Simple Video for 3D Properties


Not a long post.  Just to share a very short video that has helped my kids.  It is just a three slide video that can be played on repeat that explains the vocabulary needed to describe the properties of 3D shapes.

Download it here.

Thanks for reading.



KS1 Maths Moderation

Don’t do tick lists!

That is the message that is coming loud and clear from all areas to teachers who have to collect evidence to prove that their judgements are valid.

Don’t do tick lists!

However, we do need to see your evidence and it has to be readily at hand.

Don’t do tick lists…


*Edit: Let me add that I hate that I have been forced to do this kind of madness with 6/7 year old children. I dislike the term ‘Play the game’ as I don’t see education as a game.  However, in the sorry state of affairs we find ourselves in, this might be a way to lighten some of the burden.


After being on a KS1 assessment and moderation meeting last week where it was shared that there needs to be abundant evidence of children meeting all of the points in the interim assessment framework for teacher assessment, I have devised some simple KS1 maths quizzes that link to the 16 points and I have cross referenced them with examples from the exemplification materials released by the DfE as well.

To download them, click here or click the image.


All feedback to make them even better would be gratefully received. Just leave a comment below or find me on Twitter.


OFSTED… the pinnacle of teaching?

I have been studying the NPQH and have done a lot of work on a unit regarding teaching and learning this week.  What comes through is the use of OFSTED criteria by SLT to judge lessons and more broadly teaching.  I do agree that it is extremely useful to know how you will be judged when OFSTED come in and watch and I do agree that what they write about what is expected in ‘outstanding‘ lessons is good, but if OFSTED did not give schools one of the almighty four grades, would these still be seen as the best way to judge teaching and learning?  Is there anything missing from these criteria?

Outstanding (from the OFSTED School Inspection Handbook)


  • Teachers demonstrate deep knowledge and understanding of the subjects they teach. They use questioning highly effectively and demonstrate understanding of the ways pupils think about subject content. They identify pupils’ common misconceptions and act to ensure they are corrected.
  • Teachers plan lessons very effectively, making maximum use of lesson time and coordinating lesson resources well. They manage pupils’ behaviour highly effectively with clear rules that are consistently enforced.
  • Teachers provide adequate time for practice to embed the pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills securely. They introduce subject content progressively and constantly demand more of pupils. Teachers identify and support any pupil who is falling behind, and enable almost all to catch up.
  • Teachers check pupils’ understanding systematically and effectively in lessons, offering clearly directed and timely support.
  • Teachers provide pupils with incisive feedback, in line with the school’s assessment policy, about what pupils can do to improve their knowledge, understanding and skills. The pupils use this feedback effectively.
  • Teachers set challenging homework, in line with the school’s policy and as appropriate for the age and stage of pupils, that consolidates learning, deepens understanding and prepares pupils very well for work to come.
  • Teachers embed reading, writing and communication and, where appropriate, mathematics exceptionally well across the curriculum, equipping all pupils with the necessary skills to make progress. For younger children in particular, phonics teaching is highly effective in enabling them to tackle unfamiliar words.
  • Teachers are determined that pupils achieve well. They encourage pupils to try hard, recognise their efforts and ensure that pupils take pride in all aspects of their work. Teachers have consistently high expectations of all pupils’ attitudes to learning.
  • Pupils love the challenge of learning and are resilient to failure. They are curious, interested learners who seek out and use new information to develop, consolidate and deepen their knowledge, understanding and skills. They thrive in lessons and also regularly take up opportunities to learn through extra-curricular activities.
  • Pupils are eager to know how to improve their learning. They capitalise on opportunities to use feedback, written or oral, to improve.
  • Parents are provided with clear and timely information on how well their child is progressing and how well their child is doing in relation to the standards expected. Parents are given guidance about how to support their child to improve.
  • Teachers are quick to challenge stereotypes and the use of derogatory language in lessons and around the school. Resources and teaching strategies reflect and value the diversity of pupils’ experiences and provide pupils with a comprehensive understanding of people and communities beyond their immediate experience.

So what would you add to this list that makes freaking amazing teaching and learning?



I have been an avid listener to podcasts for many years now and some of my favourite podcasts include @adambuxton, @Scroobiuspipyo, @IAmJericho, @QIpodcast, @pappystweet, @themonkeycage, @WTFpod, @ColtCabana and lots of different podcasts from @Herring1967.  I should also say that for education, I frequent @pivotalpaul and @RckStrPrincipal.

I have recently started to listen to the Comedians Telling Stuff Podcast and I like the format of the show.  She simply speaks to comedians and asks them to talk about memorable stories around six broad areas: first, worst, lessons learned, hecklers, when I knew and love.

I thought that this format could translate well to a series of posts as I often don’t think I have much to blog about but I like to read about other people’s interesting experiences in education.

The themes I have chosen are broad to give as much scope for everyone to share a wide range of stories. The first few themes will be: first, best, worst and change.

I was going to use ‘#first’ to share this, but I thought that would be a difficult hashtag to follow with it being so generic.  So seeing as though I am the co-founder of #PrimaryRocks, it seemed obvious to prefix the hashtag for these posts with PR!

So this is the #PRfirst in a series of posts.  Please feel free to add your own #PRfirst story about anything in your teaching career.


The first day back always fills me with a slight sense of dread.  Memories of the first day of teacher training rush into my brain.  Even more scary is the memory of the first day of my first teaching job.  That realisation that I was responsible for these children and they were waiting for me to teach them. It reminded me of the scene from Indiana Jones where he’s being chased by the boulder.  Nothing was going to stop the momentum of these 9 year olds and it was time to become a teacher.

Looking back now, I can’t help thinking ‘who on earth would have given me a job?!” I knew so little and was hardly ready to teach, let alone do all the other things that come with the job.  I had only had 4 hours of lectures on most of the non-core subjects and now I had to teach them!  But you soon learn.

Probably the most memorable ‘first’ was my first contacts with parents.  One child, whose family were locally known to regularly be in trouble with the police, told me that her mum was going to come round after school with a baseball bat and smash my face in because I had kept her in during lunchtime! Another was the son of the chair of governors who told me I had a cheek to ‘summon’ him into school to discuss his son’s poor behaviour.

Only a very short post to start back, but what are your memorable ‘firsts’ in teaching?

Please use#PRfirst to share.

Thanks for reading and sharing.



EduBlog Awards


I was surprised on Thursday night to see that I had been voted for an EduBlog Award or an ‘Eddie’!

How great! It’s nice to know others appreciate you. I dare say I won’t be chosen next year as there are some fabulous blogs on there but  you can vote for me by clicking here, scrolling down to my box, clicking the thumbs up and registering with your twitter account.  It takes about 1 minute.

Please also vote for my nominations who made the finalist lists:

Best Individual blog: The Primary Head’s Blog – Vote here!

Best Ed Tech Blog: Lee Parkinson – Vote here!

Best use of media: The Literacy Shed – Vote here!

Most influential blog: Michael Tidd – Vote here!

Best twitter chat: #primaryrocks – Vote here!

Best individual tweeter: @urban_teacher – Vote here!

And also the best mobile app: Alan Peat’s Exciting Sentences – Vote here!


Thanks for reading, voting and retweeting.


Well being

After a tweet from @tim_jumpclarke one Saturday evening, I decided to have a think.  He asked some tweeters to RT this:

He explained that it was an initiative by @MartynReah to promote well being amongst teachers.

I thought about what I could (and do) do  for my own well being and here are my suggestions (with added hashtag banners), although everyone will have their own ideas:


  1. Doodle.  It doesn’t matter what you draw, just put pen to paper. Draw shapes and make patterns.  Look through my photos timeline and have a go at something. #learn
  2. Play an instrument. My weapon of choice is the uke! #learn
  3. Close the laptop, turn the phone on silent and spend some time with your family. #connect and #notice
  4. Go for a walk. Go with someone or plug yourself into a good podcast and enjoy the fresh weather at this time of the year. #exercise
  5. Read a book.  It doesn’t have to even be a whole chapter, just pick up a book and read. Books like The General Book Of Ignorance are excellent for this. #learn
  6. Give yourself at least an hour of ‘not work’ time before going to bed. #connect
  7. Watch Fail Army and realise that there are a lot of people far worse off and far more stupid than you! #notice
  8. Listen to some music. With a tipple of your choice. #notice
  9. Have a night off! #connect #learn #notice #exercise #volunteer


Thanks for reading, favouriting and retweeting.


Doodle Your Own Advent Calendar


A long time ago (not in a galaxy far far away though!) advent calendars were not stuffed with chocolate or Lego. There were just flaps with a picture behind which were often recycled year after year.

This got me thinking and, with the success of my doodle-a-day during October, I have decided to do another doodle a day during advent only this time each of the doodles will have a Christmas theme.

You can download the December doodle-a-day by clicking here and for an editable version, click here.

Thanks for commenting, retweeting and favouriting.


#eddies14 – Edublog Awards

Best individual blog

Humourous and insightful look at the world of education

Best teacher blog

A blog that just keeps giving.

Best Ed Tech Blog

Best use of media

Amazing wealthy of videos

Most influential blog post

Easy to use and simple.

Best Hashtag


The primary focused edchat on Mondays 8-9

Best Individual tweeter


A non-stop stream of visual teaching inspiration

Make your nominations here:

Thanks for reading, liking and tweeting!



Thanksgiving is just around the corner in America and watching twitter the last few weeks makes me thankful for a several things.

I am thankful for working in a school that doesn’t have a complete tool for a head teacher. A head teacher who generally listens to staff and makes decisions based on the best interests and well being of the children and staff.

I am thankful for working with colleagues who can discuss ideas without thinking that I am personally attacking them and vice versa.

I am thankful for not feeling the need to be defined as a teacher by a single set of ideas such as traditionalism or progressivism but being able to pick the best from both worlds to suit the needs of my class, the objectives of the lesson and the suitability of the tasks.

I am thankful that I haven’t progressed to deputy or head teacher yet as I have loved being part of my lads growing up.

I am thankful to be teaching at my sons’ primary school as I have been able to attend almost every one of their concerts, plays and assemblies.

I am thankful for enjoying my job and not feel like it is a place of torture (for me or the kids).

I am thankful for rekindling my enjoyment of sketching and doodling.

I am thankful for being married to another teacher who understands the commitments and pressures of a teacher and puts up with me.

Life isn’t all rosy, but I have a block and mute button on twitter.  I choose who I follow. I choose what I watch and I choose who I speak with.

I choose to be thankful and I choose to be (relatively) happy.


Thanks for reading, sharing and favouriting.


Simple Sketching on Explain Everything

I should be planning!

@FarrowMr asked me to do a quick sketching video showing his class how to create simple images and asked for it to be 2-3 minutes long.  I was unsure how to do this and decided that I either had to devise a contraption to hold my camera (if only I was a secondary science teacher; I could have borrowed a clamp and a stand!) or use an app I had seen used by @ICT_MrP: Explain Everything.

I have had a go and, while it is a little rough around the edges as I haven’t fully got to grips with all of the features, I had to upload it here so Richard could see it as it was too big to email!  Check it out on YouTube.

Oh… and there is no way I could fit it into 3 minutes!

Thanks for reading, sharing and commenting