Seconds app

This app is a great way of doing HIIT when short of time and resources. All I need is my phone and little weights.

I used it all summer whilst away in various places. The best thing is that I don’t have to keep looking at my phone to see how much time is left or what exercise is coming up next. Having recently done the 30 day core challenge, I appreciate the app more as I had to keep flicking between exercise page and timer. This app allows for hands free exercise due to its text to speech function. This means he/she reads exercise and counts down from 3. I added emojis for my own entertainment and he reads those too!

I spent twenty minutes programming in my Body Coach DVD and can now do his HIIT sessions wherever I happen to be so long as I have my phone!

It’s steep at £3.99, but well worth it to fit in with me and my day!

Google docs

A couple of years ago, I had never really thought about Google Docs prior to becoming friends with people, who seemed to use it all the time. The more I sent/received, the more I realised that it could be used with children in the class. Thus began my begging the network manager. Now, two years later, I’m about to begin the journey again with my new school.

Here are a few ways I used

// 1

We had Microsoft Surface tablets which, annoyingly, meant that the children can’t save any work they complete – they end up having to email it to me to save into their documents (what a waste of learning time and my break time!) Now, they just log onto their Google docs and can access them wherever they like. Now we have iPads, so I’m hoping to solve this same problem by introducing Google Docs to children asap.

// 2

We have two long-term projects at the moment in Geography and Computing and the children have a group doc that they can all add to in real time. They invite me in so that I can make comments along the way and check on how they’re progressing through their work and if everyone is pulling their weight.  Some have even worked at home and added to their projects, which was impossible for them prior to the introduction of Google docs. When they do presentations or similar, the children might use Slides and work live together or they’ll use Prezi and have the link to it in their docs so that I can access it.

Example of a group brainstorming ideas for their app creation:

// 3

I sent out forms about various things, gathering opinions about things around the school and in my classroom and requesting their feedback about teaching and learning. On the whole, they weren’t overly honest to begin with, but we have gone through it and they have learnt that it is for me only to help them. It’s interesting and something which I will continue.

Since then, I have sent out forms to teachers organising the Christmas do (very important)  and parents about trips.

// 4

For Computing, the children self assess against the success criteria, include a screen shot of where they’re up to and then I assess them/give feedback for next lesson. It is a quick and easy way to see a snapshot of how the all thirty of them have dealt with expectations that lesson and then I can alter the next lesson accordingly. It also means that when they arrive at the ICT suite they can get straight on while I talk to those who may have silently struggled.

// 5

Organising the digital leaders who are across 4 year groups. The jobs are posted, they log in on the morning when they’re on duty to see what needs done over the course of the day. They also have a typing competition document, which they update with names and scores with the class they go into. They aren’t pretty or exciting, but my goodness does it make my life a lot easier!

// 6
Something to add for new school – a system to book the ipads/halls/library etc rather than sending a child or TA to check the central folder.

10% Braver

Obviously, I’m very brave in day-to-day life. Every day, apart from New Years day, I manage to step out of the door ready to tackle life head on, despite my noggin which sprouts (a lot of) ginger hair. Brave. However, I’ve been reading the #10%braver posts and it only clicked this week that I too could get my foot on the ladder up to this club!

We’ve gained a new head since January and change is afoot. Being how I am, this is a difficult concept, especially the unknown change. Even worse, the whispered-in-corridor change. Just. Tell. Me.

Over the last year, since I joined the school, I’ve had frustration brewing in the pit of my belly regarding work/life balance. Now, with a new head, I had more unanswered questions cropping up and more ‘changes’ being muttered, texted and essentially moaned about. More to my frustration, I found myself being drawn into this and whinging. Now, I’m no stranger to whinging in life, but I’ve always managed to keep it professional.

Here’s what I did (in a list!):

// Realised I either needed to say something, or put up and shut up…

// …so I booked an appointment with the head

// Picked up my laptop and started hastily making the basics of a script for what I might say (because I’m not brave enough so as to go without well-thought out ideas, heaven forbid.)

// Sent it to trusted ‘out of school’ friends and mum, of course.

// Went in very positively.

// Raised my qualms, alongside some ideas for solutions – I am one half of #TMSolutions after all.

// Listened to her ideas (whilst trying not to forget my script)

// Suggested pros and cons

// Had my mind put at ease that stuff would happen with time

// Came away with a new role

// Kicked myself for forgetting something

// Now digesting what was said and will no doubt process for a while, over a beer.

 

 

 

 

Early Morning Brutalities

I started with the 6:30am bootcamp a couple of years back. That ex-army bloke with the shining blue eyes and evil soul used to make us do lots of carrying, jumping, throwing, crying etc. Since then, the equally cruel soul (in a more feminine and smiley figure) has carefully planned sessions each morning.

Some things Natalie at OTT Training makes me do in the name of fitness:

// Run. On grass, down the pebbles to the sea, far, far in the distance. She doesn’t mind. I do. Although, I am getting a tad better at breathing.

// Use all the facilities around. By facilities, I mean bollards, benches, cafes, paths, railings – she really has taught me to think out of the box when it comes to using what’s around.

// Punch and be punched (to be fair, this is my favourite. Especially ahead of a tough day)

// Get dirty: she has us jumping/rolling and lying in the mud, leaning on ice, splashing in puddles/sea (if you mis-time it!)

// Look after myself! Since putting my back out, she has constantly differentiated the exercises for me, which is sad to think I’m in *that* group of the class while I heal!

// Pet dogs while planking. There’s something about the plank that all dogs are curious about. It makes the minute (3 in real life) go quickly.

// Skip. End of. I can do it now!

// Adore the sky. Nothing makes 7am seem glorious more than getting to see the sun rise over the previous 40 minutes. A cloudy day is much more miserable. Fact.

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-21-47-12

*Disclaimer: this picture is from a 9:45am class over Christmas, thus the lack of early morning sunrise look!

Dry January

So, I’m doing dry January um…no. Not again.

I am @leahmoo on Untappd and will more frequently post there, so until my next delicious beer that deserves a post of its own below are two lists.

Here’s a list of my top rated thus far:

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-21-29-58

(7Fjell brewery should be on here, but internet was as expensive as the beer in Norway and I prioritised!)

And of course, a list of stats:

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-21-31-37

Aiming to get the Unique beers up to 200 soon *dancing lady emoji*

Norway map

Norway

Briefly, I went to Norway for two weeks with my husband, a tent and a beautiful (to me) van.

I went to:

// Bergen – got a decent slice of pizza and a van.

// Voss – wanted to do hardcore water sports (it was too windy/closed), so bought a £7 half pint of beer. Saw some cows.

// Odda – clambered the 65,000 steps to and from Trolltunga. Blew me away (not literally). Last toe nails have only just fallen off last week. Climbed to base of glacier next morning on way to next location

// Went south. Chasing the ever-escaping sun (it was my summer holiday after all). Found a decent campsite somewhere random near Sandjeford. Swam in a fjord.

// Did a long drive with a few pit stops along the south coast – very wet day. Listened to my constantly improving Road Trip playlist on Spotify. Sometimes, there’s a dodgy one added by my friend (Barbie Girl leaps to mind), but that made for a laugh in the van!

// Sola – Beautiful sand dunes on the west coast. Some mental landscapes and grim hotdogs on the next drive.

//Ryfylke – most beautiful campsite view. Enjoyed my luminous airseat with a strong coffee after my HIIT session each day. Went kayaking. Stayed here longer than I meant to. Climbed up Preikestolen to watch the sun rise. Blimey!

// Bergen – stopped looking at price of things and just had a few amazing beers. 7 Fjell. Phwoar. Worth all 1000 pence.

Ultimately, go here if you like:

// Decent beer

// Unbelievable jaw-dropping scenery

// Standard campsites with incredible views (or free wild camping)

Don’t go there is you don’t like:

// Paying through the nose for everything

// Paying for each shower

// Sugar tax

// Everywhere you turn being incredibly beautiful…

Here’s my 1 second every day:

16/17 – Do What You Love

5 favourite things from 2016

(because all good things come in fives. Well, one thing: Boyzone)

  1. Music

As you can probably tell from the first line, music isn’t my strong point. I can’t tell you any genre that I like in particular. My response is generally ‘whatever sounds good’. Pathetic? Maybe. Cop out? Perhaps. To me, this reflects how I feel about education and my life as a whole. If I think something will work in my class, I’ll try it. If it does- bingo. If it doesn’t, I’ll tweak it or bin it. In life, I’ll do the same thing.

  1. Beer 

this was consumed at many teaching events I went to and I had many an interesting discussion over an ale or two. I started with meeting some of my northern PLN at BETT 2016 continued in March at the first Primary rocks and finished at TMSolutions. During these conversations, I made links, started projects and stole many an idea to try myself. Beer also took me around the world – trying new beers in new places: on top of mountains; in different seas; beaches; on edges of cliffs and of course a hot tub.

  1. Coffee

As part of my reflections from my previous tricky class, I continue to have a coffee machine in my room. This means that I can follow up on sweating the small stuff with minutes here and there in my classroom at break time, without the fear of not having my very decent favourite mug of the black stuff. I don’t need it so much now that the children know I will be there waiting, but it’s handy when I hold an after school meeting in my room!

  1. Cows

I started the year well by ensuring we got out on a long walk every Sunday. Generally to somewhere with no signal so we could properly escape. School work could wait and so could the rest of the world. Also we tended to come across a pub lunch and cows and I got to wear my wellies. I feel indestructible in wellies – puddles are no match for me!

  1. Water

I did the 10 day water challenge towards the end of the year and it highlighted a couple of things:

  • The simple challenges can be incredibly rewarding
  • Small changes can have massive impacts
  • Teachers are in fact allowed to go to the toilet during the day. The world doesn’t collapse and my body says a polite thank you.

 

Ultimately, I learned to: try new things and feel confident enough to chuck them if they weren’t appropriate; chat to new people; find solutions that work; temporarily escape the workload; and set mini challenges for myself.

 

3 magical things for 2017

(because magic things come in 3s.)

  1. Smiles

From all those around me. With a bit of a crappy year, I think I’ve become a bit selfish when it comes to everyone. So:

  • Family: see them. Talk to them. A whatsapp group was made this year towards the death of my Granda and it’s helped us all connect. Now we tend to use it to remind each other of stories, let each other know if granny is needing some more TLC and to wind each other up (you see where I get it from now).
  • Friends: prioritise. I struggled with distance this year, yet had time to schlep up to the north/Toulouse for teaching stuff (which were amazing), but…priorities.
  • Children: no, I don’t need to be liked by them to get a smile. I need to keep providing meaningful learning experiences and keep one eye out for ideas to adapt to use with them.
  • Colleagues: share with them. Magpie from them. Keep the conversations going. Yes, it’s amazing to talk to those from across the country/world about what they do, but actually talking to those who know the children and our ethos is more important.
  • Strangers: share a smile or some appreciation. Not a creepy smile and not a sorry when it ain’t my fault. Normal human social interactions that seem to be disappearing.
  1. Stars

Nothing makes me gawk more than the stars on a clear night in the countryside (and I have a mean app for that). I need to keep getting outside: walks, sleeping, chatting. More stars because there are fewer distractions in terms of lights (any Planet Earth II viewers know the traumatising cost of too many lights for little turtles!) I need to shed some of the external distractions with education too and really focus on what matters: the teachers I work with and the children we teach. I need to stop comparing myself to the amazing teachers I talk to daily in the twittersphere – I am less experienced and need to focus getting that before pushing myself.

  1. Rainbows

Keep positive. 2017 may well bring torrential showers, cascading rainstorms, calamitous thunder and worse. However, I need to remember to whip out my brolly and search for the rainbow. Whether it be a small lightbulb moment from a child, an early morning conversation over coffee, nailing a sprint, an after work vent and laugh, a supportive tweet or even remembering there’s a beer leftover in the fridge. 7 a week. Minimum.

Oh and a really big hope and wish: a dog. Fingers crossed for me please.

Ultimately, I want to focus on those near and dear to me, try and set an example to anyone I come across, find the balance of looking out and in and keep on the look out for the positives, especially when everything seems rubbish.

I will most definitely continue to do what I love AND find more things to love doing.