get the mind going in a direction. Having  no prompt has been a bit of a wall for me.
I have a notebook with LOTS of ideas in it some of which may be worth continuing, some of which may not be. Time will tell. It has made me stop and think.
I enjoy reading the entries to the 100WCGU each week and leaving comments on them. But I can see the point raised by http://www.hermelness.com/ who has disabled comments on her blog. At first I thought, "Surely that is the whole point of a blog, to see what other people think!" After spending some time reflecting on that thought I could see beyond that. It is lovely to get positive comments on my blog, BUT getting those comments doesn't necessarily mean that what I am writing is as great as I would like it to be. I started my blog as a reflective space. Now that I am part time I do spend more time reflecting on my practise, and a blog is a great place to put ideas down...I hope that it will help me organise some of my thoughts for career progression and development. The writing side of it I hope will help to improve my writing. 
So, do I disable comments or not? The whole idea of the 100words is to share and feedback to each other. I love getting the positive feedback, but would also welcome constructive criticism from people- if I have written something that could be improved (and what piece of writing can't be improved somehow?) I'd be happy to hear suggestions. 
I am a very novice writer and have lots to learn. I read avidly and get impatient with books which don't hook me with great characters/storylines . Hopefully blogging can help me improve as a writer. I think that people worry about leaving anything other than praise as they don't want to offend. As a teacher it's my job to help the children I teach improve through a combination of praise and next steps...praise sandwich. 
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased with feedback I have had on my pieces for the 100WCGU, but this competition has made me realise how much support you get from a prompt. I for one would welcome some constructive criticism on my next pieces.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

100 word challenge for grown ups week 20

100wcgu-73This week's 100 word challenge was straightforward. Julia Skinner's prompt was to include or be inspired by one or all of the following: 

the powers that be/the apple of his eye/the writing on the wall

You can find further details for this weekly writing challenge at  http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-20/

and a link to the others at 

I used to begin by reading all the others; but this was putting me into a state of panic so now I have a go at mine first and read the others at my leisure over the coming week. There are some fabulous writers out there and I always enjoy the diversity of their writing. I am trying to encourage the children in my class to take part in the childrens' one but not having as much success with that as I'd like. Am loving working part-time (went to the gym, had my hair done, caught up with a friend today and did this!) but am realising that it is almost impossible to have the same impact on the children when you aren't there all the week. Early days yet- not even been a full term so I am sure that it will continue to evolve and develop. In the meantime, here is my effort for this week's 100 words for grown ups. 


She's the one that I want.

She was the icing on the cake, the apple of his eye; yes she was THE ONE.

Fred had been waiting for this moment since he’d been knee-high to a grasshopper. Fate, destiny or luck? She would be his forever. He wouldn’t let the powers that be stand in his way any longer, the writing was on the wall. Now there’d be no turning back.

He fastened his helmet and kick started the antiquated Harley. There was plenty of life in the old dog yet. With a final backward glance he sedately rode out of the hospital grounds on a journey of a lifetime. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

100 word for grown ups week 19

This week's challenge was to use the prompt, "are you sure it should be that colour" in dialogue. So here goes. Qute different to what I would normally do. Well done Julia, you've come up trumps again with a fab idea. You can find the prompt at 

I am going to take a look at the other entries which can be found here http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=116550&type=basic

Here's mine.



“O... M... G...!” gasped Shaz as her Mum came downstairs.
“And a good morning to you too. If you open your mouth any wider you’ll dislocate your jaw.”
“But, I mean, Mum, Um?”
“What are you gibbering about?”
“Have you actually looked in the mirror this morning?”
“Yes of course . Why?”
“You have? Hello? Earth calling Mum.”
“Shaz, I’m starting to lose patience with this.”
“Just go and look in the mirror OK, and I mean really look in the mirror.”
“Fine.”
Mum walks to her room and returns with mirror in hand. “And?”
 “Mum, you’re scaring me now, I mean, how come you’re not like really freaking out?”
“Freaking out? Why on earth would I do that?”
“But Mum, your face!”
“Oh that, well I told you I was having that treatment, you know the one : nomorelines’r’us.
“Yes, but are you sure it should be that colour?”
“Only for a day or so...”

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

100 word challenge for grown ups week 18

This week's challenge was the prompt...lest we forget.

I was lucky to go to see War Horse during the summer holiday.http://warhorselondon.nationaltheatre.org.uk/
It was one of the most moving theatre productions I have ever seen. Stunning performances, breathtaking puppetry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7u6N-cSWtY

My Grandfathers fought in the second World War. My admiration for the courage shown by men and women who have represented , and  continue to represent our country is immeasurable.
 I listened to Jeremy Vine's show yesterday, the songs my son loved, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016vx7v   and was moved to tears by the strength and courage shown by the family of the young man who died in Afghanistan.

My entry this week is my tribute to the soldiers.



Sons, husbands, friends, lovers,
Grandsons, partners, nephews ,brothers,
Cousins, uncles, mates, strangers.
For our future put themselves in mortal danger.
***
 11.11.18
“What do we do sir?” croaked George as he lay wounded. Blood and mud mingled, the putrid stench of death filled the air. 
His officer stared silently. All around men lay dead or dying. 
 “Sir?” How old was the lad? 17?  He was one of the lucky ones.
“We go home, lad. We go home.”
***
16 million men, 1 million horses.
Died for us, for the lives we lead now.
11.11.11.
Wear a poppy with pride...lest we forget.


Read the others at http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-18/

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

100 word challenge for grown ups week 17

This week's challenge from Julia  http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-17/ is based on the seasonal chant:
Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…
The challenge this week is to write something with the same rhythm using only 21 words that include ‘ …in winter we shiver…‘ 

Well, I have tried and tried to use 21 words AND keep the rhythm AND make some sort of sense! I have just about managed the second two but can't get down to 21 words without losing sense. I have whittled it down to 24 words... hope that Julia will forgive me the extra 3 :)  
Go on, if you are reading this and have not yet had a go, why not make this the first week you do so? I haven't read the other entries yet this week; thought I would do mine first. You can find all the entries on Julia's blog on the above link. 
Here we go...

In winter we shiver,  noses a'quiver
Bracing ourselves 'gainst the cold.
Wind, hail and rain, it's Christmas again
Thoughts of frankincense, myrrh and gold.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

100 words for grown ups week 16

This week, Julia’s  prompt was a picture of a burger (made from paper mache by the looks of it) with the challenge  to write from the point of view of a vegetarian.
Interesting.
 Not being a vegetarian this has been a challenge and a half!


If you haven't looked at the 100 word challenge before, where have you been? You will find it at http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-16/

There are already some fab entries, my favourites so far this week are http://dughall.posterous.com/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week16 , http://abgreenteacher.blogspot.com/2011/10/week-16-this-just-gets-more-interesting.html and http://wordpress.sjbteaching.com/wp/?p=627.  It is great fun reading the other entries each week and seeing the variety of interpretations.

Anyway, I digress

So, here goes with my entry- WHY?

Why?
In the 21st century
Why?
Are animals still disrespected?
How?
Caged, over-farmed, pumped with drugs.
So?
Have you not read Animal Farm?
And?
Animals have rights.
Why?
Our future depends on it.
***
What good have these burger chains done?
Why?
Look around you at the litter on our streets
What?
I bet it’s a burger box
It wasn’t me
Turn around, make a better choice.
How?
Choose local. Respect your body.

Why?
Heart disease, cholesterol, obesity
So what?

Choose a different path, make a difference and be free.
How?
Meat free,  guilt free. Why not?

Reflections on the first half term

It certainly has been a busy start to the year.
Since making the decision to go part time last year, I am so delighted that the governors at my school were so supportive and allowed me to drop to three days a week.

So, what has been achieved so far this term? Well, we had a very useful INSET to write the maths policy. I admit I was pretty cynical about it to start with, but it was one of the most useful (though tiring) INSET days I have had. Have been trying very hard to work on the maths teaching and group work; having a trainee teacher is fab as it gives a chance to focus on specific aspects of the job.Talking about trainees; have been really lucky again and am enjoying the experience.

Back to the job share side;I know that I have made the right decision. It's funny that not one person has tried to talk me out of it. (Other than my head who asked me to reconsider my decision.)
I love being a teacher; a job that I love even more now that I finally have some time during the week to do other things.

Non teachers sometimes just can't see what the problem is- after all, you get all those holidays. Yes, the holidays are great...but boy are they needed to give the children and teachers a chance to unwind, relax, catch up!

Teaching is one of those professions that it is almost impossible to switch off from. I could easily spend the two days I am not at work preparing resources, researching etc Still there would be more to do- there is no clear "end point". That's why the whole work/life balance game is such a difficult one to get right. http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2011/oct/03/work-life-balance
http://ukedchat.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/session-66-thursday-6th-october-2011/

Juggling  being a parent,the demands of the job, being a wife, seeing friends and family... as a full time teacher I was constantly juggling trying to be all things to all people. I got it right some of the time, but was a stress head for much of it.

The job is no less demanding. I care as passionately as always about the children in (our) class, but the relief that comes from knowing that I have that extra time are priceless. It's still a rush the night before work, and I still feel shattered at the end of my three days; but I do feel that I am actually doing the job better now than I  have for a while.

 Why? More time to reflect on my practice for a start and to share ideas with others. More time to chill out so I am far less of a stress head than I have been for as long as I can remember. More able to spend time with my gorgeous son and OH.

I am keen to make the job share work as well as possible; one of my PM targets is just that... I am meeting my JS partner later this week and am planning to chat about doing some observations of each other in order to help consistency. I certainly don't think we should be clones of each other; I think our differences are one of the greatest strengths, but I think it is vital for us to have time to observe each other, have some professional dialogue and follow up with another visit. Maybe even use video cameras!

With teaching and learning at the centre of our jobs, I am constantly disappointed by the lack of opportunity to peer observe. I am determined to rectify that! I have been looking into coaching models in teaching , for example:

http://www.nationalcollege.org.uk/index/leadershiplibrary/leadingschools/developing-leadership-in-your-school/coaching-and-mentoring/coaching-for-teaching-and-learning.htm

The next half term, run up to Christmas and all that brings in Primary schools, I hope to be on the way to cementing a really effective working partnership with my JS partner, and to find out more about effective coaching. I have been on lots of mentoring courses in relation to trainee teachers, and have been on a few coaching courses incorporating NLP http://www.nlp-now.co.uk/nlp-what.htm and coaching in teaching, but have not really focussed on it; yet!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

100 word challenge in 50 words

This week Julia added a new twist- write a 100 word challenge in 50 words with the prompt- the autumn leaves.
Wanted to avoid the obvious, here is my effort for this week.
Here is the link to the others... 

Seasons

The spring brings new beginnings, hopes and dreams of long and  balmy evenings. The summer comes and leaves – all too soon. Autumn’s arrival is almost imperceptible, yet memories of summer linger. As the autumn leaves behind her muted colours, the winter crashes in ,bringing snow, storms and bitter north winds. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

100 word for grown ups week 14

Well, Julia has excelled herself this week with her weekly challenge :)  http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week14/
When I saw this last night I had NO idea at all what to do with it. I couldn't believe how fast some poeple have got their entries in- and the more I read the less I knew what to do.
I love the cockney rhyming slang inspired post by Dughall  http://dughall.posterous.com/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week14 chuckled at Alison's interpretation http://abgreenteacher.blogspot.com/2011/10/100-words-for-grownups-week-14.html  and was blown away by Sally's http://wordpress.sjbteaching.com/wp/?p=543 

So, what to do. 
Well, I have tried to do something different- some word play. Have fiddled about with it as much as I can for the moment. It's certainly different to anything I have tried before. Thanks again to Julia for posing a great challenge. 


Alphabet – 26 letters, endless combinations and possibilities
 Alphadet – Well, it is a recession (FTSE and GDP  have a lot to answer for)
Alphajet- the way to go  (JAL, BMI and VLM)
Alphalet- where k, q ,x and z go when they are feeling underrated
Alphanet- the place where knowledge is sourced and shared (http://www.alphanet.com)
Alphapet- anybody who’s anybody wants one
Alphaset- the “in” crowd
Alphavet- where to go when the letters just wnot cmoe in the rghit oedrr
Alphawet- for inclement weather (rain, thunder, foggy)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

100 words for grown ups week 13

This week, Julia's prompt was "the unseasonal weather". I had a go and was fairly pleased with it, until I started reading this week's entries. My goodness there are some talented people out there.

 As an avid reader I am very impatient with books which don't grab my attention and pull me in- all too often I am disappointed with raved about reads (sorry, "One Day" just didn't do it for me!)

 The people who write each week on this challenge really are a talented group of people. Maybe this should be an "X factor" for writing; but without all the drama/tears !

Anyway,  I have written two entries; my first is more of a comfort write, the second is, hopefully, a little darker. (Am loving "Dark Matter" by Michelle Paver at the moment so wanted to try something different. )

Enough waffling; here they are. Look forward to feedback.

100WCGU wk 13


Thrusting her hands deep into her coat pockets, Kit quickened her pace. The trees had shed all but the last few of their leaves which clung stubbornly to wind stripped branches. The fallen leaves danced briefly in cascades of russets, golds, reds and yellows as she swept past. The unseasonal weather had tricked misinformed bulbs into life; now they bent in shame against the bitter wind. The eider ducks, barely a week ago fervently building nests, huddled together in an effort to keep warm.

 Kit strode on, determined to find answers to the questions gnawing inside.



Here is my second attempt:


Joe staggered into the desolate whiteness in search of fuel for his sorry excuse for a fire. The generators had long given up the fight and lay useless.

He pulled his coat closer and scanned the unfamiliar landscape. The unseasonal weather had initially been welcomed; but as the days dragged to weeks then months the Arctic temperatures impact on the Cornish Coast made their presence very much felt.

Some had made it across the frozen channel.

 Joe battled on,  desperation driving him forward.

A few feet behind him, moving silently on padded paws, the bear followed.

It too, was desperate. 


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

100 WCGU week 12

Goodness, Julia set a challenge this week. Economics is NOT my forte and I initially tried to do something comedic along the lines of soaring temperatures or the NASA satellite...bad ideas which crashed and burnt spectacularly! So I have had a go at writing a serious piece along the lines of a (very brief) article in a broadsheet.
Its not the type of thing I would usually write (or read!) so am taking a bit of a gamble here. As a teacher I  am always encouraging children to move out of their comfort zones, so well done again to Julia for reminding me what that feels like!
Here it is:


Overnight, markets across Europe have crashed. The Euro has plummeted to its lowest ever level amidst fears of defaults from countries besieged by insurmountable debts. Euro meltdown fear is spreading alarmingly as the banks battle to regain order. Financial experts are warning that the worst is yet to come. Urgent measures are needed to stabilise the situation said President Obama in his latest talks with the British prime minister.  The Greek prime minister is urging for bold steps to be taken towards fiscal integration to ensure future stability. Sceptics are already placing their bets that the Euro’s days are numbered.  

Reflections on working part time.

So, four weeks into the new year and my new part time role.

What have I learnt so far ? Well, I know that I am far too much of a control nut and need to work on that! Last week some resources of mine had gone walkabout and I felt panic levels rise as I searched like a woman possessed. For goodness sake, it was only a box of pins, not the crown jewels! The classroom  is not MY classroom anymore and I must strive to remember that and keep persepective when things aren't where I left them.

It has been fantastic to have time to myself during the week, and I have been able to catch up on things which I wouldn't normally have been able to do. Going to the gym in the morning, having extended lunches with friends, having time to decorate, do the gardening, sit and read, play the guitar, chat on the phone when I would have been at work in the past. Great! Have I managed to switch off from work when I am not there... not yet; I suppose I am still at the stage where I want to prove to myself that I am still a key member of the team. The days I am in seem to whizz at an almost alarming rate as I try to pack everything planned in.  That is something I need to work on to ensure that I leave time within the days I am in for the children to reflect on their learning and not have overly high expectations; I am not trying to do 5 days in 3 after all!

The good things are having a way better work life balance than I have had since I can remember. Of course I am still tired at the end of the week, but feeling that I can keep on top of things has been hugely empowering. Having a job share partner who is a fabulous communicator has made the start to the year a lot less stressful than previous year starts have been.

I can't think of anything that I would want to change at the moment. Being part time doesn't make me any less dedicated  enthusiastic or committed. Ultimately I hope it will make me a better teacher as I have  time to reflect upon my practice and have professional dialogue with a partner who knows the class as well as I do.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

100 words for grown ups week 11

Julia has given a word prompt this week- out of the mouths of babes.
Always guaranteed to get the brain cells going, this weekly challenge has become something to look forward to. Now that I have reduced my working hours to 3 days a week it has been fantastic to have time in the week to do things for myself. Today I have been to the gym, sanded and glossed a doorway, caught up on housework and bills. Oh yes, done some planning too for school and uploaded some comments to our class blog. It would be very easy to spend all day every day on teaching related things and I am having to be really strict with myself not to; otherwise what's the point of working part time?! I feel full of beans and ready for the rest of the week to come.

Anyway, I digress. Here is this week's effort:


“Mu-um?”

“Yes sweetheart,”

“Can I have some sweets ?”

“Now, what’s the magic word?”

“Ummm...Can I have some sweets PLEASE, Mum?”

“Not just now, you’ll spoil your appetite. Not long til tea time. You can have some after, OK.”

“But Mu-um...”

“Yes poppet?”

“What about that biscuit YOU  just had, wont that spoil YOUR appetite?”

“No, because that was a special biscuit.”

“Mu-um...”

“Ye-es?”

“And what about that chocolate bar  you were eating in the kitchen?”

“Well that was my pudding from lunch time. Off you go now”

“But Mu-um...”

Out of the mouths of babes, huh.


I couldn’t really decide how to go about this one- the above is almost verbatim conversation with my son (now almost 13, then 5ish)  Watching the Beeb's Outnumbered the other night was in stitches over yet another "that is so true" moment.  This isn't a patch on that, but it was the intended effect. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

100 words for grown ups week 10

I thought this week’s prompt from  Julia was a tricky one and have been racking my brains; so far have tried and dumped a news report, an attempt at an interview and a short story about competitive neighbours (was quite pleased with that but managed to delete and save a blank doc- duh )  Have read a very interesting (as always) variety of pieces so far.

In the end I decided to carry on with the ever faithful Kit, here goes...



Kit pulled open the door to the garden. As with the house, it was a mere shadow of its former self.  Pushing the trailing creepers from the wisteria and honeysuckle to one side, her feet found a familiar path. Scents evocative of summers long past filled her head. Each step she took seemed to transport her back in time. Her pace slowed as memories flooded back.
 A buzz from her pocket snapped her back to the present. Whilst reaching for the phone  she saw it, faded now, but still recognisable. She smiled as she remembered her Grandmothers love of topiaries.

Hmmm, really felt like a learner doing this one!  Good way to unwind after a busy day at work though. Loving my new class; all bright eyed and bushy tailed, full of enthusiasm. Great. But, after the break finding it hard to get things done! If I have said "Get a wiggle on!" once, I said it a thousand times today. Have learnt from experience that it is vital to NOT try to do too much with a new class in the first couple of weeks, as it is so important to build relationships and ease children into their new class. Being new to job sharing also, am very aware that the class have two new teachers to get their heads round (and a trainee starting next week too!)

Early days yet, I have every confidence that in a couple of weeks they'll be raring to go... Oh yes they will :) 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Word clouds, blogs and twitter

Was looking at one of my quadblogging buddy classes and saw that these had been created for the whole class by  @KnikiDavies at http://avenue5d2011.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/meet-the-team/ What a brilliant idea. Here is one I have done for my blog.
Her class tag clouds are moving in the way they do on the site http://www.tagxedo.com , I haven't worked that out yet. I feel a tweet or two coming on later to help me out!
The more I get into blogging, the more I realise I do not know. However, there are plenty of people who know much more than me. I am so glad to have signed up to twitter. My colleagues look at me incredulously when I talk about new ideas gleaned from #ukedchat or my PLN. Eyes roll and conversations are rapidly changed. Does being on twitter make me a better teacher? Probably not, but what it has done is opened up a wealth of new ideas and challenged me to try things I might never have tried otherwise. I work in a great school with a very hard working and close team. We all share ideas readily, but it has been incredibly empowering widening that group of professionals outside the county and country even.
I now want to take part in a teachmeet; have heard so many positive things about them. Oh yes, and try to get  some of my colleagues to see I am not an IT geek and that twitter really is not just about celebrities.