“sapere aude” dare to know

Great article that I came across following a link from the previous post. Once again about lesson planning it provides much food for thought with regards what is important, or relevant, when planning. The images I have included here come from a slide show embedded in the article, these particularly grabbed me for their relevance and thought provoking. I love the planning principles, every point is relevant and simple and obvious.

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Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 2.31.49 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 2.31.25 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 2.32.21 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 2.33.25 PMScreen Shot 2013-04-28 at 2.14.05 PMThis last image relates to the flow that can happen when students are in the ‘zone’. Hugh from the Resilience Project discussed this with staff and students, it is a concept I am interested in and will examine further, maybe following through on some of the links and suggestions from both these last two articles i have highlighted.



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Great link to an article based on a presentation about lesson planning…….Discussed is the conundrum between lesson plans and planning  becoming formulaic and therefore lacking in creativity and flair and the need for schools to have a whole school focus and deep understanding of what effective learning looks and feels like.



Great post from an English teacher’s blog that I follow. Known as the the head guru teacher, I also follow him on twitter and therefore read many of his posts. I find them also very valuable and informative with regards teaching and also what is happening with regards the education system in England. This article I found fascinating as it doesn’t tell me anything new but fills me with re-invigorated passion for what I am doing as a teacher/educator and also what I am trying to do. Outlined are 12 steps to a ‘Great Teacher’ reputation:

Part One: In the classroom

1. Teach great lessons consistently (Obvious of course and here are the essence of routine habits teachers need to develop to teach great lessons day after day – probing, rigour, challenge, differentiation, journeys, explaining, agility, awe, possibilities, joy)

2. Build positive relationships

3. Give effective feedback (Marking in perspective – selective, formative, effective, reflective)

4. Know your subject and use that to good effect

5. Lay a path to successful outcomes for your students

6. Embrace a total gifted and talented philosophy

7. Express yourself

Part Two: Beyond the classroom

8. Give time generously to students who need you

9. Engage with parents (Homework matters – great teachers set great homework)

10. Get involved in the school communiyt

11. Maintain high professional standards

12. Show initiative; offer solutions; be collaborative; be your own PD champion

These are truly worthy attributes and I will aspire to treat them with the same respect I hold the VIT standards for teachers.


The agile teacher….responsive, risk-taking, juggling continually.


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Where to begin with this book ? It starts with a bang and then slowly burns and then overtakes almost every living thought you have about life and kids and education and challenges and successes and failures and what is important in life ? What do we want from our kids ? What do they want ? But then, I guess, I do have a habit of living and breathing and dreaming about the books that I read ! The title sucks you in and you think, “I must read this book”, but it’s the subtitle that is the true hero here: ‘Grit, Curiosity and the hidden power of Character.’ That is the game breaker for me, and the more I read the book, the more it became so blindingly obvious. That character (essentially non-cognitive skills as called by economists or personality traits as called by psychologists) is more indicative of the chances of success than IQ tests or other standardised testing and exams. Many scientists and others have attempted to define character and hence there are numerous definitions. Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson wrote a handbook titled ‘Character Strengths and Virtues’ outlining in great detail their list of 24:

Wisdom and Knowledge (strengths that involve the acquisition and use of knowledge)

1. Creativity (personified for example by Albert Einstein,

2. Curiosity (eg, John C. Lilly),

3. Open-mindedness (eg, William James),

4. Love of learning (eg, Benjamin Franklin),

5. Perspective and wisdom (eg, Ann Landers)

Courage (strengths that allow one to accomplish goals in the face of opposition)

6. Bravery (eg, Ernest Shackleton),

7. Persistence (eg, John D. Rockefeller),

8. Integrity (eg, Sojourner Truth),

9. Vitality (eg, Dalai Lama)

Humanity (strengths of tending and befriending others)

10. Love (eg, Romeo & Juliet),

11. Kindness (eg, Cicely Saunders),

12. Social intelligence (eg, Oprah Winfey)

Justice (strengths that build healthy community)

13. Active citizenship/social responsibility/loyalty/teamwork (eg, Sam Nzima),

14. Fairness (eg, Mohandas Ghandi),

15. Leadership

Temperance (strengths that protect against excess)

16. Forgiveness/mercy (eg, Pope John Paul II),

17. Humility/modesty (eg, Bill W, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous),

18. Prudence (eg, Fred Soper),

19. Self regulation/control (eg, Jerry Rice)

Transendence (strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning)

20. Appreciation of beauty/excellence (eg, Walt Whitman),

21. Gratitude (eg, G.K. Chesterton),

22. Hope (eg, Martin Luther King Jr),

23. Humour/playfulness (eg, Mark Twain),

24. Spirituality/sense of purpose or coherence (eg, Albert Schweitzer)

I love this list and even just reading through it makes me appreciate the strengths inherent in each quality. Of course its very thorough and somewhat unwieldy as a practical and manageable system to be used for educational purposes. A more simpler set of just seven strengths were identified by Peterson that are more likely to predict life satisfaction and high achievement, they are:

1. Grit   2. Self-control   3. Zest   4. Social intelligence   5. Gratitude   6. Optimism   7. Curiosity

This list is compact and also I found it to tie in well with The Resilience Project that have been working with the Level 3 students. They draw much of their work and inspiration from Seligman’s positive psychology work. I don’t believe this will be my last writing about this book, I hope that I will add to this post at a later date and reflect more on its value to my teaching and philosophy.




Love this article and this image. Not that I need any encouragement to bring laughter into my classroom but this article does indeed outline 50 ways to bring it in !! And they are all viable and usable. “Inside a classroom, the air thickens with time and words and problems and thoughts, lots of thoughts. Sometimes, there’s a need to break the boredom. the best break is laughter.” There is even a link to a Stanford study showing how humour activates a child’s brain. Some of the suggestions are so obvious we may not even realise we are doing them most of the time, but it is vital to consider them. Examples include:

– Be you,

– Develop rapport,

– Be honest,

– Be weird, sometimes what’s normal to you may be weird to the younger generation,

– Use voices, that ‘special’ teacher voice,

– Tongue twisters,

– Music,

– Use irony,

The list goes on and provides fabulous opportunity for meaningful learning experiences beyond content.




Lovely website with many ideas and resources for use in Literacy sessions.The ‘sheds’ include: The Thinking Shed, The Picture Book Shed, The Fairy Tale Shed, The Inventor’s Shed, The Reading Shed, The Poetry Shed, The Adventure Shed, The Mystery Shed, The Sci-Fi Shed, The Ghostly Shed, The Inspiration Shed, The Fantasy Shed, The Other Cultures Shed, The Class Blogs Shed, The Images Shed, The Tool Shed, The History Shed, The Authors Shed, The Fun Shed, The Christmas Shed…… and so it goes on. I want to keep going into all the sheds to check them out.