Wednesday, 31 December 2008

My 2008

It's been a really busy year both in my personal life and in work.

My own personal highlights of 2008 are:

  • Celebrating our engagement and making arrangements for our wedding in April 2009.
  • The birth of our beautiful niece, Emily.
  • The birth of my beautiful goddaughter, Florence.
  • Being asked to be Florence's godfather.
  • Being Best Man for my best friend's wedding in June.
  • Being Groomsman for my brother at his wedding in August.
  • Attending two stag dos, one at Stockholm and one in Prague.
  • Surviving a really busy year in school. The summer and autumn terms were particularly stressful - but I've done it!
  • Arranging the helicopter visit to school.
  • Surviving the credit crunch (so far!) It's not been an easy year financially as Lisa was not working for six months and we have a wedding to save for!
  • Discovering Twitter, Toodledo, Delicious and Zamzar - brilliant tools that I don't know how I survived without!

This blog has been viewed over 16,000 times in 2008 (according to Bravenet) and Monday is the busiest day for hits.

The best tunes of the year are:

  1. The Killers - Humann
  2. Estelle & Kanye West - American Boy
  3. Duffy - Mercy
  4. Kid Rock - All Summer Long
  5. The Outsiderz & Amanda Wilson - Keep This Fire Burning
  6. Taio Cruz - I Can Be
  7. Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl
  8. The Ting Tings - Shut Up And Let Me Go
  9. Nickelback - Rockstar
  10. Calvin Harris, Dizzee Rascal & Chrome - Dance Wiv Me
  11. Alphabeat - Fascination
  12. Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet About Me
  13. The Script - The Man Who Can't Be Moved
  14. The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
  15. Madcon - Beggin'
  16. Keane - Spiralling
  17. The Potbelleez - Don't Hold Back
  18. Razorlight - Wire To Wire
  19. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
  20. Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire

Top Films of the Year:

  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • The Dark Knight
  • Quantum Of Solace

Top TV Programmes of the Year:

  • Gavin & Stacey
  • Summer Heights High
  • Lost

Plans for 2009:

  • Have a wedding that Lisa, myself and everyone enjoys
  • Get fit
  • Get a more powerful computer
  • Get a better work-life balance
  • End 2009 in a better financial position than it begins.

I hope you have had a successful 2008 and I wish you a wonderful 2009. May the best of 2008 be the worst of 2009!

Getting Things Done by David Allen - a review

I have enjoyed reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. It is full of really practical advice for getting things done at work and at home.Its subtitle, 'How to achieve stress-free productivity' suggests the book will tell you how to get things done without worrying and getting stressed, and I really think if I followed the advice right down to the last letter I would achieve the goal of stress-free productivity. However, I get the feeling that the book is not really aimed at teachers. As a result, it doesn't really explain how to get things done in a stress-free way in between teaching a class.

I'd love to see a version of this book, or similar, aimed directly at teachers.

I have learned a lot, however. I need to plan my projects more carefully and make my to do list more effective by using subtasks (time needed to play with Toodledo here). I regularly go to bed thinking about things that need to be done, so I need to create better collection methods to store all of my ideas and tasks so that they don't buzz around in my head. I also need to realise that not everything needs to be done right now.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Getting Things Done: Advice

Other advice in the book:

There are seven primary types of things that you'll want to keep track of and manage from an organisational perspective:
  1. A projects list
  2. Project support material
  3. Calendared actions and information
  4. Next actions lists
  5. A waiting for list
  6. Reference material
  7. A someday/maybe list

Most common categories of action reminders:

  • Calls
  • At computer
  • Errands
  • Office actions
  • At home
  • Agendas
  • Read/ Review

Getting Things Done: The Five Phases of Project Planning

The process of project planning involves a series of steps that has to occur before your brain can make anything happen physically:
  1. Defining purpose and principles
  2. Outcome visioning
  3. Brainstorming
  4. Organising
  5. Identifying next actions

The Reactive Planning Model:

The unnatural planning model is what most people consciously think of as 'planning', and because it's so often artificial and irrelevant to real work, people just don't plan. But what happens if you don't plan ahead of time? In many cases, crisis! What's the first level of focus when the stuff hits the fan? Action - work harder, get busier! Finally, when having a lot of busy people banging into each other doesn't resolve the situation, someone gets more sophisticated and says, "We need to get organised." Someone then sits down and tries to organise the problem into 'boxes' before realising that this doesn't solve the problem. More creativity is needed and so brainstorming occurs. Eventually, the question needs to be asked: "So what are you really trying to do here, anyway." This is when the vision and purpose is agreed. The reactive style is the reverse of the natural model.

The Five Phases of Natural Planning:

Thinking in more effective ways about projects and situations can make things happen sooner, better and more successfully. These five phases must be completed:


It never hurts to ask the question, 'why'? Realising the purpose for the project gives many benefits:

  • It defines success
  • It creates decision-making criteria
  • It aligns resources
  • It motivates
  • It clarifies focus
  • It explands options.


In order most productively to access the conscious and unconscious resources available to you, you must have a clear picture in your mind of what success must look, sound and feel like. Purpose and principles furnish the impetus and the monitoring, but vision provides the actual blueprint of the final result. This is the 'what?' instead of the 'why?' What will this project or situation really be like when it successfully appears in the world?


Once you know what you want to have happen, and why, the 'how' mechanism is brought into play.


What are the things that must occur to create the final result? In what order must they occur? What is the most important element to ensure the success of the project?

The basic steps of organising are:

  • Identify the significant pieces
  • Sort by (one or more) components, sequences and priorities
  • Detail to the required degree

Next actions

The question to ask is 'what's the next action?' Decide on next actions for each of the current moving parts of the project.

Friday, 5 December 2008

SATs revision already?

A survey carried out by Manchester University suggests that more than 350,000 Year 6 pupils have already begun revising for next summer’s SATs. A survey of 465 teachers and headteachers found that 60 per cent of schools now begin test preparation in the second half of the autumn term.

Professor Bill Boyle, of the Centre for Formative Assessment Studies, found that 38 per cent of schools were already spending up to an hour a week on practice papers or revision lessons by the second half of the autumn term. A further 14 per cent spent two hours a week on test preparation, and 9 per cent spent three hours or more.

By the second half of the spring term, two-thirds of primaries spent three or more hours a week drilling pupils for the English, maths and science tests.

Professor Boyle said: “Why are we still doing this? Why do we have this obsession with tests? These figures are far too high. But teachers will keep on while the system remains in place.”

The survey was carried out in the 2006-07 school year. Three quarters of schools said that the time they devoted to test preparation had increased over the past 10 years.

A study by The TES in 2002 found that only one in seven schools started test preparation in the autumn term.

Professor Boyle’s survey also found that time spent on homework had increased. The proportion of schools asking pupils to spend two or more hours a week revising for tests at home rose from 9 per cent at the beginning of the school year to 30 per cent by the Easter holidays.

Almost nine out of 10 teachers said the curriculum had been narrowed by the focus on tests, 69 per cent thought moderated teacher assessment would be a reliable alternative, and 32 per cent would like to see the key stage 1 model of teacher assessment informed by KS2 test results.
David Tuck, head of Dallow Primary in Luton and past president of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “As far as we’re concerned, we start booster classes after Christmas. We have children coming in sometimes on Saturday morning or lunchtimes. The focus on tests does create a very narrow curriculum and we have to ask if this is the best thing for children.

“One researcher was asking children about their levels and a boy said to him, ‘You don’t want to know my level, I’m a nothing.’ What have we done to children? Where are we going? We need to instil confidence.”

Monday, 10 November 2008

Getting Things Done: The Five Stages of Mastering Workflow

Chapter Two
Adapted from David Allen's Getting Things Done

No matter what the setting, there are five discrete stages that we go through as we deal with our work. We

  1. Collect things that command our attention;

  2. Process what they mean and what to do about them; and

  3. Organise the results, which we

  4. Review as options for what we choose to

  5. Do.


In order to manage the different tasks that we collect, we need to create 'containers' that hold items until you have a few moments to decide what they are and what, if anything, you're going to do about them. Then you must empty these containers regularly to ensure that they remain viable collection tools. What we're talking about here is making sure that everything you need is collected somewhere other than in your head.

There are several types of tools that can be used to collect your incomplete tasks:

  • Physical in-basket

  • Writing paper and pads

  • Computers, e.g.

  • Auditory capture, e.g. answering machine or dictaphone

  • Email

In order to make these in-baskets work:

  • Every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head.

  • You must have as few collection buckets as you can get by with.

  • You must empty them regularly.

If you don't empty and process the stuff you've collected, your buckets aren't serving any function other than the storage of amorphous material. Emptying doesn't mean that you have to finish everything. It means that you have to take it out of the container, decide what it is and what should be done with it, and if it's still unfinished, organise it into your system.


This flow chart shows the basic structure for effective processing.


This stage refers to the categories in rings round the outside of the diagram, resulting from the processing of your stuff. Together they make up a total system for organising just about everything that's on your plate, or could be added to it, on a daily and weekly basis.

For nonactionable items, you need to trash, incubate and store for reference. If no action is needed, you throw it, to incubate you hold it to reassess later, or you could file it for reference at a later time. To manage actionable things you need a list of projects, storage or files for project plans and materials, a calendar, a list of reminders of next actions and a list of reminders of things you're waiting for.

Projects: A project is a desired result that requires more than one action step. If one step won't complete something, some kind of stake needs to be placed in the ground to remind you that there's something still left to do. You don't actually do a project, you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it 'done'.

Support materials and reference files should be kept out of sight, but close at hand.

Calendars: Calendars should be used for next-actions. Three things go on your calendar: time-specific actions, day-specific actions and day-specific information.

  • Time-specific actions: This is a fancy name for appointments.
  • Day-specific actions: These are things that you need to do sometime on a certain day, but not necessarily at a specific time.
  • Day-specific information: Use your calendar to keep track of things you want to know about on specific days - not actions you'll have to take, but rather information that may be useful on a certain date.

Daily To Do Lists: These don't work, for two reasons:

  • New priorities reconfigure daily work so consistently that it's virtually impossible to nail down to do items ahead of time.
  • If there's something on the list that doesn't absolutely have to get done that day, it dilutes the emphasis on the things that truly do.

Next action lists: You action reminders go here. Any longer than two minute nondelagatable actions you have identified should be tracked here.

Incubation: This is where you store your ideas for projects that you might want to do someday, but not now. There are two types of systems:

  • Someday/ Maybe: It can be useful and inspiring to maintain an ongoing list of things you might want to do at some point but not now. This is the parking lot for projects that would be impossible to move on at present but that you don't want to forget about entirely. You'd like to be reminded of the possibility at regular intervals.
  • Tickler file: This is a system that allows you to almost literally mail something to yourself for receipt on some designated day in the future, e.g. your calendar.


  • The item you'll probably review most frequently is your calendar. It's a good habit, as soon as you conclude an action on your calendar to check and see what else needs to be done.
  • Then you'll check your Next Actions list.
  • Each week you need a weekly review.

Weekly Review: This is the time to:

  • Gather and process all your stuff
  • Review your system
  • Update your lists
  • Get clean, clear, current and complete.

What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I suggest you do this weekly instead of yearly.


There will always be a large list of actions that you are not doing at any given moment. So how will you decide what to do and what not to do and feel good about both? The answer is, by trusting your intuition. Apply these four criteria to help you decide:

  • Context: A few actions can be done anywhere, but most require a specific location.
  • Time available: When do you have to do something else?
  • Energy available: How much energy do you have?
  • Priority: Given your context, time and energy available, what action will give you the highest payoff?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

What does your tie say about you?

Research has explained what your tie reveals about you.

MEN should take care when choosing which tie to wear, for it could reveal more about them than they realise.

A purple tie might look just the thing with a lilac shirt but, psychologists say, it gives the impression the wearer is envious, arrogant and vulgar.

Other colours to steer clear of include green – which suggests greed, jealousy, and bad luck.

Yellow, on the other hand, suggests individuality and reliability, while a red tie shouts passion, strength, energy and ambition.

Even worse are novelty ties which, researchers found, are worn by people trying to appear more significant, sexy or outgoing than they actually are.

Psychologist Dr Ludwig Lowenstein, who carried out the study, said: "When one considers the nature of the person wearing a particular colour of tie one must also take into consideration other aspects of the personality such as whether the person dresses to impress, wants to attract, control or look superior. Colours have been used throughout history to denote power, fear, anxiety and to have many other symbolic characteristics. Many people are impressed by colour and how and when it is worn. Be careful as you may be judged on what you wear rather than who you are."

Navy indicates calmness, coolness and confidence, while Dr Lowenstein, who runs Southern England Psychological Services, in Hampshire, suggested brown shows reliability. His research also shows that pink ties should be left in the cupboard as they suggest soppy romantics looking for sympathy.

But Kevin Stewart, fashion stylist at Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh, said that it was more important to be in season."Choosing a tie should be about what you, as an individual, like to wear. This can be quite tricky. "As men have become more fashion conscious they want to choose the colours and styles of the season. I would agree that novelty ties should really be banned, but I don't think it matters what colour of tie you wear as long as you like it, it enhances what you are wearing and you feel good wearing it."

David Walker, of tie makers Peckham Rye, which commissioned the study, said: "Skinny ties are understated and subtle without being too showy. A bit rock and roll, shows you're a bit savvy and edgy."

Other advice includes never wearing a spotted tie with a striped shirt, while a plain bow tie with a checked shirt says creative, eccentric and very swish.The scarf wearer is trendy and very with it, coming across as more intelligent with an air of elegance about them.

And while having an open-neck shirt can look cool if you are under the age of 45, for those over 45, researchers warn, it can look a bit "Sasha Distel", conjuring up images of a hairy chest and a suntan framed by a cheap belcher chain.

BROWN: Considered to be a solid reliable colour. Abundant in nature, earth and for genuine people.
NAVY: Symbolises unity, harmony and tranquillity. It indicates calm, cool and confident types.
RED: Suggests strength, passion, energy and ambition, as well as leadership power and anger.
YELLOW: Appears solid, earthy and reliable. For out of the ordinary people who are very much in control.
PINK: For someone who is a soppy romantic, perhaps looking for sympathy or craving admiration.
GREEN: Gives the impression of greedy, jealous individuals who are generally unlucky and gamblers.
PURPLE: Envious, arrogant and gaudy. Purple suggests superior vulgarity and should be avoided.
NOVELTY: For people who are trying to appear more significant, sexy or outgoing than they actually are.

I have worn every one of these colours at some point - I shudder to think of the messages I have inadvertently given out!!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity

As I read this inspirational book I want to blog my thoughts and what I've learned.

Chapter One seems to set up some of the ideas for the rest of the book, regarding setting up new practices for your workload.

Basic Requirements for Managing Commitments:
  1. If it's on your mind, your mind isn't clear. Anything you consider unfurnished in anyway must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind, or what the author calls a collection bucket, that you know you'll come back to regularly and sort through.

  2. You must clarify exactly what your commitment is an decide what you have to do, if anything, to make progress toward fulfilling it.

  3. Once you've decided on all the actions you need to take, you must keep reminders of them organised in a system you review regularly.

Why are things on your mind? Most often, the reason something is on your mind is that you want it to be different than it currently is, and yet:

  • you haven't clarified exactly what the intended outcome is;

  • you haven't decided what the very next physical action step is; and/ or

  • you haven't put reminders of the outcome and the action required in a system you can trust.

Most to do lists are merely listings of stuff, not inventories of the resultant real work that needs to be done.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Preventing stress

Back in February it was revealled which LAs had the highest stress-related absences in the teaching workforce. After feel a bit stressed myself in the last few weeks (although it could be more to do with a bug I've been trying to shake off for a while) I enjoyed a report in the TES Magazine which gives some good advice which I really need to try to follow:
  • Have a cut-off time and stick to it. Whatever you have done at say, 6pm, is enough. Go home.
  • Prioritise. Achknowledge that you can't do it all. Start with what is absolutely necessary and drop the optional.
  • Never work when you are exhausted. The quality of work will be low and make you more stressed.
  • Always stop for a drink at breaktimes. It is not a waste of time, because you can work more effectively after the break.
  • Work as a team. Always share out the planning and preparation with colleagues. never plan a set of lessons without looking at the previous years' first, to avoid duplication.
  • During the school holidays, stay off campus and and something completely different. A refreshing change makes you work more efficiently.
  • Exercies reduces stress. Take time to raise your heartbeat every day.

Without a shadow of a doubt I've been guilty of not doing every single one of these. Need to try to put myself first for a change. I've recently purchased a copy of "Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity" by David Allen for £6.99 on after a recommendation by Mark Warner. I hope this also helps me to learn to prioritise.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

I'm nomophonic

The Daily Mail reports that 2008 has given the English language more than 100 new words and phrases which capture modern life, according to experts. And while previous years have given us bling, bovvered, chav and carbon footprint, many of this year's most popular words and phrases reflect the economic crisis.

Credit crunch has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, but other increasingly familiar financial terms are included in a round-up of the words of the year. They include stagflation, the economic term for stagnant growth and rising inflation, and funt - the financially untouchable.
But it's not all economic doom and gloom. The list compiled by dictionary expert Susie Dent, also includes nomophobia, the fear of being out of mobile phone contact, and nonebrity, a person who enjoys status without anyone really understanding why.

Current events are also reflected in the list, including arguido - the Portuguese word for suspect - after the Portuguese police named Kate and Gerry McCann as official suspects in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance, only to clear them ten months later.

Cripes has made it in after Boris Johnson almost single-handedly resurrected the expression during his campaign to become London Mayor. Writing in Words of the Year, Miss Dent said: 'It is now rather sweetly old-fashioned and confers an air of naivety on the speaker.' Miss Dent, the resident language expert on Channel 4's Countdown quiz show, said the words and phrases were chosen because they captured the spirit of 2008. She said: 'Some are new words which have come into use and others are established terms which have been resurrected.'

From the U.S., momnesia is the term for 'a pattern of mental confusion and forgetfulness that characterises a mother's first year after giving birth', according to Miss Dent's Words of the Year book, published today.

Pessimistic individuals are doomers, while moofers are mobile out-of-office workers and scuppies are socially conscious urban professionals.

A YouTube divorce is an acrimonious marriage break-up in which a spouse airs their former partner's dirty laundry on the video-sharing website.

Miss Dent said the new words gave the English language more power. She added: 'You may hate momnesia and nomophobia but few of us could deny that when we first heard them, we weren't just that little bit curious.'

Have you heard any new words or phrases making their way into the classrooms?

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Online Photo Services

I have spent some time this summer trying to find an online photo service that I am entirely happy with. Let me share some of the pros and cons of what I found:
I have used this site for about a year for getting photos printed. I have been really impressed by the quality of printed photos and the seemingly unlimited storage space for photos. However, the sharing options are far from adequate, and I can't seem to find a way to tag photos. It was for this reason that I tried to find an alternative.

Oosah was the next site I tried, tempted by the promise of 1TB of online storage space. It all seemed promising at first, but then I realised that I couldn't upload documents as well, meaning that I was never likely to come close to using all of the 1TB. Unfortunately I can't print photos from the site, and, as clear as day there were pornographic photos in the public photostream! Not ideal.

This was next on my list. This could be useful as it links with Blogger. However, I can't print photos from the site.

This is really useful if you want to share photos with friends, and the ability to tag people in photos is brilliant. But what if I don't want to share the photos, or simply back them up? Facebook wouldn't allow this.

Flickr appears to be one of the best photo sites around. The tagging is excellent, and the photostream and ability to link directly to individual photos are all valuable features. I can edit photos online, and make photos public, for sharing, and private, just for backing up pictures. However, there is one flaw - at the moment you cannot print photos in the UK directly from Flickr.

This morning I am trying out Photobox. Despite rather slow uploading speeds, so far it looks the most promising of them all - photo sharing, making photos private, tagging and printing all seem possible. Could I have found The One?

Anyone got any thoughts?

Monday, 18 August 2008

Printable paper

If you ever need a sheet of graph paper in a hurry, why not use Printable, a handy website. There are lots of different papers you can download to print.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Summer Heights High

In case you haven't seen this hilarious Australian comedy, here is a clip of my favourite character in it, Mr G. The whole programme is a satire of life in an ordinary Australian public school. Very funny!

Monday, 28 July 2008

The Dark Knight

Last night I went to see the superb new film "The Dark Knight". This is the sequel to Batman Begins.

Firstly, I wanted to say how fantastic the film is! It really is a gripping, exciting film with superb performances from everyone involved. Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker was immense, and I quite agree with the Oscar buzz surrounding his performance. What a shame it was to lose an actor of his talent.

But my main purpose of mentioning this film is about the certificate. I cannot believe this film has a 12A certificate. A 12A means that a child of say, 10, can see the film as long as they are accompanied by an adult! Believe me, no child of even age 13 should see this very violent film. A 15 certificate would have been much more appropriate. The actual violence included in the film is strong enough, but it is the implied violence (much of it involving knives) and the message that a man can get away with such acts make it a very bad idea to allow young children to see this film.

Believe me, the film is superb. But I would advise against anyone considering taking their young children to see it...

Sunday, 22 June 2008

I'm the Best Man

Yesterday I was the Best Man at my friend's wedding. We all had a thoroughly enjoyable day. Everyone had such a good laugh. My speech went well and people found it funny! (That's what I have been worried about!) Also we picked up a few ideas for our wedding next year!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The day the helicopter came to school

Today will forever be known as "the day the helicopter came to school". What an exciting event.
I saw an advert for Heli-wise some time ago, offering schools free visits by a helicopter. I immediately sent an email, half expected to be told that they were oversubscribed. But it didn't take long before I was given a date and a risk assessment was being carried out. Yesterday we spent some time arranging the 400+ children in the school into a formation ready for a photo to be taken from the air.

At 10.45am the helicopter arrived! It circled the school and took a photo of the children in their formation. Then there was intense excitement from the children and staff when it landed on the field. The co-pilot then gave a half hour talk to the children about the helicopter and how it works. They were enthralled - everyone from Reception to Year Six!

The children then had their class photos taken in front of the helicopter. There was great delight when it finally set off again. It circled the school, taking aerial photos before setting off for its next destination.

What a fantastic event!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008


I have recently discovered Twitter - a microblogging service. This is a blogging website where only 140 characters can be used in each update. The Year Six Teacher Twitter page will include updates about Year Six news, views, information and lots of other random items too! Hope it's useful!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Could this be the best advert ever?


Saturday, 24 May 2008

Pip Davenport on Facebook

After his 'guest appearance' on the English writing SATs last week, it seems that Pip Davenport is working hard on creating a bit of publicity for himself!

The 19th century fairground ride inventor was the subject of the biography the Year Six children were asked to write in the long writing paper. Now, somebody has created a Facebook page for him! Ironically, he has joined the "It's Time to Stop SATs" group!

His first friend was a certain Citronella Garnet, whose name is made up of two characters from the SATs reading paper!

Very funny!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Maths Test B

So that's it - all over!

I thought that Maths Test B was slightly easier than Test A. The questions were all do-able. I didn't like the way that the Peaches question was asked. The number of times I read this out to children was incredible. It was a shame that 'perpendicular' turned up. This is a word you tend to use just a few times over the year, but it was worth 1 mark in the SATs. Rotational symmetry appeared for the second year in a row. But no ratio, and no co-ordinates - this is rare!

Anyhow, now it's time to get on with all those things we've put off for a few months!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Maths Test A & Mental Arithmetic Test

I thought that Test A was quite fair really, with a range of questions on many different topics. It gets clearer each year that the test goes in order from Level 3 questions, then Level 4 and then Level 5. The children's exam technique has definitely improved by doing their best questions first (but isn't it sad that 11-year-olds can do this). It's a shame that my maths class this year are one of my weakest.

The mental arithmetic test was not too bad at all, in my opinion. How my children agreed!

Reading Test

After our delight with the choice of writing for yesterday's tests, we were brought right back down to earth today with what I thought was a difficult paper. Some very tricky questions

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Reading Test

After our delight with the choice of writing for yesterday's tests, we were brought right back down to earth today with what I thought was a difficult paper. Some very tricky questions and a not very interesting topic. How dull was that story?! I felt sorry for our pupils who used an enlarged paper - it was in black and white!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Writing Tests

I was really pleased with these tests!
The Long Writing test was a biography - Pip Davenport! Blimey, isn't this one of the first times ever that the task is actually a genre of writing that is actually studied in Year Six?! After picking genres that no one could ever guess at - finally we get one that we've studied this year! Speaking to colleagues from other schools, it would appear that some children were concerned about historical accuracies - e.g. worrying about things like Pip using a mobile phone or something similar. However, I feel this should be outweighed by their understanding of skills from our study of this style of writing.

The Short Writing test was to write a page from a book for Year Six memories! Blimey - if the children didn't have something to write about for this then they never will!! However, I'm curious to know if, when the results are published, the markers will publish the children's thoughts about their most challenging moment - the SATs!

The spellings today didn't seem too bad. I'm sure we've had a few of these before.

Thursday, 13 March 2008


Topicbox is a fabulous website run by teachers where all the web links have been sorted by topic. You can find online activities and resources for every curriculum subject and every aspect of that subject.