Posts Tagged With: London

#TMBETT2014 – Loving the Alien

I attended my first #BETT show in 2012 and have been each year since. Upon my first visit, when it was hosted at Olympia, I found it to be a daunting experience with very little understanding of what it was except “just another trade show’. By my second visit, I had entered the world of Twitter and had formed links with teachers and technologists alike. What a pleasure it was then to arrive on Friday evening to the #BettArena and meet up with fellow professionals, some known to me and some new. This time, however, was somewhat different. This time, I felt that I was ready to sign up to present at the Teach Meet event (#TMBETT2014) on Friday night.

Having bagged a ticket back in November and having never presented at any Teach Meet before, I thought why not? However, as the day approached, I found the nerves creeping in. What a comfort it was then to see smiling faces including @dawnhallybone, @andreacarr1, @dughall, @joga5,  @tonyparkin, @bevevans22, @nightzookeeper and @sarah_wright1 in the arena, wishing me well and calming my nerves.

The scariest thing about #TMBETT14 was not that it was hosted in the London Excel Centre (@excellondon). Not the fact that 650 tickets had been sold and @MrMichaelShaw from #TES handing out T-shirts saying ‘The largest TeachMeet in the world’! Not even the fact that I would be using technology, which could go wrong at any point. Nope, the scariest thing was that my presentation was about real children and the real learning that takes place in my classroom as part of each individual’s life journey.

* Would I do the children justice by sharing their achievements (thoroughly safe-guarded of course)?

* Would I be able to give @classdojo the credit they deserved for their wonderful behaviour management tool?

* Would the audience members find any of it useful and take it back to their own schools to share with colleagues and children alike?

All of these questions raced through my head as I nervously waited to see if my name would be called through the random selection process as created by @russeltarr through @classtools.

Fabulous presentations came from @stevebunce, telling us that Thomas was alone and @ideas_factory who asked us to be the purple cow. After 2 hours of presentations, 8:30pm ticked by and my nerves had died right down. By this point, I had given up on my name being called and was composing my graceful tweet of disappointment, whilst telling myself that there was always next year. It was a surprise then when co-host @iusher was calling my name. As the big screen had temporally stopped working, I was dazed by the sound of my name being called and uncertain if it was even the right ‘Catherine’ that he was calling. Phone in hand and notes left behind on my seat, I made my way to the front where the stage was, where I confirmed that it was indeed going to be my turn.

Waiting at the side of the stage with @katerussel, who was co-hosting  the event, I began to compose myself and collect my thoughts. After an interesting presentation from @oliverquinlan, I stood up to the podium with no notes, a phone with no battery and a lot of faces staring at me, awaiting my first sentence. It was reassuring to see smiles round the room, people nodding along and it was here that I felt proud to share the work of the children back home in Bradford. My presentation was about phonics called ‘Loving the Alien’ and with the tagline, ‘How to Make the Y1 Phonics Screening Check More …Errr… Human!’ The link can be found HERE.

#TMBETT14 Blog image LTA

It was only after stepping off the stage (and leaving my phone on it) that I truly then calmed down. Lovely comments came flooding in via Twitter on my Nexus from many people who congratulated me on no longer being a ‘Teach Meet Presentation Virgin‘ and I even got to meet some of my ‘Twitter Heroes’ @ICTmagic and @triches.

What was really lovely, was the subsequent messages I had from teachers who have already shared with their staff in their schools. One practitioner told me how her school use Class Dojo all the time but she never thought of linking it to phonics and was going to do so from now on!
I guess I can address my concerns about it being useful then?

My third and final concern about giving the credit to Class Dojo was relieved when they also tweeted;

tweet classdojo

All in all, a wonderful event and special thank should go to @digitalmaverick and everyone who organised everything.

Finally, I am already looking forward to the next Teach Meet, wherever that may be and #BETT15 but for now and in the words of a well known song, keep ‘Loving the Alien‘!  

Categories: About me, Education and learning, Technology, Travels, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Inspiring a Future Generation

As half term draws to a close, I find myself once again in London having had a lovely break.

The holiday has given me chance to reflect on recent trips to the capital over the last few weeks:

What can I take back to the classroom?
What can I take forward into my career?
What does it all mean anyway?

SWLondonEdu

SUWedu_Banner

The end of January led me to Google Campus to attend a Start Up weekend with its focus on education (#SwLondonEdu). This was hosted by @nightzookeeper and sponsored by the likes of OCR, Technology Strategy Board, Macmillan and many others. Click here to read all about it.

The general idea was that educators, developers, coders and business minds would come together to form teams and embark on a grueling 54 hour task of attempting to create a ‘start up’ business idea for use in education. I teamed up with @ideasfactory @kateho, Matt, @brynll and @buzzburman to try to create a phonics app aimed across all key stages and appeal to older children. By Sunday evening, myself and Julian (@ideasfactory) were ready to pitch @Robophon to the judges and potential investors.

I personally had chosen to attend the event to be involved in the process of working on something that might benefit children in schools in the future and to meet other people trying to do the same. See this great post from Julian S Wood which explains more:
http://ideasfactory.me/edtech-start-up-weekend/

The event was won by @mrlockyer‘s @useedu the ‘one stop inspiration station’ and it was nice to see @chrismayoh‘s team as runners up with @wordwarsedu – more at http://learningtobebetter.com/swlondonedu/swlondonedu-january-2013/

The event ran smoothly with thanks to many people including @oliverquinlan @clogish and @EddStockwell. Special thanks go to mentors who took the time to support our group, @BuzzBurman @Bartoneducation @jodielopez @dick_taylor and the quality feedback from @DeputyMitchell and @joga5.

Reflection

I learned that people have fantastic ideas but without an audience and team to move the idea forwards, that’s all it is, an idea.
So perhaps then, it is a vision rather than an idea that can make a difference to the children of today who become the adults of the future.

This idea of trying to make a difference is at the front of my mind daily. By definition of being a teacher, this seems to be ‘stating the obvious’ but the world of education is changing constantly with influences from areas of politics, technological advances and society to name a few.

* What if I am part of inspiring a future world leader, doctor or scientist by being their influence at 5 years old?
* What can I learn from the children I work with?
* How can I facilitate learning and encourage ambition?

Now would seem an appropriate time to think of my own ‘heroes’ past and present.

* My Year 3 teacher Mr Tandy for making learning fun. Please look at my previous post ‘The Greatest Teacher?’ for my personal thoughts on this.
* My current principal for believing in me and giving me a chance to work in a challenging school with huge rewards when you see the impact school can have.
* My family for supporting me with my decisions and being there when things don’t quite work out.

This past year since using Twitter as a tool for CPD, I have uncovered a wealth of ‘heroes’ who are fellow people with the same passion and goal to inspire the future generation.

BETT 2013

bett 13

After a 4 hour drive from Bradford to London I caught the end of arguably the biggest ‘Teach Meet’ ever at #TMBETT13. The @excellondon was a great venue and it was lovely to meet some of the most inspiring educators all within the same room. Some I had met before at #CampEd12, the London Festival of Education, #bMobLe and others I know solely through conversations on Twitter. The list included:
@helendaykin @susanbanister @dughall @penny_patterson @stevebunce @morethanmaths @joga5 @bellaale @dawnhallybone @johnbishop713
Each individual has a passion for inspiring children and trying to make that difference in their own inimitable ways.

One such example of this came from Stephen Lockyer (@mrlockyer) and Ben Waldram (@MrWaldram) who promoted the idea of #BATTT (Bring a Teacher to Twitter). I have a separate post on this HERE.

My personal highlights from the #BETT13 event itself came from @timrylands whose #backtotheirfuture talk was inspirational and useful in that he revealed a whole host of free resources for use in school! www.timrylands.com

Who said BETT was just a trade show?

(Read Bryn Llewellyn’s post for reflections about this.)

Another highlight was finding new resources for use with children, including:

* Teach Your Monster To Read website for free games (@monsterscanread)
* Zondle for choosing or creating quizzes which can then be played though a variety of games platforms. (@zondle)
* Frog (@frogtrade)
* iamlearning (@I_AM_LEARNING)

adult-child-hold-hands

All in all, I have found these events thought provoking, informative and challenging. I have come away having learnt something new whilst at the same time I have questioned and reviewed various things about my own practice and CPD.

* How can I use resources more creatively?
* Are there other ways to get the boys in my class to write beyond what they are currently doing?
* What other ways can I share and collaborate ideas and tools?

However, despite all this, the key message I will take forwards with me is…

Be inspired today and you will inspire the future.

Categories: About me, Education and learning, Travels, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sports Personality of the Year 2012, the Gold Rush and the Olympic Legacy

Can I do it? Yes I can!

Since my last post about running, I have successfully managed to run 10K  and help our school team of runners raise £758 (and counting) for Teenage Cancer Trust! Little did I think 3 months ago that I would be able to do it and yet there I was, jubilant that I had achieved the (personal) impossible dream!

 

Watching Sports Personality of the Year (#SP12), it came as no surprise to see that no less that 8 Olympians and 3 Paralympians were nominated for the award, creating a difficult dilemma for the voting British public.

The programme allowed me opportunity to reflect on a summer of unity and patriotism.

 

The London Olympic Games 2012

 Reminiscing about watching the Opening Ceremony on a big screen in GreenwichPark, I and many others had been sceptical that our ceremony would not better that of Bejing four years ago. However, to my surprise, Danny Boyle did not even attempt to better the CGI effects and precision dancing of China. Instead, rather fittingly, he gave a show of tongue-in-cheek, slap-stick, British humour…Bravo!

Naturally, one of the main talking points was that of saving our NHS; comments were made, people sniggered to themselves and a sense of unity appeared to sweep the country.

And so the games had begun!

I was optimistic enough to hope that Mark Cavendish might win the Men’s Road Race…Team GB’s first chance of a medal. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be but, on a personal note, I enjoyed the camaraderie and banter standing on Hyde Park Corner that would be ever present throughout the duration of the Games.

It was during this time that we chatted to a couple of fellow ‘Northerners’ who very kindly offered us spare tickets for the Sunday morning Hockey matches. Without any hesitation, we said ‘YES, of course’. However, it did make me feel for the thousands who were unsuccessful in obtaining ANY tickets to ANYTHING. Perhaps, a bit of luck was the only way (especially for those outside the M25).

After an early start on that first sunny Sunday morning, the hockey commenced and I was overwhelmed by the sense of occasion. I found myself surrounded by Aussie and New Zealand fans for the first match and Belgian and Netherlands fans for the second. This excitement was only added to when I found out that one of the men who gave us the tickets was himself a past Olympian and won Bronze in the Men’s Hockey GB team of 1984 in LA! With tickets to women’s basketball, women’s football, beach volleyball, sitting volleyball, Paralympics athletics finals and a couple of marathons too, I truly was a very lucky girl.

Walking around the Olympic Park itself was enough to make me beam from ear to ear all day long. Even when not in the Olympic Park, I found myself glued to TV screens in various locations including home in Bingley, Sheffield, Bradford’s City Park, Hyde Park and Victoria Park (for BT London Live). What’s more, the BT London Live events were FREE and included a whole host of live music including Blur, New Order, Scouting for Girls and my personal favourite, Newton Faulkner. People were waving Union flags, clapping and cheering, willing Team GB on (or indeed whichever country they were supporting).

People were really embracing the buzz, excitement and anticipation that seemed to be present. Entire nations were united in spirit and hope…all had Olympic Fever.

THE WORLD TRULY HAD COME TO LONDON…

All in all, I feel honored to have witnessed a thoroughly fantastic XXX Olympiad and the Paralympic Games and feel privileged to have been part of it. The much-hyped talk of Olympic legacy included that of children across Great Britain taking the spirit of the games into their own lives. There was much discussion about the sense of fair play, team spirit, the need to try their best and aspire to be as dedicated as the athletes themselves.

 

But…

Although 4 weeks of Olympic and Paralympic sporting heroism and achievement seemed to unite an entire nation, I can not help but feel a little disheartened that the proposed Olympic legacy has not been followed up as well as initially imagined. Take for example, the Premier League and the continued diving and foul play or the revelation that Lance Armstrong did in fact cheat his way to multiple victories. Is this really setting an example to school children nationwide and demonstrating ‘Olympic values’? We need to ask ourselves:

* What is the Olympic legacy supposed to be?

* How are we supposed to deliver and encourage it?

* What will the children of today aspire to be in the future when after all they ARE the future?

Mr Cameron suggested making 2 hours of PE a day a compulsory part of the school curriculum, how are we to deliver this? ‘Create more Olympians of the future’, he said. However, I don’t know many schools that have rowing and equestrian facilities to deliver this.

Surely then it is more about encouragement, nurture and celebration of the dreams and aspirations of young people. We need to instill values such as determination and hard work, teamwork, never giving up even when the chips are down, and being gracious in defeat.

Such determination in the face of adversity was demonstrated tonight as Paralympian and London 7/7 bombings survivor, Martine Wright won the Helen Rollason award at the Excel arena where many Olympic and Paralympic events had taken place in the summer.

Her story is inspirational and the way her life has changed over the last 7 years is incredible. The scenes she witnessed on that fateful day in 2005 were horrific and yet, ironically, the day after the announcement that London was successful in the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Even in the face of adversity, she picked herself up from that life-changing experience and trained to participate in the sitting volleyball competition at the Excel Arena in the London Olympic Games 2012.

And so as Bradley Wiggins is the Sports Personality of the Year in this exceptional year for British sport, 2012, I urge us all to think of what Martine Wright said,

 

 “Let’s build on this legacy. Go ahead and inspire a nation.”

 

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The Early Years 2012 Conference and Lilac Sky Education Awards

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Early Years 2012 conference as part of school training in preparation for the revised framework, which comes into play from September. As I will remain in Reception, I viewed it as an excellent opportunity to learn what the national expectations will be, which I can then feedback to colleagues in Bradford. It began with keynote speakers including Sarah Teather, Children’s Minister and Lib Dem MP, Sue Robb, Head of Early Years at ‘4Children’ and Graham Allen MP. The event was chaired by Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children.

The main emphasis of the day was ‘quality improvement’ and this was reflected on throughout the day.

I was pleased to learn that there will be:
• more trust placed in teacher’s professional judgements;
• free entitlement for 2 year olds which will increase over the coming years;
• better training in universities for trainee practitioners.

The day incorporated a fleeting but concise visit from Cathy Nutbrown, talking about her philosophy and the aims of her work; she reiterated that it is a revised framework, not a new one.
It was reassuring to hear her state, “that this vision must offer the very best for babies and young children by having a professional and highly skilled workforce which leads to getting the best investment in early years”. (Nutbrown; 2012 taken from The Nutbrown Review website)

Graham Allen MP’s work with Iain Duncan-Smith on ‘Early Intervention: Good Parents, Great Kids, Better Citizens’ is particularly poignant and to be fair, they look to have ‘got it right’.

It was issued in September 2008 and on the ‘Centre for Social Justice’ website, it says that “the philosophy of Early Intervention goes much further than prevention. It is about breaking the intergenerational cycle of underachievement.” (The Centre for Social Justice website)

This is something that inspires me even more when working in the Early Years. I appreciate how important the first few years of a child’s life are and I feel privileged to work alongside young individuals, helping to lay the foundations and equipping them with skills for later life, regardless of their social background. It is probably not going to be the case that little so-and-so, aged 4, will say “My Reception teacher was my favourite teacher”, let alone even remember my name but it is one of the most rewarding parts of the job, the knowledge that I have done my best to give each child a chance to become a ‘better citizen’.

Later that week, I was invited to attend the Lilac Sky Education Awards at the Barbican Centre in London. It was refreshing to watch the many educators embrace the stage to collect their awards and receive the recognition they deserved. To meet fellow teachers and consultants alike made for an enjoyable evening. Whilst enjoying the complimentary champagne and canapés, I chatted to various people including members of @use_the_key (a service for school leaders), @LilacSkySchools (Mr Trevor Averre-Beeson, Director of Education at Lilac Sky Schools) and @MrMichaelShaw (Deputy Editor of the TES). Many thanks to the organisers of the event and congratulations to the winners.

Further information:

Sarah Teather
*Plans for EYFS
  ( http://www.libdemvoice.org/sarah-teather-announces-plans-for-early-years-education-20202.html )
*Sarah Teather discusses the review of the Early Years Foundation Stage
  ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozew41d977Y )
*Sarah Teather visits St Matthew’s pre-school in Newham
  ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwHqT9AVi94 )

Sue Robb
*Home page of ‘4Children’
  ( http://www.4children.org.uk/Home )

Graham Allen
*Early Intervention: The Next Steps Booklet Jan 2011
  ( http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/early-intervention-next-steps.pdf )
*Brain Hero – Harvard University explanation of importance of a good start in life
  ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s31HdBeBgg4 )
*The Centre for Social Justice
  ( http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/default.asp?pageRef=269 )

Cathy Nutbrown
*The Nutbrown Review website
  ( http://www.education.gov.uk/nutbrownreview )
*Cathy Nutbrown’s speech from the EY2012 conference
  ( http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a00210418/nutbrownrevspeech )

Foundation Years – (The Revised Framework)
* Home page of ‘Foundation Years’ – up to date and hot off the press for EYFS information
  ( http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/quality-provision/early-years-foundation-stage-framework/)

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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!

Coldplay

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!

Phew

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… www.bowlingparkprimary.net

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.

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