In an Effort to Keep Saturday Think Free

February 7, 2008 § Leave a comment

Visited the Year 8 tutor room on wednesday. Tutor was very helpful. We move forward on this issue. I want to leave the weekend for thinking. For planning and reflection. So this is my weekly wrap up. Every other thursday I get to spend some quality time do important jobs. Today start with cover, which went surprisingly well. I arrived to cover a history class looking at medieval festivals. We completed the task and took the students outside to experience shin kicking. I think it hit the mark. It certainly brought the students closer to understanding the topic. Next week cheese rolling. Wow, there is so much more we as teachers could do with practical learning – importantly it also made me think where and how I could make ICT more practical, this is not the first time I have thought that….. but it needs more thinking time. Also, I was a little disappointed, ICT limits teaching due to the PCs. We really lack the opportunity to create with our environment and surroundings. I shared the Sir Ken Robinson resources, introduced Mrs L to CPD in the car, well I loaned her my Flashdrive with a FM transmitter, of course I added the SKR clips. I also gave Mrs L a copy my favourites, more links than you can shake a stick at – surely this is a way to share resources. I connected with HIAS, spoke with Janet Roberts, joined the forum, requested a review day, and signed up for the annual conference, continued my connections with Wildern. Short listed the IT Tech candidates, sought advice on a staffing issue and I believe we made a positive step forward (I could of course be wrong on that point). Prepared an ICT Newsletter update, requested a spot on the MOTs meeting, Baracuda is in. OCR resources agreed. Added the Dance pic to the homepage. Added the Staff AUP. What still bothers me is that discipline in ICT is not improving swiftly enough for my liking. Why? Is the discipline communication good enough? Is it a more difficult challenge than I realised? I do believe we need a team of 4, not 3. One staff member for each room – but I read tonight ICT staff are in high demand!?! On which note, HCSC needs to get the ad out. Half term is for the strategy plan. Boy do I need to get the thoughts out and in type instead of swimming around up there! Just added tonight; How to encourage the uptake of an ‘Enquiring Minds’ programme. Parents evening fine, but as is often the case, saw most of the students who can be rewarded, but need to speak with others also. Did we miss an opportunity to showcase the school to the parents on parents evening? Projector was cold, nothing showing. What percentage of parents visit? Can this be improved? How to communicate with parents – email? Do we need to ask our parents? How much money would this save? Focus, next term is the term for some style projects.

Face to Face

February 4, 2008 § Leave a comment

This morning I visited Gideon Williams, Head of ICT at Perins School. During the visit I witnessed a Year 9 top set working on Windows Movie Maker, a French class practicing their vocab and most importantly I was able to sit and discuss ICT Middle Management with Gideon. Incidently, I was also reminded about the power of search engine Dogpile, as one student noted, ‘it was good for everything.’ Without doubt the most important part of the morning was exchanging ICT structures, strategies and solutions with Gideon and also seeing how he was using Moodle to support his teaching LIVE. We hope to continue these conversations and are looking to bring our schools a little closer through a collaboration and sharing our schools Sport College status.

Again, my thanks to Gideon and Perins School.

Finally, as usual, car time is spent listening to the Edu-pod. The most important thing a Middle Leader can do with positive feedback is to share it with their team. Well, I thought it was sufficiently important enough to write into this posting.

On returning to school, I was able to only follow up one or the two student issues that occurred on Friday. I strongly believe that following up all incidents is essential.

Looking up a Mountain

January 26, 2008 § Leave a comment

Now in my third week, I have noticed that my mistakes or poor judgments appear more prominent in my reflections than the successes. Is this an issue of my personality or is it typical for middle leaders? Two major points, one a memo that I failed to followup for a SLT meeting and the second was consulting with a colleague before introducing a former pupil in a shared class that she was leading. The latter has really dented that relationship and I will not be able to fully recover that position. The successes, two classes in particular now reflect lessons I would expect to see in a successful ICT dept. Both the OCR Yr 9 and 10 groups responded to the front sheets. Unsurprisingly they were very keen to get their feedback, just how keen still surprised me…. this will become a key motivator in future. Year 7 students enjoyed their lesson on the water of life, thank you Alex Savage. I connected with two students, at opposite ends of the talent spectrum, one through VARK and one through mere conversation. Time framed lesson objectives very important, using the online-stopwatch to motivate students. I was introduced to two important guys, WALT (what are we learning today) and WILF (what am I looking for). Invited onto the Barcalona trip. The football numbers are growing FAST. I connected with Dan Leighton from Cottenham College and listened to a keynote from Martin Peterson. The website designer had made good progress, with clear direction, we were both pleased with her work. Old portal shut down. Meetings with both Tim Dalton and Amy from Wildern secured. Showed a member of the office staff how to create distribution lists. Points for consideration; Staff time keeping still gnawing me. Ensure the first ICT meeting is focused and slick, ask for advice? How to sell (and perhaps determin) the structure. Year 9 parents evening. Keys to Alan. More learning on VLEs and Photoshop needed. Timings for OCR in Yr 9, 10, 11 and how a Level 1 course might work. Musings ideas need wings to get them off the ground, but also landing gear to secure them. Summer meal for staff? How to best combine the trip with ICT?

First Impressions

January 5, 2008 § Leave a comment

I have now spent two days at Hamble. I felt that it was important to reflect on both the Department and the teaching experience.

Leadership

The first two days incorporated a series of small but significant challenges, including get the physical environment structured, removal of unused hardware, locks, keys, chairs, noticeboards, office, timetables…. There are still a number of further issues to resolve; storage of student work, common meeting time for staff, class lists, access to students data…. and not forgetting the ‘unknown unknowns.’ What are the prioritise for me first full week?

Establish a ‘shared’ curriculum. (This may include creating a wiki for staff).

Future Prioritise have been outlined in a short meeting with the Headteacher, constructing and engaging the staff in a VLE and E-portfolios. These particular prioritises will be revisited during halfterm.

What I have learnt, recommendations for NEW staff:

Staff would welcome a formal induction; to include two days in school without a teaching commitment.

An opportunity to review the staff handbook and discipline procedures. Second, to meet with the office staff, support staff, IT team, reprographics and to go through the school paperwork. To be provided with a folder with their timetable, class lists and prepared registers.

Teaching

I didnt expected the students to welcome me with open arms, but I was not prepared for the angst the students felt towards their own learning experience. I met with a very diverse student body, in terms of their academic motivation and aspirations, how to engage these students will be a challenge.

  1. Organise class lists, CAT scores, seating arrangements for classes and therefore clearly label PCs.
  2. Teaching Prioritise; establish teaching style, try and watch an experienced practitioner, talk with the students, set class room expectations. Set clear lessons objective that require students to be active in their own learning.

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