Laughing & Learning ...


How old do I feel?

I was working in a year 3/4 class when some eager little children came to me to ask me about something in their reading book. Here was I thinking that they could not decode a word but oh no, much worse was to come! The "unknown" word was WALKMAN! Imagine my embarrassment when I realised that these little treasures had no idea what the pride and joy of my Form 2 Year even looked like! I took a moment to think about what the equivalent would be??? A discman was where I started and then realised that it would be better understood if I said MP3 player. Once I said this the lights came on. "Oh, that's what you mean!" It has certainly made me think about our technology and how much of a change has been made in a single generation. I guess I shouldn't even try to discuss a record player! Thank goodness for google images! external image moz-screenshot.jpgimages.jpg


Sound Bite

(Becky's Demolition Plan) All that stuff we're hearing about empowering our students to change their world ... well, it's working in Ireland. Here's a recording of a confident and decisive young lady trying to make some changes (I'd reconsider that friday homework!). :-D
Becky’s Demolition Company

Becky’s Driving Test

Becky Rings the Zoo

Becky and the Spare Tyre


Inquiry learning at its best - what do you do when you want some help with your maths ? (1 min)

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Do you want to know what you MAKE ?


Comic Taylor Mali (USA) on teachers - 3mins. How to respond humbly if some arrogant non-teaching professional asks you what you do and how much you make .... Warning , don't watch if you're easily offended .



Some cool dance moves for the next Christmas Do...

The Evolution of Dance from Judson Laipply - (I swear I've actually seen people do that Brady Bunch one...ugh - c'mon guys, we're sooo much cooler that that. What if the kids saw us ???)



Developing Intrinsic Motivation @ St Pats

(Ok. A nice cheesy story based on an old joke.)

Charlie’s family had just moved to town and were looking for a school that provided a strong numeracy programme. Charlie was doing very badly in maths, and worse, he just didn’t seem motivated to learn. His parents had tried everything; parent/teacher meetings, after school learning centers - everything they could think of that didn’t involve spending lots of one-to-one time with him after work. Finally in a last ditch effort, they told him they were taking him to a school where everyone had high expectations and took maths and learning seriously. Then they took Charlie down and enrolled him in St Patricks, the local Catholic School.

On the first day, Charlie came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn’t plant himself in front of the TV or jump on the Playstation. Instead, he went straight to his room & pulled out his old maths books. Paper and pencils were soon spread out all over the room and Charlie was hard at work downloading practice number questions from his interactive class site. His parents were amazed. They called him to dinner and to their shock, the minute he was done he marched right past the TV, and the Playstation. He left his ipod and cell phone with them… and went back to his room to practice his addition.

This became the pattern. Charlie practiced solving maths problems every day after school while his relieved parents tried to understand exactly what it was that had made such a dramatic difference to his attitude. They talked to the teachers and discovered the school used a new maths programme that identified individual needs and promoted sound practical understandings of number. They discovered that the teachers believed in developing supportive relationships with each student and there was a school-wide focus on developing thinking skills and supporting inquiry learning processes. Wow, they thought. “We’ve struck gold. This is exactly what our child’s needed. Just look at how motivated and engaged he’s become with his own learning !”

Finally, the end of term rolled around and Charlie brought his written report home (his work samples and reflections were all online in his blog). He laid it quietly on the table, went up to his room and jumped into his favourite maths problem-solving site. With great trepidation, his parents picked it up and to their surprise, discovered that Charlie had achieved at Level 3 in 2 AO’s and met the success criteria in the 5 SLO’s covered. Of course, they had no idea what that meant, but the teacher had drawn a smiley face on it so they assumed he must be doing OK in maths. They couldn’t contain their curiosity any longer. They went straight to his room (in the very next ad break) and said: "Charlie, you’ve done so well with your learning at this school, especially with your maths. What helped you make such a difference?
Was it the high expectations and the great relationship with your teachers?"
Charlie gives them a firm, but loving look and shakes his head "No".
“Was it the logical approach to problem-solving and learning practical and effective maths strategies?”
Charlie gives them a calculating look. "No".
“Was it developing thinking skills and discovering exciting answers to your own learning questions ?”
Charlie looks at them thoughtfully. "No".
"Well then", they sighed desperately (the ad break was nearly up), "was it the books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms, WHAT WAS IT?".
Charlie gives them an exasperated look and finally explains, "Well, you'd told me that this school took maths and learning seriously and I'd heard that before - but, on the first day of school, when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign outside the Office, I knew these teachers weren't fooling around.