Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life


Before Christmas 2014, I attended the most inspirational TeachMeet to date: one that really lived up to the reputation that TeachMeets have made for themselves in the world of CPD.

The evening began with Sir Tim Brighouse, who repeated messages I’ve heard from him before but they took on a new significance in the face of my new role at College. By the way, I have resolved to only stop referring to my role as ‘new’ when I’m comfortable and confident in it. Watch this space!

The best schools are ones where teachers: plan, organise and evaluate together.

The responsibility of the 15% in an organisation (the engaged, proactive ones) is to change the 85%.

High effort and high impact should be avoided and replaced with low effort and high impact activities. I’ve always felt this was obvious but in reality, it’s difficult to achieve. I guess that’s why it’s something we aim for!

Mark Anderson (@ICTEvangelist) was speaking. I was a bit starstruck if I’m honest. I should have said hello. But I didn’t. For no apparent reason, certain situations just make me terrified beyond belief.

Anyway, he spoke of Tom Sherrington’s writing about awe and wonder. He reminded us that all teachers are working to inspire, engage, develop and enthuse their learners.

He showcased:
Spheroball (really want!) The ball is controlled by your device and can go where you tell it to- great for deciding who answers the next question in class and a world away from my trusty lollipop sticks!

Amjad, as usual, gave a presentation filled with awesome tips and tricks we could leave the room with:
Marking Medley
He shared a collection of low effort and high impact feedback ideas
He suggested looking at trending hashtags and say- using that hashtag- what would you tweet today? Bring the outside world into the classroom.
#culturebox – I need to sign up to this!

Rachel Jones spoke all about a recent lesson…that had gone badly. This is a really healthy thing for us all to be reflecting on more often. I wonder what kind of difference it might make to all of our practice if we shared these honest reflections more often. I long for a time when more of my colleagues and fellow managers are brave enough to do this.

Alex Warner and Dan Willis (a Reading College learner) shared their big project of #XmasPiLights

One presenter reminded us all to think about our vision of the future. We encourage learners to plan for this but we forget about our own.
What’s your vision?
Are you being the best you can be today?
Have you checked your teaching?
What’s your future journey going to be?
We ask these kinds of questions of learners all the time but we need to be asking these questions of ourselves too.

We should use images to help us: draw where we want to end up and decide where we’re heading! Live that every day!

Action Jackson. I’m really sorry. I didn’t make many notes but that’s because you were awesomely engaging!

The circle of success- the why is in the middle of this- they know exams and revision but why are they doing it?! Who is at the heart?- them! They’ve got to feel amazing about themselves!

Mary Myatt
What are the non-negotiables? Decide on these as well as the final destination.
Do fewer things in great depth
Tim Oates on assessment and the new curriculum- look this up
The allegory of the guitar
The power of yet
Mistakes are great- end of story

Jo Ewen
Behaviour for Learning
Bill Rogers- the bad behaviour is what we focus on- the small black dot in the large box

Praise is key
Circle for getting silence- draw a circle on the whiteboard- by the time you’ve finished the circle, write the names in the middle of the circle and then speak to them at the end of the lesson

Countdown- point out what learners are doing

Spotlight- have a usual space to talk within so when you head towards it, they know they need to be quiet

Phonecall Friday- put their lollipop sticks in your pocket at the start of the day- they don’t know who’s in there but they’ll be getting a phonecall home

Miss B’s Resources. Well, this woman was awesome, not least of all because she travelled down from the North East for the day!
Numeracy- can our learners tell when they’re being ripped off?
We need to bury the philosophy that I can’t do maths
Guest speakers
Numeracy week
Enthuse the teachers
Common maths topics that go across the curriculum- crib sheet
Adding and enriching your lesson by embedding maths
Battle words Romania
Writing weigh-in

Motivating students- from the sublime to the ridiculous
Promise a letter home- write it and say you’ll send it home IF you see the behaviour you want!

And then came Vic Goddard. Vic, The only words I noted down were these but they’re really important ones:
Unconditional Positive Regard
You were awesome, I almost cried and you absolutely made my year.
Find Robbie Williams video

#TMOxford: The last time I was there at Cheney, Amjad persuaded me along and gave me a lift from Reading with some of his school colleagues at the time. I presented. It was stressful. Now Amjad is in an AHT role at that school and he put on an event that made my 2014 and reminded me why I got into all of this in the first place because sometimes, my role can seem so far away from all of that. Can I have a moment like this every week please?

PS. Update on the SketchPaint that I won. There is a bidding form online and I shall be putting in a bid for where I want it in the College, but as will many other teachers and learners. May the best one of us win!

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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