Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Day 31

A month, and only one missed post - owing to work and driving - I don't think that is a bad effort at all.

It has been hard in places - yesterday for example!

However I have got there.

Today was pay-day so excellent.

Also lessons were pretty good.

The night has snuck up on me so I am to tired to properly blog.

Tomorrow we are out on a Scarlet House social. Should be interesting - all you can eat! Hooray.

Year 7's were lush today but not really down with twitter, meant the plenary was interesting.

My year 8's were brilliant and seemed to enjoy learning about volcanoes - who wouldn't? tomorrow we are making temporary magnets!

Which should be class.

Year 9's were better today, still to noisy but at least no fights!


Battery is dying, I am sleepy.

Oh I did write a song/poem about dwarf planets today - it was during a lesson I am not THAT geeky, well maybe a little?

Dwarf planets are small,
Can’t clear their orbit at all,
Ceres is the first in line,
They orbit in space and time,
Pluto was a planet,
Got downgraded – damn it!
Got small gravity,
But more than you and me,
Haumea and Makemake together,
In space forever?
The last dwarf is Eris,
But it couldn’t care less!

Have some of that! 

Well, one day...

Monday, 30 January 2012

30th day

I missed a day I know.

Not a good day, but there was some good points.

Hard to find them though.

Funny questions from year 8's were a highlight of the school day.

Aaaaaaand that was it.

Food was amazing - thanks Maria.

Sounds like my sister has had a good birthday too.

Which is all a bonus.

Will blog better tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

28th day

I am a day behind on this, I will rectify this as soon as I can!

Got a new phone yesterday, a HTC Sensation or something. All I know is it has a good camera, internet access and all the aps I used to have on my Blackberry.

My Dad is very happy with my old Blackberry. So all is good!

My sister moved into her new house yesterday, the place is lovely and I'm sure she will be very happy there with her boyfriend.

Well once they have unpacked! Though I don't think Becki has enough room for her shoes, she rivals Maria for her shoe collection!

I submitted my reviews for some A level resources, it is nice to feel useful to a wider community sometimes. Though whether the reviews are accepted or not only time will tell.

I still have a huge to do list which is causing some annoyance, I seem to get it down to half a dozen things and then another 2 dozen items get added. Ah well I'm sure this is just a test of character or something?


With regard character I wore my St. Christopher for the first time in a year yesterday, still have it on. That got me thinking.

Now I'm not religious but I do like old stories - when does a story change from a religious parable to an ancient myth by the way? - and the one of St. Christopher is a favourite of mine.

I won't bore you with the story - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Christopher if you are interested - however the part I really like is the crossing of the river.

The river got swollen and dangerous, the child on his shoulders became heavier and heavier but rather than turn back Christopher forged on and eventually reached his goal, exhausted but safe - as was the child.

Now ignoring the religious overtones - here was a person who was under great stress, but kept going, not because he wanted to but because someone was depending on him not to fail. And eventually he reached safety.

That I think is life, you have a point you want to reach and everything going on makes it tough to get there.

But we can't quit.

It's funny how this all fits in with what I seem to be going through at the moment, a full on difficult time professionally but I can't throw in the towel, which is why I'm marking BTEC portfolio's on a Sunday.

But then again horoscopes fit with peoples days too don't they? http://www.dailyhoroscopes.com/

Saturday, 28 January 2012

27th day

A slightly delayed blog today. Friday seemed to just come and go, which is nice!

I have changed the layout of the page on the request of Miss Helliwell - I hope this is better.

Year 11's are plowing through their BTEC folders at a pretty good pace, well most of them are, there are still a handful who haven't quite grasped the approaching deadlines.

Main success of the day was the choc-cycle with year 8. This is a way of showing the rock cycle - igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary - using chocolate.

1) Take different types of chocolate - white, dark, milk - and cut or grate them into small bits so you can layer them. This gives you sedimentary rock like sandstone or limestone.

2)  Fold your sedimentary rock into some foil and apply pressure. This squishes up the sedimentary rock making metamorphic - like marble or slate.

3) Heat the metamorphic rock in a tin tray over some boiling water. This melts all the chocolate together making an igneous rock like basalt or granite.

30 learners working in pairs on this was a recipe for molten chocolate mess. However the group worked really well and the experiment worked brilliantly.

Good times.

Football was a bit underwhelming as we only had 3 a side however the post football pub trip was graced by both Mr Grafton and Mr Veron.

This meant good banter and pseudo-intellectual chat was had by all.

Although I still don't know what Phil was on about with improper super-adjective-noun-not-a-noun-indefinite-article-thingy but in Spanish not English.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

day 26

Sorry this week has not been treated as well as previous ones, but work has turned the screw a bit.

And I may have mentioned that I have a sty which has made me crabby.

Like seriously http://media.photobucket.com/image/super%20crab/sussexboys/super-crab.jpg

Added to this a healthy dose of January blues and mid term students and the energy to produce this blog plummets.

Add to this that on Monday we found out that our department is being shrunk by 1 for next year, which means I have to reinterview for my job, and yeah this week has been tough.

However a few positives have emerged in the last 24 hour period.

Firstly I am now officially - I think - writing for a publishing company, even if it is only on a trial basis. I have 2 weeks to produce some BTEC resources for the new specification. This is a tall order but actually I am almost looking forward to the challenge. Besides that coffee doesn't drink itself!

Secondly after cleaning out the dead mussels and resetting the experiment - for science club naturally - we got really good evidence supporting the use of mussels as biofilters. Which is excellent! I really enjoyed gathering evidence for this, reminded me of my MSc dissertation, I think the students really enjoyed it to - in case you were wondering!

Thirdly, good reports back from parents evening! A great uptake from my group into triple science for next year, which means that have chosen to do science - hooray! but also some nice comments from parents about how much they enjoy science and how much they seem to have learned this year.


Finally Maria made me an awesome combination wrap when I got in, bacon, cheese and avocado. Absolutely stunning.

And tomorrow is Friday!

Happy days, off to see Mum and Becki for their respective birthdays this weekend and my Dad who has managed to go for a walk which is a good sign.

Which means hopefully next week will be better.

Next week will be better!

Though busier!

Although I have nearly got my BTEC marking under control which will make a big impact on my workload.

Right off for a bath a read and maybe a night cap.

Have a good one.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

25th day

Short post.

Did some research science today. Great fun!

Yeah 9's were very good today. Got some good levels in an assessed piece of work, also had lots of the enquire about triple science last night. Excellent.

Right I'm off, need to organise lots of things.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

day 24

I am sore.

My eye burns where the sty is developing. I keep bathing it and I hope an early night tonight will help it to go away.

However I have had a fairly good day. Had to scrap and experiment and re-set it up. Recorded some results and pushed my aching body as far as it would go.

Started an open university free course in astrobiology.

Will post more when I can see properly.

day 23


You don't have to always be in each others pockets. Or speak or see a friend every five minutes.

However catching up is always good.

On Sunday I caught up with Gra today was with Rolly before she moves away to finish all her medicine stuff.

I needed a chill out with a friend.

We ended up coming 3rd in a pub quiz - alongside Maria who had been at dinner with one of her mates.

Was a really good laugh.

And a very good time.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

22nd Day

I feel like my brain is imploding. Like I have tried to fit far too much into one day.

Cooked breakfast this morning. M-shed, walk on the waterfront and watching Man Utd and Arsenal with Gra for most of the day. Back home some soup for tea with Maria then some hardcore work. Well semi-hardcore, lots of typing and organising things. My to do list still has lots of things left on it.

Still an amazing day with a good friend, so that's good! Also managed to find time to do some current science reading.

This is one of my favourite things I found today http://boxie.media.mit.edu/ how amazing! I love the fact that the little guy was able to run about collecting stories from different people. My favourite part of the whole thing is how simple it seems. Sometimes the best things are the simple things.

I also came across this story today http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328484.700-grouse-have-signature-drumming-styles.html for a video look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVfiIp3QGs4 be warned its very low frequency. It makes me wonder though, what else have we overlooked?

Two things are occupying my thoughts lately. Well two more things over everything else. The first one is space, will I ever go there? I doubt it! Although now I really want to I look at images of space and wonder what it would be like to stand on the Moon and look down on the Earth, or to try climbing to the summit of olympus Mons on Mars.

 This is explainable though as I am teaching space at the moment. It's very cool - tomorrow we are looking at impact craters with a great practical involving sand and balls. Not in that way but in the science way! Tuesday we will be looking at the origins of the Moon. I love the Moon but I do believe it messes up my sleep patterns http://webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com/homerealestate/package.jsp?name=fte/moonaffectsleep/moonaffectsleep although maybe I just eat more cheese around a full Moon? And last week we looked at the life cycle of a star. It really pulls students in when you are genuinely excited about a topic, and I get excited about new knowledge and I found lots of new things out for those lessons.

The second one is robots, well artificial intelligence mainly. I remember a while ago watching a Danny Wallace documentary where he wanted a robot butler http://dannywallace.com/work/television/. As a result he researched artificial intelligence in his customary chipper way. One of the academics he interviewed spoke about how maybe true artificial intelligence might be beyond our abilities because it may require a higher intellect than what we have currently evolved to have. Or something similar.

I would normally be disinclined to believe that idea, surely our intelligence and ingenuity would be able to come up with something. However considering we have only just started looking at whether animals make none vocal sounds, surely our thinking is fairly stunted in some aspects.

However some form of AI would be very interesting. I watch the adverts for the iPhone 4 and the Siri program http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNsrl86inpo it is fairly spooky how that works. I upgrade my phone next weekend, maybe I can get hold of that? However I don't think that counts yet, I think it is just really clever programming.

The counter argument of course is that where would that lead?

Would it be good or bad? Would a true AI decide that we aren't good enough and end up in a pitched battle between humans and computers? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4Jo8QoOTQ4

So maybe artificial intelligence is beyond our reach? I still doubt it though, I think we will get there. Though when we do I think it will be a scary day.

Though then I used to be scared of the thought of going into outer space!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

day 21

Started the day with a really interesting course on managing challenging behaviour. Some excellent advice on dealing with students with ADHD and other related conditions.

The rest of the day was nice and straight forward. Met up with Maria for a coffee after her morning then grabbed a sandwich and picked up a birthday present for my sister.

My hand continues to give me some gip, I am sure it isn't broken - which is a good thing - but it is sore.

Picked up some new fiber pens in wilko's not a major thing but... I also got a stapler which stamps have a nice day and a smiley face when you staple. It was from a little card shop but it is amazing. Simple things make me happy. Also it was £3 in a sale. Winner!

Last few things before I head off.

1) shaved my beard off last night, I miss it however I do look much younger and smarter, so that's not a loss really.
2) opened my whiskey from Maria's parents, is going down far too well!
3) need to get lots of work done tomorrow - mostly proposals and planning
4) off to see 'A Day at the Races' in a moment, excellent!
5)  I ALWAYS seem to forget something positive to write about, probably because I write this quickly in the evenings. However that makes me think about those TV shows where people recall things perfectly, how true to life is that?

Finally, dear reader, I think the blog is working. I have had a rough week but this morning I still had positives to say about the job. Compared to some people at the course who seemed very negative.

Interesting mindset that teachers seem to have.

Right I shall try to write a longer post tomorrow about something specific and not just a list of my day! Gra is visiting later in the afternoon which should be good fun.

Have a good evening.

Friday, 20 January 2012

20/01/12 - day 20!

Another great day.

Blew up a golden syrup tin during a failed experiment, always fun!

The rest of a day was bit of a blur to be honest, discussed the life of a star with year 10 which was a lot of fun. Well fun for me at least. Although I think they found some of the facts interesting. How can you not find the formation of black holes, pulsars and supernova interesting?

Well I suppose some people don't.

Good laugh at the pub with Rob and Phil.

Home now and curry ordered.

I have a course booked for tomorrow then a free gig seeing A Day at the Races in the evening.

I will try and be a better writer tomorrow when I am less tired, or less hungry!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

day 19 - 19/01/12

24 hours. One rotation of the Earth on it's axis.

In the grand scheme of the Universe 24 hours is very little. In our lives as a unit of time 24 hours is a fleeting amount.

However if you look at 24 hours as a microcosm of our lives it can be a very important period of time.

There are examples I could give of people having their lives changed irreversibly in 24 hours. This blog is not about other people though.

Yesterday was a tough day. Emotionally and professionally. Very little seemed to work and I felt I had a run of lessons that were below par both for me and my students. As a result my enjoyment of my day was low and my mood suffered. It happens, it hasn't happened for a while but yesterday was a down day.

Yet today was so different it was as if the day existed in mirror Universes to each other. A bit like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNfeFR2sZTM maybe?

The day started with my trick of sleeping in until the last minute and then having to hurry to school - I must improve on this soon!

The day started well having found a BTEC portfolio from the outside recycling bins, the folder having been erroneously binned - or left in the bin, on my part!

Lessons went well but the day really came alive last lesson.

Having promised my hard working y11 something fun for the afternoon I decided to show them flame tests. Essentially spraying liquids into a Bunsen burner flame so that the flame changes colour.

I always get carried away.

The students loved it as the flames whooshed and changed colour. I even sprayed two at ones to mix colours up.

And then the wet table caught fire.

Now this was not unexpected, and not dangerous, however it made me look a bit foolish and made the students a bit worried. Although it did look very impressive on the camera when I watched it back!

That fun over - and I will put the video up over the weekend to show you - school ended and science club began. We set up our mussels experiment to show if they can be used as a biological filter to clean water.

Felt like being a research scientist. I will keep you updated with how the project goes and pop some pictures up of it over the weekend.

Came home and had tapas prepared for me by Maria, it was much needed and very tasty. She is really too good to me sometimes.

Right parents evening finished late and I need sleep.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Not in the mood for this today.

Bad day at the coal face.

However it's amazing the power of making music with friends can have on keeping your sanity.

Tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

day 17 - 17/01/12

I will eventually avoid oversleeping.

A few things of note today.

Organised a course for Saturday, makes me feel professional - always good.

Book scrutiny for Friday (by the head) is on year 9 books - which are up to date as we had a departmental book scrutiny on them last week. So no mad rush to catch up marking for me!

Had a very interesting conversation with a year 9 today about evolution vrs intelligent design.

It eventually boiled down to me asking him to bring compelling evidence for intelligent design in to show me. The Bible I told him is only one piece of unverifiable evidence. He claimed there was no evidence for evolution, I think he was getting bored as I was listing all the different evidence that I could think of off the top of my head. I am sure with a bit of research I could find lots more.

I am definitely becoming more atheist the older I become. Some would say I am becoming enlightened, others that I am loosing my way, I believe that religions have a place however I don't feel the need for one. I prefer answers and questions, and the answers backed with evidence.  Science gives me that and my world looses none of its lustre just because I know how things work. If anything the opposite happens and I find the Universe becomes far more awe inspiring when you consider that it all works.

I especially love the fact that we are recycled carbon from space - essentially.

Which would go a long way to explain some of the space cadets I teach. Can I say that? Too late!

Finally my happy place for the day was my year 11 student who came back, without prompting, to complete some coursework.

The best part is that he came to our school halfway through last year with no real understanding of English.

Today he was drawing electron shells and finding atomic mass, number and neutron number independently.

From a periodic table.

Without his phone.

Or my help.

In his own time.

All because he wants to do well.

What a legend.

Can I teach more like that?

Monday, 16 January 2012

day 16 - 16/01/12

It's the unexpected some times.

For example I can in most lesson factor in which students are likely to engage with the work without any extra effort from me and which will need to be supported more.

However when a student voluntarily takes themselves from their seat and moves to the front to better write down notes on Red Shift for year 10 BTEC.

Well that's unexpected and amazing.

So is last lesson year 9 on drugs testing after an options assembly - their choices for GCSE etc - and the whole class getting on and being settled and not being disrupted.

All in all a pretty good day.

And how amazing was the last episode of Sherlock - I will keep trying to work out how he did it too!

I won't say any more for risk of spoilers.

Though I think I know.

Although is that because I have worked it out from deduction or is it just that I am used to the way crime writers work? Although the bigger question of course is am I right? 

Which the answer is more than likely no!

A final word tonight is on PSHE and some amazing drawings of what year 8's think a good looking member of the opposite sex looks like.

Especially the lads who drew Lucy Pinder as some kind of bodybuilder...


Sunday, 15 January 2012

day 15 - 15/01/12

I shall try to keep this blog less list like and more focused.

Have been having a go on http://www.planethunters.org/ today.

This is a really cool site that allows you to analyse solar activity of stars and help determine if they may have planets orbiting them. The information is then collated with other people around the world looking at the stars which speeds up the process of identifying potential new planets.

I find this really cool as unlike other web based experiments this one doesn't borrow your computing power but rather requires your input to the problem.

That is my good thing for today, short and sweet and very geeky.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

14/01/12 - day 12!

Started the day by being given a t-shirt my Dad had bought for me before his op.

Say's 'it isn't final until it's vinyl' on it.

Excellent stuff.

So with new t-shirt on I picked up some new magazines to take through to Dad and drove Mum and Uncle George though.

Chilled out watching some European Rugby in Dad's very swish hospital room.

Then went to see Dev this evening.

His mum gave me some masala to put in my tea.

She also made me a baked potato.

Thrashed Dev at Fifa 12, which is an achievement as I am normally rubbish at Fifa games.

Time for bed another full day tomorrow.

Hopefully my lucky dip won.


Friday, 13 January 2012

friday13th - day 13 - 13/01/12

Not a bad day at all but all of that is irrelevant.

My dad's op went well and he is in recovery.

That is all that matters.

Cuppa with Mum time.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

and the 12th day! 12/01/12

What a difference a day makes!

Got up relatively painlessly this morning.

School went really well. Observation first thing - on use of questioning in my lessons - also set up some plates with antibiotics as well. Also did the plates with my other group last lesson (a nice bookend to the day).

Took my year 8's out of the class to find the noisiest department.

Gave them all data loggers to record the noise levels.

Had a lot of fun with it - lots of other teachers got really involved.

Was one of those moments that could have gone really badly but the school almost came together fully and it worked really well.

My year 9's could do no wrong after that and to be honest they were really good and worked really hard.

Home time came and went, all happy smiley.

Science club was amazing. Had earlier discussed a project for next Thursday with the technicians and got the go ahead for it.

The project we are currently working on is how to purify or clean water supplies.

Spent today testing 4 or 5 different methods none worked but was really good preliminary science.

I hope science club enjoyed it as much as I did.

Went to the gym after work.

Walked to ASDA and picked up some beers.

Came home.

Put on Watchmen.

Good times!

Will be a short blog tomorrow, longer one at weekend.

Have a good Friday tomorrow!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

11th Day of Good - 11/01/12

This is the hardest blog entry to write so far.

Tough day.

Though no real single reason for it.

Just hard to keep an eye on the prize really http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeYOgf31uRg

Let's recap the day at school.

Let's not.

Year 8's were ok - got excited about doing a small bit of research with them tomorrow. We are going to find the noisiest part of the school using data loggers.

Managed to sort some ideas for our science club project.

Other than that the day at school was devoid of energy, full of questions, very much bear with a sore head (stiff joints did not help).

Maria knew how to cheer me up so we had a lush dinner with lots of cheese, olives, sun dried tomatoes, ham and ciabatta.

All good for me!

Found a few fun websites to play around on as well.

Nikon have created a universe scale http://nikon.com/about/feelnikon/universcale/index_f.htm

Epic! Imagine if life could be infinitely small as well as infinitely big...

How amazing would that be.

Also found NASA's be a Martian website which is very cool http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/welcome

In fact NASA have some really good stuff on their website.

Which is handy!

Though I did not find those websites myself but read about them in the BBC Focus magazine http://sciencefocus.com/

Had a deep and meaningful philosophical discussion with Maria on the nature of life and existence.

Always a fun thing to discuss.

So good things today - experiment, science club, food and intelligent conversation.

Right I am going to finish my day with marking and Blade Runner.

Only one of those might get finished.

Later - tomorrow will be better.

Be a hero, be the change!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Day 10 - 10/01/2012

Already day 10 - wow.

Started the day unable to move my arms - always a pleasure - which meant Maria had to fold my collar down although the pain did mean I got up early for once. Clouds and silver linings I suppose.

Had a meeting at 8am this morning - always a fun way to start the day - followed by a free.

Now I have mixed feelings about free periods.

The problem is down to me I am sure but a free first lesson tends to get used for emergency planning/marking so doesn't tend to get used for anything massively productive and if it is last lesson (like tomorrow) it tends to disappear before I have done anything useful.

On the other hand, when they are during the day I often find it breaks up the flow of lessons, so they can be annoying then too.

Sounds ungrateful really doesn't it but I'm not, honest!

In fact I managed to get lots done in mine this morning so I was very happy and set up for the day.

Year 10's had to make top trumps cards for each of the planets in our solar system.

I was really impressed at the work produced, especially the effort some of my less willing students put in.

Year 8's and 9's were fairly noisy however looking at their books post lesson I was really happy with the work produced by both classes this lesson.

Excellent day so far!

Food sorted - pasta in sauce and back on it.

Year 8 PSHE - sex education this unit - quite a spectacular way to finish the day.

Then off to the gym.

Took a wrong turning on the way home.

How do I take a wrong turning?

Well I was trying to be clever and avoid the usual traffic in order to get to the gym and then home to cook dinner.

Instead I found a different set of traffic and also some new routes around Bristol.

Which was fairly fun.


I did get to see the Clifton suspension bridge lit up in the evening sky though.

It is a spectacular sight I wish I had taken this photo (it's not mine) but it gives you an idea what I saw tonight - http://v8.lscache5.c.bigcache.googleapis.com/static.panoramio.com/photos/original/13724396.jpg - though I wasn't so close to the river being on the ring road.

I do love living in Bristol.

Gym was fun again hopefully will start making a difference to energy levels and fitness soon.

Cooked burritos for dinner - tasty and much needed.

Lesson for tomorrow need tweaking rather than fully planning, good times.

There we go for another day!

Oh, this looks excellent and I am getting slightly excited by it... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sftuxbvGwiU

Monday, 9 January 2012

Day 9 09/01/2012

I have taken over the schools staff football team. Though only on a caretaker basis. Although I have already sorted this weeks football on Friday so that's a good start!

Lessons went well today - made a model solar system with my year 10's, some compounds from elements with year 11 and covered a year 9 English lesson on Macbeth.

However the main focus of today was sorting stuff out! Finishing putting BTEC work into folders for marking and completion. Organising science club for two nationally run competitions. The first - with a helpful deadline of early February - is to do with water use and has to be linked with local areas.

Quick brainstorm with head of department and it looks like organic ways to clean water systems might be a winner. Bit of student research, some time lapse photography and animation coupled with a controlled experiment of cleaning dirty water using bivalves http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bivalves more than likely muscles and we are away!

Good times.

Went to the gym for the first time in a very long time as well.

I hate gyms.

As a rule that is.

I would much rather be playing a sport.

Although I kind of enjoyed it today.

I stayed longer than I intended to and as a result my arms and shoulders feel very heavy this evening.

However I am glad I signed up, should make a big difference if I keep going and get the football up and running properly.

Made a too do list as well, it seems massive at the moment but lots on it are starting to fall into place, hopefully in the next month it will begin to diminish and look much more helpful.

Maria had a visit to a quarry today.

Sounded very muddy.

Though she did find me a 150 million year old fossil.

Makes me want to get my fossil collection back from my parents.

Although I am a little bit nervous that some of them may not be proper fossils but the wishful thinking of a young boy who really loves Jurassic Park!

Still it's stuff like that you look back on and smile about.

Especially when someone you love causes you to think back on it.

It's a theme - being a teacher - that I keep coming back to, my childhood I mean.

Sometimes it's very tough not to put my memories on top of life today. It is a whole different world now, technology, instant communication, access to adult themes at a younger age.

However whenever I find myself exasperated at having to explain to a 15 year old why offensive language is not acceptable I remember this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm2-K6ttHYs

'In the day's of my youth I was told to what it means to be a man. Now I've reached that age I try to do all those things the best I can'

And then I try again to explain how they should behave and why.

Sometimes you have to be the change.

Sometimes you are lucky to have someone to show you.

Thanks Dad.

Thanks Grandad.

Thanks Si.

A hero isn't someone who wants us to look up to them for their own ego.

A hero just is.

Obviously my sardines are making me sentimental.

So I shall haul myself off to bed.

Tomorrow has more meetings, teaching, marking and PSHE in store.

Maybe another trip to the gym.

Also - how good is the BBC's Sherlock!

(I have to get stuff in quick before I forget everything I wanted to say...)

Actually I have noticed that happening more frequently. I finish and post the blog and then an hour or so later I think of something else good to put in.

Actually actually, I struggled to find something bad about my lessons at all today - even stuff I knew I could improve on had a positive spin.

Maybe mindset is the key?

Now I'm excited...

How can I make this a scientific test...?



Sunday, 8 January 2012

The 8th Day 08/01/12

Hooray for lazy days.

Lessons for Monday planned, most of Tuesday sorted.

Scrambled eggs on muffins for breakfast.

Lots of tea.

Managed a budget 17 pound shop earlier... lots of bargains purchased.

Day after tomorrow (so much comedy science but good effects), 9 (amazing animation and concept - a really good film), Final cut (excellent idea but needs a better plot), Event horizon (brilliant, I love that film) and now watching iRobot!

Another short blog today so I can go back to relaxing! Lot's planned for this week, should be a good one!

Food time now!

Maybe another cuppa too...

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

7th Day - 07/01/2012

On Pies, Ale, Films and Science

What a fun day - and we still have the evening to go!

Joined a gym this morning - which I can start using on Monday so that's good as I am not a fan of waiting lists.

Got a hair cut which tidied me up a little bit. Always a good thing.

Went into town to spend some of my Christmas vouchers - couldn't find a whole lot that I needed of liked but managed to get some things.

Bought way to many Sci-Fi films in CEX but then they are so cheap and I do love a bit of Sci-Fi

Had some food in Pitcher and Piano with Maria. She was gutted as her halloumi salad did not quite fill her up. I played it safe and had a nice pie and ale (the pie was steak and ale). I feel very happy and satisfied now.

The ale I had was Hobgoblin which is one of my favourites, and now I am sat with a Newcastle Brown Ale which is my favourite! I am also chilling out watching the Fifth Element (one of my purchases) while Maria decides what to wear tonight.

Tonight should be good we are off out for drinks for our friend Jake's birthday.

Happy times, short post, enjoy your evening!

Friday, 6 January 2012

day 6 - FRIDAY 06/01/12

This week has flown by!

Right, started the day teaching year 9 the danger of drinking too much alcohol. It is amazing how easy it is to get dead musicians into lessons - I may try making this a theme. So thank you Jimi Hendrix your choking on vomit death (red wine) was not in vain.

Though I don't really mean that it would have been much better for him to have lived!

Talking of music I woke up with this in my head http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaV5UCMsW-8 which meant I had to listen to it this morning to get it out of my mind, ever have that happen? It's weird when a song comes left field.

Year 11's continue to fill their portfolios (I took the ' away after Lisa - English teacher - pointed out is shouldn't be there, thanks Lisa!) I feel my x-set group (we have x and y bands - I have a year 11 group in each) have finally begun to switch on, which is a good feeling when an assistant head walks in and all but one are getting on with work.

Year 10's made electromagnets for half the lesson.  I promised the technicians I would talk about them as to be honest I was not looking forward to today's lesson. However they did me proud. I gave them the equipment and the worked out how to make the electromagnet, how to make it strong and really stuck with it.

We then looked at the composition of our solar system followed by comparisons of different planets and stars. I love teaching this as you can see their minds get blown! Epic level entertainment.

Last lesson we looked at the use of ear lobes with year 8. This basically involved playing games similar to heads down thumbs up - heads on desk point where the sound is coming from. You external ear (pinna) enable you brain to identify the directional of sound based on previous stored information on the time it takes sounds from different directions to reach the inside of you ear. Basically the shape of your pinna bounces sounds from different angle into you ear canal at different angles which affects the time you hear it.

I think I have explained that ok... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_localization#Sound_localization_in_the_median_plane_.28front.2C_above.2C_back.2C_below.29 does it better (sound localisation in the median plane section).

However I ended up getting preachy about how amazing the brain was - calculating the locations based on minute changes in sound arrival times, remembering and adapting to changes in the external ear!

This made me think about just how amazing our brains are.

Ever had a thought pop into you mind?

Example 'what was that actors name in that film, it will come to me'

2 hours later driving home 'Sam Neil'

In that 2 hours your mind will have been running through all the names and searching in the background as well as keep you breathing, regulate your temperature, regulate your blood sugar, assimilate all the sound, visual, smell and touch stimulation around your body. All that, before we consider thoughts and things we are actively doing - speaking, walking, driving etc.


Though I then thought about our hearts. A complex pump that has to work every second of every day as long as we live without breaking.

We can't even build cars that work for a year sporadically without breaking!

Then I started thinking about the change over in the womb, when we go from our mothers heart beats to our own. How amazing is it that that works! Then think about animals that have multiple live births - cats and dogs for example - all those tiny heart beats starting up when they reach the right developmental stage.

Just phenomenal!

Without geeking our too much, imagine those animals where there is no parental investment. Fish for example lay eggs (females) then the males come along and spray sperm and that's it. From those two cells a whole life starts, switches on and grows.


Although it is!

Speaking of geeking out I continue to listen to Infinate Monkey Cage on BBC 4 downloads.

Today I learnt about a psychological phenomena called succubus.

Not the Greek myth but those occasions where you wake up, you are paralysed because something is sitting on your chest, you realise its a monster and it begins to scream at you!

I have had this happen a few times myself.

Turns out its nothing supernatural at all.

It's you waking up from a deep sleep - which is the paralysis (so you don't thrash around in your sleep). As you can't move your body rationalises this and decides it must be because someone is sitting on you. As you are in the dark your mind picks out shapes (we all have probably experienced seeing shadows as things that they aren't) your mind takes over and there you go. A supernatural phenomenon is born, or not as it were.

If all this learning and interesting facts wasn't enough to make me happy, and excluding it being the weekend, I had a happy new year card sent to me electronically by my aunty Liz in Dubai.

It's those sweet little touches that make family.

Right time for a beer and another re-watch of Jurassic Park.

I may be tempted to go through some year 10 BTEC folders.

Though I may just have a fish finger sandwich and curly fries instead!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Day 5! 5th January

What a day!

Busy, blustery and brilliant.

Well maybe not that great but I am full of steak so I am more than happy!

Lessons were good again today - highlight was 2 year 11's in my bottom set doing some continuous writing and getting really good marks for a piece of work on healthy living and life style choices. Not bad when one is Somalian and has only been learning English for about a year and the other has dyslexia! They were over the Moon and hopefully it will give them a much needed confidence boost ahead of the final push.

Also it is nice to hear that my students are starting to sort out their college/6th form places, and a nice feeling that some of them have chosen me to give them a reference.

I have been listening to the Infinite Monkey Cage on the BBC website - http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/timc - if you have a passing interest in science or Prof. Brian Cox it is worth checking out, is very geeky and very funny in measures.

One episode about which is best chemistry of physics made me think about something else, what type of scientist am I?

By training I have a background in Biology and Forensic Science. Yet am I really a Biologist? Or a Forensic Scientist?

At one point in my life those labels might have been relevant to me but I feel they have become obsolete really. Since I started teaching all three subjects regularly.

I then started thinking about my job - as I was sorting through some BTEC folders (a very Zen activity).

Would I want to be a specialist? That's the question.

 Whilst I am sure it is an amazing feeling to be a world authority on something or to work on a facet of science so intimately that it becomes your world, but do I want that?

Could I ever give up teaching to do a Ph.D. for instance?

At one time I would have said yes in a heart beat. Now I am not so sure.

What is it about Biology that made me want to study it - animals, Attenborough, Darwin, evolution, adaptation, behaviour, Dinosaurs, plant growth, nutrition, sports, experiments, genetic variation, sex etc.

Why did I do forensics - puzzles, problems, interesting, different, crime scenes, CSI + Sherlock Holmes, science, fire investigation, ballistics etc.

In short there has never been on part of any science that has consumed me. I used to think of this as a weakness, now I am not so sure.

In fact I am quite proud to say it.

I am a generalist.

A raccoon if you will http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiVOLvhvsyo !

Yet that isn't it, I love experiments, I love the idea of playing with science and yes to me it is playing - that's why I enjoy it so much!

I am a general experimental scientist - I no longer care if it is biology, chemistry or physics! Or geography or forensics or palaeontology or engineering or anything!

If there is a question (even if I know the answer sometimes). If there is equipment - no matter how rudimentary or basic then I want in.

And I want my students to want to want in. So I try and get them interested in it.

So when a student asks me for the 1 millionth times why I am a teacher or do I get bored of doing the same science I will tell them - 'because I love experiments and I love seeing something work and I love questions'.

And that is today's happy thought in a nutshell.

Just like my students who were pleased with what they were able to do so am I - I get to blow things up, I get to set fire to things, I get to build things and grow things, I get to set and answer questions and I am never bored.

Yes the hours are long and the stress can be high and most people think I have either failed at another career or don't work very hard - all that holiday! - but they can think that.

Yes they can think that!

I am a teacher of science.

I am a scientist who teaches.

I am a big kid who gets paid to experiment and show it off.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am living the dream.

Who could ask for more!

I am off to digest my steak and plan a lesson on the composition of the solar system.

Check out these pictures for a sneak peak at what I will be using (truly awe inspiring) http://www.bigdogsbest.com/2010/07/earthsununiverse-scale-model-12152008.html

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

4th day - 04/01/12

Late post band practice ran on... more on that later!

Lessons went really well today, the highlight was my year 10's working on their motor kits. Really good effort put in and lots of hard work to get them to work - and very few electric shocks!

Not a bad effort for a last lesson at all.

In a similar vein my year 8's made straw clarinets - cut the end of a drinking straw into a V and blow on it to make a sound, quite tricky really.

Here's how they should look; http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=straw+clarinet&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=2uMET4j_Eojb8gOZnLG9AQ&biw=1366&bih=643&sei=2-MET4q3NIz_8QOr29StCg

So today's school based happy point has been the resilience shown at practicals by my students.

Which I will take for a win!

Also my new lab is nice and bright and it fills me with hope.

Band practice - first practice with new bass.

The bass sounded awesome, very glad I purchased it.

Practice was very productive lots of songs worked on and some new ones attempted. Also got to crack out the harmonica's for a few new songs as well as some older ones - always nice to pretend to be an old school blues harp player.

The sound has really moved on a lot in 12 months. Although it wasn't until I got home that I realised it had been a year since I first started practising with the band, well there abouts.

Doesn't time fly!

Speaking of which we are planning on doing a new recording at the end of March, the last EP was recorded in September! Where has that 4 ish months gone?

I think the plan is to combine EP's to make a full length album though the songs at the minute are nth degree better than the ones recorded in September. However we still love our EP you can hear it here - http://soundcloud.com/lost-patients

So all things considered another good day especially when you take into account avoiding most of the bad weather and Maria having tidied the flat and cooked my a jacket potato while I was at practice.

Another night going to bed very happy and contented.

Roll on Thursday and teaching the dangers of smoking and an assessed piece of writing with my year 11's.

Oh and before I forget I found that the OU run some free online modules (600) for people who want to improve knowledge in certain areas. I am interested in the science and education sections but take a look they range from 1- 50 hours. They can be found here http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/ I think it's got to be a better way to brush up on some things than Wikipedia (although I do love a bit of Wiki).

Night night.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Day 3 - 03/01/12

New term, new lab

Woke up at 4 am originally, back to sleep for a few hours - an hour too long as the alarm I brought up from Mum and Dad's decided not to work.

Quick up and shower and clothes iron. Advantage Gibson - warm clothes to meet the wind and rain outside!

At school by 8 am so no harm done.

Sorted lessons and equipment.

Year 8's were great if noisy but then I did get them banging tables to show the speed of sound in different states of matter. Showed Thrust SSC breaking the speed of sound http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mgO1M3gyfI sonic boom caught them by surprise which was excellent.

Year 10's were calm especially as the practical didn't quite work - more on them later.

Got lots done in my free - council tax and electric paid as well as ideas for coming week sorted out.

Year 9's did some heart rate experiments, although they claimed to have already done this in P.E. - Amber's idea to start with a heart dissection sounded a pretty good one in hindsight - although what is meant by fitness and the 4 s factors - strength, speed, stamina and suppleness saved the day - that and measuring out some pretty impressive world records! Long jump 8.95m http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N7qMqx9rNs and high jump 2.43m http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4yhE5KEPq0 , the high jump one is pretty impressive as it is nearly 8ft in the air - I am 6'2 for comparison!

Got booted out of my room so the school senate could have their weekly meeting - they used to meet in my room before it became my room - so took moral high ground on that one.

I have to type up my forms new years resolutions, some of which are pretty interesting (it's amazing what people put when you tell them it will be anonymous.

Last lesson was about dissolving with my lush year 7's. I see this group once a fortnight thanks to timetabling but they are great, top set very smart and very switched on.

I had not done the practical before today but it worked really well - will post an Unscripted Science piece on this later as it's a very cool little experiment.

Meeting after school was a good laugh, surprised at how much we have gotten done with schemes of learning in the department, which is nice.

Afterwards I managed to find enough time to film a few experiments for lessons and to perfect the building of the motor kits for tomorrows year 10 lesson.

That should be fun - year 10 last lesson building motors - took me about 20-30 minutes to perfect it, but then I was trying to work out all the kinks. Hopefully now I am prepared for tomorrows onslaught.

All in all a pretty good first day back, which makes 3 good days out of 3 so far.

Enjoy a video of my working motor as I enjoy some salmon and ignore my marking.

Monday, 2 January 2012

January 2nd

Loading - Driving - Unloading.

After yesterdays jaunts around the more Northern reaches of the friendship group today was all about return back to the 1 bed home we have in Bristol.
The result of a really relaxing holiday and some good times with those I love means that I am very relaxed about heading back to school tomorrow (for work) even though my to do list has very little ticked off of it.

Car was loaded to capacity and Maria and I convoyed down the M5 in sunshine and clear skies. Got all the cars unloaded and parked up before the heavens opened - which was a blessing.

Luckily Zoltan (my white goldfish) had tidied up after his new years party so the flat was nice and clean. 
Although he could have done a better job of watering the plants!

Blogg is now up and running - might need fiddling with at a future date but for now it will do.

Cuppa has been had and half a bag of bombay mix has been demolished.

Planning while I listen to the football on 5live - good times!

January 1st

Today was a day of couples.

Woke up at the aftermath of New Years Eve/Beth's birthday.

Said goodbye to Beth an Ali after an awesome celebration.

Hopped up the country to Sheffield to say hello/happy new year to Mapley and Lisa and happy birthday to Tate (already 4!).

Played some Lego and ate some buffet before hopping further up the country to see Andy and Claire in Leeds.

Ate some not quite 30 minute Jamie Oliver satay and spoke about the upcoming wedding.

Laughs and good times had by all.

Drove back to parents free hotel feeling very contented.

Can all days be like this?