Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Maths Rock Stars Revisited

I have revisited this task here from 21 months ago this morning. I needed a task for the Year 8s to do in their numeracy sessions on Thursday mornings with our Young Leaders and have altered the 'sheets' from last time to be 1024 * 768 pixel-sized wallpapers. This will reduce photocopying costs, and I have added a 'Band Practice' section for students who struggle with their literacy to go for first.

The resources are here:

Each one is to be completed to a 'timer' that will be a popular rock song. I am yet to decide on which, otherwise I'd share!
If each section is assigned one point (1 point for doing 'Band Practice', 1 for question 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), there are 34 points available.

Each student begins as a 'Rock Fan'. For this they achieve nothing, but it means that every student has a starting point.

After scoring 5 points, they'll be awarded the status of 'Rock Roadie'. After the 5 weeks, they'll be awarded a laminated AAA pass (much like a staff badge might be done) if they do not progress beyond this point:

After scoring 20 points, they'll be awarded the status of 'Rock Star', and will receive a commemorative black 7" record with their name on it!

After scoring 25 points, they'll be awarded the status of 'Rock Legend', and will receive a commemorative silver 7" record with their name on it:

After scoring 29 points, they'll be awarded the status of 'Rock God', and will receive a commemorative gold 7" record with their name on it...

The main concerns with this the last time I blogged this was a lack of basic practice. I hope I've gone some way to achieving this with the 'Band Practice' section. Please share any thoughts that you might have...

Monday, 29 December 2014

'It's all too much': A few thoughts about Christmas...

I'm a very, very lucky young man. I'm very quickly starting to get a handle on what that actually means, because I feel like I've taken it for granted.

I'm a grumpy young man. Grouchy? Grumpy? I don't know. I'm somewhere between Russell Howard and Jack Dee (or so I'm told), and I'm not really a huge fan of Christmas. I explained to my Y9s that if Christmas was one week long, I'd love it, but it's not! It's two months long! The build up tires me out and I struggle to get excited about 'The Big Day'.

I'm very lucky. Three years ago, a wonderful, pretty young lady agreed to move in with me. 18 months ago, we got a dog (Rupert and he's mental, but I love having something greet me at the door with all the excitement in the world after a long day at work). 5 months ago the aforementioned young lady agreed to marry me and we're in the midst or organising an incredible wedding in Northern Finland (a week's stay here, with a wedding here and two nights here) with 12 of our closest relatives.

We're very lucky. We got to spend Christmas Day with our loving families, taking the dog over to my parents where we were given presents to unwrap after unwrapping presents at our own home, were fed a wonderful home-cooked Christmas dinner and then left to spend the remainder of the evening in our cozy and warm home, watching whatever we wanted to on our big TV. We were lavished with presents and gifts of money by our families, the same ones that are helping out with our wedding in a large way, and we looked at one another and said 'It's too much'.

We're on the same page. 'It's too much', We don't need anything. We want things (We're not dead!). But we don't need anything. I broke my phone on Saturday and without thinking twice bought myself a brand new 64GB OnePlus One. I don't need it, though. But I want it.

'Black Friday'. My fiancĂ©e works in retail and the stories that she has, and those from the news, are awful. Do they need a £100 TV so much that they're willing to cause physical harm to someone?
'Boxing Day Sales'. After weeks and months of buying presents, and a day of unwrapping things that people don't need, they decide that buying more things is what's important to them. It's all too much.

In the last week of term, I was involved in two things. The first being our school's OAP party, where we welcome the local aged population to have a bit of a knees-up and send them away with a care package of non-perishables and a Christmas present. Our Year 10s were nothing but outstanding with them, tending to their every need and staying with them whilst they waited for taxis to take them home. I also organised a house-based staff Christmas quiz, for Y7 and Y8 to 'watch' and support. It was lovely to see so many in the room, after a bloody hard first term, enjoying themselves and letting their hair down. After this, everyone went to the staff room for a leaving speech and a drink and I packed up after the quiz, getting a bit thoughtful.

The long (sorry about the previous) and the short (upcoming) of this is that I think my lack of enjoyment of Christmas is all my own doing, and I'm determined to make this different next year.

* Purchase 4 - 6 'Christmas' mugs from somewhere (ideally reduced in price...) and invite friends over for hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows in the build up to Christmas next year.
* Set up a whole-school 'Secret Santa' on for next year.
* Decorate my classroom, overnight, with a full-sized Christmas tree, fully lit and trimmed for my form's last year in school and to celebrate the end of their December mocks.
* Take a small Christmas treat to each dog at Dog's Trust (It's not their fault that they're alone at Christmas!) and potentially do the same for homeless people with dogs.
* Christmas Cards! And not just to my form next year. I'll send them to all of my family, colleagues and (potentially) neighbours! (Grown up, or what?!)

I asked my parents to cut back with us a little next year. I'm not sure they'll listen, but giving more may put my mind at ease over it! :)