Monthly Archives: June 2012

What, no blog posts?

A sparse week on here as reports, exam papers and data input tasks dominate my time. Anything else? Yep, in the last three weeks I’ve attended three local meetings after school. I now recognise some of our local primary ICT leaders (progress), they know who I am and why I think Digital
Leaders are so important. Today was a meeting to look at ICT linked international links, we managed to squeeze in digital leaders and already this has been followed up on twitter this evening. A presentation from the Japan Society, e twinning possibilities, the e twinning cookbook of case studies, British Council Connecting Classrooms, Collaborations around the planet – links to follow. Local examples of links using video conferencing with Sweden, FaceTime with NZ during an overnight space session, twitter SOLO CPD and more…

So less blogging but plenty to keep me busy ….link details on some of these possibilities to follow.

Department starts to tweet

Another dream is realised as we start a departmental twitter account so we can communicate effectively online @bowerparkgeog .

Global tweeting #chat -post chat update

Fancy participating in a global twitter event? Keen to use twitter for CPD? Gather ideas from across the globe? (USA, UK, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Australia and…,).

Today Saturday 16 June at midday GMT London the expanding #geogsolo group will be discussing their use of #SOLO taxonomy to visibly demonstrate progress in their pupils learning. A New Zealand sourced idea that is spreading through Twitter. Geography already has a number of strong global links between teachers, this is our first attorney at a global link up.
So please join in, follow #geogsolo and see where this idea is going. All feedback welcomed. @JOHNSAYERS has set up a google docs area where resources, links and feedback can be shared.


Was it a success?
Judge for yourself – 5 countries involved on the day – USA, UK, Abu Dhabi, Australia and New Zealand. We also were observed and joined by SLT representatives, scientists, primary practitioners. Much to our surprise we apparently trended onTwitter in the UK and Victoria State, Australia.
@JOHNSAYERS will be compiling the archive for the session. here are many ideas and links about Solo in general, in geography, for marking, levelling, grading, extending to top levels/ grades.

Well I think I speak for all those involved- it was a fantastic success beyond most (if not all) of our aspirations for a first chat – now to develop, draw more teachers in and extend our practice and collaboration.





Department blog and trips

Linking the classroom to the web and preparing pupils for fieldwork. We have been visiting Tilbury power station for many years as a school. The changes it has undergone in recent years has kept the trip fresh for staff and provided a different perspective for pupils.

In the last three years we have seen security changes in line with the protests held in Kent about proposed new stations. Then the proposal to change fuel from coal to gas and now the transformation that we witnessed last year, a biomass powered plant.
Is it a possible visit for you?

Also a chance to develop the use of our new departmental blog.

Digital Leaders, Havering and should I teach Primary?

This week I have been very lucky to be invited by Dave Smith from the HSIS team to deliver information about the Digital Leader Network ( to local primary ICT leaders at their annual meet.
It was a privilege to talk to a number of colleagues, I love the enthusiasm in the primary sector and open approach to many challenges ( even questioned myself waist a better sector for me and my range of interests?).
I hope that Havering can develop a number of schools who participate in the network and I look forward to working with and getting to know a number of colleagues from across the borough.

Please join the growing conversation including #DLChat on Twitter each Thursday from 9-10 pm straight after #ukedchat.

SOLO seen in someone else’s classroom

It’s been a very busy week – when was half term? I have continued to experiment with SOLO and need to read more pupil feedback sheets to fully evaluate its initial impact. This week I’ve learnt about: recovering the Titanic, Cannibals ( not zombies,sir) in Miami and Nicki Menaj. However, for me even more significant was my Head of Department delivering his first SOLO lesson with a History group today. It was great to listen in from next door(partition wall!) and to ask year 7s as they left which stage they achieved.

We’ve started our journey. Now to evaluate each week, trial a range of tools and feedback to the PLN via Twitter and blogging.

“I never work enough at half term”

In my last post I commented on how many demands there are on us at half term. A couple of tweets this weekend have linked to this – after a productive week online would I be needing a week off! Then this evening the quote I started with. These tweeters will remain anonymous from me but what an interesting statement on a day when the teaching profession has been pilloried in a national newspaper.
Enjoy what is always a busy half term and pace yourself!

Half term “holiday”

Ok I’m a teacher so I get lots of holidays – its always the first topic when people discover what I do. So of course this week I have my feet up, I’m resting, no work and so are all the teachers I know! Nope!!

What a week to rest a bit, but also tweet, blog, catch up, chat, make new links with educators across the world as well as tasks for school. Lots of colleagues are writing reports.

Half term is a break of sorts but I enjoy the freedom to explore some new ideas – today: Triple Impact Marking, blogging, tweeting, use of iPads, app choices…oh and I’ve read more of my reading of management text… and had some family time, exercise time – when does the rest come?

Management and Leadership research

My school’s Headteacher recently gathered all the staff on a TLR ( responsibility post) and presented us with a management text to take away and read. Several of us returned soon after to check it was ok to annotate our copies – this response had not been predicted, but received a positive response.
Next week (Wed. 13/6/12) we will gather and share our thoughts with other staff who received the same text. We have a book review proof form to complete about:
– the key messages we have taken from the book
– what has the book reinforced or taught us
– what are we going to do as a result of reading the book

I preempted the last section by searching for the author / text online and found a number of linked resources. I have also found and contacted the author through Twitter.

The book I am reading is: The Three Levels of Leadership by James Scouller

I would like to thank James for his prompt response on Twitter and or passing on a link to clips on YouTube. This is a technical aspect of leadership communication that I will be passing onto colleagues.
The web link is

I will post the group’s feedback after we have met.

SOLO – learning something new and turning my lesson over to the group

OK, by now readers you know that I like the idea of the SOLO taxonomy. Assessments over and the last day before half term – not always a day when pupils are fired up, so I decided to carry out an experiment with two lower sets where I had TA support available as well.

In one lesson I would hand over the content to a democratic vote based on pupil suggestions to engage them directly in their learning by offering the opportunity to be the expert instead of Sir. As they entered it was clear something was up as the IWB was switched off, and the tables were in two groups. For the TAs an even bigger shock – hand written lesson plan copies (unheard of).

So, the starter involved talking to the class briefly about how I identify myself as a lifelong learner and how we can all learn from each other. The class were then asked to volunteer topics that had caught their attention recently. In both classes about 5 topics were selected. Then an explanation of how a simple first past the post democratic election is conducted (citizenship link) and then a class vote.

Now we had a story to focus on…Zombies in both lessons -I admitted to knowing nothing in the first lesson and having learnt some facts in the second lesson. Pupils identified the topic on their SOLO logging sheet (see previous posts). Relative knowledge was compared and class “experts” appointed to address the two table groups.

This is where we (staff) were astounded by the depth of knowledge held and impressed how it was explained by the selected pupils (two received positve phone calls home at the end of the day to back this up). After a 5 minute presentation and questions answered if possible the class returned to their logging sheets and recorded new knowledge and identified if they had made progress in the lesson. This was supported by each member of the group giving feedback to the class and then identifying for the one pupil in each group why they had not made progress.

Table groups were then issued with hexagons to record facts on and try to identify links between the facts. This involved lots of discussion. The second class managed a review as well as at the end of their lesson.

A very successful exercise which all involved enjoyed. For the second lesson the Deputy Head Teaching and Learning was invited and attended for some of the session. Based on self evlauations by me and feedback from the TAs these two lessons were amongst my best lessons recently.

Next stage… explaining the lesson to my Head of Department who wants to take this across Key STage 3…. posts to follow.