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.
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…
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.