Saturday, March 17, 2018

Educational Book Recommendation - An Ethic of Excellence by Ron Berger

Despite the advent of the kindle and e-books, educational books are still best bought in paper. Here is my recommendation to support your own research and development. 

An Ethic of Excellence

"...Drawing from his own remarkable experience as a veteran classroom teacher (still in the classroom), Ron Berger gives us a vision of educational reform that transcends standards, curriculum, and instructional strategies. He argues for a paradigm shift - a schoolwide embrace of an "ethic of excellence." A master carpenter as well as a gifted teacher, Berger is guided by a craftsman's passion for quality, describing what's possible when teachers, students, and parents commit to nothing less than the best. But Berger's not just idealistic, he's realistic - he tells exactly how this can be done, from the blackboard to the blacktop to the school boardroom....." from
A superb book. Many schools are searching for that mystical jump from good to outstanding. In this book Ron Berger outlines how children are encouraged to explore projects and that the excellence/outstanding is a culture that is developed over many years. He used the collection of portfolios of examples of the very best work. These were then used each time a project was started. Examining these portfolios was an active process where the best features or characteristics were highlighted. Ron Berger shares these stories with a wonderful narrative voice that carries you easily through the text. Great book.  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Step into Headship - Term 2

Think I am overly focused on the inspire part
Strategic plan, the needs of the five new teachers, building maintenance, new contractors, recruitment for next year, interviewing for a new deputy head, regular visits to the Mainsite the list goes on and getting into class slips from my fingers. 

I'm ridden with the guilt of needing to set an example in every department. Displays - must try to do one of the best in the school, assemblies - must sing and dance and have one of the most significant messages, teach a lesson - must have the children going home talking about it to their parents as a memorable lesson. I know it's not sustainable. I know it's not achievable but still the guilt persists. Is this the same guilt that drives teachers to commit the hours extra of their time to ensure the children get the best? 

Almost at this point - just not quite yet!
So what's the answer? I ask myself what will count as success over the course of the year. I choose two elements that if I am successful in, I will feel that I can count it as a good first year. First of all - the parents have identified the joint schools'  events as a source of stress and teachers and middle mangers have made similar comments over the last year. This will be one of my targets. Secondly, the school will go through a BSO (British Overseas Inspection) later in the year. I will use this as the second marker. To come out of that without any significant weaknesses and to give pointers on our road to success. 

So to next week. Interviews, assemblies and more importantly - at the top of my list is to get into all the classes and spend some time working with children and talking about where they are up to. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Step into Headship - The Beginning

With almost five weeks gone and three to four weeks preparation in the summer before that, I feel that I have lived a lifetime as a new head. In reality it is barely a drop in the ocean. It was a list of firsts that had to be ticked off.

  • My first admin meeting
  • My first leadership team meeting
  • my first day with all my teachers in
  • My first briefing to the teachers
  • My first setting the tone for the year briefing
  • My first day with the children in 
  • My first Parent's Introductory Evening

Each left with the thought - roll on one year. I kept thinking that when I got through the firsts, I would get to routine. And in the routine I would be able to find the time to do the things that I most wanted to do. But in actual fact, each of these moments were powerful moments. Each of these times, I opened my philosophies up for examination. Each of these times I shaped the thoughts of those around me in how they viewed me. Each of these times I built the way that the team would react to me when asked to do what I want. 

It all went so well so far but it hasn't been all plain sailing. I had been building a model of Extra-curricular activities in my mind. The idea was based around that there should be some continuous provision of activities that some teachers do that become the school's identity. Maybe an ongoing football team and a chess team. Not all the ECAs would be prescribed but just a handful to give that identity. I then spoke to my deputy- and here is the rub - not about my vision but about wanting to fill some of the ECAs first. He dutifully and with a selling enthusiasm, put it out to the staff. The ECA rota was filled for the term and low and behold the two ECAs that I had asked to be done were not taken up by any teacher in the school. I stubbornly decided to do both of them myself. This is not a solution. This was not done well. The vision is where the staff should have been brought in. Lesson learnt. Now onto my seconds of everything. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Educational Blog Recommendation: Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything

Blogs are hard to keep up to date with. Here are my recommendations of educational blogs worth reading.

Kathy Schrock's 

Guide to Everything 

Kathy Schrock is on the innovative edge. But not the edge that doesn't seem quite relevant yet. She explores all the best practices and research that could directly impact upon your own practice or understanding. She has a well organised site with great resources readily accessible.  
From Personal Learning Networks(PLNs), Ipads in the classrooms, to Assessment and rubrics-she covers a wide range of areas in a concise and practical way.

Some good articles worth checking out: -  useful Computing reading list  - link after link to developing digital storytelling - 60 ideas

Friday, November 29, 2013

Creativity for an Unknown Future - A Tool for the Curriculum

Use This Grid Strategically to Embed Creativity in Your Curriculum

To prepare children for the uncertainty of the future we need to ensure that we are promoting creativity within our curriculum. In order to do this I have curated the most commonly cited methods that help to ensure that children think creatively. 

Simply choose one of the elements to focus upon each half term. Ensure that they are securely embedded in your curriculum by planning for their use carefully, including them in planning documents and sharing practice between staff during an evaluation period.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

MUST WATCH: Richard Gerver - Leading Change

Author of my favourite book- Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today, Richard Gerver discusses the process of change

Friday, November 22, 2013

Educational Book Recommendation

Despite the advent of the kindle and e-books, educational books are still best bought in paper. Here is my recommendation to support your own research and development. 

Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today

"...Education is the platform for our success or failure, but is our system still fit for purpose? Will our children be equipped to face the challenges the future holds: the rapidly changing employment patterns and the global environmental, economic and social crises ahead of us? Or will our children grow up to resent their school years and blame them for their unfulfilled potential and achievement?

Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today explores these questions in the context of early schooling and primary education, presents powerful arguments for change and highlights strategies that offer a solution...." from the Bloomsbury website

Richard Gerver sets out how the school that he led developed their own curriculum. The curriculum he sets out seems to be both inspirational  and then very real and within reach at the same time. Key  Skills sit along side innovation and enjoyment. This is a model of the true creative curriculum.

This book is immensely enjoyable and very easy to read. Whether you are leading a school and want to see flashes of inspiration or are looking to redevelop your curriculum to take in the broader range of disciplines, you will definitely get something out of reading this book. It should be on every teacher's bookshelf.