Sunday, 27 December 2009

Gut feeling often correct

Just read this report
Evidence of educational support outside of school
and surprise surprise "The key overall messages are quite clear, namely that parental education is closely linked to the amount of reading children do, as well as their attitudes to homework."

It often seems the case that research just confirms one's gut instinctive response to a hypothesis.

What we do about it is the harder question to answer.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Apostrophes, when and where

Thanks to "Cliotech" for this link
Must remember to share with teachers after the holidays

To blog or not to blog

I do find this whole blogging thing difficult to maintain, or even to know what to write about. Do I use the blog just as a diary, or should I use it to tell others about sites and things that I come across. I really cannot bring myself to be too open certainly not in the way I would with a written diary.

However listening to Buffy Hamilton's
voicethread I do think that I ought to be contributing more and not just lurking and grabbing. That behaviour is just what I used to moan about teachers doing in the library, that is rushing into the library and grabbing a box of books and running back to the classroom.

Today I caught up with last week's TES and was fascinated by an article about a school in New York where computer games form the basis of the education system.

I need to take a further look at

Can't see how anyone at my school would even consider anything so radical.

I often think that schools where there are either low results or disengaged students it is easier to do something radical. While in an achieving school it is often easy to continuing doing what you have always done as it seems to work.

I was also struck by Helen Mathieson's comment

"I don't ask pupils; "What do you want to be?" I ask them "How do you want to live?" They need to think about what skills they will need and how they will adapt to jobs throughout their lives."

(Headteacher Treviglas Business and Enterprise College in Newquay.)

We are due to lead some career lessons with Year 9 in January as they start to choose their options for GCSE and I think I might tweek our lesson plan to include this idea.

Friday, 23 October 2009


I have started YSL 3 and read one presentation and listened to another and both leave me with the same feeling- it is all fine in theory but how do I get the students to live the same message, how do I get them to be as excited about their studies and use the lib as a place to increase their knowledge and understanding rather than a place to socialise and play whatever game they can on the pc.

The students and I have different views as stakeholders about what the lib should or could be and it ends up with me nagging about what they consider silly things and I consider bigger ones

They pivot the chairs on one or two legs - chairs break and so I nag and says "4 or 6 or the floor", they push their feet against the modesty panels on the pc tables, the mdf panel is not strong enough for this and breaks and so I say " take your feet off the table, please" nagging again

They eat (though not allowed) in lib and leave their debris where they like, but rarely in a bin, would you do that in the local bookshop?

They move the chairs around to suit their needs but do not put them back again and leave they all higgedly piggedly, should I be happy to put up to all these chairs neatly again?

What do I need to do differently to become a learning commons?
Though surveys and f2f pupil voice over the years I have come to the conclusion that sutdents do want an adaptable space to be what ever they want it to be for their immediate needs, silent when pushed by deadlines, noisy and social when they "have nothing to do", a cafe etc etc, but some how they do respect or value the space enough and think that their is always someone who will tidy up their mess

I would love to know what I should be doing. We try to be welcoming, we help with enquiries and I know this makes me sound really negative and I am not but I just find that theory is often difficult to relate to practise.

However through teachers I have had many instances of positive feedback when I have introduced them to web 2.0 tools - lots use voicethread and animoto.

Enough for now!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Library routes

In response to the library routes project (cilip gazette 22/10/09) here is my route
It looks like I am in a minority choosing to become a librarian straight from school, although if I were to have achieved better A level results I probably would have done languages at uni.

I went to Liverpool Polytechnic in Sept 1971 and was part of the final cohort doing the library association exams. I enjoyed the course although some was deadly boring and I remember morning spent sitting in Liverpool Libs reading room passing bibliographies from person to person and taking notes on what they were and what wonders they listed! Two years later I got my first job at Liverpool uni in a very boring job sending periodicals to binding and finding the books to send on interlibrary loans. I was part of the inferior class of employees who did not have a degree, we were not allowed to go to the same staffroom or canteen as staff with degrees. I wonder if and when that practice ended?

I survived one year and then got a job at Birkenhead Central Lending library in the adult lending section and stayed there until I left to have a family in 1979.

Roll on eight years, two children and a house move to Surrey and I discovered that Surrey school were appointing half a librarian in all the secondary schools. This seemed the ideal opportunity for me and I secured a post at Ash Manor School and then finally moved to George Abbot in 1991, this time a full time post. 18 years on I am still there and love it, but that it another story.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


Having registered for animoto about two weeks ago I was really pleased when one teacher said that she would like to try creating some book trailers with a small group of Year 9 students. The students were thrilled with their results. We did feel that it would be very difficult to manage this activity with a class of 30 students!

Ray Mears trailer

Lemony Snicket trailer

Maria's trailer

Brandon's trailer

Book trailers

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Using web 2.0

Success this week, or at least the seeds of it. A history teacher is going to use voicethread for a two lesson module on turning points of World War II. For the past 14ish years they have been using a prepared ppt with maps of Europe on to write 40 words about each turning point. This group are going to try doing a similar thing with voicethread.
I just hope the technology works on our pcs.