A periodic table of iPad apps!

Really nice post on useful apps for educating and learning!

Source: Lists and More Lists of Apps and Tools for Teachers and Students

Advertisements

You have to read this – 15 year old me

So I was looking through all of my old computer files today and came across all my old secondary school work that I had saved!

Among the many homework assignments and essays I found a word document labelled “The Truth About Coursework“. I was intrigued as I don’t remember doing a school assignment on this?

Take a look…

The Truth About Coursework

By Polly Clarke, age 15

I hate coursework so much because I am so stressed out and I have been depressive all the time because I have been so hung up on getting every subjects coursework in on time that I have become somebody so angry and insensitive that I have lost all my friends and is now living at home sitting at my computer all day and night typing and typing forever because I have nothing better top do with my time than to write rubbish about poems and novels that I don’t even care about. I really don’t care about “what way” I can improve what I have written because I cannot be bothered to repeat the same things over and over just to please some teacher that I can get an a* – c because that’s the grade that keeps the schools rep at its  best. How many times have I heard “how is this relevant” of course its relevant because im writing coursework!!!!! Howwwwwww stupid!!!!!!! How can anything in coursework be irrelevant!!?!?!?!?!? Because as long as your talking about the novel/poem/subject of course it’s totally relevant!!! If you go on talking about something stupid like chipmunks or jam then yeah THAT’S irrelevant unless it’s a report about the affects of chipmunks eating jam then even that would be RELEVANT WOULDN’T IT!!!!  So many rhetorical  questions dotted around my work like its some sort of sarcastic comment about how rubbish it actually is. Is there any point in actually trying hard anymore? If you got a D she would go crazy to make you a C and not even bother to carry on to make u an a like you want because she doesn’t mind as long as its in the “Boundaries” these days all teachers care about is their salary and I think if you have the guts to become a teacher you should expect more than just your daily hours of work because that’s your job isn’t it!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? What do you expect? Children to just magically understand everything they are told? Yeah when’s that gunna happen? And what is up with getting this much cw done in yr 10?  Ok were doing this before yr 11! Why… this… is the truth about coursework

DUN DUN DUNNNNNN

I was having a really bad day today and this cheered me up so much. I was never a ‘bad’ student as such but I was definitely loud and disruptive at times. I was one of those annoying kids that would call teachers out on mistakes and never let them live it down. Clearly I had a pet peeve about rhetorical questions too…

To put things into perspective, this is a selection of photos I found of me at that age…

Back in the day before skype and facetime we had MSN video chats.
Back in the day before skype and facetime we had MSN video chats.

You can probably tell from those photos that I have never been will never be a person that takes themselves too seriously. Life is too short to worry about being embarrassed and it’s a good job I don’t embarrass easily being very photogenic and everything…

I wanted to post this here to remind the educators of the WordPress community how different we all were at that age. Back then, your biggest problem in the world was writing an essay – such a blissful time. So when you’re marking your next piece of work or worrying how your students may react, just remember that they may go a bit over the top at the time… It’s nothing on you. Keep pushing yourself and your students and they’ll appreciate it in the long run. I’m half tempted to go back to my school and show my English teacher this because I ended up doing really well in English and I’m now into the blogging world?!

Who would have thought writing essays was something I’d enjoy… Let alone become one of those gutsy teachers that clearly only care about their huge salaries!

Why did I enter Waterstones?!

I try to never go into Waterstones as I love it so much. I’m a weirdo that likes science AND reading!! ie. My two highest grades at college were Biology and English. Weird.

Waterstones is like the designer shop of the book world. Everything is either RRP or above unless its going in the sale bin (which even then is still more expensive than online) and i’m honestly surprised it’s still going with all the online shoppers these days. Maybe its because people like me walk in and see an actual book in real life and simply can’t walk away without it. That’s pretty much today’s story.

LOOK AT IT THOUGH. The Palgrave Student Planner 2015-2016 by Stella Cottrell.

IMG_5389

I already have a planner for this year that I kid you not has already started falling to bits. So when I saw how thick this was I had to have a look. And my god is there masses of extra information in what is supposed to be just a planner. You could plan your whole life with this planner.

IMG_5391
SO MANY CHAPTERS!

Each month begins with a full page for you to plan our your general to-do list for the month and any notes you want to jot down. The weekly spread contains times, locations and notes for any event you have (ideal for a current student that is also volunteering and working part-time!). There are also really cute ‘tip of the week‘ sections at the top of each week to keep you going and a box of ‘deadlines to meet this week‘, which will really help me keep on top of blogging!

IMG_5392IMG_5393

I’m showing you three of my favourite ‘extra’ pages that I can see being really useful as a university student in particular but also any student really! A money planner that forces you to total up all of your expenses down to ‘gifts for others’ so you never stray beyond that student overdraft. Mini reviews on apps about student life! I especially like the idea of maintaining good study habits and will be trying out those ones for sure! Finally, laundry symbols and cooking temperatures. You may all be laughing at me like ‘PAH, how do you not know how to cook and clean!? Typical dirty, lazy student’, but seriously, how many of you know the symbol for non-chlorine bleach? Also, I rarely ever cook anything in the oven that isn’t set at 180’C, so I will learn from this!

IMG_5395IMG_5394

IMG_5396

I won’t show you everything, but as you can see from the contents page, well over half of this planner is dedicated to all of the external aspects that get you on the right track. It also has all the basics of the average planner anyway any considering it was only 99p dearer than the average wire-bound planner from other retailers, it’s well worth the investment (p.s. it’s even cheaper online!).

Teacher’s back to school guide

I decided to take a wander around my local shopping centre today to finally get my hair cut (haven’t had one in just under a year… My hair has gone mad). I ironically didn’t even get a haircut today, but an appointment has been made! Progress!

In the meantime, whilst meandering around the mostly high-end fashion shops wishing for a time where I have solid income, I noticed a common theme… Back to school branded everything! Although, these displays seem to cover only half of the market…

SO MUCH BACK TO SCHOOL!!

They all target the kids!! Now as much as its the kids that are going back to school, and its the kids that will be bugging their parents to buy them all this useless amazing stationary, teachers are going through this too!

I think it’s about time teacher’s had a back to school spree! Here’s my advice for this…

  1. Pens!

IMG_5364

You can find them anywhere and everywhere! Here is a special display just for pens to demonstrate their importance…

2.  Paper

IMG_5373

I finally bought some new printer paper!! No more excuses now! Although you’ll obviously need masses of notebooks as well as printer paper.

3.   Oodles of unnecessary stationary

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 22.03.02.png

You’ll need a rubber in the shape of a penguin one day right?

4.  Some professional looking clothes

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 22.03.24.pngSo that everyone will think you know what you’re talking about even when you don’t!

5.  Motivation

IMG_5379

In the form of constantly hot coffee (flask), the promise of food (microwavable container) and a reflective daily journal so you can keep a record of your failures mistakes and lucky days successes!

6.  Some kind of stress relief

Untitled 2
Because whether it be alcohol, playing video-games, reading a good book or chilling on the balcony (or all four for me!) we all need something to help us wind down and forget about that bad day week month term.

If you have all of this along with a passion for educating and content knowledge yada yada yada… Then I reckon you’ll do just fine!

As long as you don’t run out of coffee of course…

Book review – Science in Seconds by Hazel Muir


I cannot think of a better title for this than ‘Science in Seconds’. It literally does what it says on the tin (or in the title, but that’s less catchy!).

Every two pages in the book opens up into a mini encyclopaedia about a chosen scientific topic. In only a few sentences, the author managed to accurately sum up sometimes very dry and daunting topics into bite sized chunks that are way easier to stay engaged with. Every topic comes with a partnering simplistic diagram or schematic that marries everything together.

It really impressed me how many different areas this book managed to cover. Even within areas such as classic chemistry and futuristic spaceflight, there are a mixture of fundamental concepts and very specific topics. For instance, within the biology category there is a section on simply plants, yet also sections on kidney dialysis and extraterrestrial origins of life!

What’s more is there is a glossary and index at the back where you can look up assumed terms and track down the whereabouts of that pesky concept that you can’t find!

This book masters the art of public engagement with science in writing form, which I am extremely passionate about. It makes science fun and easy, contrary to the dull and elitist reputation it so often receives.

I have also since discovered that this book is part of a series of topics in seconds/minutes, with titles now available in philosophy, economics and psychology to name a few. So if you like the idea of ‘key concepts explained in an instant’ but for some reason think that another subject is BETTER than SCIENCE?!?! Then there are all sorts of other options out there too.

Book Review – 100 Things Awesome Teachers Do by William Emeny

image1

First off, I just want to point out that this nifty 142 page collection of anecdotes is available on both the amazon kindle and ibook store for £3 or you can snag a paperback copy for £6-8 online. Super good deals!

Although this book is relatively short it definitely packs a punch. It is divided into lots of sections with different focuses like behaviour management and how to work with high achievers. Personally, the fact that it goes over coping strategies for high achievers was a big push for me to buy this as lots of people tend to be more worried about low achieving students. Not me! I’m most worried about not knowing enough for those students who go above and beyond expectations. This book is really good at providing short and sweet answers to general queries and sharing some anecdotes about scenarios that the author has come across in the past (great for teaching!).

I think it’s great that the author chose to break down the whole book into ‘idea’ sections. The whole essence is that you can carry this guide around in your pocket or on your smart phone and refer to it when you’re having a rough day or in need of some inspiration! Indeed, the author seems passionate about teaching old dogs new tricks!

Regardless, for a newbie to the teaching game this guide will still be a valuable tool that I will surely keep nearby when i’m starting out to keep my lessons fresh and exciting.

image2

Book review – The Brain Box by David Hogson and Tim Benton


I really really love this book and highly recommend it for anyone still studying for something! It’s full to the brim of hints,tips and great strategies for revising and writing essays/reports. It focuses more on self-discovery revolving around your attitude towards work. I would compare this book to curing a disease rather than curing the symptoms of a disease (like a true medical sciences graduate). It tackles the important aspects of studying like your mentality and motivation rather than feeding you empty techniques like I have seen in other study books.

Moreover, there are still useful tips like the revision timetable planner that I found particularly helpful and interesting ways to make revision more memorable eg. Using music.

What’s best about this book is I have met one of the authors at an educational event and he was an inspiration to get motivated to teach as well as learn. He even managed to teach us a random list of Grammy award winning films using one of the techniques. I can still remember quite a few… Silence of the lambs… Dances with Wolves… Forrest Gump… Gladiator… I haven’t seen half of those!

It’s £9 on Amazon for 196 pages that may revolutionise your life.