Proud of myself!

30 04 2008

In the days leading up to the SLC Headteacher’s Conference yesterday I was convinced everything was going to be a disaster and not without good reason!

Going to a wedding in Bristol at the weekend was terrible timing!  I realised as I basically just sat about in pubs and restaurants (sober) with friends all day Sunday that I find it very, very hard to do what I perceive as nothing as I was itching to get away and get some work done.  I actually found myself getting really stressed and almost tearful which is just ridiculous.  I was fine at the wedding on the Saturday as that was what we were there for but on the Sunday I just wanted to find a coffee shop with wifi and work on my presentation.

Got a couple of hours work done at the airport though and a bit on the plane although you are barely in the air long enough to get the computer on.  Got a taxi from the airport and my husband wanted something from the chip shop so we stopped there and of course not until after the taxi had gone did I realise I had left my handbag in it!  This was 9pm and I had left marking in the house to do when I got back.  Well without house keys, driving license (so address for my house), purse, phone, passport, fob and address of the school and 5 flashdrives I was not going anywhere.  I did finally get it back but did not get home till after 11.30pm and not without a lot of tears, mostly from being worried about the school!  I had not even realised till I got it back that it had my house key and address in it too.  I don’t know how I could have been more disraught if I had known that at the time but I am sure I would have been!

We have a new headteacher and she was great and let me have some time out on Monday to prepare it with the 3 children I was taking.  She had also mentioned to me on Friday lunch (so I had only worked with her 2.5 days by this point) that she had already noticed how hard I worked and it was appreciated etc so that was nice.  Practicing it at home on Monday night though I felt I did not know what I was doing well at all and that it would be an absolute disaster.

So things had not gone well and there was a huge lack of sleep invovled in these few days too.  I was not only presenting for Glow at the conference but also (and firstly) displaying, during a walkaround by the heads, work on our African rich task.  So I was there early to set all that up and had to be nice and calm through that.  Staying calm was hard when the support assistant bringing my kids in a taxi turned up – with only 2 of the 3 kids!  The other had forgotten his permission form!  My support assistant is so fabulous though that she had sorted them out in the taxi and split all the words up so I am eternally grateful to her and she was a great help through the whole morning too. 

I could have been sick before going on to speak but as soon as I started it was so easy.  I would like to know how many people I was presenting in front of – I think it must have been over 100 but I could not concentrate to do a head count at any point.  I used very minimal notes and flicked through lots of the glow stuff without a problem (I did have 3 Glow sites open to make it easier).  The kids were great and everything we said was relevant and I didn’t fluff anything or hesitate.  It felt really natural.

To put this into perspective, I did my Standard Grades just a couple of years after they were introduced and up until 3rd year have no recollection whatsoever of doing solo talks or even answering out much in class.  I was actually really shy!  So I got a 6 for the first solo talk I did and I was absolutely terrified.  I will never forget it (it was on abortion) but did quickly learn from it and by 4th year had pulled it up to a 1.  I still hated doing it though, all the way through uni and beyond I have been terrified about talking in front of others and so yesterday was just this amazing turning point for me.  I also know that I am very good at being negative about myself and so feeling proud of myself for the rest of the day was this amazing experience for me and I have no recollection of ever feeling like that before.

I even managed to keep up the feeling during class in the afternoon and then staying at school through to parents night in the evening.  It made the night for me going home, catching up on blogs and seeing the following in Andrea’s on the day:

“I felt like Caroline’s Mum watching her up there, I was pretting much bursting with pride.”

Lots of praise as well from my new headteacher and I am more able to accept it now as opposed to when Andrea was first there and praising me and I was virtually in tears as unable to accept praise at that time at all. 

So it was a great experience for me and one I would be keen to repeat, particuarly doing it about using Glow as I am getting even more enthusiastic about this and am keen to help implement/promote its use in the council and beyond.

I am planning on blogging on a lot of what I actually said yesterday with snapshots from my glow pages and some quotes from my kids which will let everyone see what they think about using it but that will have to wait until tomorrow!

Coming up…..

30 04 2008

After reading Andrea’s and Jaye’s blogs I wanted to say I will blog on the head teachers conference, and most of it is already formed in my head, but it was parents night last night and so far too late for me to stay up last night and do it.  Check back after the football tonight – doing it while watching that seems like a good idea to me!


26 04 2008

It felt really weird being back in class Thursday and Friday after being away in Stirling – it should have been the weekend!  Although I could have done without being in Bristol for a wedding this weekend when I have the glow presentation and the rich task board to have prepared for Tuesday.  Loving Jury’s hotel though – free internet access in the room with a cable and so just when I was wishing I had brought a cable (although I would never have thought of it) I found one in a drawer!

I felt really inspired going into class after the conference and ended up showing some of the kids how to add web parts to their own pages so they could put more images in etc and had a couple of kids set up their own blogs which next week I will show them how to add the page viewer in so it can be seen through Glow.  I would just love to have the laptops more often so that it would be easier to build the use  of Glow into the curriculum as now that we have finished the rich task and our electricity topic I feel I am contriving it slightly until I put in a new project.

Glow Conference (Sharing Success and Making Connections)

23 04 2008

Image (advanced)

I have spent the last two days at the Stirling Manangement Centre for the Glow conference on Sharing Success and Making Connections for Glow mentors.  It was really productive to be able to get plenty of time with people from other local authorities to discuss what we had done so far and where we wanted to go in the short and long term with Glow.

I had been asked to present to others and this involved doing a presentation 3 times yesterday, including being filmed once.  That was pretty nerve wracking – I would never make a news reader or presenter!  Just as well I wore my hair down so I could cover my face a bit!

The only disadvantage of this was that I could not hear the other presentations made at the same time to other groups and that would have been a useful insight into what others were doing.  It was great to be with a group of people who were all positive about using Glow in the classroom and wanted it to change their teaching practice.  I am desperate to get going with Glow meet and now that we have a webcam and a few others on their way I will get into this, after Parents evenings and the Head Teachers conference next week that is!

I decided I wanted to lead a cross-authority glow group on Malawi which could be started before we go and obviously continue and grow next session.  Glow was one of the things I said in my presentation to Link and in the first training weekend that I wanted to be use and expand in relation to my trip and global citizenship in general and this is just going to be a fabulous way to do this not just within my cluster but across Scotland.  I am really excited about this and hope it works as I well as I am imagining it in my head.  I am really looking forward to talking about this at the next training weekend as nobody else going is using Glow yet so I will be doing something unique for Link and it is something they are really keen to take forward and get involved in.  They will then obviously have lots of contacts that I might be able to make use of and they have a collection of resources.

I think I might be sounding a bit like a big kid about this – I can never bear to read over my posts before publishing them as I think it is cringe worthy so that is why there are probably mistakes in every one.  Check out the animoto below for the advert that my group made to advertise Glow.

Animoto from Glow conference

23 04 2008

Click below to see some of the work we have been doing at the Glow (Sharing Success and Making Connections) conference I am at just now.


17 04 2008

Finished reading the book last night (I let pacepusher on my laptop to write up his blog on the marathon and he spent 4 hours on it so I had plenty of time!) so here are a couple of ideas for challenging activities:

  • Beat the teacher – the teacher goes over something like a concept or procedure, or they look at a piece of writing etc and work out mistakes themselves, then go over these with a partner and then have a class discussion on it.
  • Be the teacher – give the pupils 15 sums, some correct and some wrong and the pupils have to work out the answers and correct them as a teacher would.  They should write in comments, especially thinking about feedback that would be useful to the child who did the sums.
  • What number am I? – Have a secret number and the class have to guess it losing as few marks as possible.  A direct guess would cost 3 marks but a good question would only cost 1 ie is the number even.  You could later use decimals or negative numbers and then let a child pick the number.  To introduce the idea you could give out a few random numbers and ask the pupils to group them how they think.
  • Cross out game – Children write five different 2 digit numbers on a whiteboard and teachers gives statements to get them crossed out.  Can reinforce concepts by having a 100 square next to you.  More able pupils will pick higher numbers, less able can stick to numbers under 20.
  • Talk about numbers – put a sum on the board and ask the children to work out how they know it’s true.
  • Children teaching – Have five groups of 6 and give each a different task/procedure to produce a summary on ie different things about WW2 or different maths concepts.  Then change the pupils to six groups of 5 with each group now having a different person from each of the initial groups in it.  The children now teach each other from their summaries. 

Thought some of these would be really interesting to try, particularly the last one.

Extra question:  Are any other teachers out there also regular marathon (or ultra) runners?  I am beginning to think they are not very compatible as by the time you have got to the marathon (particularly a spring marathon) you are so tired from the intensive training and teaching that you are unlikely to perform at your best.  Then of course there are also all the germs flying about all the time and if you are training hard for the marathon you can be more susceptible to getting things as you are riding a thin line from doing too much.

Shopping went better than the marathon!

16 04 2008

Just got back from London last night and am still trying to get over the marathon (thats psychologically rather than sore legswise).  I was bitterly disappointed to only run 4.32.17 when I had been going for sub 4.10 but you will have to read my running blog to learnn more (be warned – it’s a lengthly post!).  In it I probably beat myself up about it quite a bit, I would say I have stopped doing that to myself so severely about teaching but definately not in terms of running.

I did take some work with me and despite meeting two fellow runners on the train on the way down on Friday I started to fly through writing my presentation for the HT conference.  It was really flowing and I am sure that it is because like the presentations I have done on Malawi I know what I am talking about and it was easy to put in the structure.  Unfortunately waves of sickness suddenly came on and I was forced to stop for a couple of hours.  Instead of going back to it later I spent the time doing some reading of AIFL stuff, which I found really interesting and took a lot of notes on, and reading gossipy mags that Debs brought on the train.  By the time we finally ate dinner at 9pm that night after being on the bus, train and underground all day I had motion sickness and the whole restaurant was moving!

I made up for the lack of a good time in the marathon by visits to the amazing Imperial War Museum (It would be amazing to be able to take your class there during a WW2 topic) and the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum.  Then there was the shopping where I did walk a lot of miles (on Monday and Tuesday) which actually helped my legs with their recovery, don’t get me wrong though they are still not right and won’t be for a while and I was a fine sight going down stairs sideways (believe me if I could have gone down backwards I would have but I thought was going to look just a bit too odd!).

Some things I picked up or was reminded of from my reading (‘Asking Better Questions’ by Ian Smith) were:

  • Ask the pupils to identify ‘fat and thin’ questions
  • Don’t give the question – give the answer and ask why it’s correct ie Why can 7/9 not be simplified?
  • Turn the question into a true or false statement and ask why its true or false
  • Ask big questions ie philisophical
  • Ask for 5 ideas – it stretches those that need it
  • If someone says they do not know ask “What would you say if you did know?”
  • Get an answer and gather others, then go back to the first pupil and ask ‘which answer do you like best?”

I have not quite finished it, the last section is the most interesting.  It is titled ‘How to devise Challenging Activities’ and has some good ideas in it.  I will post them when I have finished it.