Posts Tagged With: Y1

#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

Blogging for Learning and #Mozfest

I think it is fair to say that my New Year’s resolution will be to write more frequently on this blog.

In fairness, I have spent the last 8 weeks soley focusing on my new role as a Y1 teacher. Whilst the aged is not too disimilar from my previous 3 years in Reception, the change in daily routine and way of working has kept me busy. I have spent a lot of time writing the Year 1 page on the school blog, which can be viewed at .

I have worked on showing the children how to access the blog and how to write comments. Some children have really taken this on board and write comments often, however, there are still many more children to encourage. I aim to double the amount of children’s comments by the next school holiday by making even more use of online resources such as images to describe, links to phonics sounds or play online games. My particular favourites, when getting the children excited about learning, are Zondle and Oxford Owl.

Oxford Owl

zondle LOGO


I have started to use Zondle to build games for children to practice their skills in maths and literacy. The feedback from children in my class so far has been positive and I have had children asking if they can ‘stay in at playtime to do blog homework’.  Starting this week, I want to promote the use of the Oxford Owl website too as there are free eBooks and maths resources on there. I hope to reach out to more parents this way and will be offering advice and support for them when helping their child online. Watch this space…

Keen as I am to learn more about the way in which technology is evolving and how we can access it, I attended MozFest last weekend.

mozfest There were multiple workshops taking place throughout the weekend including; build the web, making the web physical, games, badges and much more.
   Having generally walked around, trying to get the best from all sessions, I found myself getting involved with a project about Girls in Tech. It was fabulous to collaborate on a project  and record notes in the ‘Mopad’ alongside @amirightfolks, @kimxtom, @MissPhilbin, @priynag and @chadsansing (Sorry if I missed anyone).
Click here to see what the group created.

Later in the afternoon, I attended the amazing ‘Maker Party’. Swamped with children and technologist alike, it was fantastic to see various projects in operation and learn a few things myself.
Some fabulous things included;

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All in all, I have enjoyed a relaxing and productive Half Term holiday and have come away with lots of ideas about how to make next half term even better!

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

Reflections and Onward Journeys

It is fair to say that I have been utterly useless at writing blog posts since February. However, what with an Ofsted visit, iPad app hunting, Teach Meet attending, learning how to use my camera, developing blog ideas and now holiday planning, I may well allow myself to feel better for my lack of upkeep here.

Now it is the summer and another academic year has come to an end. I have said goodbye to colleagues and indeed friends from school, including @chrismayoh, as they embark on the next stage of their own journeys. Without further ado, I decided that there’s no better time to reflect upon this past 12 months and look at what I personally hope to achieve in next twelve.

Having now completed five years as a fully qualified teacher, two in Y2 and three in Reception, I am now due to start in a Y1 class in September. Having enthusiastically accepted the challenge of a new year group, new children and a new building to work in, I thought I would write a post which reflects on what I have learned in my first half-decade ‘on the job’.

Image sourec:

Things to take forward…

  • The basics: Having started out in a school teaching Year 2, my NQT year was more about learning the ropes and getting to grips with things that were not taught at university, including teaching phonics! I subsequently moved schools and have never looked back as I have had the opportunities and support to develop my skills.
  • Linking ideas and frameworks: Thinking back to previous blog posts, it is over a year since I attended the Early Years Conference to learn about the revised framework. As EYFS practitioners have got to grips with it this year and adapted their work based on their own interpretations, it is now the turn of Year One teachers to link the revised EY framework to APP sheets throughout the Autumn term. I hope to help fellow colleagues with understanding how this fits together and how to identify next steps for learners so that we can hit the ground running and maximise progress throughout the year.
  • A different approach:  I believe that my experience of teaching in Reception also puts me in good stead for the transition into Year One. Having got the hang of an approach which firmly puts children at the centre of learning and allows them to lead the curriculum has ensured that I have taken on the role of facilitator not dictator. This coupled with my Y2 experience and subsequent knowledge of where the children need to be by next July should help.
  • The development of my own philosophy for education: I am truly inspired by many fellow educators from far and wide. I have mentioned many of them on my blog site before. Each one is unique and every practitioner has their own philosophy for education.Today, I came across a quote from a well known source, which really sums up my own thoughts on this;

“Logic will get u from A 2 B. Imagination will take u everywhere.”

Image source:
With Mr Gove’s continual revamp of the National Curriculum, it will be interesting to see what will happen in relation to Einstein’s words. One thing that’s certain is that there will always be the good, the bad and the frustrating sides to any job but I believe that teaching really is a vocation.

I leave this post on a personal note…
Whilst a little nervous, I am looking forward to the challenge in the new academic year and I endeavor to use 5 years of teaching experience well.  I hope that that this time next year, the children are not only ready for Year Two but even more prepared for their onward learning journey, equipped with ‘real life’ skills for ‘lifelong’ learning.

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

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