More Than Wallpaper | James

‘More than just wallpaper’ is my aim for displays in my school. They should be interesting, they should be interactive and they should serve a purpose. The point of this blog post is to collect together all of the pictures I’ve come across in person or online that meet those criteria. I’ve previously shared my ideas for creating a number rich environment around school, these are for any and all subject. I hope the following are useful in someway and would be delighted if anyone reading this was to share more pictures of interesting and interactive displays with me through the hashtag…

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The Taskmaster in the Classroom | James

We wanted to improve the way our children communicate with each other and my Head suggested this could be achieved by doing some team building challenges. It didn’t take my mind long to turn to Taskmaster. Taskmaster is a British TV programme which has just completed its 8th series.  5 comedians are set tasks by Greg Davies (the Taskmaster) and his sidekick Alex Horne (the creator of the show) and much hilarity ensues.  And so, we held Taskmaster Week.

These sort of tasks appealed to me because of their random and varied nature, meaning that all children can access them and anyone could…

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A Number Rich Learning Environment | James

At a conference I attended earlier this, Professor Stephen Heppell spoke of the importance of the environment which we teach and learn in. I wrote about the changes I made to my class as a result, in my previous post, ‘Improving our Learning Space‘.  One thing that he mentioned which I hadn’t done much about up to this point was the importance of creating a number rich learning environment. The vast majority of display boards in school have writing on, some display art work, but very few include numbers or maths in general.

So I have begun a mission to make the environment in my classroom…

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Roald Dahl Books – here’s what I’m thinking | James

Bedtime stories have had a distinctly Roald Dahl theme this year. My son and I have been working our way through his catalogue of  children’s books and it’s been wonderful revisiting these magical stories from my own childhood. It’s great to be able to share these classics with such rich characters, plots and memories.
Fantastic Mr Fox

Brief. Exciting. But, how is Mr Fox the hero of this story? He steals from the farmers (who are spun to be evil, extreme, disgusting characters) with no sign of remorse. His actions lead to his family’s lives being put in danger and all the other animals…

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Homework 101 | James

We’ve had much debate for years in education about the worth of homework. Should we set it in KS1 and KS2? What homework is of value? What about the children who don’t do it?

As an SLT at my school we agreed that regular reading at home is paramount. Beyond that, practise of key maths and writing skills can certainly also be of use. But what we really wanted to do was encourage the children to have a range of experiences away from school with their families to enrich their lives, hopefully become better citizens, but above all, make memories.

From there we created #TheSidlesham101. This…

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Lifting our Young Voices | James

The single best thing I have been involved with as a teacher is taking my choir to Young Voices. Everyone involved comes in to school the next day still buzzing with excitement. Very tired, but very excited.

The children have a wonderful experience to perform at an iconic venue, like the O2 Arena, which is pretty cool. Furthermore, they get to perform with professional musicians, singers and dancers of an impressively high standard. This is an experience which will inspire and motivate the children and will live long in the memory.

Parents also came back having had an amazing evening of…

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Improving our learning space | James

I was fortunate enough to attend a conference where Professor Stephen Heppell was talking. He was described by Bournemouth University as, “a world expert on contemporary learning, specialising in online education and learning spaces”. Learning spaces were the focus of his talk, and in turn this blog, hence the title.

I was very interested in what he said for two important reasons. Firstly, his suggestions were rooted in educational research with evidence to back up their effectiveness. Secondly, many of his suggestions seemed like exactly the sort of thing I could go back to my classroom…

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