Wednesday 16 April 2008

Evidence? What's the use?

One might well ask. Well I certainly will. What is the point of trying so hard to be creative and engage the children in learning and in trying to extend the ways in which we can help make them, as ACfE demands, responsible citizens if The Scottish Government are going to undermine vast amounts of good work?

The previous administration, rather commendably said this. In summary, more PE in schools = good thing; more PE teachers to be appointed; 2 hours of PE for all.

At the weekend however, "MINISTERS ARE scrapping physical education targets - after councils claimed that giving children more exercise does not make them fitter"


I could rant and rant about this all evening and indeed I've restrained myself from blogging about this for a couple of days as I just couldn't quite put into words my annoyance, frustration and incredulity at the lastest missive from the Holyrood administration.

Although I'm no great fan of hers, Labour's Margaret Curran said it best when she suggested that "With the SNP, the left leg doesn't know what the right leg is doing - and neither leg is getting any exercise."

There's loads out there on the web just now about this and plenty on the blogs too so I'm not going to add any more as I should really go and do some physical activity since the SNP aren't going to insist on just quite so much in school anymore. Please read what's out there, digest it at your leisure and promptly ignore such crass Executive/Government backpeddaling and instead make sure you keep giving those children their two hours!

If I might at this juncture point you in the direction of Article 29(a) of the UN Convention on the rights of the child:

States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to: The development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Break in transmission...

Aside from the natural break of the Easter holidays (Higland went early, 20th March - 7th April) I've been a bit preoccupied of late with possible moves in different directions. I'll get this evidence gathering right back on track as soon as I've sorted out what on earth I'll be doing in my new job! Follow the progress here for the time being...

Tuesday 18 March 2008

RME - where does it fit in?

I've decided on "responsible citizens" for today's efforts. Though it could just as easily be filed under any of the other three! Who says cross-curricular's hard?

Monday 17 March 2008


Hmm. I've blogged about this before but having Twittered (Tweeted?) about it on Friday at the AiFL day in Inverness I thought I'd say some more.

For a curriculum which purports to be heading towards Active Learning and for an initiative (AiFL) which puts itself firmly at the heart ("embedded" being the current buzz word) of said curriculum, how is it still possible for a roomful of teachers to be talked at rather than interacted with?

I don't wish to appear rude or disrespectful towards a man who's clearly a respected authority on such matters, but it does strike me as odd that something which appears to be so firmly at the core of AiFL (namely "meaningful dialogue") is not firmly at the core of presentations on the subject.

Perhaps the very nature of presenting to a large group is unsuited to engaging in dialogue but surely we could use the formative assessment-based models of "think-pair-share" to discuss ideas and engage with the concepts? Could meaningful links be better made between theory and practice if we attempted to learn by doing?

How can we expect our learners in the classroom to be motivated by this area if we ourselves are turned off by the way in which it's presented? Or perhaps it's a clever and cunning ruse to make us examine our practice closely and to say "now, I reckon an active approach would be better here, think I'll try it back in class..."

Or am I being too hopeful?

Lousie Hayward made a lot of sense though. Which was nice. I can now use the phrase "systemic compatibility" and know what it means AND know that it's a useful concept.

Edit: Here's the stuff I was after about practicing what is preached...Doug Dickinson (see 9th March entry) and Will Richardson.

Monday 10 March 2008

Successful? Confident?

Having fun, more to the point!

So, on the PE Course a while back we looked at Y-Dance which is a way of engaging children in mored, shall we say, "modern" dance than they may normally be exposed to at school. We also had a rather fantastic creative input where we tied up language and dance and tried to draw out what the children were thinking of when they saw certain things - in this case a rollercoaster. The idea was that they would take the words (swooping, screaming, spinning) and turn them into "movements".

Still with me?

Well, yesterday my PE class used The Beach Boys "Do It Again" from the film Happy Feet to come up with some movements related to "penguins" and "dancing" - the two central themes of the film, according to the kids. (And who could argue?) Movements invented, they then paired up and put two moves together in time to the music, then paired up again to put four moves together.

There's SO much going on in what they did that I could write an essay but for me they were all smiling, all engaged, all on task and all enjoying PE. Successful? Confident? Effective? You decide... Happy Feet in PE

Thursday 6 March 2008

Promoting the 4 capacities...

How does that square with the attitude of one English Primary School?

I'm really not sure what to say about this. I'm - for once - speechless. What are others thinking?

Jim Henderson, although not specifically blogging about this story, had this to say.

Meme: passion quilt

Hmm. Not sure about this, seems a bit "chain-lettery" to me but in the spirit of online collaboration I shall persevere. I can see the pupils liking it though.

Louise Jones "tagged" (not sure about that either) me with this.

I think this is brilliant. Confucius said "It is better to play than do nothing." Last term we had workers from The Yard visiting us to run play workshops with children and staff.
Some people may question the value of play but as a keen reader of Pat Kane's Play Ethic I can see only too clearly how if can be - and is - useful as a learning tool and "social glue."
What's this all about then? Well:
1. Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students.
2. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
3. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry
4. Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.
My chosen five? Tricky and I don't know if they'll thank me but have a go anyway Alan Stewart, Dorothy Coe, Pat Kane, Ian Stanger and John Connell.