What is the Big Idea (Friday)?

Over the last few years I evolved a tradition in my class called Big Idea Friday. It started out from my own learning where I try to write a weekly blog post about something that I've been thinking about in my teaching practice. I found the process for processing the end of a busy week... Continue Reading →

10 tips for First Year Teachers

1. Don't talk over the kids If there is one piece of advice I could give you, it is  this. Never talk over the kids.  You might have to wait a long time for their attention and on occasion you might have to stop and wait. Be patient. Allowing the kids to talk over you... Continue Reading →

Weekly Reflection – Saying goodbye well

Intermediate schools are strange beasts. The students only attend for Year 7 and 8 yet it is a major transition points. The kids arrive fresh from primary school swimming in uniforms that always seem a size too big. At the end of the next year the same kids leave as teeangers bound for high school... Continue Reading →

Singapore bound – so long NZ and thanks for all the fish

Next year sees a change for me. I'm off to teach at an international school in Singapore. My current school has been really, really, really good to me. I've been afforded some incredible professional development opportunities and had a lot of autonomy to do some cool things with my class. Nevertheless I found myself feeling... Continue Reading →

Provoking curiosity

A few weeks ago there were old tape decks were about to be thrown out. So I left them on a bench and in my classroom. Sure enough the students spotted them. They started pushing buttons. Pulling ariels. Making sounds. Turning knobs. This was old technology to them. Curiosity is the most important ingredient in learning... Continue Reading →

Weekly Reflection – reporting doesn’t have to suck

My twitter feed has been quiet of late and there is one simple reason for it. Reports. At best most teachers tolerate writing reports as a bureaucratic necessity and at worst they see it at a medieval torture device due to rigid formatting requirements and the lack of sleep that go hand in hand with report... Continue Reading →

Weekly Reflection: Giving voice

Speeches. Just the word is enough to send shivers down the backs of some students and their teachers too. The primary school speech format has changed so little from the time I went to school. Most schools have each child get up in front of their class for 3-4 minutes. The best speakers then are... Continue Reading →

Thanks to all those who made the path to Teacher Registration more awesome

Last week I passed a significant milestone in my teaching career, I became a fully registered teacher. In New Zealand Newly Qualified Teachers go through a two year-induction and mentoring process. At the start of the process I decided that I wasn't going to keep a PRT folder in the traditional sense.  Out went the dull meeting... Continue Reading →

Weekly Reflections – when grades get in the way…

Over the last week I've been conferencing with the students over their term 4 writing assessment. With the results still in moderation, I wasn't all that keen to share the level with my students. Nevertheless, I was keen to give the kids some formative feedback of areas that went all and areas to work on.... Continue Reading →

Weekly Reflection: Getting Graded by the Students

Twice a year my school requires that I send a survey out to my students. On one level it's fantastic to get feedback from your learners about what is going well in class and what needs tweaking but on the other there's the ZOMG my students are grading me feeling.  Was I too grumpy yesterday... Continue Reading →

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