Monday, 19 April 2010

It's a laughing matter...

During the inset day before Easter we enjoyed an introduction to Laughology workshop.

At Laughology, we are serious about humour. We want to put something positive into people’s lives in business, health and education. How? With a unique programme of tried and tested laughter and humour techniques. They improve everyone’s performance and productivity, health and well-being.
The Laughology model gives each individual a ‘tool-box’ of methods and models they can use to help them think and act positively. The tool box is transferable -- anyone can use it, anywhere! -- and it's sustainable, because it just goes on working. We work with public and private-sector organisations to enrich best practice.

The workshop really was funny and it made me think about the science behind laughter - what makes us laugh and why and what happens when we laugh.
I learned an interesting facts - babies and toddlers laugh up to 300 times a day. As adults we laugh up to 17 times a day (on average). When we laugh, the body releases endorphins. When they are released into the body, they cause a sense of well-being. They also act as analgesics - they can fight pain and make us feel better!
We also learned that we can increase our happiness if we follow the rules of FLIP:
Fake it - if you are feeling down, fake the body language used when we laugh;
Language - use positive language - be aware of the language you use;
Imagination - if you imagine something it will happen;
Pattern breaking - be aware of yours and other people's patterns.
"Life is too serious to be taken seriously"
Oscar Wilde
I guess this quote is easy to forget at times, but it reminds me how important it is to be happy and to enjoy life. Above all - laugh!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Leadership Pathways learning mindmap

This mind map (created using shows my main learning from my Leadership Pathways course.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Spelling City

I've finally taken the plunge and had a go at using Spelling City. This is a great website which is designed to help children to practise their spellings.

Inspired by I created an account for our school and uploaded the spellings for the SATs spelling tests from 1996 to 2009.

The process was very easy to do - literally, as easy as typing in the words. The site then creates a sentence which uses the word to put it in context.

The children can go to the site and practice the spellings. Words are read out for them to spell! Simple, yet brilliant!
You can find our SATs Spelling lists at

Saturday, 3 April 2010


A few weeks ago we studied two of Shakespeare's plays, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.

Here are some resources that I have discovered. I hope they may be of use to others:

It was a joy to find the BBC Animated Tales on YouTube:

We bumped into the Classical Comics stall at the Education Show and purchased copies of the quick read versions of Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. We also bought a copy of the teacher's guides which are excellent resources.

Dawn wrote in her blog about her excellent work on Macbeth raps, inspired by this video:

This would be a great addition to our work for another time.

During the work we produced comic strips, retellings, newspaper reports, play scripts and newspaper reports. The children thoroughly enjoyed the project. Later this year perhaps we'll take a look at Hamlet too!

Does anyone else take Shakespeare in Year Six? Does anyone have any other good resources to share?

Friday, 2 April 2010

Leadership Pathways: Final Thoughts

The final day of Leadership Pathways was my favourite, and when I finally began to realise the message of 'reflection' that the course has tried to foster throughout.

I have never felt like much of a reflective practitioner. Being reflective requires time and time is something I haven't got enough of. But by the end of the LP course, I was becoming more and more reflective and continuing to do this after the course is over is something I am looking forward to. I need to make time to be reflective. I guess this blog is becoming the perfect place to do that! (Actually, looking back, I have used the blog less and less as an outlet to report news affecting Year Six, but more as a place to reflect on and to share my school-based experiences.)

Core Day 3 of the programme is subtitled 'celebrating success'. It was the day to share learning with each other and our coaches. We were asked to share a presentation about our 'whole-school change project' that we had been working on. I had been worried about this, but some good advice from @deputymitchell, @dawnhallybone and @primarypete_ on Twitter calmed me down. As a result of their advice, I decided not to use any ICT in my presentation. This was definitely the right decision. It was actually great to be free of the constraints of a PowerPoint presentation. I did, however, use PowerPoint to prepare and structure what I wanted to say.

A lot of this, I understand, won't make sense without some context. So this is what my project was all about:
Through the process of taking the online units, I realised that the school is good at informing, collaborating with and involving the community in its work. We weren't, however, as good at consulting and empowering the community. I decided to set up a questionnaire to learn more about the community and their thoughts about our school. At the moment we are part way through this process. The surveys have been distributed and returned and the analysis process is underway right now. The project is enabling me to gain experience in using data, using influencing strategies and work with the community.

Overall, I believe that I have developed as a leader through the Pathways course and I am looking forward to seeing my learning have an impact throughout my work in school.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Leadership Pathways: Creative Resource Management

This online unit was suggested as part of my routemap analysis. With hindsight, I wish I'd chosen a different unit. C'est la vie...

The most important idea that I took away from this unit was that continuing professional development is important to keep a vibrant, happy workplace that is able to change and adapt.

I liked the idea of asking staff to 'bid' for resources - to encourage them to consider the value of their ideas, and the impact on the children and the school.

CPD should be integral to everybody's role - it should form part of job descriptions. This unit suggests that CPD should include developing skills as a teacher, but also different non-classroom related skills too. Provide a range of learning experiences for staff as well as pupils to promote creativity and a positive atmosphere.

Develop an ethos of learning - encourage people to 'have a go'. Find ways around a problem by exploring and inventing. Create an environment that is safe, comfortable and yet challenging so that creativity can develop.