Saturday, 31 March 2012

Saturday morning

. . . and the Easter break has started - sort of started anyway.  I always feel that, as the weekends are always there, the holiday proper doesn't start until the Monday.  Waking up on the first weekday is absolute bliss . . . such a wonderful feeling of freedom and release.  It's very good!

My friends are just leaving.  S is loading up her car as I type, although I'm not sure that M has really left the land of nod yet.  An early start for them will ensure that they meet their deadline the other end, which is all to the good.  We are all hoping that the silly panic buying of petrol will have calmed down because at some point they *will* need to top up with petrol.  Have a good journey, both of you, thanks for coming and see you soon, I hope.

Today is going to be easy (fingers crossed, touch wood, etc).  I need to do some washing, some basic decluttering, make a few resources for the new term, do some online shopping (yes I do, don't argue!!) and generally have a good day.  And George comes for an hour in the garden which is good and the dreaded weeds are starting to make an appearance again.  He will be busy today!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Thursday morning

Mini rant coming up . . .
I do wish supply teachers would make sure little children put their names on their work rather than just assuming they have done.
End of rant!

Well, my friend finally got here yesterday and we had a lovely evening chatting and catching up on all sorts of things.  At the moment she and her daughter are, I hope, sleeping sweetly in the guest bedroom before waking to a new day.  We all went up to bed very early - all that nattering must have worn us out.  And I have to say, Morrison's pizzas are very tasty!

Today - two days to go - is not going to be terribly hard work.  There's a bit of maths, a bit of literacy, some phonics, a special assembly and a finishing of open boxes.  Several children expressed a concern about where the creme eggs were coming from.  H expressed it well.
'Er, excuse me, Mrs Clark' (he's always very polite), 'you know about these eggs . . .'
Me: (encouragingly):  'Mmmmm?'
H:  Well, I was just wondering . . . where are they coming from?  Do we have to bring one in?'

Wasn't that nicely expressed?  He and G had been whispering to each other and earlier G had asked me where the egg I had came from and I said (without thinking) 'Morrisons' and then, realising what I'd said, waffled about the Easter Bunny a bit!  It obviously didn't help!

So today they finish off the boxes, make a little handle, stuff the inside of their box with tissue paper and leave it, with eager hope, on the side for the last day, just in case the Easter Bunny does happen to pass by!  And yes, a lot of them do realise but are happy to keep up the pretence because you never know - do you?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wednesday morning

While everyone else is rejoicing in the lighter evenings, I am really noticing the darker mornings!  They're jolly cold too - every morning there's been a frost requiring a scraping of the car.  If the clocks hadn't gone forward, the frost would have melted before I left home.

Yesterday was interesting - I was involved in interviews.  Much less stressful being an interviewer rather than an interviewee, that's for sure!  While I was thus engaged, my children were having a whale of a time making model rocking horses with paper plates, card and sundry other bits and bobs.  Today (June's idea) we are going to let each of them take a photo of their horse to stick in their theme book.  Then it's continuing with making those open boxes for a creme egg.  Fun!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tuesday morning

Life can move on again now.  Four days to go before the Easter break, but only under two in class as today I am involved in interviews and Friday is SEN day.  Sadly, the friend who was due to arrive yesterday and stay for four nights can't make it until Wednesday now which will cut down on our time considerably.

Isn't it nice to see the sun, feel its warmth on your skin, breathe in the scent of spring.  I was on afternoon playground duty yesterday and it was an absolute pleasure to stand outside watching the children having a wonderful time and enjoying the peace.  Yes, I know that's a contradiction in terms, but it really was peaceful.  Noisy but peaceful.

Well, I have made some careful plans for whoever is taking my class today so I'd better start getting myself ready.  Bathroom - here I come.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Monday evening

Observation over.  Couldn't be happier with the outcome.  Very relieved and celebrating . . . phew!

Monday morning

Maths lesson + observation = sleepless night.  I used to think I would grow out of this as I got older and more experienced but it's the reverse.  I will be glad when the morning is over.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunday morning

. . . and I had to laugh, despite the aches.  When I opened my Google page, it informed me that in Chelmsford it is 1 degree C and snowing!  I could possibly go along with the temperature, possibly, although there's no frost, but snowing???  I think they've got that a little bit wrong!  It's very misty though
Actually, is it jolly chilly at the moment, having opened the door to see; aren't we getting some temperature variations at the moment?  Yesterday must have hit nearly 20 C at its warmest but the evening was cold (I was shivering anyway) and it's cold now.

Have a good day, gentle readers.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Saturday evening

Ho hum.  The best laid plans . . . as the saying goes.  I helped DD on her allotment, went shopping and then crashed.  Feeling rotten again.  I'm glad I did the planning early this morning.  And Al - I'm so very sorry.  There will be another time . . .

Saturday morning

Well, it's going to be a very busy day today.  I've done my planning, thank goodness, with special care having been taken of  Monday's maths lesson, which will be my observed lesson.  The kitchen is a lot nicer than it was too.  I still have to sort out the living room and the guest bedroom, do some food shopping and give DD two hours in her allotment, although I might try to sneak out of that and do the shopping then.

After Monday I'm going to flake out!!!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Friday morning

Things are hotting up now.  This is the term that doesn't have an ending.  The Christmas and Summer terms have a natural wind down all their own, marked by various traditional things that shout 'hey - the holiday is coming'.  The Spring term doesn't have the same unwinding slow-down so we tend to accelerate into the wall at the end!

We're deep into observation season right now.  I observed a geography lesson yesterday and am due to observe two other lessons (not geography) today.  My own observation is on Monday.  They call observation an 'entitlement'.  That means 'you're having it whether you like, need or want it or not, so tough!'  Such a shame choice isn't an entitlement too! 

That's life!!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Wednesday morning

After our film making session last week, we did the usual evaluation without which a project cannot be considered to be finished nowadays, even if the thought of doing it again seems as attractive as ironing your fingers while standing on your head whistling Land of Hope and Glory!!!

Of course, my littlies were incredibly optimistic and thought they had done brilliantly, film evidence to the contrary!!   Fortunately, as part of the exercise, we asked a year 5 class to watch our clips and offer a less biased evaluation and they were kind but realistic, bless them, chosing someone to feed back who was able to wrap truth up in kindness and optimism.  The children were thrilled!

And now, given the problems we have had getting different softwares to actually cooperate, that's it.  We were hoping to stich the clips together into a 'programme' with an opening, credits, etc, but we can't, not with the software (and time) at our disposal now.  A bit of a shame, but not a part of the actual unit of work.

And that, said John, is that!! (with thanks to A A Milne)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Tuesday morning

I am deeply ashamed that my higher than usual number of visitors since yesterday morning were treated to a short but definite whinge.  So sorry, gentle readers, Please forget quickly, would you!

Yesterday was the usual pleasant Monday, marred rather when my lovely TA, who struggled into school after being poorly, was taken home again at playtime, still unwell.  I hope she isn't even thinking of trying to come in today and I gather she is seeing her GP on Wednesday.  The children rose magnificently to the occasion, focusing on their diaries while I sat with the group L usually sits with, managing without a 'trawling teacher' to advise, prompt, suggest, etc.

To go with our theme, the children had brought in old toys.  Mostly they were toys their parents had played with, which, to my geriatric perspective, aren't old at all, being more or less what my own children played with!  There was one very old solitaire game, made of wood with really old marbles inside, which the children have been forbidden to touch on pain of death - or having their name in the yellow file, which is much worse!  And there's a set of Hornby carriages in the original box, so I'm having mini nightmares about the box being damaged.  Today I am taking in Tubbalina.  Tubbalina has featured in this blog a few times.  She's my precious teddy, exactly one year younger than I and with a voice that still sings when I press her tummy.  She is battered, worn, well loved and infinitely more tuneful than I, and taking her into school is a real commitment to the class!  They'd better love her, that's all I can say!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Monday evening

Sniff, cough, splutter, ache, whinge . . .


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunday morning

All my good intentions died the death yesterday as the latest cold struck with a vengeance.  Some tidying up did get done, which is good, but not enough to make that much of a difference. I've cancelled my usual Sunday visitors (again - sorry DD and DG) and will hopefully start recovering today as school is a bit of a non-negotiable this week, one way and another.  I'm getting soft in my old age!

I'm up too early, but have taken some paracetamol and can feel the tiredness descending again so will be back up in bed asleep shortly.

Apart from that, although the rain was miserable yesterday, I was glad to see it as we really do need loads in this corner of England.  It looks as if it's been raining through the night too, which is good, and maybe it will continue today too.  Hard on the children, but so, so needed.

Well, I'm back off upstairs again now for a bit more snooze, hopefully . . .

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Saturday morning

. . . and here I am, in pjs, on the PC at a time when I would normally be getting stuff together for the day's teaching - books for reading revelry, photocopying sheets, gathering resounces and generally making sure everything is as ready as it needs to be.  I like weekends.

Ten more school days until the end of term.  I know I say this boringly often, but time is passing so quickly, it's just frightening me.  This term has been fraught with illness but even so it's gone in a flicker of an eye.  It looks as if I will be finishing it in the same way as I started.  For the last two days my TA has been off with aches, pains, earache, a very sore throat, etc, and . . . guess what!  aaarrrggghhhh

It's St Patrick's day today.  I tend not to take much notice of saints' days, if at all, but three of 'our' saints are a useful prompt because my brothers and I were all born one day off a saint's day which is a jolly useful reminder.  Happy Birthday for tomorrow, J.

As for today, the house is a tip and from next weekend I have visitors, so the day's work is all cut out.  It will be very nice to get some order and method back into things that have been sadly neglected in the past few weeks.  I feel much more relaxed when things are in good order and, with a break coming up, relaxed is good.  So it's the Flylady fifteen minutes strategy for me today and, amazingly enough, I know where I have put my timer so no excuses!

Better get going . . .

I don't have a recent photo but fancied one, so here's one of a view in Somerset taken a few years ago.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Thursday evening

. . . and you never saw such a set of bleary eyed teachers in your life.  I guess one of the things about a 'successful' school (whatever 'successful' means) is that there's an awful lot to live up to.  Parents' evenings are times when what you have done with their justifiably precious child (absolutely no sarcasm intended here) is on the line.  As a result, we all invest so much in these times that when they are over we just wilt.

Mind you, there was not a lot of chance to wilt in class today.  We've been starting to use a new ICT scheme of work.  We (teaching staff) were increasingly aware that, especially higher up the school, the things that we used to teach them are now things that they have already picked up from 'playing' on their home computer and there was a recognised need for something that was cohesive, progressive and more challenging.  In year 1 we took on board the unit regarding filming and visual stuff and we have been working to film a 'programme' called 'Life in the Olden Days'.  Today was the final filming and now it's all done and on the school network for putting together next week.  We had producers, camera 'men', prompts, a wardrobe mistress (me) and any number of presenters who found it incredibly difficult to stand still, speak to the camera and remember their words!  Great fun has been had by all.
And this being education, not just about 'having a good time' tomorrow is evaluation day!

J and I have looked at the new SoW for next term and we are considerably not impressed, so there will be some modifying going on.  Fortunately, the official edict is 'use what you want and make it work for you' so that's OK!

That's teaching for you.  Always changing, always moving on, always more challenges.  The government really shouldn't worry - we challenge ourselves, we really do!  The children (and we teachers) have learnt so much through the 'We are Historians' work over the past fortnight, not just about ICT but literacy, history, leadership, using detail to improve the wider picture, working as a team, listening and appreciating each other's strengths, positive criticism . . .  It's been very good.

(jumps off soap box)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Wednesday evening

Consultation evenings are over for this school year.  Lots of really nice comments.  Not one negative comment., not one single one.  I'm an extremely contented teacher this evening and the chilled dry white tastes good!

And to cap it all, Chelmsford has finally been granted city status today.  I dunno - a county town, a cathedral, two outstanding grammar schools, the most rapidly improving town in the South East and it's taken this long to get city status.  But we got there finally and in the Jubilee year too - that's nice!

Wednesday morning

More consultations after school.  Then it will all be over for another school year.  Thankfully, todays starts at 3:30 and goes on until 6:00 so no late nights.

I've just realised I have a bloggy birthday coming up.  Three years ago, March 22nd, I started this blog.  No readers, just me and a few passers by.
Rather a lot of words later we're coming up to 3 years of rambling and inconsequential chit chat.  Time goes quickly!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tuesday evening

I work at a lovely school.
Ar four o'clock (when we are contractually allowed to stop work although we rarely do) nice deputy head came round and very firmly suggested that it would be a good idea if everyone went home. 
Why?  Because we were all in school late last night, we are looking tired and what isn't done can wait.

See - I'm so lucky.

Tuesday morning

You have to laugh or you might cry.

Nice class TA was taking one of the phonics groups.  They were doing 'ee' and she was giving them clues to help, such as 'you put shoes and socks on your . . . '
Hard working little boy was very interested.

TA:  OK, this next ee word is something you will be when you go to big school.

(silence all round)

TA:  It's when you are older but not completely grown up

(wrinkled brows all round)

TA:  er . . .  when you are thirTEEN.  fourTEEN, fifTEEN (etc) you are . . .

HWLB:  Oh, I know.  You're OLD!!!

In memory

Three years ago yesterday  the world lost a lovely lady to death. 

Liz Ayers - not forgotten

Monday, 12 March 2012

Monday evening

Just home from parents evening - very tired so no blog.  I'm happy though.  :0)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday morning

Just a quick post in between thinking and preparing for next week's busy-ness.  Colour is springing out all over in the garden.  The lupins have survived and coming back up and all the usual perennial stuff including an aqualegia that hasn't been up for a few years and which I'd planted something else over, ooops!!  Never mind, I don't care - I should have realised that they are hard to kill off, the way others around the front have survived!
So here's a few photos of bits and bobs!
Mini daffs (very sweet) . . .

Primulas or primroses or whatever they are called . . .

. . . and the bush that thinks it's a tree is really not being very sensible, sending out so many shoots.  I must remind it that it needs to control its growth this year or it is totally for the chop.  I wonder if I can take cuttings.  Does anyone know?

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Saturday late afternoon

. . . and I've finished and printed off the reports for parents' evenings next week.  I've treated myself to a take away Indian meal which should be arriving in the next hour. 

Can't think of anything more to say.  My brain is frazzled!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Friday evening

I've postponed the rant for now.  I have worse things to worry about.

I've just started organising our next social.  It's going to be a visit to the Civic Theatre in May to see one of my KS1 colleagues (who sings like an angel) in Half a Sixpence.  No problems there. 

But - BUT - I have realised that by then I will be entitled to a concessionary ticket.  I will be OVER SIXTY.  Well, I would except that the night we're going doesn't do concessionaries, but that's not the point is it.  I will be officially old. 

Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear!!!!!

Friday morning

Rant alert coming up - but maybe not until later because I haven't the time now.  Suffice it to say it is connected with this new year 1 formerly-called 'reading test' which at least the government have finally had the grace to accept is not a reading test at all, renaming it a phonic screen instead.  What's the problem with a phonic screen?  Nothing, when created and applied sensibly . . . and there's the problem!  The fact that they called it a 'reading test' in the first place is cause for concern by itself . . .

But I won't start . . . yet!  :0)

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Thursday evening

Another long day, another sleepy evening and only one day to half way through the half term.  Only sixteen working days until the Easter holiday - where on earth is the time going?

What's the time - can I go to bed yet?  Er - no . . .

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wednesday evening

. . . and I'm relaxing with a nice glass of merlot, enjoying the satisfying feeling.

Firstly, our family assembly was fantastic!  The children wore their olden days costumes and looked a picture.  They remembered their words, the singing was brilliant (extremely tuneful for five year olds) and  - well, it was lovely.  I caught a few mums wiping away tears.

Secondly, it didn't rain all day and they got some of their playtime. 

To go with the Merlot, I am treating myself to some favourite music on Youtube.  I've listened to Bach's 'Sheep may safely graze' and ' Gibbons' Hosannah to the Son of David and now I'm revelling in 'Oh, clap your hands together' by the same composer.  A real dive back into history as the latter two were works I sang when I was in the Madrigal Group (aka the Chapel Choir) at Methody.  Some of the happiest days of my life, never, ever forgotten!


Apologies for yesterday's silence.  It was all rather busy and by the evening I was absolutely worn out.  It was bed by eight for me and a very good night's sleep too.

I was relieved yesterday.  I thought I had lost my (the school's) camera.  It seemed very odd as the little gizmo I use for getting the photos onto the computer was also missing and I KNOW I used them both together last week.  Today I looked on my table and there they were, sitting together without a care in the world.  As I said, I was mightily relieved!

We're making a film, you see.  Yes, we are.  An information film, all about objects from long ago.  It's our ICT work for this half term.  J and I were thinking of using the cameras for the filming but it is too battery-greedy so we are using the school camcorder instead.  It's a huge challenge for us as we've not use Moviemaker (or whatever we will be using) to edit films before.  It can't be terribly hard, not at the level we want to work at - but . . . eeeeeek.  So hence I know when I last used the camera.

And today?  PPA, family assembly (that'll be the last one I have to plan for the year as next term it is violin assembly), staff meeting and the forecast is rain all day.  Oh, joy of joys!!!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Monday evening

There's not a lot to say really.  It's been a peaceful, 'ordinary' (as ordinary as you can get when you're a teacher) day with not a lot of hassle.  It's been cold but I wasn't on any playground duties.  All the children were at school - I worry about them when they're unwell.  We had some good practices for our family assembly on Wednesday.  The history assessment exercise went well..  PPA went well (an hour once a fortnight).  We're half way through sorting out our new display board (there are a number of display boards around the school and year groups move around twice a year, putting up work for display) and we have done our small framed board outside the head's office (first of all the year groups, yay!)

I like days like today!  May there be many more of the same . . . please.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunday evening . . .

. . . and I'm feeling relieved.  The planning is all done, phew, except for a bit of maths which I need to consult J about.  Lunch was scrummy and there's enough left over for me tomorrow, so that's nice and easy.  I just did baked apple slices and vanilla cream in the end and it was very delish.

Sadly disappointed though that the threatened (promised) snow didn't really come.  Some sleet and some very heavy rain but that's it.  No snowday tomorrow.  Mind you, with our family assembly on Wednesday, it's probably just as well.  But you were right, Diane, winter still has a sting in its tail.

And now I can relax.

Sunday morning a bit later.

The previous post might look as if it has just been written but I forgot to click 'publish'.  I'm back now after having had a fiddle faddle in the kitchen.

You see, I have DD and DG coming for dinner as usual and, thanks to lack of foresight and laziness combined, I wasn't sure what delicacies I was going to provide.  There's very little in the fridge right now but I did manage to find some onion, a leek that is still usable, a rather wizened but generally OK parsnip, one little carrot, some chestnut mushrooms (they do keep a lot better than the ordinary ones and tend to dry rather than slime, thank goodness) and some were usable.  I have tins of pulses and some passata in a carton - and plenty of wine.  :0)

So I gently softened the 'fresh' vegetables in butter, added very small cans of baked beans, butter beans and chickpeas, some white wine, some passata and various seasonings and the whole lot is simmering gently on the hob right now.  I made a savoury crumble topping with flour, butter, oats, grated cheese and seasonings.  The former will be covered by the latter 40 minutes or so before we are doe to eat.

Now, with all that variety of veg, one doesn't need another veg as well, but I have a butternut squash looking pumpkin from DDs allotment that has been sitting in the kitchen for ages (literally months).  It looks like a squash but she informs me that it isn't.  It doesn't matter anyway because it has now been cut in half, smeared over with oil and is gently roasting in the oven.  I will either serve it in chunks, roasted or, more likely, cream it up with some spicy things, like a posh mash.  Fingers crossed it works.

I'm pondering on dessert as I type.  The pavlova has gone (how strange!!!) but I do have cooking apples and pears and oranges so I will do a little hunt around for a recipe.  Maybe a pie . . . or something . . .

I could have just done cheese on toast or something but it's nice to provide a main meal, then neither DD or I have to do one later on!

Note to self: go veg shopping after school tomorrow.

Sunday morning

Yesterday turned out to be a very gentle day. I dozed my way through the early morning, pottered around dealing with bottles, glasses, washed plates, etc, in the morning.  Then, after lunch, I sat down, fell asleep and snored my way through much of the afternoon.  And then slept more or less all through the night too.

Do you remember that after Christmas, when I had decluttered a big kitchen cupboard, I decided another shelf would be just the ticket.  I think I mentioned it here.  I emailed my dad about it and he got some shelving from B&Q to cut to the right size.  Last weekend, DD and DG went over to see them and brought the shelf back with them.  Yesterday I put it in and it's perfect - just absolutely right.  It's always nice to create a bit more storage space, isn't it?

Well, the ironing is piling up so I need to get started with it, I think.  Wonder if there's anything undemanding on the telly at this hour.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Saturday morning

A little weary after the comparatively late night yesterday but very happy that downstairs is in good nick and the Saturday housework really only belongs to upstairs.  No need for much done downstairs apart from the usual washing and ironing, of course.

I'd got a bit out of the habit of consulting the daily checklist and things had gone a bit up the spout, so it took a little longer than expected to get the rooms ready but nothing like the past.  I don't want to get back into old ways so that checklist is being printed out again and I'm going to consult it morning and evening!  My bedroom is going to take a bit longer today but, given that downstairs is OK, that's not a problem.

And dinner is all sorted - Chinese leftovers and the most delicious mango and passion fruit pavlova you ever did taste.  Usually we don't have formal desserts at our get-togethers, just fruit and people brings choccies sometimes.  However, this week Foundation Stage has been doing work based around 'Handa's Surprise', a delightful book with wonderful illustrations and a funny storyline that the children really love.  They had some mango and passion fruit left over, so Tina took them, made a couple of meringue bases, bought some cream and assembled the pavlova here yesterday evening.  It was most welcome, thoroughly enjoyed and, joy of joys, there was a bit left over! 

There was also rather a lot of wine and soft drink left over too.  People are very generous and wouldn't take their untouched bottles home again.  I must hide them away and not remember where they are until the next time.

And if you believe that . . . as the saying goes . . .

Friday, 2 March 2012

Friday evening - better late than never.

It's finally peaceful here.  Everyone has gone home and silence has fallen.  What a lovely evening it has been: one of our Infant department Chinese 'n' Chats with about seventeen people having a jolly good time.  I didn't over-estimate the Cbinese too badly, I'm left with rather a lot of drink (not all alcohol), crisps and choccies (the latter destined for the staff room table on Monday, two pot plants and a couple of Chinese meals.  Oh, and a dusted and swept living area . . . which will make tomorrow a little easier.  And a dishwasher that is taking the chore out of the clearing up.

Just look at the time!  Well past my bedtime and I'm still able to keep my eyes open.  Not for much longer though so goodnight and sleep tight!  I am sure no reader of my blog is troubled by little visitors, so I will not quote the last bit . . .

Thursday, 1 March 2012


Pinch and punch for the new month - that's tradition done and dusted!  March already - the Spring month, although, like Diane, I am not convinced that we have totally seen the last of the cold weather.  We will see.

Yesterday was another very pleasant day.  PPA to start with, then a session on carpet beaters (for whacking naughty boys, patting children on the head when they're not listening to the teacher, a tennis bat, squashing flies, a fan . . .).

The afternoon was great.  A very last minute thing as we simply couldn't find the resources.  We knew that there was an artist who did 'scribble' patterns but couldn't pin him down until we thought of entering the phrase 'taking a line for a walk' which threw up Klee.  Of course!!!!  How could I have forgotten - he coined the phrase in the first place!  And he lived at the right time too - a non-Victorian Victorian!!
We looked carefully at this:

(lovely, isn't it?)
and then thought about the line patterns in the carpet beater.  Finally, they took their own lines for a walk inside a carpet beater head shape and coloured in with wax crayons.  Lovely results again - I am very proud of what they've achieved in the last few days.  They've worked their socks off!