Monthly Archives: May 2014

An in-school World Cup.

At the time of the 2010 World Cup I was asked whether I would be prepared to organise an in-school football tournament to run concurrently. I replied that while I would not be prepared to organise one, I was more than happy to facilitate it. And so, in the hands of a group of Year Six children who managed the organisation (writing letters to the Friends to persuade them to buy trophies etc.) logistics (fixture list etc.) and maths (league tables; points; goal differences etc.) incredibly, a week-long competition was born, gathered momentum and reached a genuinely tense, dramatic and memorable finale.

The premise for the tournament was very simple for a two-form entry junior school:

1. Eight members of staff were recruited to manage a team each.

2. ‘Squads’ of sixteen players comprised of two boys and two girls from each year group were given to each ‘manager’.

3. The eight teams were split into two groups of four with each team playing the others in their group once in a mini-league.

4. Matches were seven minutes each way and played, two every day, at lunchtime.

5. On Friday lunchtime, the two group winners and runners-up played one another in semi-finals and then…

6. The big one… The World Cup Final. On Friday afternoon, school shut down. Everybody abandoned their posts and gathered on the field to watch New Zealand v. Algeria (!). Parents were invited; governors were in the crowd; and children and staff got truly behind the two teams. The result was a crowd of several hundred, an amazing atmosphere and a match that went beyond full time; through extra-time; and then saw New Zealand triumph in sudden-death penalty shoot out.

It was talked about throughout the school for weeks after.

Last week, I was asked would I be prepared to organise an in-school World Cup 2014 tournament. Again, I’m leaving it to the children- last time they created something magical.


Vocabulary Visuals

With thanks to @vaughan_miss and @langteachire for the images, a range of images to support the teaching of vocabulary:











Most of these images have been made with Wordsalad. You can download the free version yourself here:

Now! That’s Primary Blogging Volume Fourteen

Slightly delayed in its release this week…and also very short.

1. Technology is a tool to be used, not a learning outcome, via @ChrisWaterworth:

2. The importance of quality teacher assessment, via @ChrisChivers2:

3. Compromise but don’t be compromised and writing a music story via @nancygedge

4. What kind of restaurant is your classroom, via @thought_weavers:

5. Displays- what and who are they for? Via @prawnseye:

6. Favourite primary bloggers, via @rachelorr:

7. INSET, via @theprimaryhead:

Displays: what and who are they for?

“Classroom walls should mirror closely the pages of children’s books.”


The recent words of a colleague and ones which have led me to question my own practice and learning environment.

I worked last week alongside a Local Leader in Education. In observing lessons, she spent a large portion of her time examining displays before summising that, used effectively, learning / working walks can and do play a significant role in supporting the learning of children who (and these are a group she singled out specifically) are not being guided / supported by a teacher or teaching assistant during a lesson.

Reflecting on what she had said, I realised the truth and wisdom of it. The learning walls she had seen, in particular for English, had been built up day-by-day over the course of a week. They were comprised of specific vocabulary generated through class-discussion; model sentences using that vocabulary written by both teachers and children using the structures being taught that week; and high-quality teacher model ,using both the earlier vocabulary and sentence types taught, of the pieces of writing the children themselves were aiming to produce at the end of the week.

Of course, learning walls will assume many forms to fulfil many purposes and some time ago I asked ‘colleagues’ on Twitter to tweet examples. Many were kind enough to do so, with thanks to @rpd1972, @ChrisWaterworth and @candacemccolgan especially, some of those are shared here:









Not so very long ago, triple-mounted, best-copy displays were still de rigeur. Have those behemoths now had their day, replaced by an alternative that impacts on learning in an ongoing way?

I like to imagine that they have.

Now! That’s Primary Blogging Volume Thirteen

1. Progress in number from EYFS to Y2, via @ShrekTheTeacher:

2. Do we need a scheme of work for primary computing? Courtesy of @bekblayton:

3. Primary assessment and what remains to be done, via @michaelt1979:

4. SEN framework changes and the implications for all teachers, via @ChrisChivers2: and also the impact of language-rich environments:

5. Planning for transition, via @prawnseye:

6. A glossary of questions, courtesy of @imagineinquiry:

7. Primary computing in the new curriculum, courtesy of @primarypete_:

8. Transition, via @johnnywalker_edu:

9. The flipped classroom: online peer-assessment and collaboration, courtesy of @ChrisWaterworth:

10. Being positive with your class, courtesy of @readingthebooks:

11. My most memorable lessons, via @dianekenny:

12. Music with Lego, via @nancygedge:

13. Six accountability measures for UFSM, via @ajjolley:

14. Unpacking the primary assessment and accountability reforms, via @giftedphoenix

15. Why do we remove freedom in learning as children get older? Via @imagineinquiry:

16. The inspector came to call, courtesy of @cherrylkd: