Author Archive


Trophic Cascades and Wolves


Simple Current Affairs Game for Children

The following seems to be going down well with my class. They are both enjoying it and seem to be learning more about current affairs at the same time.

What it is

Once a week when the children (who are 10 or 11 years old) come into class for morning registration, I’ll have something like this up on the whiteboard.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 14.15.11

The game is simple. They need to do three things:

  1. spot the mistakes on the site
  2. say what the correction should be and
  3. explain what the story is about.

So, for example, with the above they’d need to

  1. spot that it shouldn’t be Holly and Drew, (or Amelia, or Nora, or Armand);
  2. suggest something close to businesses and
  3. explain that it has to do with the Scottish vote for independence and businesses saying they will move south if Scotland breaks away from the Union.

So far, the children are in loose teams but (and I’m pleased about this) they’re more interested in the stories behind the news than points. So far the feedback has been good, from children and parents.


Making It Stick

Dogears from Make It Stick. Note to self – formatting on blog seems to have gone AWOL…

The Illusion of Mastery

V common

“The fact that you can repeat the phrases in a text or your lecture notes is no indication that you understand the significance of the precepts they describe, their application or how they relate to what you already know about the subject.”


A lead-pencil has a point, an argument may have a point, remarks may be pointed, and a man who wants to borrow five pounds from you only comes to the point when he asks you for the fiver. Lots of things have points: especially weapons. But where is the point to life? Where is the point to love? Where, if it comes to the point, is the point to a bunch of violets? There is no point. Life and love are life and love, a bunch of violets is a bunch of violets, and to drag in the idea of a point is to ruin everything. Live and let live, love and let love, flower and fade, and follow the natural curve, which flows on, pointless.

D. H. LAWRENCE (1885–1930)

The Discipline of Teaching

More dogears from Smith

Real discipline, I would argue, is not always a matter of driving yourself on; real discipline is also knowing when to stop. This goes for all people in all jobs. Certainly, as a teacher you need to pace yourself, to sense when you’re losing your perspective, to recover as you go along, to have some fun and relaxation in the term-time, to think of other things, to enjoy yourself and not to fall into a puritanically self-obsessed rut. And for their part, the holidays are much more rewarding and memorable if there is some intellectual challenge and creative reflection. Wordsworth called this ‘a wise passiveness’. For a teacher and for a parent finding that delicate balance – or getting a life – is a tricky business.