Tag Archives: sharing

World Mental Health Day – Tuesday 10th October 2017

How was it for you? Many friends were in school, some probably wore yellow to show an awareness. Others’ institutions wouldn’t let it disrupt their day I am sure. Last year I wore an awkward mix of many yellows, I had talked about my mental health struggles as part of my introduction to the school in assembly-it has helped when meeting now ex pupils and parents in the months since my final breakdown as a teacher and my resignation from my vocation.

So I know about mental health issues, I left the job that triggered many incidents for me so I must be fine now mustn’t I?

Of course not – I have struggled with these issues since a teenager back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, possibly earlier. it’s part of me. Triggers are many and varied. So Monday 9th circumstances saw me hit a rock bottom day. I knew there were positives ahead, I could mention and acknowledge them -this is new and very encouraging. But essentially there were also thoughts where I considered the whole suicidal concept -it’s not a choice I have ever attempted for real and I don’t want to but it’s an ever present escape that pops up and says hi in times of stress. So I am participating in #Inktober2017 on Facebook and Instagram, it is a daily drawing in ink project for October using a daily prompt, yesterday was #screech, today was #gigantic. I used these in my drawings to be open about my state of mind. I have blogged about it for several years now and don’t really care what response I get, it’s a topic I will continue to stick my head over the parapet to talk about  so that someone might not have to go through the same thing as me.

October 9

Today I have woken in a more positive frame of mind and taken part in the day and exercised at the rowing club this evening both on the rowing machines then out on the water and was able to show this as;

October 10

I have many supportive friends and family members who reach out. Tomorrow on the 11th I will attend one of the two Depression Support Groups I attend -we are sufferers who listen with empathy and support where we can. Sometimes when I am low I resist attending even though it’s the best time for me to go. The key thing s I can always be there to aupport others.

So my WMHD has been an exercise in recovery and reaching out to many others online. I hope your day has been a shared experience today.

Feb 14; March 8; March 18;all in 2015

December 22, 2016

This is a sequence of posts that are ongoing. If you want to read previous posts seek out the dates above.

Parenting – something to aspire to. I did with my wife and after many obstacles in August 1998 we became parents to our first child. He was 2 years, 3 months and we were adopting him. Subsequently, we also adopted his younger brother aged 1 year in February 1999.

Parenting has been educational. Our children through no fault of their own inherited some characteristics. By the nature of the starts to their lives they had other obstacles to overcome. We have learnt much, dealt with many ups and downs.

My previous posts focused on a phase our eldest went through and started to emerge from. We are at a distance as parents now. He is an adult. My mother’s funeral on Thursday brought us together again. There was sharing of happy memories and grief, overall a positive experience.

Unfortunately later during our journey for Christmas in our new home things unraveled again. I can not say more at this stage for reasons outside our control. Two days later, going into Christmas Day without him, there has been dejection but also much reflection once more. I, unable to sleep, have reread those posts.

I go into Christmas 2016 unable to hug my eldest as I had posted I did in 2015. I do not know what lies ahead, but I do know that I still choose option B and I still love him, even though the physical distance may be longer, the ties that bind us are still not broken from this side at least.

I hope he has a Christmas that he can enjoy on some level as we will at this end.

I still love you son.

Writing articles about education

UKEdchat runs every Thursday on Twitter between 8 and 9 pm. The #chat is hosted by a variety of volunteers. There is a vote each week on nominated topics and the winning subject is chosen. Recently subject based #chats have also been hosted.

UKEdchat has been expanding its portfolio and now includes a monthly e- zine where practising teachers are invited to write about aspects of education. The link below leads to the fifth edition of this new venture that started in Jan. 2014.

So far there is a limited number submitting articles which is evident from the fact that I have managed to submit articles for 5 months In a row.so read, consider your feedback and then write an article of your own.

I do not work for UKEdchat but I do admire their ideas.


Mind Shackles

Www.mindshackles.co.uk is “documenting depression through words and photographs”. This is a project I agreed to take part in on meeting Iesha Small at #PedagooLondon in March2013. One of her other volunteers is a member of my PLN and throughTwitter. Apparently, even now 7 months later I am the first male volunteer, which although it does not surprise me does sadden me slightly. What does it involve? Well read the website for yourself. This morning for our first meeting we chatted and Iesha took some pictures. I look forward to the link when it is ready.

Interested in Mental health matters, take a look for yourself.

SOLO lesson 4

Lesson 3 (previous post) had seen my Head of Department sit in with a year 7 group to look at ideas he could apply. His key observation- the need for a grounding in the terminology and symbols – see first lesson which has been shared as a flipchart with the department.

We move on apace to lesson 4 where pupils start to be involved in setting their own marking criteria linked to SOLO. Still no hexagons, a key aspect in the sequence of lesson’s now being blogged about by Paul Berry (see previous post).

Linking activities between lessons has become very overt in this sequence of lessons. Our starter was a return to annotate the pics from last lesson. Most recall was at a uni-structural stage and some discussion ensued – see Year 7 example below.


The focus today was to be on marking information onto maps accurately. We have decided as a department to return to more traditional mapping skills as many of our pupils have a lack of sense of place.


So we returned to the textbook (Foundations) and a copy of the main map was shared with the class. It limits the amount of information, and hopefully this will develop a stronger use of maps in future work. Before starting though we needed to determine a SOLO based marking criteria which allowed peer marking. The pupils in year 7 in particular had clear ideas already about this. We identified how they would mark and initial and day the marking as “Sir”does so it was clear who the peer marker was.


The map task was time limited. I use a variety of flash based timers which I found online- the novelty value of how the timer will end can be a distraction at the end of a task but does promote pupil interest. I circulated the room giving prompts on how seas could include other terms e.g. Channel and ocean. The work rate was very encouraging.


The peer marking was successful and invoked quite a lot of table based discussions. We started to identify the idea of feed forward feedback to allow improvement of future pieces of work.

Lesson 4 with years 8 and 9 included a return to the SOLO symbols image sheet and sharing recall. Also a key facts based table quiz was used to promote teamwork and remind how we already know a range of facts.



These quizzes provided a good opportunity to use the interactive nature of the board to match answers to locations.

Writing to compare features in different locations became the focus for Years 8 and 9. We recapped the use of directions in Relational answers. Headings were provided and I circulated to support and/ or prompt as required.



Now I need to identify opportunities to use HOT maps as recommended by others including Lucie Golton, John Sayers et al. from Twitter’s growing #SOLO community. Also the mighty hexagons and linking facts need to enter the arena.

Please if commenting, which image size works better – as lesson 3 or lesson 4?


Saturday, we established #geogsolo. By the end of the evening a set of hexagon linked flipcharts to help yr 7 revise this week – see #geogsolo post. Today as family drove down to Kent I produced a keynote presentation to lead a SOLO stations revision approach with yr 9 for their end of year exam. So presentation ready – what resources do I need to make?

SOLO poster – that’s ok there’s the Comic Life app one from @EV_Sport.


Hexagons – blank – hmm tried a few ideas for this @thegeophyte in Melbourne, Australia had posted hexagon templates on her blog.

20120527-230002.jpg then hexagon presentation from @geogjo I think provided an opportunity to save as keynote, remove text leaving another template.


Tracking sheet – based on original from NZ edited to include pupil details and topic of focus.

So now presentation for starter is ready by the end of the afternoon it. Had been requested and shared with colleagues in Australia, Abu Dhabi, Salisbury, London … Wow an exhilarating feeling.

Late return from beach and time to complete lesson plan to link SOLO resources.

Monday – test in class…