Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Another full day

For some reason, although I was exhausted yesterday evening, when I went to bed I tossed and turned for hours, finally getting up at 1:30 to do some work. At 3:30 I was tired enough to go to bed. Not much sleep really.

I got to school early as usual and then had to whizz back home to put the planning for after half term onto my memory stick. I'd google-mailed it to myself and the system was down!

Liz and I had catch-up PPA (from the last INSET) and managed to get the first week of next term all nicely sorted. Then back into class where they had a whale of a time constructing an open box that might have something yum in it tomorrow.

And then it was lunch time. Cold, damp, windy - and at about 12:30 the fire bell rang . . .

The children behaved amazingly well. Some were eating their packed dinners, some were being served their school dinners, some were already out. They were all over the place. But within two minutes they had all gathered on the top playground and were lining up in classes to be checked.
And then it turned out that it wasn't a practice drill so we all had to wait on the playground, in lines, in the cold, rain and wind, some without coats. It was VERY cold. The fire engine turned up and there was huge excitement all round. After about 25 minutes altogether (which seems a very long time when you have over 400 children to keep calm and controlled out in the wind and rain) the all clear was sounded, life returned to normal and when my children came in they all headed for the radiators to warm themselves up!
At least we then didn't have to have the planned (but secret) fire drill which, I think, was due this afternoon. And we suspect we know the culprit too! Woe betide him or her!!!
After school and staff meeting I stayed late to get that Important Paperwork more or less finalised. It took for ever but it was worth it because now it's all in a neat, tidy pile awaiting a few more photocopies before sending it on its way tomorrow. Phew. Luckily it was the school governors' meeting this evening so the school remained open much later than usual. That made all the difference.

And now I'm home, very tired, but pretty satisfied one way and another. I reckon sleep will come a lot more readily tonight.

One More Day!

Photo: Do iron bars a prison make???

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tuesday morning

SEN day today and there's important paperwork to put to bed, if I possibly can. I anticipate a long and wearing day ahead of me but hopefully we can get most of it done and dusted.

After that it's creativity club - the last one of this year. I've scrabbled around for ideas: I don't want anything involving paint, partly because it takes so long to clean up afterwards but also because the first two sessions involved paint. After considering masks, Easter hats and decorated eggs, I've finally plumped for an Easter basket, using paper plate, card for the handle and tissue paper flowers. Only glue needed, so the mess will be minimal (relatively speaking!)

Photo: the one that wouldn't load last night. One of DD's strawberry plants. I love the shape of the leaves.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Monday evening

Quite a complicated day!
1. Get to school to find that head and deputy head are out somewhere so KS1 and KS2 coordinators are in charge. As I always say, I'd I'd wanted to be a head, I'd have done something about it by now.
2. Playground duty - not complicated, just the last one of the term!
3. Maths. Assessment test. Say no more. Dire results . . . depressing.
4. Lunchtime and dealing with one little dear who was bashing another little dear's head against the window. Little dear number 1 is likely to miss playtime for several days!
5. Afternoon play. Chucking it down with rain but Liz and I take them out anyway. We all need the break.

That's about it really - I suppose it wasn't that complicated really, it just felt like it!

This afternoon, as part of our nearly finished theme of Long, Long Ago, I introduced them to the delights of Watch With Mother. Well, it is Long, Long Ago now, isn't it. They thoroughly enjoyed Picture Book and Andy Pandy and giggled their socks off at Teddy and his antics! I thought they might be a bit sniffy about it, but they weren't. So tomorrow it's the Flowerpot Men and then Rag, Tag and Bobtail. Wednesday will be The Woodentops!

I was going to post a photo but it wouldn't load. No idea why!

Monday morning

The start of yet another week - a shorter one this time. Only three days that could reasonably be called 'working' days cuts down tremendously on the planning, I find. On the other hand, I set up the templates for the school reports over the weekend. Yes, I'm afraid so, it is that time of year again and the next few months' worth of blogs are likely to be punctuated by mutters, grumbles and whinges as I seek to get them all done before the cut off date.

A peep outside shows me that it's been raining and still is. Will that mean wet playtimes? Oh, I hope not!

Off I go to bath, wash my hair and get ready. One day on is one day down!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sunday evening

It's been a lovely, peaceful weekend after quite a hectic week. Today has been gorgeous, topped off by tea with DD and DG (rather than them coming here) and the chance to take some last photos of Indie and the three remaining kittens before they go to their new homes tomorrow and Tuesday.

As a result, the banana bread (yum yum) and the cheese and onion loaf (yum yum) remain untouched - well, OK, I confess, almost untouched -and at least some of it will need to go into hibernation (aka the freezer). How on earth did we manage before freezers, I wonder. It was a whole different way of managing things, wasn't it, and must have been hard for people living on their own. Where there were several children, the loaf and the banana bread wouldn't have lasted beyond tea time! :0) I look forward to more baking and cooking once I retire, but I wonder whether I will be able to do all that much, given that I am single. I'll have to adopt a family or two!

Photos - Indie and kittens

Lazy afternoon!

Still lovely weather, albeit somewhat chilly. The house smells warmly and tantalisingly of cheese and onion bread mingled with banana loaf, both home made. The washing is in the machine, the dishwasher is loaded and I've been for a short stroll around the block with my camera.

Here's a few views!

Sunday morning

The sun is shining again. Where is all this dreadful weather I understood we were going to suffer from, I wonder? No complaints, mind, none at all!

I am off into town shortly for a few items that cannot be bought locally. After that I fancy having a go at some banana bread, the recipe for which I found on La Recette du Jour, It looks very easy and should be tasty. It's nice to have something cakey and tasty when DD and DG come round for tea. I don't always manage it, but this time I will.

And then there's the washing to do, followed by the ironing. Never ending, isn't it?

Photo: An edit of the violets picture. A rug like that might look good in my living room!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Saturday evening

. . . and I have spent the day doing not-a-lot really. The house is pretty tidy, the planning is miminalistic, the take away Chinese is there to be reheated . . . and I'm feeling pretty tired, one way and another.

I popped into school to get some maths assessment booklets copied and they are now stapled and ready for use. Apart from that I have read, rested, played Sudoku and generally done very little.

Photo: A couple of my guests last night gave me some flowers. Here's a part of them.

And - don't forget to put those clocks forward tonight!!

Saturday morning

It was gloriously sunny earlier. I think the forecast is not good, however, so it won't last long. However, at present it's fresh, clear and with a gentle breeze blowing. From the window I can see that the trees next door are coloured with a gentle, soft green fuzz and it's mild enough for me to have the french window open for a time to clear the remaining Chinese take away fug. I feel cheerful.

We had a lovely evening. Lots of laughs and giggles, no unkind talk in any way, just lots of friends enjoying each others' company. Enough food, more than enough to drink and the living room was tidy!!

We said goodbye to Lesley. Lesley was one of our regular supplies and PPA cover providers until the end of last school year, when she officially retired. However, she carried on doing PPA cover for Key Stage 1 and Foundation Stage until yesterday. Part way through the term she decided that even the one day was getting in the way of doing enjoyable retirement stuff so she very sensibly said she would stop at the end of term. Yesterday was the last day as next Friday is Good Friday so a bank holiday. We'd had a collection, got her some pressies, signed a card, made a little speech and presentation, shed a few tears and toasted her and each other in some pink bubbly (provided by Lesley!). I will miss her presence at school very much, but she lives only a short distance away (so close that she could see my house lights on early yesterday morning and realised I was probably doing housework), so we will be staying in touch. It just means we have to work at it a bit more! We made a provisional agreement to take a trip down to London in a few weeks time, to visit the V&A (I haven't been there for decades, it must be so different now) and maybe enjoy a few shops. The coach picks us up and drops us off almost on our doorsteps, so it couldn't be better. I am looking forward to it very much so fingers crossed.

Liz and I had a good giggle yesterday morning, creating a rather naff poem for something at the end of term. I can't say more now - don't want to give away secrets - but when it's appropriate and if I remember, I will share our deathless poetry with my gentle readers. I'm sure you will be - er - astounded at our - er - mastery of the genre!

And finally - I know I'm way behind with the F M Challenge but it isn't going to happen today. There's just enough Chinese take-away left over to mean I don't need to cook, just re-heat.

Photo: Yesterday's violet photo edited using 'coloured edges'.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Early Friday evening.

It's going to be a long evening - Chinese and Chat round here for all of 'my' team.

I was lugging some long overdue stuff from the house to the separate garage when I came upon these little beauties. The sun was shining on them and they were dancing merrily. Absolutely gorgeous.

Oh, well, off I go to make the kitchen decent!


A few weeks ago, DG asked for the roadway.

The roadway is a large set of interconnecting pieces of road, made of very stout card. When DG was a very little boy, Somerfields, as it was then, had some very reasonably priced toys in just before Christmas and the roadway was one of them. I bought two packs at the time - from experience, you always want more of that sort of thing.
On and off, DG has loved playing with it. I think it was one of the things that got him so interested in maps, and the two interests fed each other for quite a while.
However, all good things stop, and DG stopped playing with the roadway, so after nearly a year, I took it into school last term, for my children. They love it too. They build worlds with it all round the classroom, under the chairs and tables.

S0 when DG asked for the roadway, he was very disappointed to learn that it was at school. He seemed to understand why, but . . .
After a few minutes' thought, he started gathering things together. He asked for corrugated card, scissors and sellotape. Then all went quiet and industrious. After a while I wandered over to the table and there, very nicely set out, were some pieces of corrugated card cut to make road sections, toy cars driving along them and . . . my collection of Lilliput Lane and David Winter cottages!
After some discussion and some input from his mum, he accepted that this wasn't really a good idea. More thought. More scrounging around for card, glue . . . and he created some nice little houses to go with his roadway. Good for him! I think he had more fun that afternoon than he'd ever had with the roadway itself - and that's saying something. Where there's a will (and a Nan with the right stuff), there's a way!

Who says autists don't have imagination? Not me! And my darling DG can be as creative and inventive as ever his mum was - or me as a child. It obviously runs in the family!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Thursday evening

This morning I was talking about hitting the wall running at the end of this term next week However the children have other ideas - they were so-o-o slow today, bless them. It wasn't helped by the rain that fell this afternoon, stopping the outdoor games lesson and making playtime an indoor experience! We have decided that next week's planning should involve plenty of practical activity and not a lot of pencil pushing! They are weary and it can only get worse.

One thing we did achieve - because of the government edict that money over a certain amount remaining in the school budget will be clawed back if not spent, we suddenly found ourselves with plenty of money that needed spending. Never mind that this had been saved for a longer term project, that has gone by the board now.
For some years, Y1 has been the poor relation compared to Foundation Stage. Our FS is lovely. It managed to attract quite a lot of outside funding over the last few years and is wonderfully resourced. In comparison, when the children came up to Year 1, the resources were generally old, thin on the ground and generally not wonderful. When I became KS1 coordinator, one of my first aims was to spark up the resources for year 1. As a result, when we knew there was money to spend, I put in an appeal for better resources for Y1 and, after looking at our sensibly modest wish list, it was all agreed. The role play corner has just been put together (lovely wooden furniture) and after school Liz and I moved stuff around until we felt we had made the best use of some fairly limited space. It's golden time tomorrow, so the children can christen it! :0)

Photos: The hedge at the front of the school, which is starting to look rather colourful and welcoming and a snap of part of the new furniture.

Thursday morning

I really ought to be on my way to school but am finding it hard to summon up the energy. Never mind, I know I always liven up when I get there and you can't stay down for long when you're surrounded by hoards of lively five and six year olds.

Thinking of them, I have just remembered I am doing another Creativity Club next Tuesday and I need to sort something out. What can I do? Masks, perhaps, using paper plates - that might be good! Maybe a lion - or they could invent a monster mask, after I give them a few ideas.

Better go! Have a good day.

Photo: another bottle thing. Big Bottle is watching you!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Wednesday evening

Another normal day - I will be getting complacent if this continues. Even staff meeting was OK, with our Year 1 levelling looked at to see if the children are making appropriate/expected progress. All was well in the Year 1 world! Phew.

Just six more teaching days until the Easter break. This term is the odd one out. At Christmas there is a steady and inexorable slowdown towards the end of term, neatly punctuated with shows, parties, carols and cake. In the summer, more or less the same (apart from the parties and carols). Sports Day starts the run down, kicked into touch by reports, then rapidly chased by open evenings, so that by a week before the end of term all is done and dusted. There's time to catch ones breath and the fun and merriment commences.

Easter is different. It's as if one gets caught by surprise (that's Easter for you, isn't it - was there ever such a surprise as that empty tomb?) and there isn't the usual slow down. Planning for the last week of Christmas and Summer terms is so minimalistic as to be virtually non existent. Easter hits the wall at full tilt, planning rules right until the last day. Zooooom - CRASH!

Photo: Playing about with a half full bottle of chilled dry stuff . . .

Wednesday morning and a delicious recipe

Gravy is gravy, isn't it. Just stuff you pour over your meat so it's not too dry.
Well, no, actually, as I'm sure you know, gravy can make or ruin a meal and I have found a recipe for the most delicious onion gravy I have ever tasted.
It can be found here, on the superb 'Cottage Smallholder' web site and I made it last night to go with some delicious (plain) sausages from Morrisons (I'll be getting some more of them, they were nice). It took more or less the time the sausages took to cook and is absolutely delicious: it's 100% vegetarian but has a real 'meaty' depth to it. On the Cottage Small holder, Fiona warns about not using it with a spiced or 'flavoured' sausage and I would agree - I think the flavours would clash.
It would go well with burgers or veggie burgers, as long as they weren't too spicy and I think it would also go well with other meats too, or on vegetables.

My dad likes his gravy, so I will be testing it on him!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Tuesday evening

It's really a picture blog this evening. Indie and Theo's kittens are nearly old enough to go to their new homes so I popped over after school to have a little play and love with them before they disappear.

Aren't I just beautiful?

A lad's gotta be groomed proper!

Who? Me?

A tangled muddle of kittens!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Monday Evening and Birthday Blog

There's not a lot to write about today. Just a normal Monday at school, playground duty, KS1/FS meeting clashing with Senior Management meeting (so I went to both, one after the other) and home by six.

But today is special for me for one reason. It was a year ago, Sunday, March 22nd, 2009, that I wrote my first blog entry ever here - very uncertain and tentative and wondering if I could manage to keep it up. And yet, here I am, a year later, blog writing having become a habit and quite helpful. I've ranted on occasions, climbed on my soap box, collapsed through it because of the number of recipes I have found and tried, lost no weight whatsoever . . . (deep sighs).

Since then I have opened a Flickr account and, most recently, a Blipfoto account too. But I still have a soft spot for here and this is the first blog I go to each day. I don't have a lot of followers, but that doesn't matter. I would like more comments, but am happy with the ones I get. I'd love to be able to write a blog that is witty, scintillating, charismatic . . . oh, you get the idea. But what you read is what you get and I'm happy with that!

So Happy Birthday to my blog, Diary of a Teacher! Here's to the next year!

Photo: Nice leaves on a bush in the garden!

Edited to add - the lemon drizzle cake (second attempt) went down a reat treat at the KS1/FS meeting. :0)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

FMC 9: Chicken with fennel cream

I finally got round to making it, only two weeks too late! It really is delicious, although I think next time I would not sprinkle the extra fennel seeds over the top before serving. I added chestnut mushrooms because they needed using up, and they went very nicely with the rest of the dish. I did two pieces of chicken so there's another one for tomorrow evening.

Lemon drizzle cake.

I had another go and three cheers, it's come out OK this time. Sunk a bit in the middle (I suspect the tin was a smidgen too large) but it's a perfectly respectable cake that I can take to the meeting tomorrow without any shame! It's not out of the tin yet, but here's photographic proof! Next time (and there will be a next time) I will cover it over for the last 15 mins or so.

The badly mangled cake of yesterday will do fine for desserts, cut into single portions and frozen until needed.

Sunday morning

The sun's shining. I've just noticed! I went outside to take the photo above earlier and it was very dull and dismal. Now it's lovely! Time to pull a few weeds, I think!!

Today is more of the same - such a predictable life I lead, thank goodness. So washing, ironing, housework and a bit of planning!!

Photo: A shell. Blipfoto wouldn't accept this as it was too 'small'.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Saturday evening

Well, the lemon cake was a bit of a disaster, unfortunately. It tastes wonderful, but a whole load of it dripped onto the oven floor and the middle has sunk so badly it's a right mess. I'm not sure why - whether the oven was too hot or too cold, whether the tin was not tall enough. Who knows? I will try it again and next time I will try using a loaf tin (or maybe two smaller ones.

After sampling the cake, I didn't feel all that hungry, so the chicken will be for tomorrow lunch instead.

Photo: I have a miniature twisted hazel in a pot. It has produced just two catkins - so not many nuts this autumn!!

Later on Saturday morninmg

. . . and I may not be out of my bedclothes yet, but I've been busy.

Remember I said earlier that I was going to do some shifting stuff into the garage? well, a short time after that I looked out and lo and behold it was tipping down! It still is a bit wet. So I've been creative. First of all I made some shortbread biscuits from a recipe Annabeth gave me (many thanks). Delicious! Then I decided I would make a cake that I've fancied making for a while. The recipe can be found here on the wonderful La Recette de Jour blog (it's all in English, never fear). To make it, one of the items needed is 'good quality lemon curd'. Well, the best quality I know is home made, so I set to and made a batch of microwave lemon curd. It takes under ten minutes and tastes absolutely wonderful. WhenI got out the ingredients for the cake, however, I realised that I didn't have enough SR flour, so that will have to wait. I also set the chicken pieces to marinate in cider, toasted fennel seeds and oil for the FMC recipe. I'm about to go up, get bathed and dressed and pop round the corner to Morrisons, to get what I need. With any luck, by the time that's all done, the weather will have cleared and I can get on with what I planned to do today!

It's lovely, being busy in this way. And as I have to hold a short KS1/FS meeting after school on Monday, some home made lemon drizzle cake will lighten the load considerably!

Photo: Furry snowdrop!

Saturday morning

. . . and it's the usual round of getting things straight, doing neglected jobs, etc. Thankfully, there's nothing much going on with FirstClass (touch wood), nothing potentially explosive, nothing to tie the mods to hours of conference watching in case. It's damp outside but not actually raining, so I should get the transfer of stuff to the garage done today. As well as that the is the downstairs to tidy and clean so there's little to do next Friday when we have the next Chinese and Chat for 'my' team. Thanks to the extension, I'm the only one to have a space big enough to accommodate twenty or so people and I have enough china and cutlery too. Next term's do should be a barbecue and I'm hoping June will host that, as she did last summer!

I've sadly neglected my F M C recently so have to catch up with them. I'm hoping to do last week's chicken recipe today or tomorrow and then I will catch up during the Easter break, only a fortnight away now. The warmer weather is peeping round the corner and colour is beginning to show everywhere!

I've recently discovered a lovely site called Blipfoto, where you can post one photo each day. The restriction is that it should have been taken that day. If it's been edited, both the photo and the edit must be done that day. There's some lovely stuff on there, well worth looking at.

As for mine: An edited snowdrop!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Friday late afternoon

Today was more interesting that anticipated. The First Aid course this morning was stuff that was directly relevant to school situations and the safeguarding this afternoon was - well, necessary. Home now and it still feels as if a holiday has started. I've worked out that this is because up to now all our INSETs have been either at the end or at the beginning (mostly at the beginning) of a longer break. We're conditioned to feel like that!

But the weekend has started now. Yay!

Photos: It started raining a short time ago and I took these while it was raining. I like the snowdrop one particularly and will probably do some arty stuff with it and see what happens. The other is of honeysuckle buds.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Thursday evening

. . . and again, what a day it's been.

It started off 'well'! I meandered out of the front door clutching my car key (off my keyring because of having the battery changed yesterday), slammed the front door and then uttered something most unteacherly, unprofessional and unfortunately expressive, just as next door neighbour and little son (due to start our school in September) emerged from behind the hedge, obviously having heard me quite clearly! Sheepish grins all round.
The reason for the lapse was that not only had I locked my keys in the house, not a problem in itself as I could have sorted it out during the day, but - major, huge, ginormous issue - I hadn't put in my hearing aids. Now, without them I am useless, very isolated and very vulnerable and totally incapable of teaching.
What to do?

Well, DD has a key to my house so I was bombing down the road to hers when I remembered (sorry, son) that I have an offspring just round the corner to where I live. So I banged on his door, woke him up, got his key to my house and all was well. Phew.

It did get better after that - well, it had to really. All of the KS1 and FS staff are owed some PPA time because of INSET days which always happen on a Friday. We had an hour of supply cover which wasn't needed so I had an hour of that time paid back today, which was a most welcome surprise and much appreciated.

It was parents' evening again tonight so I stayed at school to get stuff ready. This time it's been a lovely consultation cycle. The children *have* made progress, some of them quite a considerable amount, and all the parents were really nice and appreciative of the fact. Not one negative comment was made and there were so many positive, affirming comments that I think I will need a bigger hat!
Something that was nice was that a number of dads came. I tend to know the mums better because I see them at the beginning and the end of the day, but I see the dads less. This evening, a number of mums stayed at home and the dads came. Lovely!

Now I am home, relaxing with a glass of something nice, chilled, dry and white. Tomorrow is INSET so no need to get in early. Bliss . . . here's to Kenneth Baker!

Important note to self: Have extra front door keys cut and ask nice neighbours (who pretended they didn't hear my naughty word) to keep them for me!

Photo: More crocus delight.

Thursday morning

It feels just like the end of term at the moment. That's because tomorrow is an INSET day (first aid and safeguarding) and today sees the end of one section of our theme on 'Long, Long Ago'. Combined with a day where little extra planning and preparation is required (phonics, writing, ICT, Music and games, weather permitting), it gives a bit of a sense of freedom and I will have to work to remember that PE bags do NOT go home this evening!

The other parents' evening is tonight, so I must get on with finishing my notes on What To Say. Doing this focuses the mind wonderfully, especially if what one has to say is less than 'good'.

Photo: Another crocus one from yesterday

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Wednesday evening

On walking home from school this evening, I noticed that the crocuses along the bank were looking absolutely gorgeous, so took a few photos. They really were a sign that spring is well on the way now and with the days getting longer and warmer, summer cannot be that far behind either.
After their triumph on Monday at Braintree Museum, my little dears were doing family assembly today - and they were wonderful. Yes again I was so very proud of them. They spoke so clearly and confidently and remembered all their words. Bless them.

Wednesday morning

Oh, I was so tired yesterday after such a long day on Monday. And the car battery died on me. That was unfortunate because I was due to drive DS over to DDs for a Chinese takeaway. DS's partner was coming later when she finished work and I could leave early to get an early night. Well, I could get over OK, but would need to wait for them to bring me back, so I cried off. I'm afraid the early night had a greater power than the take away Chinese. Very disappointing but . . .
Someone's coming round to change the battery today. I should have realised - for the last week, the car hasn't started first time and it usually does. Hopefully it won't be too expensive!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Tuesday morning

The new Google Street view is such fun, isn't it? I had a trawl around the village I grew up in (which has changed quite a bit since we left in 1966!) and found the above view. It's the house we lived in which Dad designed and had built in the 1950s.

It hasn't changed all that much although I was dismayed to see that the wall at the front, which my brothers and I used to sit on, balance along and generally have a good deal of fun on, has been knocked down to a much lower level - you can see from the marks on the gate post how high it originally was. Nostalgia apart, it's actually rather nice at the lower level, I think - or it will be when it's finished.

I seem to be doing a lot of nostalgia at the moment.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Exhausted but happy

What a day! Up early to get my comments finished for parents' evening. Then off to school to get all the books, folders, files etc sorted - again for parents' evening. Then in came the children looking absolutely wonderful dressed up as Victorian children. At 9:30 we all set off in two coaches for Braintree Museum. I got lucky - because my class went out second, about a third of them fitted on the big coach with the other year 1 class and the rest (including me) went on the little coach! Upon arrival, the coaches were able to park on the road by the museum, so no busy road to cross (phew).

It was a wonderful day. The children were attentive and discussed the old artifacts intelligently, The role play Victorian School lesson was brilliant - the teacher was so strict and got cross and they responded so well. After lunch they looked round the museum and filled in their work book and every single child was busy and engaged.

When we got home, they were all very tired and, I am sure, will sleep well tonight.

For me it was stay at school, get the classroom ready and talk to parents about their child's progress. Everyone was pleased, everyone was happy, everyone said nice things.

I've just got home and, goodness, I'm so tired! But it really has been a lovely day!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Sunday evening - and a wallow in nostalgia

Isn't YouTube wonderful? I've just spend some time soaking myself in some of my favourite memories from my teenage and young adult years. I started with the Hollies - Carrie Ann, The Air That I Breathe and the superb He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, then followed my nose around the links, spending some considerable time with The Seekers and Judith Durham (what an amazing sound those talented people produced), dipping into Peter, Paul and Mary, saying hi to Manfred Mann . . . and so on.
And what amazed me, although it probably shouldn't, is how very, very good they all were. I know there was a lot of rubbish around in the sixties and early seventies, isn't there in every generation, but there was an awful lot of classic stuff which is as good now as it was then. I think I ought to do this more regularly. OK, the sound quality isn't the best, but somehow that doesn't matter. The melodies, the harmonies (always more powerful, for me), the arrangements and the sheer beauty of it all more than makes up for this. I feel thoroughly relaxed and calm and, with a heavy week coming up, this is a true gift, not to be turned down.

And now I've turned to Clannad . . . the shivers are running up and down my spine.

Note to self - must get some head phones so I can listen in the early morning and not disturb the neighbours.

Sunday and getting there.

The backlog of sheets are now beeyootifully stuck into the theme books, the little books they have made are in little card holders, I now need to make some notes on each child and that's it! Nearly ready.

I'm amazed at how much work the children have actually done. You think you're getting nowhere slowly and suddenly you realise quite how much ground has been covered and quite how much progress has been made. Nice feeling.

And I will try to get the F M C done for lunch today.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

FMC 9: Chicken with fennel cream

Found in 'Cook with us' and I have all the ingredient in apart from the chicken, which I bought yesterday after school. You marinate the chicken in cider, oil and roasted fennel seeds (yum), then cook with the marinade, onion, garlic and fennel seeds, making a sauce with creme fraiche and cornflour (I will use thickening granules) at the end. It sounds nice and the photo looks appetising (don't they always?).

Apart from that, it's hard slog getting ready for Parents' evenings next week. What fun!!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Friday evening and the weeked has started.

I had one of those wonderful moments this afternoon that makes me realise yet again why I love teaching so much. It was quite ordinary really. One of my lovely little lads found a Lighthouse Keeper book in the book trolley and came to me in great excitement, telling me in huge detail the plot of the Lighthouse Keeper book he had at home. He was full of how there were the same characters and the setting looked the same but it was a different title so it must be a different story. We've been 'doing' character and setting in Reading Revelry recently - I can tick that off on his APP sheet now! However, what really gave the buzz was the look of sheer pleasure and excitement in his face, voice and actions as he talked about it all - just to me!

A wonderful moment.

Friday morning

Just as an end note (hopefully) to the recent annoyances, carelessly conceived rules have been withdrawn and an apology made for offence caused.
No apology for the offensive remark made off the site but that's hardly surprising.

And today - PPA, family assembly practice, swimming, finishing off, golden time . . . yippee doo!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Thursday evening

Almost the end of the week and half way through the half term. Next week is much shortened. On Monday, Year 1 one is all off to Braintree Museum, dressed up in Victorian garments (sort of) for a day of history. Last year it was brilliant! Hopefully, this year will be just as good.
Then on Friday it's an INSET day - first aid update and 'safeguarding'. So groovy and exciting.

It makes the planning for the week a lot easier, though - recount for literacy, Maths will be adapted from last year's planning and the afternoons will be taken up with historical stuff such as plaiting, weaving and old playground games. And just three days!

Today we started practising for Family Assembly. It's our turn next Wednesday and working out a short programme that is simple enough for the children to manage and yet interesting enough for the rest of the school takes much thought and practice. I think we've got a manageable selection of stuff, based around the theme of houses and incorporating mime, history, D&T and properties of materials.

One more day till the weekend!

Thursday morning

Try to imagine this.

Imagine a class who has lovely parent helpers in. Imagine a mum who can't come in to help because she works (like a lot of mums nowadays). Imagine that mum complaining to senior management, saying that no other mums should come in to help because she can't so it isn't fair.
Can you imagine that? No, nor could I!

Funny old world, isn't it?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Tuesday evening

. . . and what a muddle Sheila and I made of this afternoon. It was in the big diary but somehow had not transferred onto the week's timetable that is up on the staff notice board. So neither of us realised/remembered that our Educational Psychologist was due in school.
Luckily, as it happened, we were able to talk to her about something that we were very, very concerned about and she was able to give us some very sound and helpful advice indeed. So that worked out OK. Embarrassing though!

Tuesday morning

. . . and it doesn't seem so sunny as far as I can judge from the quality of light coming through the curtains. I hope the run of sunny days hasn't ended.

So - Tuesday - and SEN day. I hope it's not as fraught as it has been. I have rather a backlog of things needing my attention now.

Apart from that, other stuff hasn't been satisfactorily resolved in any way, but there you go, sometimes life is like that and one ploughs on and continues to get the job done as well as one can. After all, running away from things usually just prolongs and intensifies the problem, not to mention putting a heavy burden on the rest of the team and it certainly doesn't make the problems go away. So, no running away, no 'work to rule', no huffs and puffs and keep asking the questions! That's the way I will try to go anyway! Responsibility rules, OK!!!!

Have a good day.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Monday Evening

I'm very tired after a long day, but it's been quite good, one way and another. We had a lot of fun this afternoon exploring weaving, ranging from a look at a small loom, through skipping in weaving patterns up and down the playground, to making a liting weaving with children as the warp threads. Really good fun!

And it will be an early night tonight as I am very tired (again).

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunday evening

I fear I am very, very angry again, more so than previously. However, as I promised no more moaning I will just say a few choice words, such as &*^&% &^&&*^&%^$()((_)%$^"£.
Maybe that will help!

I got a lovely email from my dad the other day. In August my brother and sister in law are coming over from the states and, as we almost always do, we are having a family get together. Usually we go out for a meal but, as it's slap bang in the middle of the summer holidays and I will have all the time I need, everyone's coming round here for a big celebration get together. DS is looking forward to manning the barbie and gently getting drunk, I'm looking forward to having lots of fun in the kitchen, Dad muttered something about a bottle of champagne (or several) - oh, it will be super. And we'll get taxis all round so those who travel can drink as well. I'm already thinking through some ideas. Poached salmon, lemon mousse (not together) . . . (Joy ponders happily and feel the anger backing away slightly)

I've just done a spell check and the interesting combination above wasn't challenged. Maybe the computer knows what I said - ooops!

Sunday morning

And what a great sleep I had overnight. It does make a difference to wake up feeling refreshed and alert. There's a busy day ahead of me so it'as good to be feeling ready for it.

Yesterday was what I would call a lazy day. I didn't do terribly much all day really, just lounged about and rested mostly, in between messaging friends one way or another. I'm chilling now about the unsettling position mentioned in recent blogs - funnily enough, being called abusive names made me chuckle, once I'd got over the surprise. After all, when one asks questions, one must realise that they might challenge the recipient, and anyway, questions require a response. A shame it had to be that sort though - rather unworthy but hey, there's a lot more to life than worrying about things like that. I have given it more than enough space in my blog; all done now!

Apart from that, the day was fun. I watched an old Poirot on the box. David Suchet is just exactly how I have always imagined Poirot to be - utterly definitive. Joan Hickson was brilliant at Miss Marple, but a little more fluffiness of appearance would have been even better. Suchet just IS Poitot all the way through. Superb.
No F M C this weekend - too much to do and the new mags aren't out yet anyway. I'll catch up at some point.

Better go and start on stuff. Have a good day, one and all

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Clark rarebit! and a pleasant surprise

A variation, most likely far from original.
Put finely grated full flavoured cheddar, creme fraiche, grain mustard, peanut butter (crunchy),Worcester sauce and a grinding of black pepper into a bowl and mix into a thick paste (sorry, I didn't measure amounts).
Toast some bread under the grill, one side properly toasted, the other side half toasted.
Butter the half toasted side, then spread over ther mixture. Pop back under the grill to melt and brown a bit. Yum yum

The surprise? When I pulled out the grill pan, there, on top of it, was my bread knife I've been looking for for weeks! :0)

Today is Saturday . . .

Thank goodness.

Yesterday was a real drag on and off.

PPA: no Liz as she was at a funeral, so I ploughed on with the theme spiders and very dull it was too . . . So it was paperwork for two hours, putting learning objective numbers into lots of little boxes and working out where RE and PSHE could be fitted in so that it fed into the theme whenever possible.

Then maths: that was good. I taught them how to make and use a number line for adding and subtracting and it worked a treat - most of then caught on really quickly! Rewarding, encouraging and very happy. I love it when they realise they have achieved something and feel so good about it.

Afternoon: More paperwork, this time of the very important IEP type - two hours of it, feeling under a lot of pressure. My typing got worse and worse as the afternoon went on! I was so glad Sheila was there to advise and make me correct my errors - couldn't have done it without her.

Then, after school a meeting: yet more IEP work, this time going through the process with a colleague! This was better, more rewarding, but too much paperwork. How people who do it all day cope, I shall never know.

And finally home, back to the OUSA fiasco. It would be almost funny, the cock-ups that have been made, if it wasn't so insulting to a whole mass of very committed, very skilled, very generous moderators, who know a darn sight more about modding than the people who are sitting in judgement about them. By the time I'd read through that lot, I'd have been happy to shove all yesterday's paperwork down their collective throats (and other places too), if it wasn't confidential! (very big grins).

Never mind. Breathe out slowly. Lower the old blood pressure and think nice thoughts. Today is Saturday . . .

Friday, 5 March 2010

Friday again

Still all churned up and ready to fight with my own shadow, so it's rather fortunate that I am only teaching my dears for an hour today. The rest of the time is taken up with PPA and time out of class to get on with some fairly important SEN paperwork. So it's paperwork, maths and paperwork. Oh, and after school a meeting about more paperwork. One Of Those Days!

On top of all of yesterday's fuss and bother, it seems possible that a few of those charged with running OUSA might have been disregarding their own rules and guidelines and, as a result, treated students with a lot less respect and worth than they ought to have done. After yesterday, I'm not as surprised as I would have been (which is a huge shame), but still angry. I sincerely hope that I am totally wrong about this - some very good people are involved and it's not comfortable thinking at all.

I need a calming photo . . . I've posted one like this before, sorry. It is calming though! I love the layers.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Thursday evening

And after a really pleasant morning, stuff has happened that has made me very, very angry indeed.

I've done my best to support the Open University Students' Association over the years by moderating their conferences to the best of my ability, but it looks as if all the hard work has just resulted in mistrust and disdain from some members of the EC. And that makes me very, very angry and very, very disappointed, not only for myself but also for the many good and skilled people I have modded with over the years, especially those who have been prepared to take on the more so-called 'contentious' conferences and who now find that all their experience and all their hard work and understanding are simply not good enough any more.
You know, what totally amazes me is that those who have expressed their distrust and disdain are, in the main, those who have little or no experience of moderating so-called 'contentious' conferences and so who have absolutely no idea what is actually involved, especially when mopping up messes made by some of their colleagues.

Apologies for the rant. It doesn't make me feel any better unfortunately! That will probably please some.

Thursday morning

Oh, dear, I missed a day yesterday. So sorry. By the time I got home yesterday, I was so very tired I couldn't think straight and forgot! An early night and a long sleep should have sorted things out nicely now though!

As for today - well, Thursdays are nice. ICT after play and music and Games in the afternoon. Games have not happened for several weeks because of the horrible weather, but this week has been lovely so fingers crossed . . .

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Tuesday evening

It was my SEN day today so Faith had my class. At lunch time she sent them out to play as they answered simple (and not so simple at times) general knowledge questions.

One was 'What is the name of the Queen of England. That was hard and only one or two knew the answer. So then she asked another 'royal' question.

F: If our queen is called Elizabeth, what is the name of her oldest son, the Prince of Wales?
(hard question and they all looked stunned)

Rapidly Improving Little Girl: (suddenly gasped, put her hand up and waved it around)

F: Anyone else?

R I L G: I know, I know.

F: OK, tell us all what his name is.

R I L G: It's Derek, Mrs H, Prince Derek!!!


Monday, 1 March 2010

Monday evening

What a gorgeous day it's been, such a change from last Monday. Monday is my playground duty day and last week I got pretty soaked. This week I soaked too - in the sunshine. It cheers everyone up, doesn't it?

I double booked myself today - not something I do all that often. I'd arranged a KS1 meeting after school, then heard that there was a senior management meeting at the same time. I was able to attend both, back to back, so to speak, but now I'm - guess what - very tired. Story of my life!!

This week is likely to be a much easier week than last week though, for a number of reasons. I hope yours is good too.