Friday, March 24, 2006

Happy birthday, son!

I'm feeling slightly old, this week.

My son turned 18 at the week-end, which is fantastic for him. He's heavily involved in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, and wanted a new tent to use on his expeditions. After weeks of research, he came up with the Vaude Hogan: a great, lightweight tent and a good, solid performer.

The HoganThe Vaude Hogan: the lightweight classic with plenty of space.

I said it's great for him. But it's great for me, too -- although I'm fitting into the fifth of Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" rather too well ("in fair round belly with capon lined"). I hope I don't have "eyes severe", and I certainly don't have a "beard of formal cut", but I'd like to think that I am "full of wise saws and modern instances" (if only for my future pupils' sake).

Friday, March 10, 2006

The guns have stopped ... temporarily

The final whirlwind week of placement 2 has come to an end ... with a bump. It's recall day at Jordanhill.

Today, there'll be no delightful S2s to engage in the usual battle of wills. No S3 classes trying to derail the lesson with their tangential banter. No S4 TrueBasic programs to troubleshoot. (Actually, I will miss the intellectual challenge of "spot the misspelt variable", and last week's accidental infinite loop was quite amusing.)

Instead, we're looking over evaluation statements of our teaching ("must do better"), and catching up on unfinished (unstarted?) written tasks (e.g., "From your school experience so far, what is your understanding of the term ASN?" I'm guessing it's not the Atlantic Satellite Network).

And then there's ICT Task 2 ("Submit a lesson plan that clearly identifies the use of ICT in a classroom"), which everyone has probably forgotten about, but is due on 24 March. This is a tricky one for a Computing teacher, although including "a rationale for the use of ICT in your subject for this lesson and the positive contribution ICT brings [makes?] in this context" seems to be a formality. If a Computing student can't use ICT, it's time to hang up the USB flash drive.

Of course, we're all working on our 3,500-word essay on the role of assessment, due now on 27 March. And whatever assignments our APD tutors have set. So ... back to Jordanhill, with a bump.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

No pupils were harmed during the staging of this crit

I was going to write a post about the tutor visit (the dreaded 'crit') that I had this week, but, to be honest, there's not much to write.

It could have been one of my two S2 classes, who are doing interesting things with PowerPoint, but it wasn't ...

It could have been one of my two S3 classes, who have just started the Communications & Networks topic and have been generating good discussion about networking, but it wasn't ...

(It was never going to be any of the three S4 classes that I've been with, because they're all frantically working on their Standard Grade coursework tasks, so I've never taught them. I've spent hours troubleshooting their TrueBasic programs, Excel spreadsheets, and Appleworks databases, but I've never actually taught them.)

No -- it turned out to be one of my two S1 classes, who are just starting word processing. What an exciting topic for a crit lesson. (Replace the adjective with one of your own choice.)
I worked in some hardware theory from the 5-14 guidelines, just so that my tutor wouldn't fall asleep in the corner ..., but I'm sure that, if you've seen one word processing lesson, you've pretty much seen them all. I counted all the pupils in, kept them from killing each other for 55 minutes, and counted them back out again. End of crit.