For My Own Entertainment

Sunday, 1 September 2013

I Don't Know How They Do It...

How does everyone else remember to blog frequently? It's been over a year since I've even thought about it. It doesn't even enter my mind, I'm clearly not cut out to be a proper blogger. Ah well.

Anyway, lots has been happening this year. I had a Year 3 class at work, we had lots of fun and I had a mostly good year (let the bad go.... just let it flow over you...)! I really have a thing for classroom displays. I'll (maybe) post pictures of the displays we had this year, I'm very proud.

And then I moved out, properly, finally. I am officially no longer a London resident (huzzah!) but am still close enough that it's not much trouble to go anywhere. It's a really lovely bungalow, part of an old converted stables. It's a 2 bed, and I'm all on my own, so what to do with the extra?  Craft room of course! I'm just awaiting delivery of my sofa and then I'll be pretty much done. This is it:

It's from the 'Peggy' set at Homebase. Matching armchair and footstool are coming too, obviously. I taped out the area on the floor to check spacing, and it looked like a furniture murder scene. But it does all fit, so hurrah! I'm looking forward to its arrival very much. As useful as a camping chair is, there's only so long you can spend on one before you need the comfort of a chair cushion.

Also in my life at the moment is the imminent start of the new school year. I've been dumped put into Year 1 this year. I was not keen on the idea, still not fully sold, but going in with Superheroes and have been enjoying the displays so far, so we'll see how that develops.

So, new year resolutions (I get 2, real year and school year)... blog more often? Don't I say that every year? You never know. One year I might post more than twice. The other is to stay on top of my marking. But that's even less likely to be stuck to. Ha!

In the near future (maybe), you may (may not) see teaching related posts, craft stuff and food. That's about my life right now. But blogging is not (yet), so forgive me if my next post is a standard 'this year...' in 2014 :)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Friday, again? Already?!

This week has absolutely dissolved before my eyes! Where did it go? I must say, I am lusting for the weekend when I can indulge in my favourite activity - sleep ^_^ I shall sleep long into the days! In fact, I might even go to sleep tomorrow and wake up Monday morning ready for the new week!

I'm actually looking forward to school tomorrow, so I must be onto a good thing there. They've asked me to stay on until Easter as a minimum, possibly up to June half term, so I must be doing something right! I'm still doing Thursdays at another school though. I've been there longer, doing the one day a week, but I miss my Year 1s! I feel like I'm missing out a bit by not being there on Thursdays, and then PPA on a Friday afternoon on top of that. I've got classroom withdrawals! I think I might have to drop Thursdays and have the whole week in one school, it would suit me better and the consistency is always good for the children too.

There aren't enough hours in the day though. 3:15 comes around, they all leave, I start marking & tidying and before you know it, it's 5pm. Always appears far too quickly. The current displays have been up a bit long so the classroom is in desperate need of a spruce up. I've managed to tackle one unit and a display board so we now have a functional Maths display area. Hopefully the next bit to be done will be the role play corner, which is going to be Africa-themed, since we've been working with Handa's Surprise and some poems by African authors. My roomie in America was from Botswana and she gave me some really lovely fabrics and a wall hanging which are going up in the area. Can't wait for it to be done!

Another friend from my time in America has a 3rd Grade class (what's that... Year 2?) and the week after next we're going to be writing to them, I'm so excited! Their Learning Logs (homework) to take home next week will be to find things which show our lives in England...whether it be a place, a food, an activity, etc and take photos/draw pictures/bring in things to add to our penpal package. Hopefully they will really enjoy it (I know I will!)

So that's all for tonight folks, I'm going to snuggle with my cats for a little while before a nice early bed time. Bliss! 

Monday, 27 February 2012

And Just as a Side Note...

Because I'm rather proud of these and the TES Twitter was encouraging us to post them... here's a display I made last year of my Year 1's CLJ work on the topic of Transport. They all did such fantastic work, so they get most of the praise - I just arranged it all ;) 
Our favourite classroom puppet, Marty McMouse even got in on this one...

And this is the Seaside role play area I set up. I was dead chuffed with this. So a virtual tour... this is the view looking into the area. Right up front we have my masterpiece (!) of a head-in-hole board, which also acts as a wall to block off the area. The children loved that part of it and were forever sticking their heads onto them! 

 Inside we have the beach corner, with a couple of sand boxes (of course!) full of buckets, spades and other beachy toys.

 On the opposite side, as it wouldn't have been a Victorian seaside without them, we have the Punch & Judy stand (P&J are movable puppets here!)

And lastly the Seaside Shop. A Spanish boy had just joined the class so the signs here are in both languages. They have a wallet full of blank postcards to write to each other, and plenty of shells and seaside themed items to enjoy! 

So there you have it. The display & role play corner that I made last year, both of which I am really proud of! 

The Second Week Begins!

Which means I've already been at the school for a week. I'm really enjoying it - the school is lovely, the staff are all really friendly and none of the kids are deranged. Always nice. The classroom is a good space, the only thing that bothers me about it is a lack of surfaces for displays. I've been gradually sorting different corners of the room to make the spaces work better for us, and it seems to be going well. Today I managed to clear a whole side and start a maths display, which just needs some examples of the children's work sticking up on it now. It's going to have space for them to find 3D shapes from around the room to sort - I love an interactive display. If you can't use it, what's the point!

Today I introduced a new behaviour management strategy to the class. They aren't bad, it's just the low level disruptions (like you'd have in any class), and the whinging & telling on each other. Gets a bit boring after a while. So now each table has a small pot with a slot in the lid. If the table are the first ready, or the tidiest, or working the hardest (anything I want to encourage, really), they get one of my pirate coins (from the party bag fillers section in Wilkinsons). You should see the way they hurry up when I pull out a coin ;) The table with the most coins at the end of the week gets bribery goodies a prize from my treat bag (soon to be treasure chest!). I've only had it for the day but it seemed to have made a difference to the way they were working together in their groups.

I think that's enough for today... it's 8:20pm, which means it's almost my bedtime! ;) Goodnight folks!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

4 Months? That's Got to be a Record!

Wow, 4 months seems like ages ago, but when you consider the year long gaps between some of my posts... I suppose it's not really all that bad!

So what's been happening since October? Well I started to do supply work, I had a birthday, Christmas came and went, 2012 appeared, I started to actually get some supply jobs, but in the meantime have generally been poor and asleep.

So most significantly, I've been doing the responsible adult thing of looking for a proper job. Unfortunately, this led to much rejection and heartbreak (well not so much heartbreak, more annoyance really), so for the meantime it looks like supply is here to stay. It's not been too bad, the classes I've had have been good, only 1 real incident (involving scissors and a wee bit of blood) so far! I've heard some horror stories, and it seems my luck has been in. It's quite nice to go into a school, teach for the day, mark a bit of work, then go home and chill out. Sometimes I even leave the house of an evening! Real teaching involves all that out of hours stuff... a crap ton of marking... assessment... planning... resource making... paperwork... and the left over time is for something called a social life? That bit's probably an urban legend though. No such thing as left over time.

Supply makes me anxious & nauseated. I'm woken a couple of times a week at 7am by a phone call from the agency (they request you be up and dressed and ready to go already at this time, but having previously gone over 2 months with only 2 days in school, I was not forgoing any more sleep than was entirely necessary. Besides, I can be up and out the door in 25 minutes). You know that feeling, when you are so peaceful and asleep, then the harsh noise of your alarm wakes you and your heart beats fast and makes you feel a bit sick? Yeah, that's the kind of anxious feeling a 7am phone call gives me. It's an uncomfortable start to the day, that only gets worse as I consider all that I don't know about the day - where I'm going (what if there's traffic! What if I'm late!), what the school will be like, what the class will be like, whether they will respond to me positively, whether or not they'll do the work set, whether or not there will be any work set! And if there is, will I know what I'm doing? If there's not...what the hell will I do? So many questions, so many worries. My stomach isn't strong enough after all that worrying for any breakfast. I'm definitely a person who needs consistency. I need to know what I'm doing tomorrow, or I get in a right state.

Which is why I was so happy (read: overly excited) to be offered a long term supply job in a Year 1 class. Starting Monday, it will be for an indeterminate period of time. Sadly, the teacher I'll be covering is taking time off to be with a loved one who hasn't been given long to live, so I'm hoping that I'll be in the post for a long while, if only because it means that they'll have that much longer together. So sad :(

I start on Monday, which happily is an INSET day. I get some time to meet the staff, have a chat about the plans and get familiar with the school and (most importantly) my new home, the Year 1 classroom. I can't wait to see it. I'm praying so hard that it has a SMART board... I can't get enough of them. The program that you get with it, SMART Notebook, is fantastic. So easy to use, so easy to customise. I can find use for it in any subject... bloody love it. The kids do too, which is always a good thing! Being able to come up and interact with it just really helps secure some topics. Plus, it's fun. Which child doesn't want to move something around or write on the big screen?! So fingers crossed for a good next few months, and actually getting to know the names of staff and children for a change!

Also, I've recently discovered Pinterest thanks to a couple of teacher friends in the States. So many teachers use it and have some absolutely genius ideas! I've spent far too much time browsing it recently. Hopefully I'll get a chance to use some of the ideas soon. I'm over at if you want to have a nose at the classroomy stuff I've been pinning.

Until next time!

(Apologies for the dense, pictureless post, folks!)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Meteor Showers and Beach BBQs

You may have heard that last night was the peak of activity for the Draconid meteor shower, which was predicted to be a disco in the sky. So, like one does with an event like that, I packed myself and four friends into my little Escort, drove to my caravan by the coast and set up on the beach. We had picnic blankets, many layers of clothing, a couple of disposable barbecues, lots of meat and bread, drinks and torches. We were all set. So we settled down, adjusted our eyes to the dark, and spent a few hours watching the clouds drift by. Of course! Of course it was cloudy! There was only a damn meteor shower going on! A few brief patches of clear sky afforded us the opportunity to see a couple of space rocks burning up in the atmosphere, but nothing like the forcast 'meteor storm' that I had been promised. Sad times indeed.

Although I do recommend post-sunset beach BBQs to anyone. An excellent evening.

Friday, 7 October 2011

A To-Do List Follow Up

My last blog ended on a to do list which I gave a time limit. I've got an ongoing list on my bedroom whiteboard that regularly has items for months. Many, many months. The list itself becomes part of the decor and I stop noticing it, so giving myself a target date for completion seemed a practical idea. So a recap & follow up:

1. Resign from current employment - check! A very simple phone call was made, my old superior will be contacted and my p45 will be winging it's way to me. Hurrah! Uncomplicated situation for the tax man.

2. Leave current union - online unsubscription. So is my membership terminated? Who knows!

3. Join a teaching union - had a look. Haven't decided which one is for me yet, so I'll ask around some teaching folk and see who's recommended in the land of teaching unions.

4. Have a look for an in-date CRB or fill in the form - I'm checked to the eyeballs for protection of vulnerable adults! Loads of the bloody things. Any that are suitable for working with children, that haven't expired? Of course not! Why, that'd be too easy! Form filled in, awaiting insertion into an envelope. Must do that tomorrow.

5. Eat leftovers for breakfast/lunch - and lovely it was too!

6. Maybe get a swim in, if there's time after all those phone calls and forms... - nope. It's not that there wasn't time, I was just a bit lonely so I invited myself for dinner with my aunt & uncle. Lovely :)

I also did a fair bit of waiting around for workmen & mechanics & phone calls & whatnot, a friend popped over & I gave my car some of the fluids it needed. So that was my Thursday. Today was busy again, topped up on petrol, dropped my brother off halfway to Uni, fed a friend's ferrets while she's on holiday, picked up my cousin from school, made dinner for 6, then rocked out on rock band for the rest of the night. So now it's quiet time, and me and my kitties are snuggling up and having a (relatively) early night.

Tomorrow is going to be exciting, I hope. Fun for sure. I'll blog about that after it's happened though :)

Night all!