On curating 5-a-Day starters

IMG_2050One on my most popular ever posts was this one on my use of 5-a-Day starters for retrieval practice at the start of lessons; it has been wonderful to see the idea spread into other teachers’ classrooms. Encouraged by Grainne Hallahan (@heymrshallahan), I’m now creating a bank of these starters created by different teachers across the country for a number of different Lit texts. Grainne is going to be my curator buddy – nobody wants to have sole responsibility for a collection!

Hopefully you’ll find some questions, or whole 5-a-Day starters, that you can take back to your classroom and save yourself some time!

You can find the 5-a-Day DropBox here: 5-a-Day DropBox

So far we have contributions from Grainne Hallahan (@heymrshallahan), Amy Forrester (@amforrester1), Millie Frost (@MissMFost), Becky (@shadylady222), Chloe Jones (@chloedjones), Jenny Anderson (@HeyMissAEng), Karen Dunn (@wren79), Matthew Lynch (@Mathew_Lynch44), Laura McQueen (@queenl88), Daniel Smith (@teach_smith), MCHayes (@MChayesmc) and myself.

If you have some 5-a-Day starters you wouldn’t mind sharing please send them to Five-a-DayStarters@outlook.com. You will be credited in the blog.

On my 2nd blogoversary

blog is 2

Exactly two years ago today I wrote my first blog post for ‘The Learning Profession’. It was just a few days before #GE2015 and I wouldn’t have anticipated I’d be sitting here two years later in the countdown to another general. Having said that, I wouldn’t have anticipated a lot of what has happened to me between then and now (let alone the global political landscape). Since May 2015 I have: changed schools three times (both for promotion and due to moving back home); become a Ms.; suffered personal loss; made a concerted effort to get fit; lost my appendix and given people second chances.

It has also been a transformative period of time in terms of my own professional development. I joined the world of Edu-Twitter in May 2015 primarily to drive traffic to my blog. What I didn’t realise was that I would suddenly become connected to a vibrant web of supportive and inspirational colleagues. Thanks to Twitter I have read a wealth of blogs, articles and research which has challenged and reshaped my thinking about teaching and learning (thank you to people like Carl Hendrick, James Theobald and David Didau). Thanks to Twitter I’ve got into one or two debates which has encouraged me to think about things more deeply and I’ve also had had the privilege of attending great quality CPD events such as #TLT, TeachMeets and ResearchED. I can honestly say that the process of reflecting on my practice and networking with other teachers through Twitter has made me a better practitioner.

I would also like to make special mention of finding #teamenglish who are a positive beacon of light in what can sometimes be a dark and fractious Twitter sphere (especially as teachers approach the end of the term and we’re all a bit on edge). #teamenglish are a hugely supportive bunch of inspirational English teachers who share generously and offer genuine support and good humour. A great number of them blog and share high quality resources for free because of the love of the job and because sharing is caring. I can’t mention them all by name but I’d like to say a big thank you to: Caroline Spalding (@MrsSpalding), Freya Odell (@fod3), Chris Curtis (@Xris32), Becky (@shadylady222), Grainne Hallahan (@heymrshallahan), Fiona Ritson (@FKRitson), Mark Roberts (@mr_englishteach), Amy Forrester (@amforrester1), Sarah Barker (@ladybarkbark), Kate McCabe (@evenbetterif), Lyndsey Dyer (@RealGingerella), Natalie Masala (@MasalaNatalie), Matt (@Positivteacha), Sana (@MsMaster13), Nikki (@NooPuddles) and Charlie Pearson (@CornishWelsh). Thanks for being inspirational, supportive and generally wonderful.

Here’s my top 5 posts from the past 2 years:

  1. On Paper 1 Section A (3 is the magic number)
  2. 5-a-Day Starter
  3. On Paper 2 Section A
  4. On how we’re marking PPEs (mocks to you and me)
  5. On speed-planning essays

Thank you to every one who has read my blog and has made me feel like I have something worth sharing. You have @thatboycanteach to blame for the more regular postings of 2017 (and his idea of #weeklyblogchallenge17) which I hope to continue.