Too Fast … but not so Furious

It seems like, and probably is, an eternity since my last post. Such is the hectic life of a teacher in the last half term of the school year. Frantically planning, assessing, writing reports, oh… and …I almost forgot…TEACHING! The demands during Summer Term 2 are always the same and just as hectic as last year. However, I am somewhat satisfied with the achievement of having ‘gotten it all finished’ and now have the chance to enjoy the last few weeks with my class. Phew!

However, I must confess, in and amongst this busy term, I have managed to have some fun too.

Ferrari Thrill

On the theme of this fast-paced term, a few Saturdays ago, I made the trip down to Silverstone for a Driving Thrill experience. What a thrill it was, driving at 130mph around the track in a Ferrari Modena with the instructor shouting “Break!” and the uncertainty of whether the car would actually avoid hurtling into the concrete wall by the pit lane. What made it all the more exciting was the fact that I was driving on the same tarmac as Lewis (Hamilton) and Jenson (Button). For the Formula One fans out there, I can now say “I drove down the Hangar Straight,” not that I had a clue which part of the circuit I was on, adrenaline pumping. Rather, I was too busy concentrating on ‘Gas’, ‘Break’, ‘Left’ and ‘Right’, in an attempt to avoid a collision!


As if that was not thrilling enough, the day was followed by a trip to Manchester City’s football ground on the Sunday evening to see Coldplay. The Etihad stadium itself was quite impressive inside and made for a fabulous atmosphere. After support acts Rita Ora and Robyn, both of whom were crowd pleasers …hey, I even knew a couple of songs from each of them…the crowd waited eagerly for the main act. I would not have said Coldplay were my favourite band, or even listed them in ‘bands I like’ but thought I’d go along as I knew some songs. I can honestly say it was the best gig I have ever been to for showmanship and audience participation. They started the show in a way which I have only ever seen bands end shows with and I was intrigued to see whether they would maintain that level of excitement throughout the show. I was not disappointed and the £50 ticket cost seemed good value for money. It even included a free souvenir wrist band, which was part of the show and looked spectacular when 60,000 of them lit up the stadium. WOW!

My Likkle Bro’s Birthday

Later this week, it was my ‘little’ brother’s 18th birthday. As he will always be my little brother, I couldn’t believe he was 18 already. How time has flown by. I swiftly cast my mind back to the day he was born. At 8 years old, I remembered having being in Wales on the day with my grandparents, their dog and my little sister. We had visited family in Wrexham and arrived home to Sheffield to find mum and dad’s car missing. Not needing to have a degree in rocket science to work it out, we drove to the hospital to find that my sister and I now had a little brother too. Ah!
His party was interesting in that I realised just how popular he is and it was even funnier to see lots of newly-turned-18 year olds guzzling down the cheap lager. Bless. As I looked around the room, I suddenly began to feel rather old and I’m only 26! Golly gosh, how much you grow up in your early 20’s.

Football, the 1960’s and Father’s Day

Having been in a football stadium for Coldplay, I thought I’d go and watch some real football the following weekend. Standing in the rain with the other spectators, I watched members of Evolve play a full game on a large Astroturf pitch for Graham @projectheroman Morgan’s birthday. Players ranged in age from 20 something – 60 something; the players showed different degrees of fitness and ability, but all resolved to endure the full 90 minutes. Silky skills could be seen from all including Des Hamilton, ex- of Newcastle United and Bradford City fame. Unfortunately, not all players were successful in avoiding injury as @brynll fractured his wrist, which gradually got more painful as the day went on and resulted in a trip to BRI hospital the next day.
Deana Morgan had clearly spent a long time making preparations and organising a fantastic birthday weekend and I was happy to attend, in my 60s Retro Gear. Whilst there, I met the ‘groovy’ and ‘with-it in-crowd’, including John Bishop, Damon Fox, Phil Wagner and the Bulletman himself, Paul Kerfoot.

Having boogied the night away, I awoke on Father’s Day with excitement as I was to visit my parent’s house. An hour later down the M1, I was able to give my card (and a hug / present) to my dad. It’s funny how commercial these things are and yet this year, it didn’t bother me as much as it was a welcome opportunity to see my family. This is a rarity these days and something I endeavour to do more of.

London: Early Years 2012 and Lilac Sky

By now the urgent need to write a class set of reports was screaming down my ear and bashing me round the head to get started. Not to worry, as I made a good start and even, optimistically, took my laptop down on the train to London for the Early Years 2012 conference. I should have realised that the chance to work would have been limited as it was a very busy two days.
Key speakers included Sarah Teather, Sue Robb and Graham Allen, with the event chaired by Dame Clare Tickell.

After an exciting week back at school learning about bats and even a trip to Hardcastle Crags in Hebden Bridge to see where bats live, I made it through to Friday and a another day of report writing. Having made good progress in this, I was treated to an invitation to the Lilac Sky teaching awards at the Barbican Centre in London.

For more information on these events, visit the post on my blog entitled ‘The Early Years 2012 Conference and Lilac Sky Education Awards’.

London: The Bank of England, Greenwich Festival and Radio 1 Hackney Weekend

I was extremely lucky enough to bag myself a ticket to the Radio 1 Hackney music festival last weekend. Having only been able to get a Sunday ticket, I spent Saturday mainly report writing but managed to squeeze in a visit to the Bank of England. As it is only open 1 day a year for tours around the bank, I thought I would pop along and see what it is like inside. I learnt about various things, dating right back to Roman times and enjoyed the guided tour.
After some much needed tea, it was off to Roman Road to see part of the Greenwich Festival. I was impressed as 5 large-scale insects paraded along the road, being followed by many people who had come to view. These insects were made from various materials and powered along by performers pedalling them down the road. Some even had smoke machines fitted, making people scream as a giant grasshopper reached up as tall as a 2 story building to peep inside the window.

A drive to the delights of Hackney Marshes, I endured the long wait to get through security and finally entered the main area. As I walked through the inevitable muddy field, I could hear the sounds of Plan B blaring out, which made me walk by and explore what else was on offer. There were 5 stages, each housing a whole host of artists, which I tended to keep checking in on to see whether I fancied hanging around to listen to or not. The many food stalls made me feel hungry and the porta-loos were adequate but not as luxurious as the ones at #camped12 back in May.

I eventually decided on listening to Jessie J, B.O.B, Azealia Banks, Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruz, Lana Del Ray, Florence and the Machine, Dizzee Rascal, David Guetta, Chase and Status and Rihanna, who also brought on stage Jay-Z….all for the booking fee of a mere £2.50. Absolute bargain!


All caught up and back to normality, I intend to make the most of the next few weeks, enjoying my current class, sorting stuff for next year’s class and Transition Day. After all the typing of reports, I have struggled to put finger to keyboard to even type this and my hands are somewhat tired. So there you have the last 4 weeks of my life as they have sped by as fast as a Ferrari, evaporated into happy memories…frantic, fun and fruitful but by no means furious.

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What a day to be a Goalkeeper…

Well what a week of mixed emotions, thoughts and feelings.
Since last week’s post, I did indeed manage to visit York and enjoyed an evening of chat, food, drink and dancing. It felt good to be ‘home’.

School has been delightful, enjoying the sunshine with the children.
We have been very busy learning more about our chosen topics.
The Flowers and Butterflies groups went to visit a garden centre to buy seeds and flowers so they can now discover which flowers best attract butterflies. We even got to see our very own butterflies develop as they hatched out of their cocoons.
Children in the Snakes and Bats group had a visit from a lady who brought real bats into the classroom. It was incredibly exciting and we have now made our own bat pictures and decided to try and find out where they live.

Watch this space for more exciting learning…

And now to the real mix of emotions this week….

It would have been my Grandad’s 86th birthday, had he still been around and it was exactly 9 years ago to the day that the Blades made it to another play off final and lost to Wolves. This being the same year that my grandad had died not 2 months before. It was as if the sun was him smiling down on us and the chants of “Wemberleeey….Wemberleeey….” called me south to Wembley Stadium for the League 1 Play-Off Final: Sheffield United vs Huddersfield Town. Having already watched our rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, over-take us in the league and gain automatic promotion, it was do or die in order to prevent the inevitable mickey taking back home from the blue half of the city.
I can’t help but feel that blue has been a lucky colour this season, what with Man City winning the Premiership, Chelsea winning the Champions League, Sheff Wednesday gaining automatic promotion and now Huddersfield going up too.
C’est le vie….

“We’re going to Wembley!”

A five and a half hour trip down, due to hold ups on the M1, was not enough to dampen our spirits and we got to our seats with 20 mins to spare. If nothing else, it was a day out in the glorious sunshine.
Having spent 90 nerve racking minutes biting my nails, it was to be another unbearable 30 mins extra time. They came closest several times but luckily, having made many blunders this season, our keeper picked a good day to play well and kept them out.

Just coming out of Wembley Park tube station… Wow!

By now the overwhelming feeling to pass out was only just avoided by the thought of how the players must be feeling in that sweltering heat. Penalty time and the silence of anticipation as the first penalty was taken by them…
SAVED by our dodgy keeper, Simonsen, and chants of “Seeeemo, Seeemo” rang around the 30,000 United fans.
Unfortunately we failed to score some of ours and the pressure was well and truly on as it came down to the keepers taking penalties against each other. Their keeper struck it well and scored, leaving Simonsen to score or be condemned to stay in League 1 forever (slight exaggeration)…

Inside Wembley Stadium – pre match

As he approached the ball, that ‘everything in slow motion’ feeling came over everyone at the ground and we watched the ball fly high into the top of the stand, miles over the bar…like watching the entire season fly away in one fell swoop. I guess it’s all to be expected and comes with the territory when supporting a football team.

How ironic that the goalkeeper that kept us in the game for better part of 130 minutes was the player who took the ‘stray’ kick that resulted in the inevitable second season in League One. Poor lad.

What (another) tough day to be a goalkeeper…for Sheffield United. 

Oh well, always next year…

Well done to Huddersfield Town on gaining promotion to the Championship and I can only hope they beat Sheffield Wednesday next season.

Categories: About me, Football, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What do you think about….QUESTIONS (insert question mark here)

Since my last post, I have been a busy bee.

Firstly, and on a personal note, I was absolutely delighted to attend the match at Bramall Lane on Monday night. I watched with baited breath as Sheffield United (eventually) won the game against Stevenage 1-0. Just enough to see them go through to the League 1 play off final at Wembley on the 26th May.

Bramall Lane on Monday night vs Stevenage

School wise, this is the week where things have started to take off as regards the Reggio-based groups.
Visit to see what we have been up to. Particular highlights include one group visiting the library to do further research and a completely natural conversation between children about snails.

I particularly enjoyed mainly observing comments during Thursday night’s #ukedchat about types of questions used in schools and the impact. I feel that questions are essential within the classroom to challenge thinking and extend thoughts and ideas. I do, however, feel that the more open-ended, the better. I have changed the way I use questions this year and also used key phrases such as ‘tell me about…’ and ‘I wonder…’. They have certainly worked a treat with my Reception class.

In addition to this, I have been trying to pack for a weekend in my university city of York for a much needed catch up with friends. I am intrigued to find out how much it has changed since my last visit and I am due to find out in around 3 hours…

So with that, I better find my jeans and clean my muddy, ‘I survived CampEd12’ rucksack, and hit the road.

Have a good week and I would appreciate hearing people’s thoughts on what types of questions to use in school and the impact as it really did interest me. Hope others feel the same… 🙂

Categories: About me, Education and learning, Football, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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