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End of the Autumn term 2012 December 11, 2012

Filed under: education — fionathomasict @ 12:17 pm

So it’s Christmas and we have had an amazing term. Really amazing. I started blogging with my class, joined the 5 sentence challenge and really haven’t looked back. The parents and the children love it. Year 1 have joined in, both with the blog and the 5 sentence challenge and we are really impressed with the amount of progress the children have made with their writing. Some of the other primary classes are also going to start after Christmas and a couple have started just before, including the Primary Head with a school blog as well as a class one.

I went to my first ever Teachmeet at Clevedon School and found it really stimulating and inspirational. I could not believe that you could learn so much in an evening. It would need a whole post just to say what I did, what I learnt and what I now want to do. I was an instant addict and left buzzing with ideas and desires to read more and follow up on ideas. One thing I did want was to share the excitement with the rest of the staff! Teachmmets are contagious! I did follow up fairly quickly with a visit to TMNewport with two more colleagues and then helped organise TMCardiff at my own school, sharing with everyone in one go! And I volunteered to speak! I was nervous and although I had practised, found that the time went quicker on the stage as I relaxed and I ran out of time! But have already put my name down for another one!

The class and the junior school are getting used to Google Apps. We haven’t had much time for training days on it yet but some of the staff are beginning to use it. Year 6 have used the email, Year 2 have typed up poems and used it for homework and Year 4 and Year 2 have made websites and all the staff have made a class website themselves. Small beginnings but its positive…

The Early Years have ipads and there has been great excitement amongst staff and children and so much learning going on! It is great to be in a staffroom and hear teachers coming in and saying ‘Have you seen this or that app?  We used it to….”  Then all the staff with ipads or iphones begin downloading and exploring!

Teachmeet Clevedon brought new ideas and books to my notice and this term I have read Jim Robinson- The Lazy Teacher and Zoe Elder – Full on Learning. I have also bought David Didau’s The Perfect English Ofsted Lesson and ordered Mark Anderson’s- The Perfect ICT Lesson. Due to the fact that I have also been reading the blogs associated with these prolific writers, I haven’t finished all of them yet but have found myself agreeing with what I am reading and wanting to try things out…This has to be good. More reading scheduled for the holidays.

Most importantly we have the new Principal who arrived in June and a new Deputy who arrived in September. They have filled the school with a new kind of buzz. New ideas are always greeted with trepidation by teachers who are already always busy and tired but these have in very different individual ways inspired the staff. They are working very hard behind the scenes but are visible throughout the school and come into the primary classrooms, join in with music lessons and even on infant trips! (It’s always impressive when secondary SLT do that if you are in a through school.) They have read and responded to the new primary school blogs and have been encouraging and enthusiastic. They have welcomed new ideas and innovation.

So next year 2013?

I have appointed 7 Digital Leaders to start working with in January and asked them to think about giving a presentation in the new year of something they have used and think is useful, interesting and why. Some of the staff who attended an Outstanding Teacher Programme are sharing their progress in an INSET at the beginning of term, I have a Teachmeet already lined up to attend and am going to the BETT show for the first time!

Now I am going to relax and do some knitting.

Happy Christmas.


Stained Glass December 2, 2012

Filed under: art — fionathomasict @ 4:04 pm

I went back to Craft in the Bay last weekend, this time with Richard for his birthday present – two days of stained glass. Richard has read about this subject and has been meaning to give it a go since I met him 5 years ago. The original window that he wanted to glaze was in his house in Barry, but now there are two arched windows in our back door that he fancies doing. So I saw the course and decided that this might be what was needed to actually get a hands on feel and the confidence to start. Of course what also came was the experienced advice of the instructor, so now we know what Richard is getting for Christmas!
The pictures above show a mixture of his and my first attempts. We were given the template (cartoon) and told to start with cutting a circle. Richard’s was much better than mine! But we were actually pleased with our attempts and carried on choosing the next colour and cutting it to fit some of the various shapes of our cartoon. As the day went on, the cutting got easier and we began to hear the difference between a good cut and the differences between the different colours of glass. We leaded the window up and admired our work and went home pleased with our attempts. The following day we soldered the joints. I found it particularly tricky to control the amount of solder at first and my joints were not as neat as Richard’s. Then we started our next project, which was square based. We decided quickly that more colours were needed and we were quickly busy cutting the shapes. More time was spent now moving the colours around and deciding which to put where. The leading and the soldering were easier this second time round, particularly as the instructor lent us his soldering iron which was temperature controlled. This time I could feel that I was better. Richard, of course was fine and his previous experience showed!
We went home with two small windows each and are planning on integrating them into our door windows. I am getting Richard some equipment for Christmas and hopefully will have some pictures of our door to show in the new year!