Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fantasy Football Update

I haven't mentioned Fantasy Football for a while. Not because I'm doing badly, you understand, but out of sensitivity for A's feelings. Over the last few weeks, he has languished at around the same point, and is currently 259,147th with 183 points. I, on the other hand, have risen to the heady heights of 45,884th with 303 points. I am now beating Alan Hanson (291 points, 69,290th place) and Richard Branson (296 points and 58,924th place)

Largely I think this may be due to my (no longer misplaced) faith in Thierry Henry. A hooted with laughter at the start of the season (since Henry was playing with all the finesse of a three-legged donkey). "That'll teach you to pick players just 'cos you fancy them", he jeered. Now however, he is the second highest point scoring striker with 54 points. Only Everton's Johnson (on A's team) beats him, with 57 points - the rest are miles behind.

Smug? Me? Whatever makes you think that?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


That was a bit of a rant, wasn't it? Sorry about that, it wasn't meant to be really, I just hadn't realised how much I thought the Government has got this a**e about t*t. Those of you who, like me are actually interested in this subject would do well to keep an eye on Primary Teacher UK and this entry in particular.


I attended a Primary Modern foreign Languages course on Friday - most interesting. I went because the HT couldn't attend, having broken her foot, but I do wonder if PMFL may end up being my bag as well as maths since I seem to be (semi) enthusiastic about languages. During the brief discussion on PMFL regarding what we would declare as our language of choice, the other staff's combined responses were to look at their feet and not catch anyone's eye. I've trotted my French out for three weekends in Paris in the last 20 years - I've got by, but I'd hardly say I'm a whizz...

Don't get me wrong, I think the perceived English attitude to foreign languages (say it again, more slowly and louder but still in English, accompanied by a bit of hand-waving) is poor, to say the least. Relatives of A moved to Spain a number of years ago to buy a bar. They have since sold it, but still live out there and as far as I'm aware have made no effort whatsoever to learn the language. This just makes me die inside. I also think that to make it easier for our children to learn a language, leaving it to 11 is leaving it too late.

However I am concerned by the mixed messages given by the Government. I quote from the Standards site:

The centrepiece of the National Languages Strategy - Languages for All Languages for Life - is our commitment to give every child between the ages of 7 and 11 the entitlement to learn a new language. This marks a fundamental shift in our approach to language learning in this country and, by 2010 will transform the shape of language learning in our schools.


But it's not really followed through, is it? This comes from a QCA document published in 2004:

From September 2004, modern foreign languages (MFL) will no longer be a compulsory national curriculum subject, but will become one of the entitlement areas that all schools must offer within their key stage 4 curriculum. The new requirements are intended not to discourage students from studying MFL, but to provide greater flexibility and choice for learners.

And thereby lies the crux - it might not be discouraging students from studying MFL to exam standard, but it sure as hell isn't encouraging them to, either.

Maybe I'm being a cynic - perhaps if we engender a sense that languages are fun in primary, the students will carry it on through KS3 and KS4. But all I can see is that we have to shoe-horn in another subject - one that challenges music for making non-specialist teachers feel vulnerable - while our secondary colleagues work out who to make redundant in ever diminishing departments.

And then cap it all with this bit of gossip I picked up on the course. Over half of the primaries in our authority have made a start on rolling PMFL out in Y3 and some have actually been doing it for a number of years. Pupils are arriving at one high school in the authority with a grounding in Spanish - they can't just recite numbers, colours and body parts, they can have conversations, which is surely the aim of any language? Is the high school happy? Is it buffalo. It's thrown a strop because this part of the intake already knows what would be covered in Year 7 and part of Year 8 and it therefore is "having to teach them another language".

God forbid they should put those kids into a set and adapt the curriculum to take their Spanish on...

The Joys of October Half-term

As well as just trying to get the planning for next half term sorted out (half done but not yet complete), one of the joys of October half-term is planning the Chritmas production. I've found a nice Sheila Wilson prodution (Rock the Baby) that has 16 named characters including narrators. Somehow I have to convert this so there are speaking parts for all 42 Year 2 pupils...

As well as that I need to work out how I can fit 76 children dressed as nativity characters, sheep, stars, etc into a performing space little larger than that taken up by a Mini Cooper...

Oh the joys of Infant teaching...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Useful Resources

Conscious that the tagline of this blog proclaims that it is the ramblings of a teacher, I thought I'd just include a nice site I stumbled over via Little Miss Teacher. The Nicola Flanagan site has nice number cards and dominoes for printing out and laminating - and they are all free! (Can't be bad).

TOGs United

People who know me well have already realised that I am terminally bewildered and therefore well qualified to be a TOG. I find myself shrieking "Is it me?" at the drop of a hat, regularly get fed up with hearing teenagers moan ("They don't know they're born") and even yesterday responded to an enquiry about my health with "Mustn't grumble". The holidays are normally a blissful time when I can chuckle along with Terry for the full two hours, but today is tinged with sadness after the death at the weekend of Paul Walters, the show's producer.

TOGS the world over are united in mourning the Mid-Herts Maestro. RIP Dr Wally.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

You have to watch this!

Last night I caught a bit of Graham Norton before crawling off to bed. He showed a clip of a panda cub which is so cool, you have to watch it!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dog's Dinners and Dad-Dancing

I have been admonished by a reader for not updating my blog. Abject apologies, but time has run away with me (again).

Actually, it doesn't feel like much has happened since my last entry - it's been a round of keeping up with hearing readers (always a challenge) and trying to get ahead of myself in terms of planning for next half term (failed again).

In between it all though, I went to a Virgin Vie party and a joint 40th/wedding party in a barn.

The Virgin Vie party was interesting... K invited me along and I was rather ashamed to find that the 9 women there who were complaining that now they had children they had no social life or time to themselves were far more social and infinitely better groomed than I. With hand on heart I do have to say that I felt like a dog's dinner tied up in a potato sack next to them all. K has a similar outlook to me regarding girlie thigs like make-up (yeah, would be nice, look great with it on but it's just not worth the additional 40 minutes required in the morning) but she is slender and therefore looks good in pretty much anything, including tracksuit and motorbike leathers. Me on the other hand...

Ah well. Got some smashing nail varnish though.

The following night was a party in a barn complete with doors coming off their hinges, naff carpet to trip on and a hog roast. One of my cousins went to Sri Lanka in August to get married (half-way between UK and NZ where her husband comes from, so siblings from both sides could attend) and the party was on her 40th to celebrate the two events. She was wearing her wedding dress (always easy to maneovere strappy sandals and a full train around a farm yard I find) and having a high old time. The band were great, although a little loud and it was good to see a load of my Dad's family again.

During the evening I spotted my one of my cousins dancing on the other side of the barn. Now, he's only 9 years older than me, so I don't think he's that old. After all, in my head I'm still only 17, so that would make him 26, a mere spring chicken. But then I realised something horrific was happening. He was having a whale of a time - Dad-dancing! After pointing it out to A and having a chuckle, I was then mortified to realise that I was dancing in a similar fashion, but not actually moving my feet...

So there you go. Consider the evidence:

1. I obtain deep satisfaction from pulling dandelions up with tap root intact;
2. I have my osteopath on speed-dial;
3. The best way to spend Friday night is with a Chinese take away and Gardeners' World;
4. I dance like somebody's Mum.

I am now offically middle-aged.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

... and how to break them.

I'm not a great one for New Year's Resolutions in January, partly I suspect because I don't like being the same as everyone else (baaa!! Who am I trying to kid?) Anyway, I tend to leave them for September, for obvious reasons. This year, I decided I was fed up of being frazzled of a Sunday evening and I would do my damnedest to have my planning in to the Head on a Friday morning so as to reclaim my weekends. Last week I got a text from Phil (who we met on our holiday), asking about the usual Sunday night ritual, to which I smugly replied that all my planning was in, thank you very much and I was sitting down getting ready for Jane Eyre.

Oh, pride comes before a fall...

An extra staff-meeting for training, coupled with coming home Thursday night without my memory stick (I could have cried with frustration) has put the kybosh on my good intentions well and truly. So here I am, cursing myself and still wasting time by blogging instead of planning my guided writing...