Archive for February, 2008

The Education Show

| February 29, 2008 | 0 Comments 

Thanks to all at the Education Show for a really enjoyable day.

It was great to meet up with so many people. Thanks to Helen Freeman from Scholastic for a LONG, really open and productive meeting about future plans… WATCH THIS SPACE.

Thanks also to the 2Simple, Shoofly, Education City and the Q4Technologies folk for some good laughs too!


1 The original Roman 355 day calendar had an extra 22-day month every few years to maintain the correct seasonal changes. By the time Julius Caesar took reign, the seasons no longer occurred during the same months they once had.

2 This was remedied in 45 B.C. by removing the extra month and adding the extra day to a few months instead.

3 Julius Caesar proclaimed the last day of February as Leap Year Day, skipping it three out of four years. Back then, February 30th was the last day of the last month of the year, which is why he picked it.

4 Julius also threw in a month in honour of himself (Julius – July).

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Ranvilles Infant School – Portsmouth

| February 25, 2008 | 4 Comments 

A very enjoyable visit to Ranvilles Infant School in Portsmouth.

Ranvilles won BECTAs ICT Excellence Awards 2007 – Extending learning opportunities (in the primary category)

Congratulations to Fiona Aubrey-Smith (the then Lead Teacher for ICT and Year Leader), John Whitmore (then Deputy Headteacher), Stacey Barnes (Early Years Leader), Julie and Wendy Collins (Headteacher)

Ranvilles Infant School’s strategy is to work from what is important for the pupils in terms of their learning. The leadership team is strategically very aware and has built ICT into all levels of school planning.

Ranvilles was particularly noted for their “Excellent use of their virtual learning environment (VLE) extends learning beyond the classroom. Many of the children’s parents are in the Navy, so the VLE enables progress tracking and answering questions while they are away onboard ship. Parents are also encouraged to contribute ideas through online message boards. The VLE involves the whole community in school life at Ranvilles. Good examples are posing questions to the local MP, producing and sharing book reviews, and international links with schools in Africa, Dubai and Germany.

Reports are completed throughout the year and shared with the parents, culminating in end of year reports, which include photographs of achievement and attainment. The school has an ‘open door’ policy that is complemented by the online chat rooms for parents, pupils and staff. The governors also use an online forum to talk to parents and in particular, the children.”

The school and the staff are full of smiles and laughter.The school hall even has some great displays all about smiles.

“A laugh is a smile that bursts”

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight”

“Wear a smile and have friends. Wear a scowl and have wrinkles”

“The world looks brighter from behind a smile”

Thank you to Wendy Collins, and her colleagues, for a smile inducing day.

Well done too, to Ali for conducting a really riotous rollercoaster ride:


| February 9, 2008 | 2 Comments 

The blog and I had a couple of weeks of digital and analogue discoveries in foreign climes. FUN!!!

Back to it now… 🙂

Little Aston Primary School, Staffordshire

| February 8, 2008 | 7 Comments 

Little Aston Primary School, Staffordshire is a delightful school set in the village of Little Aston.
Well done Chris for perspiring us through a great soundtrack!

Thank you to Liz Pearce and Noreen Brain and their colleagues for a really enjoyable day.
We talked at one point about the elements that make good writing and I was reminded of a few of the rules to be a good writerer:

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Don’t use no double negatives.
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
23. Kill all exclamation points!!!
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
26. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
28. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
34. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Smoke on the Yangtze

| February 6, 2008 | 1 Comment 

Happy Prosperous Year Of The Rat 2008

Just shows how a great (and simple) theme can be transposed into any culture.

Roskear Primary School, Camborne, Cornwall

| February 4, 2008 | 10 Comments 

Thank you to Richard Jones and all at Roskear Primary School, Camborne, Cornwall for a fun training day. To return from Cyprus, and be met by snow and hail was a shock. That shock was softened by some warm, sunny laughter and smiles from over 50 folk from Roskear and surrounding schools.

Well done to Kieran for surviving a tense Doors of Doom Challenge! Thank you to Becky for the nudge towards Super Duper Music Looper, a nice little pseudo GarageBand. (Get the real thing on a MAc if you can though!)
Well done to Ben for conducting a fun soundtrack:

On the on-going subject of blogging, Pupils at Birchley St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Lancashire and Barmby Moor CE Primary School Yorkshire are trialing the Schools-Online Personal Learning Edition to create their own mini websites. Within their websites each pupil has: All About Me”  ‘My Diary’, ‘My Blog’ ‘My Gallery’ ‘My Documents’ ‘My Links’ enabling them to keep a record of their thoughts, their work and favourite web links.

The system has a number of unique features, for example as the system imports each pupil’s birth date the ‘All About Me’ section for each pupil tells them how many days old they are, how many days to their next birthday and the day they were born on.

As well as their personal area the students can be assigned to any number of blogging groups. Each pupil has their own login and group blogs can be private or public.

Each blog group has areas for ‘All About Us – with charts for eye and hair colour, Our Gallery, Our Documents, Our Links and Our Blog where the teacher associated with each group can create a blog to which each member of the group can contribute.

Images, documents and links to support the blog are easily added. The potential uses of the group blogs include such things as homework activities across all areas of the curriculum, gathering views on school issues, commenting on the latest School Football match or sharing advice and worries about transition.

Schools will be able to select a partner school to enable pupils to use blogs to share ideas, knowledge and views. Pupils develop critical thinking skills, appreciation of audience and  blogging skills in a safe and fun environment.

Further information about Schools-Online Personal Learning Edition can be obtained from