Drop a pin where you used to play ‘it’ and label it what you called the crossed fingers!
It’s been faaaar too long since I’ve added to this page, especially when I’ve been drinking lots of great beer.
I moved to Worthing and fell in love with Beer No Evil – beer shop and tap room. Fridges filled with delicious beers and lots of focus on local.
After a few ‘tipsy’ evenings, the owners, Gemma and Gareth, tipped me off about getting 2/3 glasses rather than pints as they’d discovered I really like my meaty IPAs or DIPAs. Me and many 7% pints ain’t pretty.
Lockdown happened and they’ve created a super safe hand-picked to our tastes beer box order (and delivery service with Gareth’s trusty steed/bike).
Here’s tonight’s treats:
// Happiness Runs. Brewed by: Duration with Double Barrelled and Simply Hops. 3.5%
– light with a digestivey after taste
// Shaka. Brewed by Hand Brew Co. 4%
– nice and local (Brighton). Have had this before and enjoyed. Really like the art work by Hello Marine. Easy to quaff. Little light on flavour, but a solid pale.
// A Better Party. Brewed by Howling Hops. 4.8%
Firstly, if you’re in East London, make time to while away some time at Howling Hops – it’s a great tankroom in Hackney Wick with excellent little food pop ups.
Secondly, this is tasty. Hoppy but still quite light.
// Tomorrow. Brewed by Burning Sky. 5%
Great, local brewer. This was really nice. Casky vibes and a good level of hoppiness.
// Never Dug Disco. Brewed by Cloak and Dagger. 5%
Note made last night: fruity, punchy, tasty (a little thicker and that’s a good thing!) ….I agree with my last night’s self.
// DDH Idaho 7. Brewed by Brick Brewery. 6%
Tropical and delicious. Probably my favourite.
// Looper. Brewed by Full Circle Brew Co. 6.4%
Note last night: thick and tasty. I was clearly just enjoying the 6%ers. That’s my vibe.
// Yakima Valley. Brewed by Arbor ales. 7%
Smooth, hoppy, bursting with flavour – ruddy lovely AND pint sized can 👌
// Sky High. 8%
This is one David stole from me as he was ahead with the sampling. He graced me with a sip and it was hoppy with a lovely aftertaste. Really fun can.
With our festival and holiday cancelled, we embraced the opportunity to explore the UK in Gretal 2.0
// 1 Scotland
We didn’t make this easy for our (very southern-based) selves. We didn’t just want to explore say Loch Lomond or the Cairngorms. Nope, we wanted to do the North Coast 500. 500 miles around the northern most part of Scotland. That was a schlep!
The stops after we arrived in Inverness:
// Day 1:
- Invergarden – oil rig cemetery (Geographer’s dream…apparently)
- Badbea – archaeological site where people lived on cliff edge until 1906
- John O’Groats – first midgey experience. Sweet little brewery with knowledgeable guy who told us about the octagonal room and table Jan de Groot built due to quarrelling in his family about who should be head of the table. There were also eight doors: problem solver extraordinaire.
- Dunnet distillery – nice lady walked the dog while we bought Rock Rose gin.
- Dunnet head – I SAW PUFFINS and was very excited.
- Strathy Head – beautiful camping spot with our own little bay.
// Day 2
BEN HOPE DAY
- Morning swim with Tryfan – first time he wagged his tail swimming!
- Tryfan’s first mountain and first Munro, my first Munro and David’s first mountain/Munro with a dog.
- The world’s Northernmost Munro.
// Day 3:
- Kayak on Loch Hope before we left – baby shark (Tryfan!)
- Ceannabeine Beach – BEAUTIFUL (pulled over mid drive as it was so inviting!)
- Durness – time warp little shop (got an excellent selection of hungover snacks)
- The Old School House takeaway – kitchen was in the old Headmaster’s office
- BEACH OF DEATH AKA Oldshoremore Beach – dead puffins, dead other birds, dead jellyfish, dead dolphin (and probably more that we missed)
// Day 4:
- Scourie – meh
- Kylesku Bridge – a good bridge, but not good enough to stop and photograph
- Stoer – walked 6km to see old man of Stoer and saw some seals FINALLY.
- Lochinver – good, but wet so looked for a pub to sit in. None took dogs inside. Mental.
// Day 5
- Drove to Ullapool – nice mountain shop and cafe, but got attacked by midges…again.
- Corrieshalloch Gorge – midgie hat needed, fun wobbly bridge built in Victorian times. Tryfan trying to walk over a wire bridge was fun to watch – weird walk!
- Realised we had missed some geology geek-fest so drove back 20miles to visit Knochan Crag National Park. It was a bigger hike up than we realised. We got to see the however many years of the rocks and David liked touching the history haha!
- Gairloch – the best hot chocolate from a young couple. Treated ourselves to a campsite WITH SHOWERS. Dreamy. Millcroft pub for dinner – great food except the whiskey dessert I ordered did not have any whiskey in it – livid.
// Day 6
- Hillbillies cafe in Gairloch – delightful!
- Beinn Alligin circuit – big Munro day! Forced Tryfan to go in his rucksack to go down off the first peak. Second time, he crawled in after having been taken clambering with David for a while!
- Gorgeous loch parking spot – fire on, citronella joss sticks in van and in our hands!
// Day 7
- Downloaded a Scottish Artists playlist so I could sing ‘I’ll take the high road and you take the low road and I’ll be in Scotlaaaand befooooore you’, which I enjoyed. David also 100% enjoyed this….I’m pretty sure.
- Applecross – lovely walled garden with cafe, bought a book based on a murder that took place near there in 1869, which was really great.
- David was looking forward to driving the bit from Applecross over the mountain pass as it was mean to be mental! There were treacherous bits, but I think the fog and rain took away from it a bit.
- Skye – Portree – bought two gins to escape the toursits (hypocrites I know).
- Culnacnoc – waterfall surrounded by many sheep much to Tryfan’s curiosity.
- Staffin harbour – parked up for the night. Incredible sky.
// Day 8
- A little seal kept popping up to say hello in the bay as we read
- Quiraing – The Needle, The Table and The Prison were conquered. I genuinely thought this was a little walk….it was a proper hike with very boggy bits! Tryfan enjoyed the latter, but didn’t enjoy the need for the roadside shower afterwards!
- The Gallery cafe up on the hill – nice stodge
- Glenbrittle campsite – no showers/loos, but flat with good view. Lots of holes which Tryfan dug up and we filled in! Enjoyed the beach run to see the cows.
- Really midgey which was fun when Tryfan refused to come in and David was chasing him!
// Day 9
- Explored the beach
- Fairy pools – SO busy, but kept walking further and found one to ourselves. Tryfan didn’t enjoy us getting in.
- Kintail – beautiful loch and great hotel for dinner and drinks filled with locals.
// Day 10
- Kayak on the loch in Kintail – LOADS of seals popping up
- Eilean Donan Castle – bought the world’s most expensive cow toy (I didn’t see the 1 in the tens column….) Had a tasty MacHaggis Toastie.
- Random spot, can’t find on map – was nice until Tryfan rolled in HUMAN poo. The importance of burying/taking it with you has never been more discussed and whinged about than when we took him down to the loch, gagging and scrubbing his curls!!
- Van cinema again
// Day 11
- Inverness castle – the finish line!
We had a little detour to see my Gran in Forres and then to see David’s friend in Aviemore. No pit stops after that – 11 hour drive home to get David back in time for A Level results day. Never. Again.
We finally made the jump from our VW T25:Gretal for Renault Trafic conversion: Gretal 2.0
Gretal needed too much work and time spent on her and we just couldn’t do that. We sold her to a lovely guy who had the time and know-how to fix her up and he sends me photo updates! She’s going to be a wedding vehicle!
We bought a conversion and she’s doing well – a few tweaks needed as I think it was a bit of a bodge job, but she’s holding up well, drives faster than 50mph and is REALLY roomy!
We will miss the fellow VW camper waves and the classic look, but we enjoy not breaking down all the time.
Here’s to more #vanlife adventures
It’s been two years since I blogged. Turns out it took a pandemic for me to feel like I have something vaguely useful to share – being thrown out of my comfort zone definitely got my creative juices flowing.
We are now closed and since Thursday have been coming up with how to remotely teach/provide resources for the children.
I created a format for the school to use trying to include as many subjects as possible which other year group leaders have taken and developed for their year group.
My main issue was worrying about whether children would engage or not. I know our role is to provide what we can, but I wanted to make sure that the children use it.
1// Use Google Doc
I chose to do this on Google Docs
a) because there’s always a doc for all situations…
b) So the whole team can take a section to update from shared bank of resources
c) It’s a live working document which reduces need to upload lots of documents throughout the day.
This last section I’m particularly excited about. I’ll upload the next part of the Fighting Fantasy Quest ending with the next choice. I’m hoping the voting poll for which direction they’d like to take alongside it being updated three times a day will keep the children logging on and engaging with a text while we are away. So far two children have voted already. Just awaiting permission to see if we can continue. We shall see!
This section is a bit more creative and for them to dip in and out of throughout their time away. We have encouraged sharing pictures and links to give the children an audience for this learning.
2// Class doc and Maths class docs
These create a little forum for the children to share their learning and write questions for the teacher. We will be calling around our class throughout each week, but this means we can answer questions about their learning if they’re stuck as we can’t presume parents can help with everything!
Maths set doc:
// They were straight into claiming a row and playing with the fonts – easiest buy-in ever!
// We were ahead of the game and practised in Monday’s lesson so the children knew how to screenshot and what to expect from me.
// We also added their logins as my set tend to never remember them…convenient!
// Have deleted the content for this as it’s just hellos and miss yous. Again, the claiming of a row and font changing got the biggest buy-in.
3// Step-by-step guide for parents to navigate
This includes handy bookmarks in Google Docs (thanks @daviderogers for the lesson – at a suitable distance of course)
How to from an even safer social distance!:
- Scroll to the section in the document you’d like to link to
- Highlight the text and click ‘insert’ then ‘bookmark’
- Write the title that you’d like to link, highlight the text, right click and select ‘link’
- Click on ‘bookmarks’ and select the correct text
4// The importance that this is new and growing and will continually be tweaked!
We even are creating a new ‘team Corona chat’ purely to discuss the home learning so that we don’t miss anything in-between the chat and gifs and puppy photos. We mean business!
I’ve spoken and written before, back in the days of Staffrm, about how important it is to ‘bump’ into previous knowledge all the time for it to have time to embed and be understood. As always, time is always blamed for this not happening properly in schools then *voila* they turn up in the next year group with gaps to be filled. Being back in Year 6 has highlighted this fact. In some cases, there are 6 years worth of gaps to determine and address and seal, which seems like a bottomless chasm to fill!
Here are some things we do in Year 6 to start filling these gaps, whilst not adding too much to the workload:
// Morning starters – 8:40 – 9am
- These are tailored to Year 6 objectives and change after assessments to target specific grammar, punctuation and spelling issues whilst also developing their vocabulary (Unicorn word = they nominate new words that they disover from their reading and I pick one each day which will support their writing that week). Pictures are taken from Pobble365, Bing homepage and Unsplash.The children can technically come in any time between 8:40 and 9am. Children are expected to finish all 5 questions, so we have found they come into school earlier than at the start of the year. Parents seem to support this as we discussed the importance of learning time at the first Year 6 meeting that was held.
Why kill ourselves by making our own resources all the time when there are amazing resources out there for a small price which have a massive impact?
- I’ve been a big Times Table Rockstar fan for three years now and have finally got a team (and indeed school) on board with it too! We mainly use the sheets as a daily activity, but children are expected to use the website at home as part of their homework, so we get even more information from their heat map about what times tables need targeted in class.
- Obviously, there are children who can’t access a computer at home, but investing in the app has helped this interestingly. We also provide these children with time at some point a few times a week to use an ipad – we do only have 2 children who need this, so this is manageable.
- We stream for maths so displaying their heat maps in my set (top) is a great motivator – this isn’t always the case. Our children have a great embedded outlook on the importance of their individual improvement rather than comparing to others, so they all have their heat maps in their maths books so they can compare every 2-3 weeks.
Spelling shed is something we have now rolled out across year 6 to help target not only our Y5/6 vocab and spelling rules but those from younger years too. Again, due to limited ICT resources, we use the printed packs, but this doubles as time to practise handwriting!
// Diagnostic Questions
Children in my set (top) should all be achieving ‘greater depth’ and because they are so confident in some areas, there’s no need to start at the beginning if they have a good understanding already – what a waste of time we just don’t have! Before each unit I set some diagnostic questions to assess for areas of particular strength and weakness to make sure that they’re all being stretched and supported as much as possible in each lesson – we only have an hour a day with them after all!
// Review sessions
Across the school, we now do review sessions as feedback from Year 6 as it is something we kind of automatically do anyway. These sessions are based on marking that week – what have we noticed about individuals/groups/whole class and target those things. We all use a good old fashioned class list and make notes throughout week and every fortnight one of the lessons is timetabled to be a ‘review’ session. This has now branched out into Maths too and, because it is timetabled, there’s no excuse for it to fall off. (Below is this week’s so it’s not as chocca with notes as normal)
// Longer ‘starters’
Using review sessions and tests to analyse where we aren’t bumping into knowledge enough for children to understand how to use and apply it. It took me maybe an hour to break it all down and find test-style questions based on these areas for development so every lesson starts with Times Table Rockstars, followed by paired whiteboard work discussing up to four questions. The conversation is key thus the paired work.
//WEDWK stolen from @cooperjoe
What Else Do We Know?
Children have the opportunity to apply previous learning and their targets to current learning to ensure they stay fresh – fractions is always key. It’s also a way to find out (like in the second picture) where gaps are – thus why the longer starter pictured above has volume in it now!
Helloooo, new favourite brewer!
The aforementioned, Bison Beer‘s beer advent calendar is going down a treat and – quite frankly – I’m not sure what I’m going to do when it’s gone. So far I’ve had many treats, but my top three thus far all come from the same brewery: Unbarred. Why? I hear you ask. Well, read on:
1// The packaging is something to behold. Either simple and gorgeous colours (PA and RIPA) or just ruddy awesome design (Honeycomb Milkshake Pale)
2// What’s inside – don’t judge a beer by its cover. Oh wait, do because the beer on the inside of these cans is just as marvellous as the packaging. Really tasty and very different. Apparently, they have even made some adjustments to the Honeycomb Pale while responding to feedback (they’d be highly praised for this attitude in my lessons!)
1b// So, I’m not obsessed or anything, but the feel of the paper they’ve used on the packaging gives me the feels. You know there’s quality behind it!
Anyway, highly recommend and am hoping for these cans to turn up in Bison’s Hove Actually soon – so pretty (and tasty, I’m sure!)
(image stolen from their website)
This beer was tasty for many reasons:
// caramel hints
// gorgeous label
// Christmas tree putting up accompaniment
****It’s the most wonderful time of the year (hope you sang that too!)****
I was bought the most magical birthday present this year: a Beer Advent Calendar (thanks, David!)
Best things about it:
> It’s very pretty
> It’s filled with local beers with beautiful labels
> I get to punch through a box each night
> I don’t have my advent treat before work (and accidentally have 5 days….)
Worst things about it:
> My giant hands feel even bigger as they struggle to extract the yeasty, hoppy goodness from their caverns.
Thank you Bison Beer!
I hit the sack
I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back
Yes, I’m let loose
From the noose
That’s kept me hanging about
I’ve been looking at the sky
‘Cause it’s gettin’ me high
Forget the hearse ’cause I never die
I got nine lives
Abusin’ every one of them and running wild
Yes, I’m back
Well, I’m back
Yes, I’m back
Well, I’m back, back
Well, I’m back in black
Yes, I’m back in black
I have been a tad quiet on here due to an experience where my whole purpose was questioned. I was made to feel like I couldn’t teach and – being the reflective worrier that I am – I began to believe it.
Sat ,dreading the end of PrimaryRocksLive17, I remember listening to Michael Tidd . During his assessment speech, one piece of advice stuck with me on a never-ending loop: something along the lines of, ‘you might just need to try a different school’ (forgive the paraphrasing…!) These words constantly rang sharply in my ears:
> Every time I picked up the phone to the union.
> Every time I cried during the day.
> Every time I became stressed about what other job I could do other than teaching.
I am glad that I was otherwise surrounded by the teachers, children and parents that I was, or I genuinely envisage that I’d be working outside of education currently.
So here I am. I’ve landed my first Head of Year post in a very large local school, which I can cycle to every day now. I’m nearly one term down and I’m loving it. Working hard to find balance between leadership and teaching, but thriving on the challenge. There’s also a helluva lot of amazing stuff that they are doing here and I’m going to have to spend a good amount of time sharing their amazing practice here to spread the word.
I’m back in black*
*(technically green most of the time…ginger rules)
Anyway. Massive thanks to the Tidd for those words which have never rung truer. Massive thanks to those who ring me with solid advice and a well-worn ear when I send a text and they know I need to rant. And obviously a massive thanks to the below Primary Rocks reprobates for always being there and checking in when they know the fan has been well and truly piled on (delicious imagery there).