Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Good Pupil

Very tired today. Any interesting conversations to note? ...



Found one!

We have a lovely sixth form pupil who is also a prefect. She popped by today to say hello, and it was lovely to chat with her. She works in the library, and she said she'd pop in to help with my year 7s. Later I saw the librarian and we shared how lovely we think this pupil is, so grown up, mature, sensible, kind, and firm with the pupils. I went away thinking how nice it was to share such a positive feeling.

Unfortunately, the year 7s behaved in much the same way as they often seem to, especially last thing on a Tuesday - ie they didn't.

Maybe tomorrow. I live in hope.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Basketball and Bibles

Had quite a sweet conversation with a pupil at the end of the day. I'm not quite sure how it started ... he was finishing off the work, everyone else had left, and I offered to write a note in his journal, letting his parents know that he was being diligent in his learning. He asked what that meant, and all of a sudden we were talking about basketball. He spoke about how he wanted to do better, and seemed to put down his lack of progress to eating "cold cereal", saying that he should drink warm water. I don't know much about basketball, so didn't really have too much to say about that ... he eventually volunteered the information that he needed to build up endurance, so I suggested maybe practicing more at home, just bouncing the ball up and down a court quickly for a long time. He seemed to think that this might be worth a try. I said that I didn't know much about basketball ... "But you listen. Sir just asks me lots of questions, like am I getting enough sleep?" That one threw me ... "Oh, you mean sir in PE?" "No, English." Well, that explains everything ... ! It was a nice conversation, though, and he seemed to leave a bit happier. It's little moments like that that make teaching worthwhile.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tidy house, ready for school

It's been a nice day today, very relaxed, which is surprising really since we've both been quite busy - maybe that's why it's been relaxing though. I went to church, where the main teaching was "Here I am, Lord, ready to do your will" ... preparing me for school tomorrow. Went home via Tesco, did some of the laundry, and made lamb shanks. After lunch, while H tidied up the studio, I planned my Year 11 lesson on Martin Luther King - I'm quite happy with it. Chronological events of MLK's life, matching up beliefs with actions, answering an exam question, and deciding how MLK would feel if he walked into our school ... would he feel that his dream was coming true?

We've both worked together to get this place ready for our visitor, and we've enjoyed watching the Big Brother final. And so to bed!

Funny kind of day

It was nice to have a longish but not too long lie this morning, and to be able to finish my book without worrying too much about getting up ... although I did have a lot planned. As usual. Anyway, we have a visitor coming, and we expected him to arrive at Heathrow early on Sunday morning, so the first priority was to tidy up. H got up bright and early and started emptying the bathroom. I went through the stuff and got rid of lots of old bottles etc ... it's interesting the sort of things that you find in your bathroom. Old bottles of shampoo, soggy plasters, single contact lenses, bits of soap from here and there, runny suntan lotion, half filled mini travel bottles of who-knows-what, blunt razor blades, spilt cotton buds, lotions and potions of indeterminate age ... Anyway, we've been through it all now I think everything left in there is useable and safe! I started sweeping the floor around the dining area, then sorted through the clothes ... anything not to be worn in the next fortnight has been folded away into a suitcase, so there will be room for our visitor to hang his clothes. The bedroom now looks a bit emptier and tidier - still a bit of work to do on it though!

My main task for the day, however, has been writing my methods and methodology review for my dissertation. I have managed to write almost 3000 words, although since I haven't had time to do any reading, most of it is based on my own ideas rather than interacting with the literature, so there's still a lot to be done. However, I'd rather hand in something that needs a lot of work on it than nothing at all ...

In amongst that, H has been to the shops, we've cooked dinner together (veal with Italian potatoes and Chinese/Malawian vegetables) and we've hads our nightly fix of Big Brother. In case you're wondering ... I phoned for Jermaine last night. Although today we thought we would be happy if Dirk wins. Shilpa is the favourite to win, at the moment, but I think Jermaine and Dirk both stand a chance.

So, that's been my day.

And our visitor? Well, we realised this afternoon that he won't arrive until very early on Monday morning, so we don't have to get up super-early to drive to Heathrow tomorrow and I still have time to get the washing done, and go to church! So it's all good.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Quiet Friday

Had that Y11 class again, the one that ended up badly on Monday. A bit better today ... I've got three pupils who will be getting letters home.

We didn't quite get as much done with the Y10s as I'd hoped, but not too bad. At least the behaviour was improved.

The other Y11 class was not great because the computer suddenly decided not to do what it has always done before! But at least we could do some modelling of an exam answer ...

I was at a conference in the afternoon. Very interesting ... especially since I've been approached about taking part in a pilot scheme involving new technologies in the classroom. Special notepads and iPods were mentioned - watch this space!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Burns' Night

And 100th post!

Happy Burns' Night, everyone!

I recited "To a Louse" to the first two Sixth Formers that arrived at my AS lesson ... I think they quite enjoyed it, although didn't really understand it, and at the end, one commented, "Some of the words sound a bit like English, but the rest ... Scottish is a different language, isn't it?" or words to that effect.

H was greeted with a bit of "To a Haggis" before and after I served the haggis ...

The haggis, neeps and ... stovies (H is not too keen on mashed tatties!) were delicious! And H ate most of his lamb chops, but left some of his veg ... haggis and neeps are not his favourites, either! However, I think he's quite enjoying his crannachan - I did!

Other than that, the day has been not too bad, other than not having any lunch because I had a lunchtime meeting with a parent (a successful one, I'm pleased to say), and then I had a couple of unexpected but important and useful meetings at the end of the day. Lessons were okay for a change today! Mostly went fairly smoothly ...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Snow! In London!

It lasted for about three hours or so before it vanished into sleet then rain, but what a beautiful drive to work this morning! And it was excellent snow - ideal for making snowballs and snowmen - I wish we'd been allowed a "snow day" so we could all enjoy it.

Most of the pupils seemed to quite enjoy it too - I say most because I'm not so convinced that those who arrived with bruised eyes and cut eyebrows really enjoyed the experience of being almost blinded by an iceball!

Other than that, my Year 7s managed almost 20 minutes of good work today! I was enjoying myself ... until one of them realised that his wallet with £25 in it was missing. Pandemonium, and we never did find the money. One of those unfortunate events, and another reason why valuables should not be brought to school.

Still working on our school evaluation form - must be done by tomorrow so I'm double checking the figures and rewriting one of the sections. I have to say, the Deputy Head with responsibility for this has been very supportive and has basically rewritten it for us. Hopefully it'll go down better now!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another baby!

Yes, it's ... Tuesday! (Emm, do I have that excuse on Fridays and Mondays too?!)

I've had letters of apology from the Year 11s that I taught yesterday - although there's still a bit of finger pointing about the throwing of the planner - thanks to the support of the Head of Year. We do have great Heads of Year at school, that's for sure. And they don't get any extra time on their timetable to do their work, which is awful.

My Year 7s were the main concerns today (surprise, surprise!) - there was a lovely lesson planned ...

[NEWS FLASH: I've just learnt that my last HoD had a baby boy at the weekend! So that's the third baby boy this week! How exciting!]

... Anyway, Year 7s had to write a recipe for a good community. I had copied Delia Smith's recipe and everything in order to help and encourage them (Homework - bake a marmalade cake or sticky date loaf and bring Miss a slice in the morning ... postcards home for everyone who does that ...) but a few students continue to spoil it for everyone. Once again, we had three of us in the classroom at one point. Is it me?! (If so, it's a number of other teachers who teach them as well ... Would that be too much of a coincidence?)

After school I had a quick planning meeting with a colleague at another school for the presentation we're going to do on Friday. That was fun, and I might finish my blog by demonstrating one of the strategies we discussed. It's called polygobbing.

Dnnr s ckng, nd - bttr g nd s f t s rdy. Gdnght!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Data, lists, pupils

I'm just blogging in between goes at Scrabble ... H is winning by quite a bit! Anyway, it makes a change from school, which has lurched from one bad lesson to another ... To be fair, the first lesson, the Year 11s, wasn't entirely their fault ... I thought it was my other class that I had that morning, so I left the wrong set of books at home to mark. Still, it doesn't justify throwing my own planner at me. Not too happy about that. Especially when I'm not entirely sure who it was ... The Year 7s were their usual loud and silly selves, but the teacher I called over for stayed in the class for a few minutes while I taught, and I was able to carry out a proper (five minutes worth of) lesson for the first time in ages. Then she left and they were arguing again. More detentions on the cards.

Finally, the Year 10s. I sent two to the referral room quite quickly, for throwing a chair and hitting someone, but even that didn't really calm them down. I have made a new seating plan, but that's still not ideal. Most eventually did something, and the final pupil left about 20 minutes after the bell went.

Then, the meeting. Statistics, statistics, statistics. Data. Two-way tables. Targets. Lists. More lists. More data.

Glad to be home!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Another busy weekend

The weekend is coming to a close once again ... and what have I done?

Yesterday, I slept in until after 11am ... Managed to make up some two-way tables for Years 7, 9 and 11. Marked both sets of Year 10 end of unit tests. We walked to Canary Wharf and took the DLR back. Good to get some exercise. Did some laundry.

Today I've been doing more admin stuff, coming up with lists of students that we need to target, target percentages of pupils that should get A* to C grades, checked who in the department has inputted the data I asked them to input ... I've sort of planned our departmental meeting tomorrow, and have made some posters with Grade Descriptors for the GCSE classes. I still have five sets of books (including homework) to mark, which I am about to do, but have been trying to do the computer based stuff first. I've been to church, and have another lot of laundry on the go. I did some shopping and made lunch - a while ago.

I still haven't written my methods and methodology review, and I haven't planned the "blended learning" workshop that I'll be assisting in delivering on Friday afternoon.

Hope to have an earlier night.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Big Brother ... s

No, not a reference to the TV programme (although we are watching a bit too much of that!), but to celebrate the birth of two beautiful bouncing baby boys ... my sister-in-law has recently given birth to her first child, and a Dutch friend of ours has also just had a baby boy! Congratulations to them both! We are looking forward to seeing the photos!

As for today ... I entered my classroom at 8.25am this morning, and did not leave until 1.15pm, when I popped out in order to fill up a mug with a cupasoup, then dashed back in time for a meeting then my final lesson of the day. Lessons aren't so great on a Friday, I think!

I now have a lot of things to do for Monday ... and I have a meeting with a parent on Monday at 8am, about the behaviour of one of my tutees in form time.

But .... tomorrow will be my first lie in since I went back to school! I look forward to it!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Windy day

I've had some quite good Year 11 and Year 10 lessons today ... so thanks to another HoD who had forwarded interesting powerpoints that I've been using with my Year 11s, and to my NQT who has worked with me on planning Year 10 lessons, which have had a variety of straightforward tasks ... they've been matching up sentences, choosing the correct responses, brainstorming, sequencing, reading, taking notes, answering questions ... I've enjoyed it. Good lessons with AS class as well, although they were all upset and disappointed by their Foundation paper yesterday. It was a shame - not a great choice of questions. However, I hope the next lot will be better.

Then I had a Governors' Meeting that I only found out about tonight, which was dealing with the Catholic Ethos of the school and our SEF 48, which is based on the teaching in RE. So there were only a few of us, and I was getting asked specific questions about the RE department. Okay, though.

So a long day, but at least most of the lessons went fairly smoothly. No Year 7s! And that was even with all that wind, which normally makes the pupils wappy. Strange!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dishcloth Day

As in, I feel completely wrung out just like one. I don't think I could wring very much else out of me. Except I now have to come up with two-way tables for every group, collate a target group of Year 9s who are or are not achieving their target L5, make a list of all the things that everyone in my department has to do (thus creating more work for them), and make sure they are doing those things, print out my departmental handbook and try to update it, prepare for my line manager meeting, fill in risk assessment forms (which means we've been allowed out on trips - hurrah!) ... and did I mention marking and planning lessons?

No time to blog! Goodbye for now!

Good morning!

Just a short note before school. I was too tired to blog yesterday. Or do much else, for that matter. My Year 7s were down in the hall again, and I suddenly had to have a departmental meeting without really being able to prepare for it. But I had just enough to cover the 45 minutes or so, and we know what needs to be done in the next meeting.

I have been invited to give a presentation with another girl who is doing her Masters. I have a meeting today about my research, and have a detention with the Year 7s after school. I'm giving an additional lesson to my AS group who have their exam tomorrow.

Another busy day!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Moon Says Hello

I don't want to condone graffiti, but I just found the following pieces of graffiti unusual and made me smile a bit despite the fact it is graffiti. And it made a change from the dog/cat territory spraying that goes with marking your postcode everywhere. Yes, I know if I'm in N18 or E12 or SW2. I don't need to be reminded on every pillarbox and billboard. (I should point out that I've chosen those postcodes at random ... perhaps they are very nice areas without graffiti, so no slurs intended!)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Last King of Scotland

We've been to see this fim about Idi Amin. A big film about a big man. One of those films where at the end of it, the audience sits in silence. At least for a few seconds, before some start getting up. But still, everyone left in silence.

My husband and I discussed it a lot as we did the shopping. What was interesting was our different perceptions - I am probably writing a completely different reflection than if I had written without talking about it with him. He grew up hearing about Idi Amin, hearing about the myths, the stories ... his experience of presidential stateliness, mystique and magic was completely different from mine. I remember the first time I heard about Idi Amin, a friend of mine was talking about his visit with the Queen, when after a meal, he said "I am completely fed up!" (or words to that effect). I can't quite remember the phrase, but the way my friend spoke, and the tone of voice and the words she used, were comical, and, having seen and heard footage of Amin since, were quite authentic. Since then, I have learnt about Amin throwing the Asians out of Uganda, and many of the myths that surround him, but I haven't known much, really. So some of what I saw tonight, I saw for the first time, but for my husband, he had seen, heard and experienced much in the film, therefore had different expectations.

I found it a big film, like I said, with many things to think about. I was constantly thinking about things as I watched it, interpreting what I was seeing, trying to consider how some of the things must have looked like from other points of view, trying to decide how I felt about certain characters and why they acted as they did. I don't really want to go into details, thus spoiling the film for others, but there were many shocking scenes - as well as many funny ones. But I think for H, the funny scenes weren't funny enough, nor the dreadful scenes dreadful enough. Literally, full of dread. In one scene there was a sense of foreboding - but since this was when Amin was wooing the Western press, I'm not sure if it was charming enough ... And when the Asians were suddenly turfed out, I thought "What Asians? We've hardly seen any in the film," and realised that there was an omission there.

I do think that this was a good film, definitely about the Scottish doctor rather than Uganda, though. And I have to say that I didn't particularly like the doctor. Although I think that means the actor played him well. One anachronism though - I'm sure a Scotsman wouldn't have made a joke about liking his food (was it in relation to human flesh? I don't remember) being deep fried. I'm sure that was more a nineties thing ... Fried maybe, but deep fried?

Anyway, it's really late, and I'm getting up in seven and a half hours and I'm still really tired, so I think I'll leave now. May reflect more on the film tomorrow, having slept on it. Hope I don't dream of it though!

And why did he call himself the Last King of Scotland?

Bond gets Bafta nomination!

Not so much "You heard it here first!", but I thought I'd point out that H did say he thought that Daniel Craig should get an Oscar for his portrayal of the spy ... we're waiting to see what happens. However, Forest Whitaker is also up for awards, in his role as Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland", and we're still waiting to see that one ...

To do this weekend

Tomorrow (well, later this morning ...): Study day for another certificate. Maybe get to the cinema.

Sunday: (After reading at church)

* Year 11 Reports
* Year 10 assessments to be marked
* Plan for Line Manager meeting
* QCA Levels etc: type up
* Write up minutes of last meeting
* Plan agenda for Wednesday meeting

I'm sure there were loads of other things too! Oh well, that will have to do for now!

The evening before the tube ...

We went to Angel to try and book tickets for "The Last King of Scotland" - no luck, it was fully booked even two hours before. So we headed on to the opening at Sadie Coles, which was quite nice, and we met a man from Australia (but who's been in London for ages) and we talked to him for a bit. Then we left the opening and returned to Angel, where we had a lovely meal at a Turkish restaurant, before returning to the tube.

Some observations ...

"... an apprrrrrrrentice orrr somethin' ..." (Just after a conversation on the Scottish burrrrrr ... Listen, that was a Scotsman! What's he doing here?!

A woman bending down to roll up the ankles of her jeans ("I'll just fold them up until we get there"), revealing beautiful sparkly, multi-coloured sequin-y kitten-heeled shoes (mmm, sound beautiful, don't they?!)

At the Turkish restaurant, the huge barbeque, where the chef sat rotating the skewered kebabs of quail, aubergine, chicken and lamb, was covered by a bronze canopy leading to a huge extracter, which was embossed with pastoral images of rutting goats and grazing cows.

My favourite picture at the opening had a multitude of blue strokes which revealed two stars.

Tube Tale

"Can I have your attention please? I would like to apologise for the delay. I have been told there are people on the track. People running around on the track. That's all the information I have at the moment. I will let you know when I hear any more."

"Can I have your attention please? Now I've heard there are policemen out on the track. I am still waiting for more news."

"Can I have you attention please? I've been told there are two bodies on the track. Whether that means two people on the track or actual bodies, I don't know. I'm waiting to hear more. Sorry for the delay."

"Your attention please. It sounds like a really bad incident. It seems to be in East Ham. There could be a two hour delay."

"Yer 'avin' a laff!"

"Attention please. We're going to try and move the driver's carriage forward into Mile End. You can choose to get out there and make your own way home. I'm still waiting for more information."

"Can I have your attention please? I'm afraid there is a body under the train at Barking. It's between stations, so it's going to take a lot longer than - well, I hate to say 'normal', but ... I'm still going to try and move the train forward. I can see the train in front - it's still not moving."

A group of young people, who have been chatting and giggling throughout all the announcements, including the one above - "That would be so cool, if they had to switch off all the electricity and we had to get out and walk along the tunnel in the dark ... There might be ghosts ... Ghost rats ... !"

"Can I have your attention please? I'm trying to get permission from the manager to move, but he's really busy at the moment, of course. It's queued back to South Kensington at the moment. As soon as I get permission I'll move."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A straightforward sort of day

Did I mention I feel exhausted? I hope to have an early night tonight - I can hardly keep my eyes open. Other than that, though, I am well and happy. Which is good. Despite some of the things that happen at school!

My Year 11s listened well to the review of the mock exam. Except those who were sleeping. I think about four, maybe five of them. I sympathised. Getting back into the swing of things after the holidays ... However, not very happy with them! A few latecomers were supposed to come back for detention. They didn't.

Both sets of Year 10 ... one learnt the new words, the other did the test (the cheating wasn't quite as blatant, but two girls kept talking so I sent them to the referral room but the refused to go, shouting at me until another teaching arrived to pick them up).

The AS class are now very keen to have extra lessons ... my non-contact tomorrow will now be teaching them, one on Tuesday ... Hope they manage to do well next week.

Had another inspirational meeting with the ex-HoD. She is full of really practical advice and has been very supportive in terms of helping out with new SoW etc.

Right, I think I've told you all quite enough about my day! I really need to cook something, and I even more need to get some sleep ...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sleep, sweet sleep, wherefore art thou?

I am exhausted ... have been ever since I woke up. Must get to bed early tonight ...

My AS pupils have difficulties arriving at school. One arrived, about ten minutes late. Another arrived about ten minutes later - he was supposed to be elsewhere, but we suggested that since his exam is next week, he would do well to ask for permission to leave his last class and come to my one. He disappeared, and re-appeared about five minutes before the end of the lesson. A couple of minutes before another girl arrived. And a few minutes before the final two attendees decided to attend, after the bell arrived. Did I mention they have an exam next week?

My Year 10s sat their end of unit assessment. Not as much cheating this time, although after a few illicit conversation and some strained eyes, I decided it was easier to just to read out the key word from the poster on the wall, rather than put up with their devices to get to the front of the class ... oh dear, I've just dropped my pen and it slid along the floor to the front of the room just disturbs everyone else. At least they might see the point of my wall displays now.

The Year 7s? Lots of shouting, some tantrums, stamping of feet ... and they were pretty bad too. Eventually had a few of them back for detention. Didn't manage to play the game that was part of the lesson plan. Shame. I'd been quite looking forward to it. Wonder if they'll be able to manage lesson 3 in the scheme of work? As for their homework, quite a few came up to me to say they hadn't understood the homework. List some communities you can think of eg church, school, guides. Choose one and describe it. Even if they didn't know what a community was, I can hardly believe that noone in the home knew either,and there were no dictionaries, internet search engines, or mobiles to "phone a friend" around.

Only one A level student. Since he's from Uganda, my favourite part of the lesson was where we discussed the forthcoming film, "The Last King of Scotland". But we looked at Natural Law too.

I also managed to squeeze a couple of meetings, some form filling, a lot of filing, some other admin and a couple of short conversations into the day. Then I went off to uni for my dissertation seminar. We were thinking about the Literature Review. Well, they were. I was thinking about sleep. No wonder I got lost on my way home.

I have a meeting with the other ex-HoD tomorrow. Looking forward to it, but exhausted. Still have to do those final Year 11 reports, plan tomorrow's lessons, go to a conference on Saturday, go to an opening on Friday, and see TLKOS sometimes during the weekend.

Sleep, sweet, sweet sleep ...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Joy of Computers

It took me a double lesson to download and print out a Scheme of Work today.

Other than that, my compulsory RE lesson was okay, my Year 10s had moments of quietness that were not interupted by someone saying "Why's everyone stopped talking?" (although there were moments of one miss at the back screeching loudly at another master), and my Year 7s ... well, it's windy. And we had surveyors in the playground.

Took them 20 minutes detention to realise that the lesson would end when I had finished teaching it, which would only happen once it was quiet.

Last lesson of the day, three adults in the room.

There goes the microwave bleeping at me again ... time for dinner! (H is out watching Apocolypto ... as he said to me, "You're never going to watch it, are you?" True. True.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Back to School!

I enjoy Monday mornings when I don't have a cover ... up until about form time! Seriously, it was nice to see my form again - they are very lively and generally seem to be happy pupils - but I do wish they had a bit less energy. And a bit more respect. Ah well. I'll keep at it!

My Year 11 class all arrived very promptly and smartly, and it was a shame, really, that we then had to go to an assembly and spend the rest of the lesson there. Hope the lesson on Friday goes well instead!

In the afternoon, my Year 7s had moments of stillness and listening! Must cultivate those ... We were focusing on thinking about how we can improve our levels this term. I think most have made comments about adding more detail to their answers ... a shame, I was hoping they were all going to plan to listen more and talk less, but that doesn't appeared to have figured much. At least hopefully now should know what their target level is and what level they are currently working at. In preparation for the Ofsted visit.

My Year 10s? Well, anyone walking in would no doubt have been surprised to learn that the pupils have an assessment next lesson. They didn't sound as if they knew much, nor as if they were learning much. Oh dear. We managed to go over ten key words. Some of the pupils knew some of the words ... but some were more interested in screeching at each other.

All in all, it was quite a quiet day. I also managed to sort out a bit of admin, and planned a few lessons with our NQTs. She's really very perceptive at times, of what will work and what won't with her class. We managed to hone down the lessons to the basic tasks. We also met up with the Head of Sixth Form to plan the unit of work for the compulsory General RE lessons.

The day finished with a long middle management meeting. Some bits are worthy but dull; some bits are quite inspirational. I'm planning on auditing our homework in the department, and asking for examples of good homework so we can build up an exemplar "good homework" file. I've also planned an artwork for the Chapel with the Head of Art. Exciting!

Another good piece of news was that I realised that my Year 11 reports are due in next Monday, not Friday as feared. Great, all week and the weekend to finish the second set! However, I also realised in the morning that I have to go to a course on Saturday ... and then the Head of Sixth Form, who is also writing her dissertation, reminded me that we have a uni meeting on Wednesday after school! So it looks like a busy week (probably fortnight, maybe month, possibly term) once again!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

And so it begins

Right, I better get ready for bed now.

I don't think I've felt so unprepared for a new term for a long time ... but at least my Year 11 scripts are marked, my Year 7 assessments are marked, and I have written one set of reports. Still one set to go (about 23 pupils in that class, I think), but at least I've broken the camel's back, as it were.

I feel really tired. I would like to have gone through all my paperwork, but that is going to have to wait until first period tomorrow. I have planned a Year 11 powerpoint going through the exam paper, a Year 10 revision lesson in preparation for the test during the following lesson, and a Year 7 "New Year Resolutions" lesson, in preparation for the new Sacraments Scheme of Work. Which I was hoping would be ready by now, but isn't ...

So, that's it. The holiday is over. I've really enjoyed it, we have done lots of nice things, it's been good to back home with my family, it's nice to be back home just the two of us in London, I'm glad I've managed to achieve something, and I've eaten lots of chocolate. Need water and fresh fruit ...

Happy New (Academic) Year, everyone!

Passionate Eater

I suppose it's a co-incidence that my next post after my simple soup recipe should be to a foodie blog that I've just found (while take a short and not at all well deserved break from writing reports ...) - Passionate Eater has amazing photos and descriptions of food ... one of my main pleasures in life! Hope you also enjoy looking at this "Blog of Note".

Butternut Squash Soup

I should have taken a photo to illustrate it ...

Roast one butternut squash in the oven for about 45 minutes at about 120 C.
Peel (Mind your fingers! It's still hot!) and cube into inch square pieces.
Chop one onion, one carrot, two sticks of celery and one apple into similar sized pieces.
Put all the vegetables in a large pan.
Mix two stock cubes in about 1 pint of boiling water. Add to the pan.
Boil for about 30 mins to one hour. Keep an eye on it.
Zap with the blender until it is smooth.

Serve with a swirl of double cream!


That made enough for two of us to have soup and sandwiches yesterday (and I had at least two servings ...) and a mug each today.

Thanks, Dad, for passing on that delicious idea of tasty soup to me over Christmas! In fact, that gives me an idea for a photo!

Getting there ...

Slowly but surely.

Is that how I began my last blog too?

It's another late night ... but at least the Year 7 assessments have been marked, and the levels have been added to the database. A bit disappointing, really. However, it's the first time we have used that assessment, and I think the pupils thought that the questions needed short answers rather than more developed answers. I'm not sure whether to change the assessment next time, or simply give more sentence starters/guidance etc.

I have also planned a couple of lessons to start the week.

So ... I still have to:

* Write about 50 Year 11 reports.
* Plan a questionnaire for my Year 11s as part of my research.
* Read up on, and write, my Methods and Methodology Review.
* Get in touch with the other ex-HoD who is helping me out by writing another Scheme of Work ...
* Plan lessons for next week, including a SoW for Year 10 and Year 11.

I'm sure I could go on ...

I also helped H with his tax return today (still a bit to do, but we're getting there, and it seemed to be easier than I thought it would be ... next year could be a bit more complicated though!).

Also finished the Butternut Squash soup which I made yesterday. Delicious! In fact, I think it deserves a blog entry of its own.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Getting there ...

Slowly but surely.

Last night I finished marking the Year 11 mock exam scripts. This morning I have added their data to the database, which at some point I will need to analyse in order to work out how to help them improve.

We slept in today, since it is raining heavily and thus even darker than normal.

My next task will be to mark the Year 7 assessments, then I will be able to get started on the Year 11 reports, while the comments I made about their exams are still fresh in my mind. I wonder if it's possible to finish all that today?

Better get started!

Friday, January 05, 2007

(A) Little Work Done

It's scary how easy it is to fill time being busy yet achieve very little ... I finished unpacking, cleaning, made a tasty dinner (I thought!) of beef stew, roast potatoes and green beans, ate far too much chocolate, completed two concept maps for my AS students (on Virtue Ethics and Natural Law), thereby revising them myself, downloaded the final Christmas photos, learnt how to put them onto the internet, shared a few albums with my nearest and dearest ... but of my marking? Nada, I believe the term is. It's now after midnight, and I must get up tomorrow and sit down and complete it. So off to bed!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back home

We travelled back yesterday, in the rain and wind, and made it back by around 10pm. The flat is very cold ... the heating is on but that cold chill of an empty house cruches in the air. I think our neighbours have been away for Christmas too, so we have been without their heat as well!

I've had a rest, finished reading "Cry, The Beloved Country" (great book), and now am up to finish unpacking and tidying. Fortunately we went shopping yesterday, so there is some food in the house. And lots of biscuits and chocolate, of course! Once the unpacking is finished, I have the second set of exam scripts to mark, the reports to write, and then I will need to work out my priorities from writing Schemes of Work, planning questionnaires for my research, reading up for and writing my Methods and Methodology review and numerous other things that need to be done over the next four days. So I may not blog that much between now and then!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year Resolutions

Since I have a blog, I should probably think of some resolutions, and next year I can see how I've done. So here goes.

  • I will lose the six pounds I have put on since coming up north. And preferably 10 lbs, to take me back to a nice round 10 stones.
  • I will eat less chocolate, and more vegetables and fruit.
  • I will mark books and homework promptly.
  • I will wash the dishes more promptly at home.
  • I will watch less TV and read more books.

Well, I think that's quite enough of resolutions for just now.

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone reading this has had a Happy New Year, and I wish you all the very best for 2007!

I didn't manage to post yesterday ... I was too busy marking. Have almost finished marking one set of exam scripts, just one set to go.

We had a smashing time at Hogmanay. Just after the bells, my Auntie fell over, pulling me on top of her and thus getting banged on the head with my camera. Since this was going on, we missed the crash that had signalled our hostess dropping all the champagne and glasses in her hallway.

However, we all managed to recover to finish the seven-part quiz, which I enjoyed very much. There were different rounds, including memory and observation, carpet bowls and Name that Tune. I am glad to announce that Mum and I were joint winners overall!

Since we got home sometime after 4am, getting up before noon was a struggle, but I just managed it. Too tired to do much for the rest of the day though ... I did manage to get some marking done, but only just.

We have two sets of visitors today so I'll need to go now. Oh, but what about my New Year Resolutions? Next post, I think.