Monthly Archives: December 2012

What a year…

Well I posted a #Nurture1213 piece like many of my online friends. Today and this evening I have read many heartfelt posts, some reposted from earlier in the year, they all reinforce that my last post of the year could not be a post generated by WordPress.

I spend too much time online at times and need to be offline more. At the same time I have formed friendships with a wide range of people across the world and with some of them I feel that true Friendship is developing as we find commonalities in our lives. Be it a liking of a teaching theory; exercise choices; personal experience of depression; the list could almost be endless.

The cherry on the top this year especially has been starting to meet more people for real and starting to chat face to face.

This post is to say thank you for following my musings, chatting, sharing, using me as a sounding board or vice versa. I hope that many of these friendships continue to develop into 2013 and beyond.

Andy / @aknill / @knillsocks …..


2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Holidays or non contact time?

The holiday moves into the second week. the Christmas festivities are over and suddenly there are lots of family tasks to do,and oh yes that box of end of unit assessments that came home to be finished off. OnTwitter (where else) I read tweets about how much marking tweeps have achieved and the question is posed are we on holiday?

Last Thursday a #ukedchat was hosted and my nominated topic came up. It wasn’t as rushed as some chats and allowed some of us to chat about a topic we are interested in, but others questioned if we should be resting.

Today I had a chance to do some extended marking – then I didn’t feel on great form so I started but soon retreated to a warm blanket and twitter. Over the next week I will get all my assessments marked because I want to go back in knowing who has progressed and who needs more support or guidance.

Has this post said anything new? No. Did it need to? No. The blog was set up to be reflective so that’s what I’m doing.

A big thank you to the twitter. Friends posting a range of posts in the last few days it is nice being able to sit, read and reflect on the journey we are all on.

#nurture1213 -the wishes ( 6 month update)

6 months ago “Now for next year, what do I hope for / aspire to?”

1. Family – good health and no major crises for anyone for a year – optimistic, but it would be nice.
Out of my control and not happened already. Details not for public posts.

2. Exercise – get back into a routine where I become svelter, well regain some fitness anyway.
Some restarts, I will comment on more accurately on in December.

3. Teaching at school – good and outstanding lessons that inspire a love for learning and great
progress for all.
Based on self reflection scores (7th year of) yes improving and mocksted good. So a success
But always ongoing.

4. BETT2013 my big day out for January. This time two Teachmeet takeovers, a digital leader
presentation to attend, coffee with tweachers, meet new contacts on a variety of stands and
finally, come away with a new set off suggestions and ideas to trial back at the ranch.
What a memory. A great day with two successful takeover TMs, met so many fellow tweeters,
Wore my profile A4 badge and told by several people I follow you. Met Daniel Harvey from
Twitter and failed to recognise him for several hours as no pic ever seen.

Highlight was TeachmeetBETT where I ran the sale of raffle tickets – £650 3 hours later! I had
Developed a reputation as “Raffle guy”.

5. GA IT group – develop my role as a member of the teams and get “apping”
Missed Summer meeting due to poor health but have proposed a workshop based on apps for
2014 conference. New apps list now on website. Now have own android device as well so will
Be able to add own suggestions for two OS. also attended one day at 2013 conference and want
more (see workshop submission for 2014 above).

6. Promethean advocate role – develop my own skills, share with others, train individuals to
maximise their use of the tool that is their IWB. Develop a skilled team of Digital leader pupils
who train staff.
I continue to train where requested and developing Digital Leaders group. In summer term Yr7
to use an ActivInspire based unit and possibly include some Solo taxonomy as well. Also some
Work with Promethean developing products.

7. BESA to be able to take up some of Caroline Wright’s offers and use my experience.
We talked at BETT13 and identified possible school holiday task later in 2013.

8. Digital leaders at school – to go from strength to strength as a group, develop individual skills and
meet with local DLs from local primary schools.
More Year 7 recruits but lost core Yr 9 group to fast track drama group. Flagging slightly and
Rethink in May on smaller specialist student led teams.

9. School rowers (indoor currently) to enjoy and be great ambassadors at the Havering
championships and National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships in March. Oh, and to receive
their awards at rescheduled Sports award evening and reach their 2 million metre target before
Easter 2013.
Well they attended Havering and NJIRC. Sports award Evening we received club of the year for
The second year in a row for dedication. Pupils; Liam (outstanding achievement award) leaving
Rowing specific awards to Ted and Eloise (new yr 7 girl superstar- at 86,000m so far from Sept
to May). Liam now member of Globe rowing club and in a performance squad.
New London youth Rowing criteria meant we have two of original eight machines left but club
continues. Oh and yes they have passed 2,000,000 mets fast approaching Sir’s total.

10. Twitter – to continue to develop my. Tweets, sharing, collaborating and even meeting fellow
tweachers at events or on school visits to look at great ideas.
Apart from May where health interrupted play Twitter continues…In April holiday hosted
#ukedchat for the first time. Two days later hosted first international #sologlobalchat. We
trended and about 40 educators from the UK, Australia and New Zealand met online for an
hour on a Saturday to discuss our use of Solo taxonomy.

11. Teachmeets – take part in more, present, TMEssex2?
Yep March saw TMEssex2 in Chelmsford a more relaxed affairs organisers as speakers signed
up mainly with a few prompts to people I knew who had a tale to share. Also spoke at
TMMiltonKeynes where I spoke twice and ran the raffle £125 smaller crowd! Didn’t get to
Present at TMBett13 but see 4 above made up for it with my raffle skills. Attended
Pedagoo London and spoke at Teachmeet in the evening after the march of the Green Mans
(In joke).

Off the back of Teachmeets started using 7eplan and links to Solo taxonomy. I have launched
Pedagogy group in own school (voluntary 9/50 staff).

12. Keep in contact with friends and family across the globe.
Ongoing through social media and Skype. Plus my growing international links from networking

13. Keep life in perspective.
Was doing quite well on this until some family health issues see no. 1 cut across. Own meds
Changed recently but unsuccessful diue to number of side effects – ongoing report back in

There, that was easier than I thought. Comments welcomed, feedback,feed forward … See many of you on Twitter @aknill or in need of a laugh @knillsocks.

Feedback on recap – not giving myself a scorecard as some aspirations are out of my control but what’s great pick me up generally. Hope anyone reading it agrees.


I have just read this evening about the #nurture1213 idea and it appeals – 12 memories of 2012 and 13 aspirations for 2013. I think that’s right.

So, 2012…

1. Mishmashlearning launches
My second ever Teachmeet in February at #TMEssex organised by Danny Nicholson. I decided
to present and what a release – a new alter ego is launched. This blog followed and I enjoy using
it to reflect on practise.

2. Teachmeet – presenting. Essex was followed a week later by #TMPlay at Feb. half term in
Leicestershire – hosts included @squiggle7 who I knew from Geography Camp 2011. I also
made a great new group of friends / links in the Midlands including @mikemcsharry. Gaining in
confidence, I went to #TMraspberrypi/jam/Cambridge in July. Now truly hooked and look forward
to more … Oops almost forgot – November and #TMiPad in Ilford with @Skinnyboyevans.

3. Teachmeet – organising. An invitation to meet Tom @headguruteacher at KEGS, Chelmsford as
he’d read my tweets about using #SOLOtaxonomy. Also @ICTmagic, Martin and I had met at
Essex and Cambridge Teachmeets already. Could we organise a Teachmeet? Well we did, Tom
was a great host and showed how SLT / HTs can be involved in driving and supporting
innovation. Martin was our tech wizard. Me, well I shamelessly cultivated my twitter network
contacts for presenters, much more successfully than I expected. The night? I loved it and others
have their opinions ask them! Best event I’ve ever helped organise and great to get to present
twice in the first half and get grown men holding hands and explain the concept of Digital leaders
through mass audience participation – and what a crowd for our first event.

4. My family – we have had a difficult year with incidents that gave caused heartache and strain,
but I look forward to the first school break in three where stress levels may fall. My heartfelt
thanks and love go out to Anne my fantastic wife.

5. SOLO taxonomy – one of my new passions. Always looking for ways to help communicate how
to make progress in transparent steps for my classes. This has moved from early
experimentation to a core structure for 9 classes this last half term with Key Stage 3. Pupil
feedback needs further analysis and more development for the new term. I look forward to
tracking progress throughout 2013 and reviewing its impact fully.

6. Digital leaders – I’ve taught some great geeks and tech minded pupils in my time. This year,
through Twitter I found a free initiative to involve pupils in doing what they do best – use tech.
and share their expertise with others. Heard the idea in February, floated idea at school inMay,
launched idea in June, spoke to borough Primary ICT leader summer conference x 2 and by July
a nominal lead for Digital leaders across the borough cross phases from Key Stage 1 to 4. The
group grows and their profile changes, new challenges start and now working with other schools
to encourage new groups – twitter contact just before started this post as a follow up to

7. Twitter – yes I have been known to tweet occasionally. I love the support, honesty, and great
chance to chat, share, collaborate on a global scale. My main issue is my addiction to it.

8. Summer 2012 – as mentioned previously family wise I didn’t anticipate that even the Olympics
could cheer me up but how wrong was I.I was very fortunate to enjoy a day at Eton Dorney
watching the rowing. A morning athletics session that included Oscar Pistorius, Jessica
Ennis and Usain Bolt!
Later I would return with family to the comfy seats for a day at the Paralympics – athletics,
basketball, wheelchair tennis and the Olympic park.
Add to this many many hours of tv watching and inspiration flowed. The other issues continued
but escapism was at hand.

9. My iPad – it’s a luxury, it’s a toy, it was a Christmas present come true. Have I used it? Yeah. At
home, at work, for leisure, for work. Shared ideas with others? Tweeted, Teachmeet presented
about and with, joined Geographical Association IT group and found my niche. Could extol its
virtues endlessly but….

10.Teaching – I’m now into my 25th year of this “job”. Am I perfect? Far from it. Have I stopped
learning after so many years? no chance I model lifelong learning every day. Still enjoy it?
Yes admin at times is too consuming but the actual sharing of my subject(s), love of learning and
tech continues anew.

11. Life and health – mine has been pretty good, some asthma issues but whatever has happened
In 2012 my health has mainly backed me up.

12. Exercise – I belong to the gym and I use it, not always as much as I should but as I head
towards 49 and 50… I aspire to new targets. New loves, the power plate warmdown; the
Trixter mountain bike machine / simulator. Old love: Concept2 rowing ergos. Throwing is slower,
less frequent but running the indoor row club at school means that I always have the motivation
to move my total metres on so the club can not catch me – currently between 2.4 and 2.5
Million metres.

Hopefully a comment on some of 2012, it has been a full year.

2013 hopes in a post tomorrow…

I tweet, I follow, I discuss…but…

I like that people feedback what I blog. Twitter has become my home to chat about my job and passion of learning. Teachmeets see me presenting (hopefully ) with gusto. But come an observation in the classroom it’s not working – suggested reading, links appreciated from one and all. I’ve got to get my passion across so my pupils enjoy their learning and progress so its obvious to anyone who comes into my room – end of term energy is not helping of course.


#TMLondon 11/12/12

I couldn’t make it to #TMLondon, but it was great to follow the twitter stream and some of the links. Some great ideas being discussed as well as #bartlesocks fashion co-ordination admirers. So thanks to all who tweeted, I gained some extra free CPD from following you and I’m left intrigued at what some of the presenters got upto.


Who? What? I admit it my socks (yes you read that correctly) now have a twitter account. Inspired by originality like Priorybench from David Rogers. It started as a joke one Saturday after foot attire was compared over Twitter – my wife joked next your socks will have their own account. It has inspired me to buy new socks far brighter than recent years inspired by Kevin Bartle and others. Will it last? Who knows but it’s a great distraction.

What distractions do you have?

Why would you go on “blah blah”?

Me aka Mr Twitter or “blah blah” at school. Why do I invest so much time in developing my online contacts in Twitter? This post will be probably only be read by the converted – so be it. Over the last few weeks I have witnessed, participated in and read about many cases of educators supporting each other through Twitter.

Two weeks ago I presented on the use of Twitter to the Promethean Advocates group at our face to face meeting. The group represented technology confident individuals but few had spent much time with Twitter as a medium. The last two weeks and follow up contact has been great and I look forward to that continuing and developing.

Last week I was sharing ideas with a fellow Tweep Daniel Harvey in Birmingham (area) who I had shared ideas with as #TMBrum and #TMEssex were developing for both of us. He suggested a phone chat – what a great idea and it was good to make contact at last.

This post started as a ramble about why Twitter’s important to me – it has meandered but essentially I’d like to say #ff to all those who interact with me on Twitter you give me ideas, support, frequently inspire me and help at lower times.

Good health to all who sail on the good ship Twitter.

…school clubs – why would you?

…why do you run clubs after school? I am asked far too frequently. I was lucky to attend a state grammar school where most evenings there were a range of activities on offer. I participated in many and they were part of my informal education from: rugby teams, cross country runs, school orchestra, model railway club. When I started teaching I found myself drawn into offering my time for clubs after school. I enjoy the non classroom based contact with pupils, a chance to share interests, occasionally inspire a few.

So it’s Friday evening, I’m very tired as this long term edges on but I left school in a good mood again after my regular Rowing club session. Indoor Concept 2 ergos I accept and a core of dedicated pupils who between them turn up week after week working on distance awards mainly. Their commitment inspires me as they develop their rowing skills but also their social skills as year groups mix, music interests come to light, learning about heir other interests as we chat between the exercise.

Other clubs – this year that would be Digital Leaders and an ICT club – I do seem to attract the pupils with specialist interests! Sometimes their energy is too much, but I have to thank them for providing me with continued inspiration and I learn so much every week.

Do you have any energy left to run a club? Try it, you might be surprised how rewarding it can be for you too.