Look Out.

Apparently, somewhere along the way I’ve developed a look.

The look, so my class kindly inform me, is at its strongest when delivered over the top of my glasses with an inclined head and a raised eyebrow.

One young man assures me that in collective worship he can feel the look on the back of his neck – I say that’s his guilty conscience at work as I only use this superpower

a) when necessary
b) when I have eye contact with someone

When I started teaching the first deputy head I worked with had a ferocious look – I remember being impressed by her ability to stop trouble at ten paces with an arched eyebrow.

At the time as a naive NQT I didn’t think I could ever aspire to my own version of  the look but it seems that somewhere along the way I’ve managed to perfect it.

The look can’t stand alone – it has to be built into your relationship with the pupils. If their behaviour and work ethic didn’t matter you wouldn’t bother.
I’m sure if I delivered the look  to a random class that didn’t know me I’d just look like a crazed middle aged woman with a wrinkled forehead.

I’d like to think the look has nuances and isn’t the “emotionless, expressionless stare” that wikipedia describes.


Don’t even think about it.

I hope that it also has a positive friendly counterpart

The look that says

Well done.
Keep it up.
That’s great.
Don’t give up.



I’ve written about making mistakes before.

The truth is I am an expert in the art of mistake making.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 21.11.08But I still stand by my assertion that that’s perfectly alright.

I always tell the children that the only problem with mistake making is if you keep on repeating the same mistake. It should be a step on your learning journey.

As important as making mistakes is I’m also a firm believer in admitting when I am just plain wrong.

I hate it when I see adults in a school ploughing on, not admitting that they are in the wrong. It diminishes their integrity and isn’t a good way of developing relationships with pupils and other adults.

If something doesn’t work, or I mess up a lesson I don’t think there is anything wrong in admitting it and apologising.

If I don’t know something I would much rather admit my ignorance then bluff or give out wrong information. Not that I’m above using the tried and tested

“what an interesting question … why don’t you see if you can find the answer?”

This doesn’t mean I like being wrong – I hate it. But I’ve learnt not to be afraid of it.

I hope my classroom is a place where it’s alright to be wrong. A place where we alongside celebrating success we recognise and acknowledge the mistakes that help us learn.

Using Staff OneNote

As we move into our third full term of using OneNote things have evolved.

When we started on our OneNote journey the staff version wasn’t available so I made 5 separate planning OneNotes that were then shared by teaching staff.

This worked perfectly well. It did take time to set up each NoteBook and make sure everyone had all the correct sections.

Moving to one shared file feels like the right thing to do – there were lots of sections that I had duplicated in each individual OneNote – this should avoid the need to do this.

Initially I set up a staff OneNote using the template but I soon realised that it wouldn’t actually work for our purposes.

I wanted all teaching staff to be able to see and contribute to all areas. I played around behind the scenes trying to change the settings but I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted.

Going back to the drawing board I created a new Staff OneNote – this time I added all teaching staff as co-owners rather than staff members.

This meant that there were no private areas and I could then set it up as I wanted.

The ability to password protect tabs means that staff are still able to have pages which contain confidential information

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I removed the ‘collaboration area’ as technically the idea is that the whole NoteBook is collaborative.


When you open it we have the welcome page which contains an index and links to each planning section

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 21.23.47The virtual notice board has a page for each teacher and a whole staff page – a useful place to share things that don’t warrant an email but need saying.

It’s good to see that during the holiday people have already started using this feature.

The content library is filling up nicely – policy documents, collective worship resources, planning overviews, national curriculum documents and information.

To stop it becoming too cluttered I’ve added a new section group and put subjects into that. A place where people can share resources and schemes of work.

Then, sitting alongside the content library we have an admin section and class planning.

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How will this improve our systems?

  • Staff who teach in more than one Class don’t need to ‘notebook-hop’
  • The noticeboard should streamline communication
  • There is no longer a need to copy sections into multiple notebooks
  • Policies and SOW are all in one accessible place



Summer Term

It’s hard to believe that the Summer Term is upon us.
Two thirds of the year gone by already – Easter being early this year means that there are 66 school days left – 65 is exactly one third of the working year.

How do I feel about the Summer Term?

Fine weather (maybe, we are in Wales)
A residential trip to look forward to
Planning – using OneNote means that for the first time in my entire career my planning is up to date and I’m not playing catch up. I’m even enjoying planning for this term – lots of exciting things to do.
Out Door Classroom Day
Report Writing – yes, I like it.

Moderation and Testing – necessary evils, but I have to admit having begun the process of compiling my moderation work it isn’t making my heart sing with joy. Time and effort to tell me what I already know … what would I like to happen? For someone to come in and sit with my ‘chosen’ pupils – look at their books, chat with them and watch them complete as task.

And as for testing, was all have the pupils who just cannot cope with the test situation – you can make it as calm and unthreatening as you like but for some it is a soul-destroying experience, where, for some reason they cannot show what they are capable of.

Saying goodbye to Year 6





DL Chat

Sometimes 140 characters isn’t enough …
Q1 – just how much time do your Digital Leaders spend being digital leaders? What are they expected to do in this time?

This year’s group distribute and collect all equipment daily – staff book equipment via OneNote and the DLs organise the equipment accordingly.
Until now the information has been on my OneNote file but I’ve just changed the system so it is on their Class OneNote and they and access info even if I am not around.

They also spend several dinner times a week doing DL stuff (by choice)  – this year they self organise. They made a video and prepared a presentation on e-safety, they update software and organise hardware, create quizzes and presentations (e.g. – how to look after and charge the laptops correctly)

If there is an ICT problem in another class they are the first port of call – they’ll go down and see if they can solve it (quite often they do)

Q2 – Is there a hierarchy in your Digital Leaders? Are they expected to organise themselves at all?

To be honest this group have been pretty good at self-organisation. Last year I was over ambitious and had too many and it didn’t work.

We have a core group of 5 with a couple of honorary DLs who help when needed.

Occasionally they will ask for advice on how to organise/approach something but mostly they are self sufficient.

They all have different strengths (e.g. Some are really good at problem solving and finding ways to work around an ICT issue, others are great at tracing the source of a problem)

Q3 – How independent do you expect your Digital Leaders to be? What are they allowed to do?

They are fairly independent like to tell me what to do.

In the past I have had to direct them much more – this year they are quite proactive and will identify problems themselves.

They also like to work with the ICT technician when he comes in so that if the same problem arises we can resolve it in-house.

I try to encourage them to develop areas of ICT they are interested in and they have risen to the challenge.

Q4 One tip for encouraging independent Digital Leaders?

You do need a couple of DLs who are good at organising things/one another.

Is it Safe?

You have to say that in the style of a crazed dentist or is it just me?

Today was Safer Internet Day and our Digital Leaders did us proud.


For weeks they’ve spent dinner times planning and preparing a video and quiz.

How much involvement have I had? Truthfully, not much. In fact, until today I hadn’t even seen the finished product.

This morning they set everything up and tested the quiz – there was one minor blip where a question said “How do you spell cyber?”

Once we’d worked through the flawed logic and rephrased it they were ready to go.

And they were fantastic – they worked with FP first and they had the younger pupils eating out of their hands. The video, a great mix of safety messages and a rather funky dance to teach them where to get help if they are being cyber bullied was a pleasure to watch.

The quiz went well – and at the end they (the DLs) were confident that they had delivered the safety message successfully.


So why do I have this continual worry about their e-safety? I think the truth is that we are training our children to be able to answer our questions on e-safety correctly.

In my school the correct text book answers come thick and fast.

Ask the question and the hands shoot up

They all tell us that a friend online should be someone they know but I’d bet my second best iPad that many of them interact with strangers.

They overshare – the internet has always been there for them and they know no fear.

They can tell us how to deal with a cyber bully – but do they? Or are they keyboard warriors retaliating, or passive victims feeling scared and diminished?

What’s the answer? I wish I knew.