Archive for October, 2009

Willesborough Infant School, Kent II

| October 23, 2009 | 3 Comments 

willes  001Day Two at Willesborough Infant School, Ashford, Kent, and it has been a true delight to spend two days with such open minded, creative, up-for-a-challenge group as these Foundation Stage and KS1 teachers here at Willesborough. Thank you all for a great time. Continue Reading

Willesborough Infant School, Kent I

| October 22, 2009 | 1 Comment 

willesy2 006A short drive from Dover to Ashford, and a special thank you to Liz Clarke for inviting us to  Willesborough Infant School in Ashford for two days of training, today working with the infant classes, then tomorrow working with the teachers and visiting willesy2 013colleagues.

In the morning lessons we had the pleasure of meeting Ben Mehrabian, a visiting teacher from Brook Community Primary School, who kindly wrote:

“Hello,” a simple word given with a smile. The response desired is that of a colloquial and familiar nature “Hello, Mr. Rylands”. Tim encourages children to think, break the normal boundaries of responding to a teacher, and also be individuals, but with utter respect. Continue Reading

Whitfield and Aspen School, Dover, Kent

| October 21, 2009 | 10 Comments 

whitfieldNow down south, for a return trip to Whitfield and Aspen School, Dover, Kent.

We enjoyed a trip to Whitfield and Aspen before, to work alongside the staff, investigating different ways of inspiring their pupils. Today, we had the opportunity to work alongside those children and wander in the world of words. Continue Reading

East Riding Inspiring Creative Technology Conference

| October 20, 2009 | 11 Comments 

bridlington 003More miles, but how well worth it, to get to the East Riding Inspiring Creative Technology Conference at Bridlington Spa in Bridlington.

I was asked to give a keynote speech, and a few workshops, to the nearly 200 delegates here today.

Continue Reading


| October 17, 2009 | 3 Comments 

DabbleboardOK! So you have collaborated in text, at great speed, using Etherpad.

How about adding a visual element?

Try Dabbleboard to enable you to draw, at speed, and collaborate in real time, with others across the web.

Tried this with a group of children and watched in amazement as they whipped up a diagram, for another group, in seconds.

Dabbleboard recognises movements and translates these, if you want it to, into key elements like circles, squares and diamonds. Add arrows, draw in freehand and see your fellow “dabblers” interact with you.

The FREE version is enough for anybody.

I am not going to waffle on too long about this one. Just go doodle! 🙂

St. Woolos Primary School, Newport II

| October 16, 2009 | 1 Comment 

We were joined, today,  by Helen Bowen, Curriculum Improvement Adviser for English/Literacy for Newport, and she kindly recorded her reflections on the morning.

Helen BowenI have had the pleasure of seeing Tim and Sarah presenting at conferences a few time now…but today was the first time I have seen them work their magic with children.

Was there writing? Yes there was, but there was such a build up to it that the pupils were so ‘warmed up’ that the process of making marks on paper was virtually effortless. The ‘what to write’ had been taken away! The importance of Oral rehearsal before writing was at the heart of this.

We are in a fortunate position in Wales where our Curriculum is providing us with the chance to look for opportunities for rich task setting. What I have seen today encapsulates creativity perfectly, but also managed to build in a good dollop of basic skills development in context. What a day! Continue Reading

St. Woolos Primary School, Newport

| October 16, 2009 | 12 Comments 

woolos 001What fun today, at St. Woolos Primary School, Newport.

During the morning, we had the chance to work with two groups of children who had the style to turn up at school ON THEIR DAY OFF! 🙂

We were very impressed with all of these valiant volunteers. They showed great energy in the way they were willing to pick words up and juggle them. They also displayed a great sense of humour which showed itself in inventive responses and witty banter when asked to take  on different roles in the lands we visited. Continue Reading

Pembrokeshire INSET for SENCOs

| October 15, 2009 | 1 Comment 

NantYFfinToday we are at Nant Y Ffin Hotel working with a focus on SEN with teachers and support staff from the Pembrokeshire area. The morning session providing training for the teachers and the support staff, then the afternoon working with a delightful bunch of Y3 – Y6 pupils from Brynconin Primary School. Continue Reading

Tool Barred! Tool bard.

| October 14, 2009 | 0 Comments 


We often work with schools using the hidden and magical parts of the “Control Toolbox” toolbar in PowerPoint.

To me, a white screen and little black writing and reading it all out is PowerPointless! But, there are some remarkable elements to the hidden “developers” section that have proven to get teachers and students fired up and creating.

We wondered what a screen would look like with ALL of the toolbars in use.

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of white space to be creative in!

Thinking Dice

| October 14, 2009 | 2 Comments 

PPEC 14th Oct 09003Back to the Thinking Dice used over the last two days…

These incredibly simple, but thought provoking, cubes make a powerful tool for use in any classroom, and at many ages.

PPEC 14th Oct 09001Thinking Dice is a brand new, fun product which enables pupils to develop higher order thinking and questioning skills.

Teaching children thinking Skills can make a world of difference; research shows that thinking skills are essential for effective learning. Continue Reading

Pembrokeshire Professional Education Centre – Focus Groups

| October 14, 2009 | 5 Comments 

Useful Pickie 006

A great two days, again in Pembrokeshire, as part of their Writing project. Firstly, working with a group of lads (“Here come the boys!” being the cry) and, today, with staff from schools across the authority, both secondary and primary.

One of the fascinating side effects of these two days, has been the encounter with Tom Cox and his Thinking Dice. (More later…).

We are grateful to literacy advisor, Eva John, for recording her thoughts on our time in the region:

Eva JohnFun, excitement and overwhelming curiosity are all elements that feature in Tim’s lessons and training sessions. Adults are drawn in and motivated in just the same way that children are.

The psychology of stimulating reluctant speakers, listeners and writers (both adults and children) underlies the approach which builds up their confidence and self esteem, positively altering their perception of themselves and their abilities. Continue Reading