Right angled triangles

This is my second attempt at creating a ‘prezi’ presentation. It is currently ‘in progress’ and I am still not certain of the best way to ‘store it’ for future access, so have placed a link here for the time being.

With this particular prezi, I haven’t yet decided if I want it to include trigonometry, or if I want this to be separate.

Solar System

These are a few resources regarding the solar system, for reference, in case I wish to find them in future.

All known planets to scale via xkcd:
Interactive solar system:
http://www.sunaeon.com/#/solarsystem/ or http://www.sunaeon.com/
The universe to scale:
http://www.space.com/10900-solar-system-planets-scale-infographic.html or http://dailyinfographic.com/…jpeg

Questionnaire design

This is my first attempt at creating a ‘prezi’ presentation. I am not yet certain of the best way to ‘store it’ for future access, so have placed a link here for the time being.

The questionnaire to which it refers is below, or viewable here.

For those of you who are reading the questions and are perturbed by their nature, they are intended to be ‘thought provoking’.

Time for a change*

I don’t usually copy posts verbatim, but I wanted this one*, from Mark Clarkson, for future reference:

I seriously considered leaving education today. And if I had a viable exit strategy I might have taken it further.

Did I have a bad lesson? Was a pupil abusive, violent or threatening towards me? Not at all. I had the pleasure of my delightful Y7s, made a breakthrough with my Y8s, managed some productive revision and even had a pleasant time on a cover lesson.

What made me think about leaving was the agenda for Monday’s full staff meeting. Item 1? OFSTED. And pinned up next to it, the minutes of a recent Heads of Faculty meeting.

  • In recent years we’ve been told our lessons have to be pacey.
  • They have to help the students demonstrate independent learning.
  • We have to give the students time to explore concepts and ideas.
  • We have to demonstrate progress. From every student. Every 15 minutes.
  • We have to make sure we build literacy explicitly into every lesson.
  • We have to show an awareness of which pupils are FSM, EAL, EM, GAT, SEN, SA, SA+.
  • We have to show how we make learning activities available to kinaesthetic learners, visual learners and audio learners.
  • We have to differentiate our work for multiple intelligences.
  • We have to aim for a 70:30 classroom.
  • We have to assess every student every 6 weeks (that is, after every 6 hours – imagine having to assess every employee at work at the end of every day).
  • When OFSTED show up I have to have a full suite of policies to show them
  • When OFSTED show up I have to have detailed exam analysis to show them
  • When OFSTED show up I have to have a detailed, evidence based SEF to show them
  • When OFSTED show up I have to have marking that demonstrates progress to show them
  • When OFSTED show up I have to have detailed lesson plans to show them
  • When OFSTED show up I have to have detailed ‘narrowing the gap’ data to show them
  • When OFSTED show up  I have to have seating plans to show them

Via the minutes of the meeting I was informed that in my gained time I also have to arrange for a collaborative observation program for my department. Every member of the department has to carry out observations and also has to be observed. Each observation must be written up, objectives set, observations repeated and the whole process evaluated. In addition to planning new schemes of work, updating resources, rewriting lesson plans using the new double sided lesson pro forma, preparing book scrutinies… oh, and at some point teaching all of the Y7, Y8, Y9, Y10 and Y12 students.

At the same time I am told that I will have to work for another 36 years. That I will receive less pension than I was promised (despite the fact that the TPS pot has been overpaid for many years). That tests are too easy. That my subject is not good enough. That I need to solve gaps in parenting. That I should receive performance related pay. That teachers are paid too much. That public sector workers in the north are paid too much. That teachers ‘cheat’ when the watchmen come. And today I’m told that ‘teachers don’t know what stress is‘.

Three local schools have had the dreaded ‘O’ visit them in the last 3 months. Two were graded Satisfactory (which will soon be officially less than satisfactory) and one was given notice to improve. SLT appear to be living in a climate of fear that is pervading every meeting, every document, every decision and every discussion. It appears that my job is becoming more and more about pleasing our overlords (Did I say overlords? I meant protectors – Jonathan Coulton) and less and less about educating and enthusing children.

I’m not leaving teaching today, because there are still too many moments that I enjoy. The XKCD comic at the top of the post perfectly sums up the reason I became a teacher. The idea that someone can leave the room knowing more than they did when they went in has always fascinated me, and that I have the ability to be a part of that is wonderful. The fact that my AS Computing class is taught almost exclusively out of schools hours – when neither I nor they are required to be there – fills me with hope. TEACHING is a great activity. Teaching, at the minute, doesn’t always feel like a great job.

*this post is stolen** entirely from Mark Clarkson. It struck a chord, so I am storing*** it here for my own future reference until he asks for it to removed.

**definition of theft: to dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

***I will happily remove it if requesed.

Hot meals versus education

There has been much snow during the past week. To clarify, about 8 inches fell on Saturday night and, as the temperature was low enough, it laid instantly. The UK rarely seems to have enough snow on a regular basis for people to acclimatise, so it often ends up causing widespread disruption; however, being a Sunday morning, this was minimised. The temperature picked up during the day, some of the snow melted and, by Monday, there was little comment on its disruption – other than in small localised regions.

In north-west Norfolk, most schools closed on Monday due to the usual array of snow-related reasons. These included large numbers of staff and/or students being unable to get to the premises, unsafe paths and other similar reasons. Being a particularly rural region, this was not too surprising but, amongst all of the schools which closed, one notable primary school remained open.

Well, the Queen was visiting – it had to, didn’t it? [see here]

Meanwhile, as the week progressed, the reasons behind some of the school closures were clarified. This included some of the following:

Boiler failure – so no heating or hot water
Electrical fault – so no heating
Unable to provide hot dinners

Arguably, these are valid reasons for schools having to close; it is right that people (staff and students) are not expected to work in inhumane conditions. But is it right that schools close for such reasons? Do the potential consequences of such problems outweigh the potential benefits of education?

Admittedly, the timescales are relatively small, so the actual consequences are limited. But perhaps it would make more sense to give staff and students a choice?

Box and whisker

One drawback of Microsoft Excel is that it does not have a function that easily allows for a box-and-whisker diagram to be generated. By ‘fudging’ together a stacked bar chart with error bars, this image was generated using Excel alone. The benefit is that I can just ‘copy and paste’ new data and the diagrams will update automatically.

I am pleased with the outcome, and the idea is that I will use it as the basis of a ‘starter’ in a lesson, as well as lessons in the future. However, I question whether the effort involved in achieving this is worthwhile.

I guess only time will tell how many times it is used.