Showing posts from January, 2017

Transition: a bone of contention

Transition: A bone of contention  In September the mud-slinging starts. Accusations that Year 7s arrive unable to count, read or write. Accusations that Year 7 is just Year 6 rehashed. National headlines about millions of illiterate Year 6s. Key Stage 3 is just coasting until GGSEs.  None of the above is true. But from my perspective, it seems that the transition from Year 6-7 doesn't work.  The main reasons?  - Year 6 teachers are working towards SATs in May. - High School curriculums are reverse-engineered from Year 11 downwards.  - There is a lack of communication between settings. - Year 6 children disperse to countless High schools.  I personally think all of the above is a result of the culture in our schools, which is in turn driven by DfE policy. I also think this transition could be managed better by central government, but our School system seems to be becoming MORE fractured with Acadamies and the Grammar School push.  Let's start with Yea

New Year, Same Old You #Weeklyblogchallenge17

New Year, Same Old You I don't make New Years resolutions. As a teenager I'd 'ironically' make the resolution: 'To not make resolutions' which would obviously then be broken instantly. Hilarious. One second to the next you are the same person. The change from 2016 to 2017 holds no arcane magic, no 'witching hour' spells.  One second to the next you are just the same old you. Most of us are just ordinary, run-of-the-mill people. We could do with exercising more, drinking/eating/smoking less, relaxing more etc etc. None of us are perfect.  The issue I have with NY resolutions is how quickly they are broken. They tend to be short term promises. Made, difficult to achieve, broken, forgotten. A quick fix often breaks easily.  If you want real change in your life it takes time and effort. In taking time I mean it might not work first time around. A broken resolution shouldn't mean you stop trying. In putting in the effort, mean devoting en

Jaws and Literacy: Innovate My School article

This post was originally written for Innovate My School... Think tension. Think Music. Think a knife and a shower curtain. Think a rocking boat and glinting teeth... When teaching my pupils about tension in narrative, I turn to film scores. We’ve all been there: a darkened cinema, the heavy breathing of a potential victim, the slow building music, an increase in heart rate. The scene reaches its climax and the victim is caught by the ghost/vampire/serial killer/rabbit. Now play the scene without the music. Does it have the same impact? Does your heart beat in quite the same way? Why does a building “duh duh…duh duh” have us sprinting for the shore? I use film a lot in class: to inspire writing, to develop understanding, to structure reading skills, to aid pupils in understanding characters, to hurriedly finish a class novel. But only recently have I realised the impact of backing music and how we can relate that to building tension. Sometimes as a viewer we don’t understand t