A separate newsletter is out this week to highlight our free unconference in Maidenhead and Manchester on Saturday 23 November, https://sites.google.com/a/clairescourt.net/isa-unconf/ to which Claires Court students and families are invited.
In the meantime…This last week I have been away from my desk, inspecting an all through school elsewhere in the UK. Now, it may seem a hackneyed phrase, but it’s a great privilege to be admitted to another workplace. Given the opportunity to appraise, and I do so with as honest an approach as I can, I set out on the basis that ‘significant professionals have worked in this school for many years to bring it where it is now, so not so fast Boss with your judgements’. The good news is that I left with my colleagues with the thanks of the school clear and loud. Advice and guidance, praise and some criticism, and self-respect left more than intact.
So why the warm-up, you ask dear Reader. Answer, ISI have opened their invitation to senior leaders to apply to inspect once more, and the window opened last Sunday and closes in 4 days time and you need your head’s reference with you too. Read more from the ISI website here – http://www.isi.net/inspectortraining/
In my view, the most important INSET I have ever received is the ISI training to inspect, and since I’ve been in and out of schools now as a TI for over 20 years, I can say that it is remains the single most important activity I participate in outside my school.
What Inspecting has done above all is to hone my perceptions about my own school; mostly for the better is must be said, and to round my views because there is no one right way of achieving a successful school culture.
Another event requiring application is also coming up, that being the much coveted Google Teacher Academy, and application for that can be found here: http://www.google.co.uk/edu/programs/google-teacher-academy/ The deadline is slightly less tough – 11:59PM PDT,18 October 2013, but the application process is tougher, requiring a 1 minute video to support your on-line application.
What being a google certified teacher has done for me is give me 24/7 access to the most extraordinary stream of focussed advice, guidance and collaborative problem solving I have ever witnessed. The stream also sharpens up my offer for this newsletter too, so enough reminiscing and on with the business of ‘Moving the curriculum on’.
Moving the curriculum on:
Apps for Good – at the Senior Boys school today, I introduced those who were interested to the next project we are participating in, and sent emails out to the various age groups from By upwards. You can see the sign-up form here – https://docs.google.com/a/clairescourt.net/forms/d/1jhv-P4MCxkf6wMaeKmM_8x0jmewAyLVC52biWSwVKS0/viewform
You don’t need to apply to the Inspectorate or to Google to join Twitter and enter an amazing source of help and advice. Here’s a quick 10 steps to Twitter, written a couple of years ago by Daniel Edwards, Director of Digital strategy at the Perse Schools Foundation in Cambridge. I don’t know Daniel, but I can tell you he has over 17,000 followers and he writes well on all sorts of digital matters, and he has plenty of ideas and thoughts for what works well. His schools use a mix of iPads, Google Drive and Evernote, plus lots of other b&ps. I know, I know, you need a guide book – so here it is, from the digital mag, mashable – http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter/
Learner led learning research
A short summary of Professor Stephen Heppell’s most recent short review on educational research summarising the progress we have made over the 70+ years:
children as subjects – done to them – scaled up in the fifties and sixties
children as co-constructors – done with them – perhaps late ‘80s with GCSE coursework, but being rowed back now and
children led – done by them – the current scaling up of what’s best practice in the world.
Typical Heppell, its funny writing on black, but his website assists in pointing us to the various resources and examples that prove the direction of travel we are on, and where it might get to quite shortly. http://www.heppell.net/learner_led/
Good things from left-field
During the run up to the Olympics last year, most schools got stuck into something from outside that brought the Olympic spirit into the school. Now the Olympics might be so last year, but I do like the message here emerging from the British Council, to encourage us all in schools to learn 1000 words. One of their partners, Speak to the Future has a nice website to highlight the challenge, and why not? 1000 words in a new language – I’ll race you! A couple of year’s ago I learned that Dixie Grammar school had gained the International Schools Award for their work in languages and I covet such an award for our school too. Here’s the article in the Guardian that captured it all (once my own school had also provided a great highlight by going all foreign on us at assembly on European Day of Languages on 26 September.
Brightening up the offer
Most people who know me recognise that I like using presentations that surprise and do different things. A few snappy pictures or a short movie (see last week’s Yes minister for example) and suddenly you have your audience engaged and on message. Here’s Gavin McMahon on how to choose great pictures – http://goo.gl/ec602. As a reminder just how excellent thinking differently can be, here’s the excellent “What if animals were round” video from the FMX film festival – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yltlJEdSAHw
Here’s a nice poster making tool, that will allow you to make a big jigsaw out of an image or digital collage you like, and be able to scale it up to fill a wall – http://posterazor.sourceforge.net/
Unashamedly, I am readvertising Movenote. Works on all kit, from PC to tablet and is fabulous. Make your presentation, capture the video of you talking about it, and you’ve got flipped lessons anytime you want one. here’s one someone has already done – using movenote to promote movenote. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Zzsn2DBp_6w
Keep up the good work, one and all,