Monthly Archives: April 2012

The hunt for photo id⤴

from

GP1 is flying to London this evening, for an American visa for his impending trip to the States with BUNAC. He will have to leave his passport at the US Embassy and needs some photo identification to fly home again. Yesterday we took the house apart looking for his student rail card to book train tickets for a trip to Newcastle on Wednesday. No joy. Today we took the house apart looking for his driving licence. Of course he has known for weeks that he needed some id for this flight. Of course he has known for days that he didn’t know the whereabouts of his driving licence.

We didn’t find the driving licence but I did find, down the sides of the sofas, the following:

  • Several male nail clippings;
  • Approximately 10 assorted pens and pencils;
  • The remains of a party popper;
  • Miscellaneous bits of Knex;
  • A few playing cards;
  • 25 Spanish pesetas;
  • £10.74 in loose change (all mine, as I was the one who bravely stuck my hand where no man would dare);
  • A lot of stuff too disgusting to describe.

After I’d excavated that lot he discovered he could use his old, recently expired passport for identification. His driving licence will have to wait a few ore days.

Eating out Italian style⤴

from

Do you know that niggling feeling when there’s something not quite right? As we walked through the restaurant to a table in the centre, I felt there was something slightly out of place. We sat down, looked around and I realised that I was one of very few women in the place. All the tables were full of men – young men, old men, in-between men, – but definitely men. A business convention? I wondered for a nanosecond. As two well groomed twenty-somethings were shown to the next table, the penny dropped. Il Pirato del Porto was clearly part of the “lively gay and lesbian scene” we’d read about in the guide books.

We were in Italy in Bologna for the weekend, a post-chemo celebratory/break from too much work weekend and had been recommended this restaurant by the gentleman at our hotel reception. There had been a moment’s pause when Iain asked him, quite casually, if he liked the restaurant and he’d replied “Would you like me to book you a table?” in best politician-speke. And I had wondered, as we passed the windows, why they had opaque half-curtains when most places like you to see that they’re busy. We had an excellent meal, seafood, aided by an entertaining waiter who put a bottle of Limoncello on the table with a flourish at the end of the meal and commanded us to try it. Great evening but an odd recommendation when, for all he knew, we might have stormed out in a morally outraged huff.

It was a long lazy weekend without the teenagers that felt like a week, a wonderful break from all that has gone on over the past autumn and winter.  Did I say lazy? We walked the soles of our feet to shreds in Bologna’s alleyways and piazzas. In and out of basilicas – plain exteriors, stunning, breathtaking interiors with every available surface covered with artwork. We climbed up towers and looked over rooftops. We poked our noses into shops selling parmesan and Parma ham and gawped at the sheer number of varieties of vegetables on sale. And then we sat in the sun and drank coffee, ate ice cream, drank wine, ate lunch, drank more wine, ate dinner. We watched Italian life in the piazzas and fell asleep in the sun on the steps of Piazza Maggiore.

On the Sunday we tackled the Italian rail system and travelled two hours down the coast to Senigallia to visit Anna Maria, a friend we’ve not seen for nearly 20 years. She is married now and has delightful nine year old twin boys who played up to visitors and kicked footballs just like nine year olds anywhere do. Her husband Simone is the son of the Italian photographer Mario Giacomelli.  I was only vaguely aware of his photos before – Iain was definitely more knowledgeable, and knew the picture of the dancing priests – but I was wowed by the way he managed to make black and white photographs look almost like paintings, with such striking images.  Simone now works trying to promote his father’s photographs and protect his copyright. We had a  chilly walk along the beach, home from home to us hardy Scots, and then retired to the Foro for ice cream and football –  the boys kicked the football with ice cream teetering perilously on cones while grown ups chatted.

Back at the station, we negotiated the little yellow box where you stamp your ticket before getting on the train, and then promptly jumped on the wrong train. There’s nothing to tell you about the little yellow box – it’s one of those things that I imagine you’re born knowing if you’re Italian, a little like, in Scotland, putting your child’s name down for kindergarten on his second birthday and not a moment later. We managed to find the right train a little further up the line.

So, how soon can I go on holiday again?

0330_1203_Bologna_PzaMaggiore (427x640)
0450_1203_Bologna (418x640)
0454_1203_Bologna (427x640)
0459_1203_Bologna (417x640)
0379_1203_Bologna (640x427)
0426_1203_Bologna (640x427)
0468_1203_Bologna (640x423)
0467_1203_Bologna (640x480)
0452_1203_Bologna (640x392)
0428_1203_Bologna (640x427)

Eating out Italian style⤴

from

Do you know that niggling feeling when there’s something not quite right? As we walked through the restaurant to a table in the centre, I felt there was something slightly out of place. We sat down, looked around and I realised that I was one of very few women in the place. All the tables were full of men – young men, old men, in-between men, – but definitely men. A business convention? I wondered for a nanosecond. As two well groomed twenty-somethings were shown to the next table, the penny dropped. Il Pirato del Porto was clearly part of the “lively gay and lesbian scene” we’d read about in the guide books.

We were in Italy in Bologna for the weekend, a post-chemo celebratory/break from too much work weekend and had been recommended this restaurant by the gentleman at our hotel reception. There had been a moment’s pause when Iain asked him, quite casually, if he liked the restaurant and he’d replied “Would you like me to book you a table?” in best politician-speke. And I had wondered, as we passed the windows, why they had opaque half-curtains when most places like you to see that they’re busy. We had an excellent meal, seafood, aided by an entertaining waiter who put a bottle of Limoncello on the table with a flourish at the end of the meal and commanded us to try it. Great evening but an odd recommendation when, for all he knew, we might have stormed out in a morally outraged huff.

It was a long lazy weekend without the teenagers that felt like a week, a wonderful break from all that has gone on over the past autumn and winter.  Did I say lazy? We walked the soles of our feet to shreds in Bologna’s alleyways and piazzas. In and out of basilicas – plain exteriors, stunning, breathtaking interiors with every available surface covered with artwork. We climbed up towers and looked over rooftops. We poked our noses into shops selling parmesan and Parma ham and gawped at the sheer number of varieties of vegetables on sale. And then we sat in the sun and drank coffee, ate ice cream, drank wine, ate lunch, drank more wine, ate dinner. We watched Italian life in the piazzas and fell asleep in the sun on the steps of Piazza Maggiore.

On the Sunday we tackled the Italian rail system and travelled two hours down the coast to Senigallia to visit Anna Maria, a friend we’ve not seen for nearly 20 years. She is married now and has delightful nine year old twin boys who played up to visitors and kicked footballs just like nine year olds anywhere do. Her husband Simone is the son of the Italian photographer Mario Giacomelli.  I was only vaguely aware of his photos before – Iain was definitely more knowledgeable, and knew the picture of the dancing priests – but I was wowed by the way he managed to make black and white photographs look almost like paintings, with such striking images.  Simone now works trying to promote his father’s photographs and protect his copyright. We had a  chilly walk along the beach, home from home to us hardy Scots, and then retired to the Foro for ice cream and football –  the boys kicked the football with ice cream teetering perilously on cones while grown ups chatted.

Back at the station, we negotiated the little yellow box where you stamp your ticket before getting on the train, and then promptly jumped on the wrong train. There’s nothing to tell you about the little yellow box – it’s one of those things that I imagine you’re born knowing if you’re Italian, a little like, in Scotland, putting your child’s name down for kindergarten on his second birthday and not a moment later. We managed to find the right train a little further up the line.

So, how soon can I go on holiday again?
0454_1203_Bologna (427x640)
0459_1203_Bologna (417x640)
0468_1203_Bologna (640x423)
0452_1203_Bologna (640x392)
0330_1203_Bologna_PzaMaggiore (427x640)
0428_1203_Bologna (640x427)
0426_1203_Bologna (640x427)
0450_1203_Bologna (418x640)
0467_1203_Bologna (640x480)
0379_1203_Bologna (640x427)

"One good analogy is worth three hours discussion." – Dudley Field Malone, US Poilitician⤴

from @ @ajbaxby

In my previous entry I mentioned the possibility of using analogies in History in order to develop attitudes, skills and knowledge.  This led me to consider the use of analogies in general in teaching, and to think about my (seemingly frequent) use in the classroom.

They are something that I've come to realise that I use all the time as  a teacher of History.  When I found the above quotation, I really started to consider whether or not analogies are a powerful learning tool, or just something I do!  Having spoken to colleagues in other disciplines, it seems I'm not alone in using them.  As a result, I've started to do some reading on analogies.

They are something that have long been a part of my teaching, but I've never really thought about them before.  I'm not even sure that I intentionally used them in the past.  I certainly never included them in a lesson plan (yes, I had one of those once...), but maybe I should.  Thus, I made a move to find out a bit more about effective use of analogies - are there specific good examples for teaching History?  Are they useful for students?  Do they confuse more than clarify?  Is there any benefit in asking students to make up their own, or do they remain the domain of the 'story teller teacher'?

One very good article I came across was in Teaching History, March 2006.  This, to some extent, raised my awareness of the importance of planning for effective use of analogies.  There was also suggestion that a poorly used analogy hindered understanding of a complex topic.  So, in my own teaching, am I actually doing more harm than good, or (purely by chance) am I aiding the learning experience without even really thinking about it?

When I was at school, one of my (superb) History teachers used 'memory pictures' to help with complex topics.  These were produced by the pupil with little/no input from the teacher.  I found them very useful, despite being appallingly bad at drawing.  Are these memory pictures analogies of a sort?  They certainly don't fit with the Oxford Dictionary definition, but they are a way of pupils interpreting complex issues in their own learning style.  Perhaps there is opportunity for this in written form as analogies?

I also had an interesting chat with an English teacher colleague who commented that analogies and allegories were often tricky for pupils to 'get'.  Thus, perhaps developing skills of making analogies in History (amongst other subjects) might help with understanding them in English.  Moreover, as we move ever-closer to a more integrated approach to delivery Social Studies, are there ways that teachers could use analogies in order to make more explicit links between the skills/content covered?  Perhaps there is more in this than I first realised.

So, I conclude by continuing to look in more detail at the use of analogies in the History classroom.  I'm currently considering some sort of small(ish) scale research on this topic, although I've no idea how!  Also, if I am to continue using analogies in my teaching, then maybe they should be more planned...  As a result, I have drafted the planning tool below... (ideas are basic, but it's a first step).




"One good analogy is worth three hours discussion." – Dudley Field Malone, US Poilitician⤴

from @ @ajbaxby

In my previous entry I mentioned the possibility of using analogies in History in order to develop attitudes, skills and knowledge.  This led me to consider the use of analogies in general in teaching, and to think about my (seemingly frequent) use in the classroom.

They are something that I've come to realise that I use all the time as  a teacher of History.  When I found the above quotation, I really started to consider whether or not analogies are a powerful learning tool, or just something I do!  Having spoken to colleagues in other disciplines, it seems I'm not alone in using them.  As a result, I've started to do some reading on analogies.

They are something that have long been a part of my teaching, but I've never really thought about them before.  I'm not even sure that I intentionally used them in the past.  I certainly never included them in a lesson plan (yes, I had one of those once...), but maybe I should.  Thus, I made a move to find out a bit more about effective use of analogies - are there specific good examples for teaching History?  Are they useful for students?  Do they confuse more than clarify?  Is there any benefit in asking students to make up their own, or do they remain the domain of the 'story teller teacher'?

One very good article I came across was in Teaching History, March 2006.  This, to some extent, raised my awareness of the importance of planning for effective use of analogies.  There was also suggestion that a poorly used analogy hindered understanding of a complex topic.  So, in my own teaching, am I actually doing more harm than good, or (purely by chance) am I aiding the learning experience without even really thinking about it?

When I was at school, one of my (superb) History teachers used 'memory pictures' to help with complex topics.  These were produced by the pupil with little/no input from the teacher.  I found them very useful, despite being appallingly bad at drawing.  Are these memory pictures analogies of a sort?  They certainly don't fit with the Oxford Dictionary definition, but they are a way of pupils interpreting complex issues in their own learning style.  Perhaps there is opportunity for this in written form as analogies?

I also had an interesting chat with an English teacher colleague who commented that analogies and allegories were often tricky for pupils to 'get'.  Thus, perhaps developing skills of making analogies in History (amongst other subjects) might help with understanding them in English.  Moreover, as we move ever-closer to a more integrated approach to delivery Social Studies, are there ways that teachers could use analogies in order to make more explicit links between the skills/content covered?  Perhaps there is more in this than I first realised.

So, I conclude by continuing to look in more detail at the use of analogies in the History classroom.  I'm currently considering some sort of small(ish) scale research on this topic, although I've no idea how!  Also, if I am to continue using analogies in my teaching, then maybe they should be more planned...  As a result, I have drafted the planning tool below... (ideas are basic, but it's a first step).




Re-launching the Curriculum for Excellence Blog⤴

from

Wendy Howie and Claire Lavelle have been in post since late October 2011 as seconded Quality Improvement Officers for East Lothian. We aim to support the existing work being done in all Nursery, Primary and Secondary settings throughout East Lothian on Curriculum for Excellence; as well as providing information and support for parents and staff on the local and national perspectives.

 Shortly, we aim to develop a local authority assessment resource (LAAR) which will enable us to moderate our understanding and practice in using new assessment methods with our pupils in ELC.  This resource also aims to support teachers with their development of their own ideas and creativity in designing a curriculum which truly suits the needs of all of our youngsters. More on this later…

In the meantime, enjoy your Easter Break and we shall bring you more CfE news in the new term.

Re-launching the Curriculum for Excellence Blog⤴

from

Wendy Howie and Claire Lavelle have been in post since late October 2011 as seconded Quality Improvement Officers for East Lothian. We aim to support the existing work being done in all Nursery, Primary and Secondary settings throughout East Lothian on Curriculum for Excellence; as well as providing information and support for parents and staff on the local and national perspectives.

 Shortly, we aim to develop a local authority assessment resource (LAAR) which will enable us to moderate our understanding and practice in using new assessment methods with our pupils in ELC.  This resource also aims to support teachers with their development of their own ideas and creativity in designing a curriculum which truly suits the needs of all of our youngsters. More on this later…

In the meantime, enjoy your Easter Break and we shall bring you more CfE news in the new term.

Holding up a big mirror⤴

from @ @ajbaxby

So, this is my first foray into Blogging.  I've long written my thoughts about teaching, learning and life in general, but I'd never before considered sharing them with the world.  I suppose it comes from encouraging my PGDE students to do so much reflecting that I started reflecting on this 'scale'.

I have no idea where my Blog will go, but I'm planning to do something as and when I need to exorcise...

For now, I've been thinking about consequences.  We're always going on about them to children of all ages (especially in terms of positive behaviour management), but I think it's only very recently that I've truly understood the importance.  I suppose it comes with all the emotions of being a fairly new Dad, but I don't think I ever really considered how much the past impacts on my present and future.  Must be another sign of getting old.

This led me to thinking that this is a vital life skill that History (among others) helps develop.  If History can do one thing, surely it can help learners realise that the past - our past - does impact on all our futures. So, how do we make sure that the next generation - the ones who don't remember 9/11, let alone the Cold War - appreciate the need to change things for the better?  Again, perhaps this is hitting home of late due to the current ITE focus on Global Citizenship.  One of the students mentioned something that resonated with me: "Surely children need to be citizens before they can be Global Citizens...?"  I couldn't agree more, and clearly part of this is that we all need to appreciate that our actions have consequences.

Thus, I conclude this first ramble by thinking of ways of teaching consequence, mostly as a History teacher, but in general terms too.  Perhaps the emphasis should be on examining global historical issues as an analogy for personal issues too?  Could we think of ways of, say, teaching about co-operation and conflict as a tool to developing personal social relationships in classrooms?  Maybe that's all a bit too 'Modern Studies-ish' for a History teacher!