Monday, 30 November 2009

What a day!

Yesterday evening I texted DD about perhaps going to the new-ish Hobbycraft shop in Basildon. She responded that she couldn't as she had other arrangements made already, so I decided to do my Scrooge shopping this morning - which I did. When I got back home, there was a message for me on my phone which I'd left charging - DD and friend had decided that they would like to go. So off we went to Hobbycraft and got loads of useful Christmas stuff, including foam snowflakes for the show scenery. Got back home and DD and I went to a nearby little garden centre for a very late lunch and a nosey round the shop. Then it was back home to be greeted by the news that my co year 1 teacher, Liz, has a nasty chest infection and has been signed off for the rest of the week - and her dance isn't finished! Wibble!!!

Oh, well - we'll get there. We have to!

Monday morning

. . . and outside the raindrops are playing tag with each other in the strong wind. Good fun to watch!

I intend to go into town in a little while. I want to visit the pound shop, Wilkinsons, Aldi and Lidl. See the linking factor here? Bah, humbug!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Sunday evening

I love spending money, especially when it's someone else's! Today I was ordering some china for DD and it was great fun! She has some Denby tableware that she really loves but Denby have taken it out of production, annoyingly, so she wants to make up her set while the stuff is still to be had.

Apart from that I finished off the presents for my class and got them bagged. I'e done some washing and watched some telly. Nice and relaxing . . .

Sunday morning

. . . and awake at three again. Looks like an unwelcome pattern is developing here. Oh, drat!

Yesterday turned into a PJ day again. That's two weekends on the trot. Not a good pattern either!
Today is 'get the kitchen sorted' day - if I feel OK. The aches and shivers are still here but I can at least do some of it. I have to! It's desperate in there. At least I'm unlikely to be tempted to go out - it's been pouring and looks as if it still is. Very November!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Saturday afternoon

And yes, I woke up at three again. I'm so cross with myself. I think part of it was not feeling well, a bit achey and coughing rather a lot. After getting up I did some work, took some medication and at six I managed to get another three hours' sleep. Great!

Since then I've had fun downloading Sparklebox Christmas bookmarks to give to my class and making them Christmas cards and gift tags. I bought some polythene Christmas bags from Lakeland which I will fill with bits and bobs for each child: a bookmark, a candy cane, a party popper, a balloon, some choccie, a Christmas card . . . oh, you get the idea . . . all tied up with gold ribbon. They look nice!

And now I'm trying to summon up the energy to have a bath, get dressed and do some housework. Will I? Won't I? Do I care? Well, maybe.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Friday evening again

Phew - the end of a very busy and very long day. As you might have guessed from the timing of this morning's blog, I was up stupidly early this morning (actually 2:55), bouncing fit and raring to go. Absolutely no chance of getting back to sleep so I didn't even try. I got up and planned, made resources and generally got some useful stuff done. And now I'm fighting to stay awake until a half reasonable bedtime.
PPA - good, we got all next week's planning sorted (most of it was done earlier, subject to my colleague's approval). Received some feed back from a colleague over some work sampling she did a few weeks ago. Froze on playground duty. Led a house quiz on Hanukkah. Tried to teach them the difference between a coin and its value. And this afternoon I did my KS1 co0ordinator duty with a very naughty lad from another class and had a much more successful dance rehearsal for the Christmas show - one of the things that has been keeping me awake.
And then an SEN review after school.
I'm glad that's all done! Now for the weekend and, hopefully, a little bit of a lie-in (and pigs might fly).

Friday morning

Monitoring the weekly planning was considerably more interesting than I expected (thank goodness). Giving feed back to colleagues afterwards is something I do find difficult but it went more or less OK. That's that done for a term now. Next term is 'work sampling' and in the summer term it's lesson observations! Ho hum!!

What's on the cards today? Well - PPA first. There's a dance rehearsal at some point. There's Golden Time. Oh, and Finishing Off. That last becomes all the more frequent as the term goes on and the children get tired.

And it's getting cold - on my playground duty day!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Thursday morning

This morning I'm out of class for subject monitoring - looking at the geography short term planning (yawn). Not totally my idea of fun and can be awkward if the planning is not up to scratch, but there you go!! To balance it, I'm printing out thirty sheets with 'fold round' angels on, ready for the next three weeks. Once we're into December, everything seems to revolve around Christmas festivity, one way and another. Angels with doily wings is one of a whole collection of tried and tested art/D&T activities that I have after decades of teaching. Another is 'hands and foot reindeer' which also always goes down a treat!

I've given my poor supply cover the outdoor games after plan. It should be this afternoon, but I have an ICT lesson planned which I really, really do not want mangled in any way, so I managed to swap my morning session in the suite for an afternoon session.
Note to self: Copy next block of games planning!

And I MUST get the KS1 Secret Santa stuff sorted now I know who is coming to our social. It's all go!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Wednesday morning

All my performance management duties are now done, thank goodness! All but receiving the signed sheets back again and doing the necessary copying, that is. And I still have mine to do, but I think that's going to have to wait for Susannah's return. It was tiring but enjoyable and I'm very glad I'd had a think about possible targets beforehand, as it provided a good starting point for discussion so we didn't waste precious time.

On the other hand, I am now getting seriously worried about my class's dance for the Christmas show. We still haven't finished it and have so much to do to get it all drummed into their heads. Extra practice, I fear! :0(

I'm afraid life is utterly overloaded with school stuff right now, so that's all I can write about. Boring but true!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Tuesday morning

Well, here we are again - another SEN day. Today is performance management for the poor, unfortunate LSAs who are lucky enough to work within the SEN department one way or another. Actually, I did enjoy the ones I conducted a few weeks ago and am looking forward to these, having got all the paperwork, etc, ready! Done properly, it can be a very productive and encouraging experience.

Apart from that, just another Tuesday

Update on pies: yum yum!!

Monday, 23 November 2009


I've just spent 20 minutes or so in the kitchen doing the necessary to the two pies. Trouble was, the stock kept leaking from a few little holes and I didn't know what to do until inspiration struck. I plugged the little leaks with butter. Worked a treat and I can wipe off the butter once the jellied stock has set. the one with the great big crack down the side had to be filled sideways, but it did make it a lot easier to see when I'd put enough in!! They do say necessity is the mother of invention and so it proved today!
And now they are back in the fridge chilling and later on one will be frozen whole and the other will be frozen with a slice cut out. Well, I HAVE to check that they're OK!

Apart from that, I think everything is now ready for school. I've even sorted out the books for Reading Revelry which is a minor miracle. When I get to school, I need to hunt out a letter from last year regarding Christmas show tickets - difficult because I have no idea where it is (I wasn't co-ordinator this time last year) and I need to turn the show script into little books for the narrators. It's all go, isn't it!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sunday evening

It's been a busy but profitable day. The new pork pie tins have been christened and jolly good they have proven to be too. I've discovered that half quantities of my original recipe is just enough for the two tins, although I could have done with a little more pastry, so I'll remedy that next time! They're sitting chilling in the fridge: tomorrow morning I will add the jellied stock and leave to chill again through the day.

The planning is tweaked, printed and sent to Faith, my regular supply cover. There's a few resources to make but they won't take long.

This afternoon I managed to get to Staples to buy the labels and small poly bags for the reindeer food we give out to all the KS1 children at the end of the term. The message on the label reads thus:
On Christmas Eve, before you go to bed, sprinkle this reindeer food onto your garden. The magic glitter sparkling in the moonlight and the smell of oats will guide Rudolph right to your home.
(not for human consumption)
Health and safety is paramount, hence the last little bit. I doubt the uncooked oats would do much damage, but I wouldn't advise the little dears to eat the glitter!

And tomorrow it's another new week. The timetable is becoming increasingly fragmented as the weeks go on and I'm trying to keep everything as even and level as possible. It's exciting enough without the daily routine going to pot! Ain't Christmas grand?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Saturday evening

Well, I didn't exactly spend a fortune in Lakeland, because I didn't need to, but I got some jolly useful stuff - stuff that I've seen in the catalogue or online and wished I could see in reality before making a decision. I was chuffed to see some smaller loose-bottomed baking tins, specifically for pork pies - so I got a couple. At the check out I was told it was three for the price of 2, so back I went and got an 8" tin as well.

I like to have the occasional rootle around Wilkinson's as well, and got more useful stuff.

And then I went into school to catch up on some work, which is a great relief.

So all in all, a pretty useful day. Hope yours was as good.

Saturday morning

The bank balance has been checked, money has been transferred over, the web site has been scoured, the list has been made.

I'm a woman with a purpose this morning. Lakeland, here I come!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Friday evening

. . . and I have just one thing to say.



Enough said!

Friday morning

. . . yet again, and it's PPA time! I've tied myself into a right tangle one way and another. I have to take DG to his wraparound club, be in school for a meeting and explain the changed planning to my supply cover, all before school. And, idiot that I am, I've just realised that I forgot to get the books ready for Reading Revelry which happens first thing after registration. Oh, drat!

Just as well it's the weekend coming up! I have the joy of getting some plastic bags, some labels and some (cheap) oats to make reindeer food for about 180 children! And I have a house that will rot at the seams if I don't do something about it, fast! At least the planning is nearly done and dusted.

As every primary teacher in this country will know, it all goes downhill from hereon. Rehearsals, learning songs and words, more rehearsals, paper chains, cards, calendars . . . all the joys of the Festive Season in school! What a shame about literacy and numeracy!

Note to self: MUST get the Great Year 1 Christmas Tree Decoration Competition sheets copied and given out today!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Thursday evening

Well, we got the shakers finished - at least the covering part. Painting them will be an absolute doddle next week - or is that Famous Last Words?. Poor Petrina (my TA) - she turned up expecting to follow some pretty detailed planning for literacy to find that it had all gone out of the window in favour of some very messy art/design technology. Luckily, she is quite an artist herself so understood (sort of).

They look pretty good, all standing in a row on a black bin liner, drying in the air. Tomorrow it's photo time, plus finishing the associated 'paperwork', next week is painting and more photos, then we can use them . . . and that reminds me to stock up on paracetamol!

Maybe next year I will remember that it takes more than one afternoon!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wednesday evening and aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh

Imagine 28 five and six year olds (mostly five). Imagine 28 smallish plastic bottles with pulses inside - potential shakers.
Imagine 28 paint brushed and lots of watered down PVA glue and bits of newspaper to be stuck over, papier mache style.
All I can say is - DON'T!!! Bloomin' Design Technology!

A brighter point. More really nice comments about my song. :0))) Every 'composer' likes to know that their work has touched people, however superficially. While some of my world is shaking, this really helps. And my year ones helped me change a bit of the working, so it's their song as well. :0))) Nice.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Well chuffed

OK, a bit of boasting here . . . sorry.

When we do our KS1 Christmas shows, we do like to have a bit of nativity stuff in it - usually a tableau to some appropriate song. As it happens, Snowman at Sunset doesn't have an appropriate song (and the Nativity is an add on to the original anyway). So I set to on Sunday to write an appropriate song. It took me all day, on and off, and a short time yesterday on the school piano, finishing the harmonies (wish I had a piano or KB at home).

I started teaching it to the children this morning and not only did they love it, but also the adults in the hall also loved it. A nice boost to my self esteem there.

End of showing off, back to normal again now. Thanks for listening!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Monday evening

And just a quick one as I'm kind of busy. It's been a nice day although I hardly covered myself with glory when I presented the special hall practice timetable leading up to Christmas. I managed to clash with Foundation Stage violins (yes - that's right - a class at a time) and Year 2 PPA. I got the Year 1 times OK, but then I would, wouldn't I?

Oh, well, all sorted now!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday morning

Well, I had my PJ day yesterday and I do feel remarkably rested this morning, which is nice. I also slept until past seven which is unheard of! As a result, I feel a lot less stressed and much more relaxed, despite having a pretty busy day today (because I did nothing yesterday).

So, bring it on:
paying a few bills
making resources

Maybe I'll get the most essential bits done anyway!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Saturday morning

. . . and the weather has been absolutely shocking - high winds and lashing rain. It's brightening up now so maybe we'll get a bit of sunshine at some point.

Not that it matters to me - I've decided to do something I hardly ever do. I'm having a PJ day so I won't be going out anyway. Lazy is the name of the game today. If I want a sleep, I will have one. No housework. I have to do some washing, but that's all really! I have no idea what's on the telly until this evening but I have some books to read and several comfortable chairs to read them in.

That's the life!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday evening

Oh, my goodness, what a day it's been, one way and another. It was a mercy the rain eased off in time for morning play because lunchtime was a total washout and - and - we've run out of 'scrap paper' (what the children use for all sorts of things during wet play) - total disaster. Added to that it was a non uniform day which always gets them going and even my placid and gentle 'best ever' class were harder than usual to hold at times. Some classes were explosive!
Then also add to that walking into an explosive situation when I finally got home and - well, it's just been One Of Those Days and I wish it had never happened.

Here's hoping tomorrow will be brighter . . .

Just checked this blog over and I've put 'Saturday evening' as a title. Ho hum!! Wishful thinking?

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Thursday evening

I was anticipating a pleasant day and I had one. However, my little darlings were restless and I needed to pull on the reins a few times, which is most unusual. The results of having an unfamiliar supply, I guess - their work was a bit slapdash and things like writing their name on that back of their sheets was carelessly done. It's not easy when you don't know the class - this is in no way a criticism of the supply who, I know, is a good teacher. It's just the way it is.

I walked home from school in the dark and the wind (and a little bit of rain). It was wonderful. The leaves were swirling around in the air, past the street lamps, as if they were auditioning for Strictly Come Dancing, and I wished I could capture it all on film. I sauntered slowly home, enjoying the scene, not worrying about the increasingly heavy rain. Something I will remember with pleasure for quite a time.

Photo: The rose, kaleidoscoped. This function always makes me think Victorian

Thursday morning

. . . andf it feels almost strange. I will be teaching my class for the first time since Monday. Can't wait; I've missed it so much. Thursday is a nice day what with ICT in the morning and games (weather permitting) and music in the afternoon. Here's to a good day for all.

Photo: Autumn rose using the coloured edges function on Paintshop Pro 7

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Wednesday evening.

It's been a good day. I like doing performance management and it's even better when one has a good team. The fairly energetic discussion we all had yesterday really bore fruit today in what I think we all feel are good, practical targets which will benefit the children as well as taking our own professional development forward.

It will be lovely to be back in class again tomorrow though . . . I do miss the children.

Photo: Another garden one

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Tuesday evening

What a groovy afternoon. Reading through a lot of IEP paperwork while doing an IEP 'health check'.

Actually, while it may not have been the most exciting activity in the world but it was extremely worthwhile and there seem to be some patterns emerging which may be helpful in improving the quality of the SEN provision in our school - which is what it's all about really, isn't it?

Tomorrow is performance management for 'my' team. Supply cover for my class (who I am missing already, lovely children that they are)! After a pretty 'energetic' discussion with our two wonderful Foundation Stage teachers after school, I think we have collectively come up with some targets/strategies that will really move on various areas of their already excellent work. Good feeling.

And the traffic in the middle of Chelmsford was DREADFUL while picking up DG from his wraparound care this evening. I stayed with DD and DG for half an hour before setting off home and the difference was phenomenal.

Tomorrow should be interesting!

Photo: An edited picture of Autumn leaves on the grass

Tuesday morning

Brrr - it ain't 'alf cold outside: damp, misty/foggy and dark. It was frosty yesterday too! The weather really has turned November-y now - reminding me of that wonderful poem by Thomas Hood. On reading it again, one verse seems particularly prophetic:
'No mail--no post--No news from any foreign coast--'
How DID he know?

School is plodding on! We had great fun yesterday finger painting firework patterns onto a background of sky, silhouette houses and a silver moon (which is NOT a source of light, as all the year ones now know) And today it is more of the same before adding glitter. It's all go in year 1!!

Today is SEN day. On my list I have
start IEP health checks
organise LSA performance management meetings
finish assessments for . . . (names of children)
any dates back?
That's enough to keep me fairly busy!

And tomorrow is Performance Management for my poor long suffering team! Another day out of class. It's just as well my planning was detailed!

My parents (those of my class I mean) seem to be sprouting children in all directions at the moment. Little C has shyly confided in me that mummy has a baby in her tummy (and has had for several months by the look of her) and Deliberate Little Boy gave the class some startling news a short time ago:

D L B I have some interesting news to tell, Mrs Clark:
Me: OK, what is it - sounds good!
D L B: Well, my mummy has just hatched.
Me: (slightly puzzled silence) Er - hatched what, dear.
DLB: Hatched a baby, of course!!

After a little bit of questioning and pondering, it appears that DLB's mum and dad told him about the egg that is growing into a baby and, to his mind, babies in eggs have to hatch! Like chicks in eggs. Perfectly logical.

I took the cowards way out and said 'Oh, how lovely'!

Photo: taken in Dad's garden about a week ago

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Sunday morning

Well, I got to Letchworth in the end, having done most of what I needed to do in school in the morning and early afternoon. It was a good journey - plenty of cars on the road but no hold ups, the centre of Bishops Stortford really wasn't too bad and I didn't get held up by the lights through Little Hadham at all. A pleasant evening too, although I was so tired I couldn't finish my glass of wine or the meal (yeah - I really was that tired), opted out of pudding (good for the old weight though) and as soon as the lights went down I began to nod off, much to amusement of Mum, sitting next to me with orders to poke me if I snored.
The show was pretty good and deserved better than the meagre attention I paid it through the first half. I saw most of the second half though and thought the ending, with its potential for embarrassment if badly done, was handled extremely well. The singing and dancing, as always, was excellent, and 'You'll never walk alone' caused the usual shivers to run up and down my spine.
I must just mention one of the performers. Stephanie Seal has been in more Arcadian shows than I can remember, so she's hardly a youngster. And yet she portrayed the young 'Julie' extremely well and without any overacting. A very talented lady with a stunning voice.

Thanks, Arcadians. I'm looking forward to the next one now.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Saturday morning

I've been working since 5:00 and have got all the planning and resources done for next week. Now to have my bath, get dressed, fling a few things into a case and pootle off to school to work through the long list of stuff I have to do before setting off for Letchworth.

Busy keeps me out of trouble! Always a Good Thing.

Photo: another edited thingy!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Friday evening

Phew - what a day. It started with a rush to get DG to his wraparound care club, then moved on to school where it was PPA but nevertheless quite a frantic time before the children came in, and ended with me giving up on the chance of getting everything done before leaving school and deciding that I would go into school tomorrow. The main problem with this is that I was planning to get up to Mum and Dad's tomorrow morning as we're going to the Arcadians' show, Carousel, tomorrow evening. It's going to have to be travelling up in the afternoon now (deep sigh).
Sorry, Mum. Sorry, Dad!
That's life!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Thursday evening.

It always happens to me! We got behind with some art this week which took longer than expected. I was kind of hoping that it would rain this afternoon so they could finish the art rather than have outdoor PE, but this morning was fine and sunny. I therefore took half the class to the ICT suite and my TA helped the children finish off the art.

So this afternoon we all go out, do our warm up and start the first activity when lo and behold, the heavens open and we all rush inside again! Ho hum!!

Photo: Another version of the same.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Wednesday evening

This morning I was moaning about a boring life, wasn't I?

After school, one of my little lads brought into the bay a lovely bouquet of flowers.

'It's for you', he said, 'from my mum to say thank you.'

I was flabbergasted until I remembered that I'd signed/'refereed' some important paperwork for her and her family a few days ago. She has four children and I have taught every one of them at some time or other, so when it came to it I was honestly able to say that I'd known them for ages both as a friend and in a professional capacity.

It's fairly routine for a teacher to be asked to do things like this, but how wonderful to be thanked in such a lovely way. Thank you so much, Mrs W. I love receiving flowers, it doesn't happen too often, and it made me feel very special.

Next time I complain about things being boring, remind me of this, OK?

Another nice thing - the Foundation Stage/Key Stage 1 Christmas Social is being held at my home, as I am lucky enough to have a downstairs large enough to accommodate over 20 people (thanks, Mum and dad). Tonight I printed out the invites and the Secret Santa letters and it's made me feel all merry and festive. What a change from this morning, eh?

What's the cuisine? Take away Chinese, of course. Delicious!! I might even rise to some crackers too (Christmas, not prawn - they come included)!!

Photo: Another edit . . . one that will look quite nice as a Christmas card, I think.

Wednesday morning

. . . and I'm very much hoping that the weather will be better today. Five year olds can be very lively after being cooped in all lunch time! I didn't have them yesterday (SEN day) but I sure could hear them from where I was working! Firework art can be very noise-creating.

I rather let myself down yesterday evening. Driving DD and DG back home, I gave them an energetic rendering of 'Ten Tubby Snowmen' (from our Christmas Show, Snowman at Sunset) as we drove right through the centre of town, only to find that DG had opened the back windows of the car. I reckon the whole of Chelmsford must have heard me! Ooops. Never mind, it was getting dark . . .

And today - nothing terribly exciting planned. I have no idea what staff meeting is about. It would be great if there wasn't one, but I bet there will be. There almost always is. My ordinary life doesn't make for a very exciting blog, most of the time. The most exciting thing this week was the fire bell going off several times before school on Monday, but it turned out they were only testing it which was a right let down! When it's a real practice, I bet it will be chucking it down with rain.

Photo: I had a play with the chrysanthemum photo. This one is dedicated to Mike, who gave me the idea.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Monday morning

. . . and it's back to school after a week that accelerated away after the first few days. It does feel nice to be going back, but another week or so would have hit the spot nicely too!

So today is a usual Monday, except that this afternoon there is a lesson planned that required us to go outside. I wonder if we will get that part done; it's not supposed to be all that dry today.

And today is the start of my frugal life (I hope). No overeating, no overspending (one can hope) and sticking to a budget. So breakfast is weetabix and fruit (all in the cupboard) , lunch is a piece of that pie with some raw veg and then fruit. Dinner is - well, something from the freezer with roasted root veg. No need to go into Morrisons at all - except to get a bag of their value flour for the salt dough I need to make so the children can start their Christmas tree decoration. I know it's early, but the whole process takes for ever and if one group a week gets their bit of dough rolled out and cut, I can slow bake them in the oven without any panic and in plenty of time to get them painted and varnished and glittered!

Photo: A rather nice chrysanthemum plant I got a few weeks ago, on special in Morrisons. It brightens up the kitchen no end!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sunday morning

. . . and what a wet and windy start to the new month it is too! There's a very interesting coloured sky on the horizon - very pink - which does seem to hint of more bad weather to come. Red sky in the morning and so on. I braved the cold, wet and wind in my bed clothes to see if I could catch a photo. I'm not sure it was that successful but have posted the result above anyway. I think I need special equipment to catch sunrises and sunsets properly - filters or something like that.

I had another bit of that pie for breakfast and it definitely improves with keeping. The flavours of the various herbs (all from the garden) tasted a bit 'raw' yesterday, but they have mellowed now. I will freeze the rest apart from a couple of slices for school lunches in the next few days. Most of it is now sliced and well wrapped but I've retained about a sixth as a chunk to take up to Letchworth next weekend when it's the Arcadians' next show. We can have it for Saturday lunch with some chutney and salad.

One more day before it's back to school. I think I'm all ready. The new display has been started, all the old banners, etc, have been taken down and the books on display all relate to the new theme. I've even got everything ready for Reading Revelry first thing tomorrow. It's always a rush around to got the books out and recorded so this will mean an easier start to the day.

As for today, I'm hoping DG and DD will be round for tea and before that I have some washing, ironing and general tidying to be getting on with. So that's me in front of the PC most of the day then! :0)