Overexcited and Overwhelmed

I surrender! This is me, pale and bleary eyed, waving my white handkerchief flag from beneath the ever increasing pile of post-it notes and notebook scribblings under which I am drowning. Fetch the paracetamol quick! Not just to fend off the inevitable half-term lurgi (*cough, splutter, cough*) but also for the brain ache caused by too much Tweeting, Tweachers, blogs, ideas and initiatives! Stop the internet…I want to get off!

Having challenged myself to learn more about such things as Twitter and Blogging this half term and to think about how I can use it all more effectively in my classroom, I find myself overexcited but also overwhelmed by the potential of it all. I feel like I’ve been on a fabulous high-speed inset – a never ending conveyor belt of ideas. It’s awesome! But where does one start? Where do you stop? My blog is called 300,000 questions. Why? Well, when the divine Allan Ahlberg wrote the wonderful ‘Please Mrs Butler’, he said that

this poem has something to do with the psychological state of teachers. Imagine you’re a child in a class and you ask your teacher five questions during the day – that’s not very much is it – five – but if there are thirty of you that makes 150 questions a day, 750 questions a week, 3,000 questions a month, and if we say ten months in the year, that’s 30,000 a year. If a teacher teaches for ten years, that’s 300,000 questions. And this of course explains the situation which most children understand which is that all teachers are crazy.

Allan Ahlberg

That’s exactly how I have felt this week – driven crazy by questions. Not questions asked by children but questions I wanted to shout out to the virtual ether, to the great God of internet about how best to unmuddle myself from the maze of ideas and bring the best bits of what I’ve learned to my pedagogy without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

So what did I do? I went and got my hair cut of course – I am a girl first, teacher second after all. New hair cut, new woman, new outlook. More importantly, I went out. I left the sofa and the laptop and I walked out into fresh air. Then I came home, put the kettle on and went back to basics. ‘Do what you have to do before you do what you want to do Laura.’ Wise words mother. This sentiment not only gets stuff done but makes me work through things methodically. So by the time I had marked Year 9 assessments on ‘Dracula’ and thought a little about my classes for the half term ahead, I had come to a conclusion. Here it is…

The Plan!

Try something new every day for a week.

Inspired by @learningspy’s objective quest, I have decided to take a structured approach to new ideas in the hopes that it will help to bring order to my imaginative chaos. However, focusing solely on objectives wasn’t going to suit me. Instead I decided to start with a new idea for introducing objectives but expand into trying out a new idea (my own or one adapted from what I’ve learned from my new Tweacher friends), every day for a week and blog about them to reflect on their usefulness and…just see what happens. I hope it will allow me to come up with specific aims for my teaching in the coming months. I start on Monday and I’m excited. In the mean time, here is wee sketch of a lesson plan which uses a new way (or new to me) to introduce a learning objective taken and then adapted from the 50 provided by the brilliant http://learningspy.co.uk/

The lesson is a one off creative writing lesson that I hope to link to more original writing tasks that form part of my scheme of work on Robert McFarlane’s ‘Wild Places.’ It is a quick lesson to inspire them (and I wanted an excuse to use the very cool video) and we will revisit it as we address some WAFs more specifically in the coming weeks.

LG Creative writing


5 thoughts on “Overexcited and Overwhelmed

  1. Sounds awesome Laura. Please note that the objectives idea came from @KristianStill who is an ideas powerhouse. Your lesson looks ace and I intend to nick it. Thanks, David

  2. I have just been looking at his blog. Ideas factory indeed. I have followed and thanked him. I’ll let you know how the creative writing goes. I’m hoping some keen ones might take up the challenge to develop what they do in class for our department magazine. We shall see. Now to make some ‘Of Mice and Men’ exam style essays. Much more excited about the project based revision I’m going to set based on your awesome home learning!

  3. Good luck indeed – tech CPD is now longer ‘career’ PD but rather ‘constant’ PD and that is where Twitter and blogging can be overwhelming. I would recommend an RSS reader – that way you can subscribe to a blog but ‘read it later.’

    Your enthusiasm is amazing – perhaps try something new once a week, that would still in my teaching world be a lofty goal and follow up with a little digging. Just my two pennies worth, but please don’t let me dampen your drive (or my comment would have had the wrong impact). Hat tip. I wouldnt what overexcited to lead to being more overwhelmed….

    Do you use a school learning platform? If its Moodle – happy to share.

    • Hello. Thanks for comment. Comments are exciting!

      Yes, we have a VLE which is hosted by moddle (I think) that the kids don’t use but SMT are really keen we use at the moment because dreaded INSPECTION looms. I am using it as an enrichment area basically but also trying to build ‘virtual bookshelf’ with videos of students recommending reads etc. My uneducated thinking is that it’s only useful if used well and use of it directed? Any ideas on how to use it better really gratefully received.

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