Monday, 30 April 2007

Lost Season Three Episode 18 'D.O.C.'

Another great episode! The writers of the show are clearly going all out to end the season with a bang. Once again we learn a couple of answers but left with more questions... This time we find out some important information regarding Sun and Jin.

In the flashback we see how a strange woman threatens Sun. She demands $100000 to stop her from revealling that Jin's mother is a prostiture. Sun visits Jin's father and he tells her to keep that she knows his parents are alive a secret. Sun respects his wishes and asks her father for a loan of the money. He agrees but says that Jin must now work for him in order to pay the debt. So that's why he had to do it! Sun gives the money to the lady who it turns out is Jin's mother!

Sun learns what happens to pregnant women on the island. She goes with Juliet to the Staff medical station to take an ultrascan to confirm the D.O.C. (Date of Conception). Sun is worried that if the baby was conceived off the island then she will not die, but the baby will not be his. If the baby was conceived on the island then it is Jin's baby... but she will die. The baby is revealled to be Jin's and so this means that at some point Sun must die! They can't kill her off!

Before she leaves the medical station Juliet leaves a tape recorded message for Ben to say that she is collecting samples from all the women including Austen (Kate). Does this mean that Kate could be pregnant too due to the island's incredible ability to improve a man's sperm count fivefold?

The gang try to rescue the parachutist when Hurley accidently sets off a flare! Suddenly Mikhail the Russian who we presumed died a few episodes back appears. Once again the island's healing properties seem to have paid off! He tries to run away but eventually agrees to help save the girl as long as they let him go. He treats her and tells Charlie that she will heal within 24 hours. He tries to steal her satellite phone, but Jin catches him.

The girl wakes up and speaks to Hurley, this time in English (she has already spoken Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Chinese). She asks who they are. He tells her that they are the survivors of Oceanice flight 815. She says that's impossible as the plane was found and there were no survivors - everyone was dead. Hurley sums up the entire show in one word: "What?"

This can't be right. Does this mean that all those theories about an alternative universe are right? I hope not, I don't like the idea. Hopefully it means that there has been yet another cover up to stop anyone finding the real survivors.

Next week it's Locke's flashback. I believe that the flashback is all on the island and that we find out what's going on with his dad. My money's on Locke's dad being the conman who conned Sawyer's parents back in Season One.

Saturday, 28 April 2007


I'm pleased to say that the Head we wanted was given the job. Congratulations!!

Now we will find out about our own jobs. I'm looking forward to learning whether I can continue my senior management role. More news as it happens.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Lack of sport is breeding yobs

The Daily Mail reports that 'yob culture is being fuelled by a failure to promote sport in schools'.

Researchers from Oxford University have concluded that the Government's aim of pupils taking part in at least two hours of physical education each week was inadequate. Competitive sports are particularly important for boys, who regularly under-achieve academically compared to girls, they said. Excelling on the playing field can boost the status of less academic boys and motivates tem in class.

I have definitely found this. You pick a boy for the school football team and his work in class suddenly improves dramatically!


Well, this is the week our school has been waiting for... Tomorrow the Head for the newly amalgamated school is appointed.

Our Head, although, of course, he is Acting Head, has been absolutely inspirational for the last two years. After working alongside teaching in Year Six, it has been incredible to watch such a dynamic person leading the school so strongly. He has brought together a staff, making every person feel valued - the children, teachers, TAs, clerical staff, midday assistants, cooks and caretakers. He has made the school more involved in the community. The revolutionary changes he has made include building a new front entrance to the school, revamping our office, building allotments, arranging for an outdoor classroom, a butterfly garden and new PE storage areas. He has scrutinised planning to see that we all plan in the same way, brought in a new reading scheme, improved our writing results, introduced a new residential to Year Three, arranged for the Year Six visit to France and numerous other wonderful changes.

He truly deserves the job as Head of the new school and I'm sure he will relish the opportunity to bring the two schools together.

Once this decision is made the rest of us can begin to finally understand what our position will be in the new school.

Good luck tomorrow GP!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 5 'Fish, Lips And Horses'

A classic episode! It was really great to see the different strategies used by the candidates, whilst their humour was really funny. Of course, Sir Alan was right in the boardroom.
The candidates wheel and deal in the fashionable London art scene. They had two days to select two artists to work with, mount an exhibition and then get buyers through the door of their private view. The team to sell the most art wins.

Natalie heads up Eclipse and Kristina takes the reins with Stealth.

Natalie was the Project Manager for Eclipse. Katie in Eclipse was completely airy-fairy this week. She seemed to fancy herself as a bit of an art-critic and seemed to think she new how to communicate with artists and sell their work. They chose the art of Elisabeth Hoff (more about her later), who's huge glossy lip photographs were Eclipse's first choice.

Whilst Adam is ridiculously arrogant, he voiced his opinions but did exactly what Natalie asked him to do. Katie said that she wished he would 'go back to the car sales lot and get run over...' Lead by Katie, the team turn against Adam's hard approach to selling, deciding they must tread lightly around artists and not go in for the hard sell at their private view.

Krisina was the team leader for Stealth. She wanted the team to give the hard sell, completely the opposite to Natalie's softly approach. One customer described her exhibition as being like an estate agents.

Tre was on top form this week. I think he is hilarious. My favourite comment was about Linda Lieberman's ocean inspired work. 'Titties and fish,' he growled with disgust, 'what a combination. She calls it hanging the ocean out to dry. I call it bras and fish.' Despite voicing his opinions and the art work clearly offending him, Kristina shoved him down in the basement with the responsibility of hanging Lieberman's work. He was offended by the nudity in the pieces and he refused to hang some of the pieces, saying they belonged in 'a fetish gallery'.

When he tried to sell the art he was brilliant, creating the biggest load of nonsense to try to appeal to modern art lovers (nutters?). Still, he managed to sell a few.

In the boardroom, Kristina's team won by a landslide, pulling in £4,702 to Eclipse's £1599.78. They were packed off to a swanky spa to soak up some serious treatments. Kristina tried to persuade Tre to have a footballer style 'back, sack and crack' wax!

Sir Alan tackled Eclipse's choice of artist Elisabeth Hoff and was not impressed by the way she dominated the team and refused to share her contacts. She was so arrogant and really loved herself. She was like an art-diva and dominated her team. Personally I'm not into modern art. Although one or two of her pieces were nice, I agree with Sir Alan that to sell her work you needed someone to fall in love with the whole collection as it wouldn't have appealled to everyone.

Adam and Lohit are pulled back into the final boardroom. Lohit has been like an extra all series and has done nothing. Adam was bound to be called in as Natalie hated him. Katie didn't get one sale, and it was her sales strategy that flopped.

However, although Sir Alan admired the way Natalie combined motherhood with studying for her MBA, he felt she was out of her depth. And so Natalie the housewife became the sixth candidate to be fired from the competition. Natalie's inclusion to the show exposed their claim that the greatest young business people in the country were invited to take part a complete mockery. She was nothing special and Sir Alan was right to give her the boot.

Wireless internet 'poses health risk'

Wireless networks in schools may pose a health risk to children and staff. The Professional Association of Teachers has written to Education Secretary Alan Johnson to demand an inquiry into the effects of the technology, which is being installed in classrooms across the country.

According to the BBC the long-term effects of wireless technology have not been investigated. Philip Parkin, the leader of the PAT commented, "I am concerned that so many wireless networks are being installed in schools and colleges without any understanding of the possible long-term consequences. I am not saying there is a danger, but I have enough concern to ask for it to be investigated."

The union highlights the case of Michael Bevington, a classics teacher at Stowe school in Buckinghamshire. According to the union, Mr Bevington "had never had any problems before the wi-fi. When it was put into his classroom he suffered nausea, blinding headaches and a lack of concentration. When the school removed the wi-fi his condition improved".

The Health Protection Agency points to the low power levels of such wi-fi networks, compared to mobile phones.


Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Borrowers display

This display shows work that our two Year Sixes colloborated on over two weeks. A scenario was designed in which The Borrowers were hidden inside our school. One class played the role of the Borrowers whilst the other became the advisers. The Borrowers were guided towards a magical book in the Library. The Borrowers and children communicated through letters. We also wrote formal letters to their parents to explain where their children were, and also a newspaper report. The unit of work is brilliant to develop their children's creative skills, but also to help secure and enhance sentence structure. We worked on our use of complex sentences and ambitious vocabulary at the same time. The display features photos of the Borrowers in our school. We made clay models which the children place in position.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Lost Season Three Episode 17 'Catch-22'

Another brilliant episode. It's brilliant to watch how many links Desmond has with other characters and coincidence (or fate??) regarding the island.

On the island we see Kate become jealous of Jack and Juliet. Sawyer seems to know she is jealous too. Sawyer mentions Bernard - so he is still alive! Where is he?!

Desmond's flashbacks show how he left his fiance to become a monk. After becoming depressed and drinking a bottle of wine from the monestry (they only produce 108 bottles a year (4+8+15+16+23+42)) he is sacked. Just as he is about to leave he bumps into Penny...

Back on the island, Desmond has a vision. It leads him to organise a 'camping trip' in which he thinks he finds Penny. He tells Charlie that everything has to happen the way he saw it in his vision. He sets off with Charlie, Hurley and Jin. They discover the cable (the one that Sayid and Hurley found in Season 1), they see the flashing beacon, find the rucksack and find the photo of Desmond and Penny inside the book. The next part doesn't happen the way he saw it. In his vision, Charlie died. In real life he saves Charlie. If things change, is that why he discovers the parachutist only to find it is not Penny after all, or was it never Penny to begin with? Whoever they discover, the girl who crash landed from the helicopter opens her eyes and says, "Desmond." Who is it!! In a wierd connection, they find a Brazilian copy of Catch-22 in her backpack. Of course in Brazil they speak Portuguese - the same language as spoken by the two men at the end of Season 2.

Just when I thought we were finally going to find out that Penny's search for Desmond was about to pay off we are left with yet another character. Who on Earth is she, and how does she know Desmond?

There are five episodes remaining in Season Three. The next episode features a Sun and Jin flashback, then Locke, then Ben (!), then Charlie and the season finale is all about Jack!! I can't wait!

Friday, 20 April 2007

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 4 'Sugar Rush'

A very enjoyable episode. We are beginning to learn more about the team members, and there are one or two that don't seem to be as good as others. Both teams made poor decisions this week.

The task was to design, manufacture and sell sweets at London Zoo. Ghazal's team made bags of fudge and chocolate lollies, but very, very slowly. In fact they didn't manage to produce enough sweets. Ghazal remained positive and was in fact not that bothered that she didn't have enough. Their sweets sold really well in the park - so well that they'd sold out by mid-afternoon. They seemed pleased to be able to go home and relax, but Sir Alan was surely not going to be impressed.

Adam's team decided to make chocolate lollies and hard-boiled lollipops decorated with hundreds and thousands. Despite their natural flavourings, this meant the lollipops were definitely not natural. They worked late into the night - much to moaning Sophie's disgust - and made tonnes of sweets to sell. After cocking up the location of their stall (why can't any of this year's contestants find good locations to sell?) the team decided to dress up in animal costumes to sell their sweets. This didn't seem to sell more lollies, just make children cry. They found themselves in trouble when the zoo's Commercial Director told the team to stop selling the lollies as Natalie wrote the label incorrectly as Natural Lollies instead of Tiger Lollies. They had to cross out the word 'natural' on all the labels. Why would anyone buy them? Sophie, in the meantime, looked embarrassed as she tried to sell the lollies.

In the boardroom the results revealed that Ghazal's team won by just £10. Adam took Sophie and Natalie back into the boardroom. Adam could have gone due to his lousy people skills and his poor selling. Natalie could have gone for making the lolly labels incorrectly. But in the end Sophie was fired (hooray!) as she said she didn't like selling products that she did not believe was value for money. Sir Alan told her to stop being so naive as the pharmaceutical industry, in which Sophie's background lies, have been doing that for years. Again Sir Alan made the right decision. Sophie's miserable face, negative attitude and very mediocre effort has been letting teams down throughout the series. She should have gone due to the 200 litres of milk incident in episode 1.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

France display

With being ill and having such a busy term I didn't get round to putting up a display for our French visit until this week. On the display are the places we visited, photos, some questions in French and some of the blue, white and red items we purchased at Abbeville Market. The blue, white and red colours really look lively and effective in the classroom.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

SATs revision

We have compiled a new SATs Revision page on our school website. Please let me know if there are any sites that could be added.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Lost Season Three Episode 16 'One Of Us'

What an episode! The mind blowing twist at the end was excellent. Who'd have thought that Juliet was so devious.

The flashbacks show her going to the island as a sweet, enthusiastic person. As time goes on we see how she was manipulated into staying on the island. Ben talks her out of leaving at first before he tells her she is staying. We see how Mikhail used The Flame station to monitor what was going on in the outside world. A camera was used to film Juliet's sister Rachel on the very day that the plane crashed.

Back on the island everyone seems to have it in for Juliet from the moment Jack leads her back to camp. He seems to trust her completely, but the other 815ers don't seem very keen, Sawyer and Sayid in particular. In the midst of Jack's return to the camp, Claire becomes very ill (did you notice how no one was ill at all whilst Jack was away?!) Juliet knows why. She reveals that all the children and their mothers who have conceived on the island have died. Now we know why the Others want the children! She was brought to the island to try to prevent the deaths. We see how Ethan took Claire so that Juliet could experiment with her. Juliet managed to keep both baby and mother alive. When Claire starts to feel ill Juliet knows how to stop it, by giving her some medicine.

Another flashback then shows how Juliet is double crossing everyone. She has been sent to the camp for a reason (of which we don't yet know). She activates an implant in Claire which causes an illness which she can cure to look like a good guy. Her plan is to infilrate the camp and become accepted.

This all begs the question - who is she lying to - Jack or Ben? She is double crossing someone, and at the moment it seems to be Jack. Dammit.

Next week it's a Desmond flashback!

Sunday, 15 April 2007


I'm planning on having a big push on connectives and sentence openers in the run up to the SATs. I want to put up a quick display in the window in my classroom.

I purchased a few cheap but useful resources from various shops on Ebay and the Internet:

Connectives Display Pack (Primary Teaching Resources)

Primary School Connectives for Writing Resource (Teacher's Best Friend Resources)

Primary School Connectives & Explanation Display (Teacher's Best Friend Resources)

Complex Sentences Display Pack (Primary Teacher Resource Centre)

I know that we shouldn't have to buy our own resources, but by buying these I've saved myself loads of work!

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Writing Fun by Jenny Eather

Whilst preparing a SATs Revision area for my school's website, I discovered an Australian site called Writing Fun By Jenny Eather. The site is full of text organisers which help children to structure their writing. As well as using the organisers online, you can also print them in Word format. Very impressive, and extremely useful.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Primary Teachers too shy to sing!

The BBC writes that a study by the Institute of Education has revealed that half of primary teachers in England are unconfident about singing in front of a class. The study says that most primary school pupils spend an hour doing music, with 13% learning to play an instrument.

Professor Susan Hallam of the Institute of Education said it was shocking that one in three primary school teachers had received no training in teaching music and singing. "Teaching music is about so much more than learning to play an instrument or spotting the protégés of tomorrow; it's about developing social skills, team work, confidence, co-ordination and creativity. Today's research findings revealed a worrying lack of confidence in our primary school teachers when it comes to helping children benefit from music lessons, so we now need to evaluate the direct effect this is having on our children."

The study involved the analysis of questionnaires given to 350 trainee primary teachers.
This report shows yet more reasons why Music was voted the least popular subject to teach by readers of this blog in February.

25 May 2007 is Fruity Friday

World Cancer Research Fund is organising Fruity Friday on 25th May 2007. The day is a fundraising and awareness day to promote the importance of a healthy 5-a-day diet and lifestyle in the fight to prevent cancer.

The Fruity Friday website has teaching resources, posters and other ideas to help you plan your own Fruity Friday.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Rewards for unruly pupils

Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, has unveiled plans to reward good behaviour with I-pods and mountain bikes.

New Government advice states that pupils should be given five rewards for every criticism or punishment. The advice states, "It has long been established that rewards are more effective than punishment in motivating pupils. By praising and rewarding positive behaviour, others will be encouraged to act similarly. It is advisable to pay attention to those who have previously been associated with poor behaviour or who have been less likely to meet standards so that it is not always the same ("good") pupils who receive praise and rewards."

Teachers are warned not to impose whole-class detentions or other sanctions which 'punish the innocent as well as the guilty'.


Ban skirts in the playground

The Daily Mail reports (10/4/2007) Girls should be made to wear trousers and trainers in the playground to tackle rising levels of obesity, a study suggests.

Academics from Goldsmiths College, London, observed children playing at two primary schools. They found that girls became less active as they became older, partly because it would be perceived as more feminine. The report said: 'In Year Five, most of the girls are still running around. But by the time they get into Year Six they have stopped moving and stand around and chat.' They noticed that impractical shoes and skirts deter girls from playing energetic games at breaktime.

I must admit, I have noticed that Year Six girls are usually the ones who like to stay in to do jobs rather than go outside to play!

Have any schools decided to ban skirts? Have any schools made trainers compulsory at play time?

Display: Why do we use computers?

Here is a display I prepared in school this week. I wanted a stimulating ICT display for our new Multimedia Suite. In the end I decided to go for a display which gave all the different uses for computers! It took me ages, but I think I came up with loads!
The display will be used to help me to re-develop the new school's ICT scheme of work. So many things - important ICT skills - are missing from the QCA scheme of work. For example - blogging, Wikipedia, data logging, downloading music and flash animatings are all important developments that didn't really kick off until after the QCA schemes were written.
Wikipedia came under fire yesterday when Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, encouraged pupils to use the online encyclopaedia to research school work. The Daily Mail (11/4/2007) focused on the fact that users can edit any article and many edits have added false information. The paper might be right as some muppets do make some ridiculous additions to the site. However, Wikipedia is a wonderful resource. You could use the site with the children to identify fact and opinion. Children can prepare a page about their own school. Children could use it to research and develop a page about their town or village - to reinforce local history studies. The opportunity to share knowledge that Wikipedia provides is unique.
I will add the information and the pictures for the display to the resources section.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 3 'Start-up Service'

Another cracking episode finally saw a female fired!

Sir Alan set the challengers the task of starting up a business. Each team was given £200 and the team which made the most profit won. Katie and Jadine swapped teams.

Eclipse, led by Tre decided that they would start up a gardening business. Stealth decided that they would run a face painting service.

Tre led his team superbly and I am becoming more and more impressed by his determination to lead and succeed. The team appeared to be struggling at first (mostly because of Katie, Paul and Adam's poor salesmanship - they hardly drummed up any business). Katie and Paul didn't really seem to take the challenge seriously enough. However, the hard work from Tre's part of the team meant that they pulled through and earned some good money. Gardening wasn't a bad idea, although perhaps it wasn't the right idea to tackle in Richmond.

Stealth's team leader was Naomi. Her team leading skills were poor and she didn't really make any decisions - Jadine was right when she said that she would do whatever Kristina suggested. Let's be honest - face painting is a great success if there are lots of children. To do this on a school day was just stupid. To then fail to realise that all the children would be leaving school at 3.30pm was once again ridiculous. This is the sole reason that Stealth lost in the end - their idea was pathetic.

Both teams completely overlooked the fact that they would need to change businesses in the evening. Why they didn't prepare for this before the day started I do not know, as it was obvious that it would be crucial in helping them win. Eclipse came up with a Sing-a-gram idea. It seemed to make money, but hardly the work of business geniuses. Stealth, in desperation, came up with Kiss-a-gram. This was never going to impress Sir Alan (remember when he told off the girls' team last year!)

Jadine might be annoying, but she does talk a lot of success. The girls this year seem a bit clique-y - and Jadine didn't seem to fit in. It was clear that Naomi would try to get her fired. However, Jadine should not have even been in the room. Her contribution to the task was fantastic. I'd have put Kristina in the boardroom just for coming up with the idea of kiss-a-grams! Naomi could quite easily have gone, as she didn't handle herself very well. In the end, I think Sir Alan made the right decision to fire Jerry. Once again she had been given the job of finding the right location, and again she tried to shirk any responsibility of this in the boardroom. She had contributed nothing to any of the tasks we've seen so far and she deserved to go.

As for potential winners, there's only one I've spotted with any potential so far - Tre!

Stuffy classrooms

The NUT has vowed that staff will walk out of school if temperatures in their classrooms went above 26C, claiming that they risk dizziness and fainting. They say that poorly designed schools and increasingly warm weather were turning classrooms into 'greenhouses'. Pupils will face being sent home from school!

Well I certainly won't be one of those walking out! Our school invested a lot of money in acquiring air conditioning systems for the three hottest classrooms in the school - including mine! Since November I have been able to heat the room, which I am told is cheaper than using the previous heating system, and now I'm able to turn on the cold air. It is great. I know I am very lucky, but hopefully heads will see the clear advantages in investing in air conditioners very soon.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007


I have discovered how to upload resources that Year Six Teacher readers can access.

There is a list of links to available files are available for you to download - right click and Save As.

Please let me know if something proves to be useful.

Fingerprint schemes

Up to 5.9 million children face having their fingerprints taken by schools in another move towards a 'Big Brother' society.Pupils will have to hand over their biometric details simply to borrow library books or gain access to school dinners.

Critics say it is part of a 'softening-up' exercise to condition children to accept a creeping surveillance society. They also point to the danger of identity theft, if hackers manage to access the school databases. Phil Booth, of the NO2ID campaign, said, "This is an abrogation of moral duty. Schools should be teaching children to look after their biometric information. They are going to grow up in a world where keeping it secure is enormously important, yet they are being taught that it is OK to hand it over for the most trivial of matters. It is a disgrace."

Schools that use fingerprint systems say that the children think it is cool! I would agree. How cool would it be to check out a book just by using your thumb! Perhaps I am being very naive, but I am surprised how much of a fuss this seems to have caused.

Damian Green, Tory frontbencher, said, "Schools use fingerprints as security for libraries, and sometimes to allow access to canteens. If parents have given permission, this is acceptable, but only on strict conditions that every school should follow." The conditions he suggests are:

  • No fingerprinting of children without prior parental consent;
  • Coding of information so that no child can be identified from the school database;
  • information should be used only for purposes specified by the school in advance;
  • All data to be detroyed when the child leaves the school.

These conditions make sense to me.

NUT accuses supermarkets of exploiting children

The NUT claims that supermarkets and shops are commercialising and sexualising children.

The union has released a charter called 'Growing Up in a Material World' in which it is claimed that children were being deliberately targeted by advertising, sponsorship and 'viral marketing campaigns'.
Speaking as the NUT's annual conference in Harrogate got under way, general secretary Steve Sinnott said, "Youngsters are the target of advertising, of sponsorship, of messages that are so unhelpful that they can damage children's well-being. We are letting our youngsters down. Why did supermarkets produce vouchers? It's not to ensure that our youngsters are IT literate it's to raise the profile of supermarkets."
"Look at the school gate," he said. "There's a big banner. The school looks as if it is identifying itself with Sainsbury's."

At this point I have to say, "Well dur..." It's not like this is anything new. Supermarkets and other shops have always tried to exploit children. I can always remember the adverts for toys that I just had to have. I can remember the collectable coins that you'd get from the garage when you bought petrol. I can remember wandering round the Cheshire Show being given free balloons and hats from banks. All this is aimed at getting children and their parents to spend their money.

These days, society is criticised for not encouraging healthy lifestyles. Surely, Sainsbury's has made a real difference to this by running their Active Kids promotion! Computers are becoming a necessity in life, and so to ensure that children are having access to computers at school. Tesco's Computers for School promotion is really helping with this. For minimal effort on our part we are able to acquire essential equipment for school. Of course the supermarkets will profit. They aren't daft! But neither are children. I don't believe that having a banner outside school saying Sainsburys is going to damage a child.

One thing I do agree with is when Mr Sinnott told journalists that one of the most disturbing aspects of the whole issue was the inappropriate sexualisation of pre-pubescent youngsters. I don't thing the blame rests entirely on supermarkets and shops selling inappropriate underwear for young girls. You only have to watch the music channels on TV to see the role models that children follow. Switch on a soap opera and you see young children trying alcohol, skiving school or having boyfriends/ girlfriends. Go to a children's birthday party, and see their parents stood around having a beer. Children are being encouraged to grow up faster because of everything they see.

In November the Life Education Caravan visited our school. In the caravan the children learn all about drugs and alcohol and encourage them to make the right decisions. The instructor told the staff that she does not tell children not to do these things - it's their choice! I can't believe the stupid attitude schools take towards drugs, alcohol and sex. Schools teach them about these things, but we don't teach them to not do these things! What is wrong with teaching children not to take drugs?


The Guardian

Lost Season Three Episode 15 'Left Behind'

Another brilliant episode! This time we find out a connection between Kate and Sawyer. We meet the monster, and notice a bond growing between two characters. And Hurley, as always brings some light-hearted humour to the camp...

In the flashback we see how Kate meets up with Cassidy Phillips, the girl who Sawyer became involved with, only to con her and steal all her money. After Kate helps Cassidy avoid being arrested to trying to sell fake jewellery, Cassidy agrees to help Kate to see her mum. Kate was desperate to know why her mum reported her to the Police when all she'd done was to free her from her violent marriage and to give her some money by filing an insurance claim on the house that was accidentally blown up. When she eventually met up with her mum, she was told that she had killed the man who she loved, and she would never forgive Kate for that.

At the camp, Hurley tells Sawyer that people are thinking of banishing him from thr camp. At first Sawyer isn't bothered, but after realising that he relies on the others for help, he asks Hurley for help to change their mind. Sawyer starts to be nice to everyone - giving a blanket to Claire and helping Desmond to hunt a boar. He suddenly seems very popular. He quickly realises that Hurley tricked him and banishment hadn't even been discussed. Hurley tells him that the camp needs a leader and Sawyer is the best person for it. Hurley is so cool. But what has happened to his van? Why aren't they using it to get around? Maybe its run out of petrol.

John Locke visits Kate to tell her that he is leaving and that she wasn't going with her. What the hell has happened with Locke and his dad? Next, a gas canister is thrown into Kate's room and she passes out. She wakes handcuffed to Juliet. After a quick scrap the two have to hide from the monster! The monster flashes white light at them - like it might be reading their thoughts. The next day the girls try to get back to the Barracks to rescue Jack and Sayid. The monster chases them again, but suddenly Juliet unlocks the cuffs, turns off the sonic barrier around the barracks, and turns it back on. She says they don't know what the monster is but that it doesn't like their fence! She tells Kate that she handcuffed herself to Kate to make it look like they were in it together. They have both been left behind. They rescue Jack and Sayid. Jack tells the others that Juliet is going back to the camp with them. You can see that Jack is really getting close to Juliet, and Kate and Sayid distrust her deeply, as you would!

What is going to happen next? Why don't the people at the camp move to the Barracks? There's a fence to protect them from the monster, and houses to sleep in. Where have the Others gone?

Next week it's a Juliet flashback. Hopefully we will find out more about why Juliet is on the island.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Communication with parents

We have collated the results of our Parental Questionnaires. One area in which only 43% of parents strongly agree is that they are kept well informed about how their children is progressing. What do other schools do to inform parents? Currently we have parents evenings twice a year, send home a report, send home praise letters at the end of each term and send home praise pads when necessary. Staff are always available to speak to parents too.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 2 'Doggy Designs'

Another fantastic episode! Sir Alan was right - this was a test all about recognising that it was the mass-market that would win the day.

Katie's team seemed well organised and co-operative, although neither she, nor any of her team impressed. I did like their idea. The fact that Pets at Home bought 2000 of them meant that there are plenty of dog-nutters around!!

Rory's management style was hopeless. He came over like a bad teacher when he ordered his team around. He seemed to sit back and watch his team do the creative thinking and then was not interested in their ideas. He sent his team off to the Focus Group and then didn't listen to their research. And why didn't he have a go at them for being late? They deserved a roasting!

After he annoyed me last week, I could see Tre has some potential in the show. I agreed with everything he said, although perhaps he should have made his point more professionally.

Ifti The Drip was absolutely hopeless. He didn't even try to talk himself out of a sacking. He knew what he was getting in to when he applied for the programme. Sir Alan was right to sack them both!

Monday, 2 April 2007

Helping children to achieve age-related expectations

The subtitle to this latest CD-ROM released by the Primary National Strategy is "Securing Level 4 by the end of Key Stage 2". So it's just another booster resource, aimed at securing those ridiculous targets decided by the people who have never taught - the Government!

This CD is a compilation of resources for English and Maths which are intended to boost children up to Level 4 in time for the SATs.

It's all political - improve a school's results by targeting a handful of children who are borderline level 3/4. However, you might find the resources useful.

Ref: 00028-2007CDO-EN. Issued by the DfES.

Sibelius Groovy Music

A few weeks ago, Music was confirmed as the least popular subject to teach of Year Six Teacher readers. Perhaps a new piece of software could be the answer...

Sibelius Groovy Music is an interactive package for children in primary schools. It allows children to explore music concepts and then create their own music. The demonstration I have seen looks very children friendly, and completely different. We always used to use RM Music Explorer (what an awful program). Looking at the demonstration, Groovy Music blows that way out of the water!

There are three versions - Shapes for 5-7 year-olds, Jungle for 7-9 year-olds and City for 9-11 year-olds.

Teach kids to touch type

Computer Active (22-3 to 4-4-2007) reports that the TUC has called on the Government to introduce typing and keyboard skills into schools to prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI). In 2004/2005 nearly 375000 people suffered from RSI, which can be caused by poor typing skills.

"Despite the reality that most people are more likely these days to use a computer to write a document than a pen, school children are not routinely being taught how to type," said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.

Add the health benefits to the necessity to have strong typing skills, touch typing now surely has to become a focus for all primary schools. I regularly get frustrated by the slow typing speed of children in Year Six. I think that children should be taught earlier. I have been told that touch typing is like riding a bike - you never forget. Once you have learned it will stay with you forever. Reading and writing on paper and screen is one of the new elements of the new Literacy Framework.

When my school amalgamates with the infants, I plan to introduce a touch typing course to Year Two and Three. Does that sound about the right age? Does anyone have any thoughts about how touch typing can be taught in primary schools?


DirectgovKids is a fun and engaging way to teach pupils aged 5 to 11 about democracy. At the wesbite, children can find out about the role of Government, its various departments and its functions.
The site is designed to look like a revolving globe, with interactive buildings that children can investigate including: a Town Hall, a Police Station, a School and a Health Centre. There is an area in which pupils can vote about issues which might affect them.

Cracking ICT

We were sent an approval copy of Darkfire Education's 'Cracking ICT' CD.

Cracking ICT is a series of CD-ROMs containing narrated video lessons covering Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint, Email and the Internet. They are intended for use with children and adults, so you can use them in the classroom and for staff training.

I was really surprised by how good the tutorials were. The disc we had demonstrated PowerPoint. It has three skill levels so beginners and more advanced users can learn. The best thing is that they are not American, but the narrators have an English accent. I can easily see how they can be used with the children, but are ideal for use with staff, particularly anyone who is not very confident with using ICT.

The resources are £19.99 each, but there are discounts for multiple purposes. Also available at the website is a disc for ideas for developing economic well-being.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Lost Season Three Episode 14 'Expose'

So, we finally got to find out why Nikki and Paolo were on the island. Why on Earth they were given a main role is beyond me - I mean, more time should be given to the characters that we like!!

I think the show's producers have done us a favour by getting rid of them - I just didn't like the way they were buried alive...

It was great, however, to see all the islanders back together again in all the flashbacks. It all seems like such a long time ago now.

Next week it's a Kate flashback!

April's Poll

Here are the results for March's survey:
I asked when you started your revision for SATs.

  1. 41.2% begin in March. This is when we start in our school. I feel that starting at this time recognises that SATs are important without giving children pressure for a long period of time.
  2. 23.5% begin before the February half-term.
  3. 11.8% begin before Christmas.
  4. 5.9% begin in September.
  5. 5.9% begin in April.
  6. 5.9% begin in May.
  7. 5.9% (or 1 brave person) does no revision for SATs.

18 people voted in last month's survey which shows yet another monthly increase in the Poll voting.

This month I'd like to begin to quiz people about what they think the result of the annual SATs Writing Test lottery will be. What do you think the genre of writing will be? Please do make comments about your guesses (I would use the word prediction, but that would suggest that there is an element of predictability when there isn't - the writers clearly pick a genre out of a hat!)