I believe that the SHIFT ELearning blog might just be finding inspiration from me!  Here is a recent post from SHIFT which explains some brilliant statistics about the wonders of micro learning  which is taking the corporate world of staff development by storm.  Enjoy reading more reasons why I’m right!




Tips for Managing Support in the Classroom: Surprise Support!

It’s a lovely day and everything is on track.  The class is working well and everyone is on task, almost.  You are working with a small group of students to reteach an important concept they have missed.  They are finally starting to pick it up.  Everyone else is working independently.  The reading folders are organised and the photocopying is done… well sort of.  Knock Knock…

A parent helper is at the door.  “Hi, Ms H, I am finished helping in my other child’s class for their reading groups.  I have a spare hour, is there anything I can do to help you?”

AAHH!! A hundred little jobs are racing through your mind, but they all need you to leave this group and find resources.  “Mmm, oh, what about…? Oh, wait, that won’t work.  I will need to explain that.  I could ask them to… oh wait, I would have to set up the laminator, which is hidden in the filing cabinet behind the listening post, which is surrounded by children.  What to say? I really need the help! I don’t want to leave this group and give them a chance to lose focus.”

Do you get people knocking at your door, with no warning, offering to help?

Do you have to send them away because you don’t have a task ready to give them?

I have a solution!

Have a Volunteers’ Busy Box in your classroom with ‘odd jobs’ in it.  Every time you add a job to the box, write a short explanation or steps to complete it and attach the explanation to the job.  Sticky notes are great for doing this!

Odd jobs could include: laminating and cutting out, photocopying to replenish the sub tub, paper sorting, books to repair/ cover, or stationery that needs to be labelled and sorted.

You may need to pull some of these things out to complete yourself when the deadline is looming.  However, if you happen to get some extra help at the last minute you will already have a box of jobs waiting for someone to do them.  No more having to interrupt your teaching to find something for your impromptu volunteer squad to do. Instead you can simply smile and say,

“Yes please! If you could choose one or two jobs from the busy box it would make my day!”

While they are doing that, you might think of something else that’s more pressing.  You might decide that it would be better for this great adult to read with a struggling student or photocopy some worksheets for the next day.  If not, a small job gets done and you save time for the big jobs that no one else can possibly do for you.

Happy Teaching!

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Cult of Pedagogy has a website, blog, Pinterest boards, and probably more social media accounts that you can follow and visit.  I was introduced to Cult of Pedagogy through Pinterest, so here is the Cult of Pedagogy Pinterest Profile for you to check out.

Cult of Pedagogy is worth a look for any teacher or pedagogy coach.  I am certain that you will find something useful for you and your classroom.  Get going: learn something new, think about your teaching practice, discover new strategies and read some real life stories from teachers just like you.

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Reflecting on Grand Plans

I am about to enter into the final term of the 2015 school year and I can see quite a lot of work ahead of me.  Everything I can do (from home) to prepare for the coming week is already done so I’m feeling really pleased with myself.  I decided this was a good opportunity to take a look at my goals for this year (which I shared with you in this post).  Here is the excerpt that we really need to focus on.

3 habits I’m going to try and develop as a teacher in 2015.

  • Use the word “AND” instead of “BUT”… I know this will require some thought which might be difficult AND I will get used to it eventually.
  • Talk LESS in my classroom.  I will need to think about this too (when I plan, give instructions and reflect on my lessons).
  • Allow the people around me (and myself) time to breathe- to connect, process, think – AND relax.

How’s That Working For Me?

I would say that I have made some progress towards reaching all of the goals above, however I think it would be a good idea to go a little further into it and work out how I’m going to further develop these by the end of the year (which is approaching faster than a two year old child on a sugar high).

Using the word AND instead of BUT

I am getting better at this one but I need to work on it more.  Does that give you an idea of how it’s really going.  On the bright side, many of my colleagues have been attempting to replace BUT with AND so at least I have had support on this one.  The question here is if there is a better way (an action perhaps) that would help me do this better.  Some sort of gadget that buzzes or lights up every time I use the word “but” would certainly draw my attention to it more consistently.  Does that exist?


I am doing better at this in the classroom.  I have used more planning tools and visual aids in my lessons this year so I am naturally speaking less.  I am also tapping into non-verbal forms of feedback with my students e.g. thumbs up/ down, smile/ frown, a hand on the desk rather than a verbal reminder.  I noticed that the best of my colleagues use non-verbal communication almost without thinking.  I am simply becoming more conscious of the non-verbal communication I am using.

This has proven challenging at times because my students often feign ignorance and I have found that after repeating myself once, I have had to use different words (more words) to try and get the message across.  This is more of an issue when I am working with other teachers in their classrooms than when I am in my own classroom.

I am also finding that on occasion I get a case of verbal explosion when I have to just talk about everything and I can’t stop.  Fortunately, these little outbursts have happened in the staffroom or even at home.  While it might annoy some of my colleagues and my family, this outpouring of my surplus words is not interfering with my succinct teaching.  That’s Good.

Allow Time to Breathe

Allowing myself and my team members time to breathe has worked wonders.  Not only has the process of doing this has been easier than I thought, it has had an almost magical impact on my performance as a leader, as a team member and a teacher.  I’m a better teacher because I am well rested and have a balanced life.  Good for me!  My team is working brilliantly together too.  The members of my team are prepared to go above and beyond because I make it clear that I value their time and their energy.  I value them as people.  I know the people in my team have partners, families, community groups and lives outside of school and they know I have those things too.  We are human together which makes us better professionals together too.

A Final Thought and Questions for you!

It is good to have goals.  We set goals for our students all the time then we help them find their way.  Just as important as setting goals is having actions for working towards them and reflecting on the journey along the way and when you finally get there.  It feels good to see progress.  If you are just starting out in a new school year, what goals do you have for your teaching?  If, like me, the end is in sight, did you have goals for the year and how are you progressing?

Next time – no promises about when it will be-

I will share the performance development process that we have at our school.  Then: a series about my performance development goals and how I have worked towards them this year.

School this week will be great!  Believe it!

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Teachers are a great bunch of people who work hard in difficult circumstances.  Teachers certainly don’t do it for the money or the holidays.  Teachers do their job because they love helping their students learn.  Simple.

Here is a video about teachers.  It was created quite a number of years ago and it speaks of the unchanging truths of the teaching profession.

If you read this, thank a teacher!

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