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Magazine Issue 26: FRESH START NEW YEAR
August 2012

This month ideas about and techniques for A New School Year

Article: Fresh Start New Year
New Resources
Teaching Tips
Mike's Books

This Month's Article:

Fresh Start - New Year

Fresh Start - New Year An Article full of inspiration as you begin a new academic year or school term.

From the end spring new beginnings.
Pliny the Elder

Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. 
Muriel Rukeyser

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Transition, Educators, Any Subject

Tags: Inspiration Induction New Year
Where are you now?
As the new year begins, where are you in your teaching journey? Just starting out; brim-full of energy and enthusiasm and ready to teach the world? Or maybe winding down; your time in school drawing to a close? Are you are settled, comfortable and confident in your skills, and progressing well up the ranks? Or perhaps you’ve lost your way, struggling in a difficult place, anxious about the coming year? 

Wherever you are, however content or troubled you may be, rest assured that your continued choice to be an educator is one of the most worthwhile decisions anyone can make. Daily, week in, week out, term on term, year by year, you show up and do the hard graft of nurturing our young ones. You give yourself, your time, your experience, your skills and your wisdom, and you give it so that others will succeed. So, basically, well done, thank-you, you are amazing.

Nourish Beginnings
The American poet and political activist Muriel Rukeyser said that we should nourish our beginnings. This can be tough when we return, tanned and rested, to the classroom. Our pace of life is suddenly shifted up; our agendas and timetables are no longer our own; and we come back to a place not only of potential, but of unexpected problems as well. 

Nourishment sustains and promotes growth by providing the right diet. The right diet at the start of term varies from person to person. What is yours? What do you need most to be able to grow and to build on last year’s successes? A new daily routine? A new habit? A different slant on stress? A new phrase or mannerism? A new approach to a colleague? Whatever it is for you, insist on having it from day 1, for the sole purpose of becoming a better educator, to nourish yourself.

Take Stock & Take Risks
Nourished and growing you’ll feel more able to take stock, take a deep breath and then take a few risks. Calculated professional risks that is; risks that sit in your growth zone but don’t extend into your danger zone. 

One of the best risks I ever took and continue to recommend is that of first spending a good chunk of time teaching your class(es) how to learn and how to build effective learning communities. The risk is that you don’t jump headlong into the knowledge curriculum. The payoff can be that curricula are covered faster and more effectively. Some folks I know spend 2-3 weeks establishing learning relationships and practices before they go anywhere near a subject objective. Not only do their pupils cover what’s needed over the year, they take with them a whole bunch of personal learning skills.

A common fear is, “But I’ve so much to teach”. Fully understandable. But change it to, “But they’ve so much to learn.” And then make their learning more effective. Do less teaching; cause more genuine learning. 

New Resources:

QClass Thinking

QClass Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool for establishing learning behaviours and classroom expectations.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Collaborative Thinking, Teaching & Learning, All Ages, Any Subject

Tags: Quality Rules Behaviour Success Criteria
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

QClass Thinking Powerpoint

QClass Thinking Powerpoint A Thinking Tool Template in Powerpoint, providing key slides for running a lesson to develop QClass criteria.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Collaborative Thinking, Teaching & Learning, All Ages, Any Subject

Tags: Induction New Year Behaviour Success Criteria
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Science Think Sheet - Weather & Seasons

Science Think Sheet - Weather & Seasons A Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas applied to weather and the seasons.

Categories: Think Sheet, Science, Junior, Secondary, Thinking Skills

Tags: Weather Seasons
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Teaching Tips:

Tips for a Fresh Start

Tips for a Fresh Start

Teaching Tips for a Successful Fresh Start. Three simple ideas: Affirmation; RPM; 1-Line Diary.

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Teaching Tips, Transition, Educators, Any Subject

Tags: Induction New Year

Affirmations are highly effective personalised statements of intent. The idea is straightforward: create a short, present tense, first person statement that clearly describes a desired state, e.g.: I am a calm and confident facilitator of learning, or I am listening with my full attention to each child. Vocal or inner-voice repetition of the affirmation ‘programmes’ your body and mind to make the outcome more likely. 

If you are familiar with affirmations, create a new one for the new year. If not have a go. If you’re a cynic, great, open your mind just a touch and have a go anyway, see what all the fuss is about.

Here’s a template and further example:

I am <your desired state – adjective(s)> and I am <your desired action or behaviour resulting from state>

I am smiling and alert and I am delivering my lesson starters with enthusiasm.



RPM - Relationships; Purpose; Message
Before you set foot in your school this year/term create 3 specific personal statements (as below). Find an image or symbol for each one. Display the text and images in a place you pass regularly to remind you of the following:

1. Relationships
What are your strengths in making and keeping learning relationships?

2. Purpose
What is your purpose as an educator? What do you want to achieve for yourself and for your learners?

3. Message
If you could make everyone on Earth hear and understand one message, what would that message be?

I’m good at listening to my learners and understanding what their individual needs are. I want to help each pupil find their own way in life, not follow someone else’s way. I’d tell the Earth, look at each person in the context of their whole life, not just in a single moment.

1-Line Diary
I normally keep a diary for about 6 months in every 12. I know that’s not the point of a diary, but for one reason or another I lose interest. The only way I’ve kept the diary habit is by insisting to myself that I write just one line a day; a bit like Twitter. The line must describe the most significant event of that day, clearly and accurately. And by line I mean line of an A4 page. Not a 300 word sentence.

1. Make a commitment to yourself to create a 1-line diary for your class or for one of your groups this year/term. Every school day, record the most significant event: maybe a child ‘getting it’ or a fight or a breakthrough or a joke or an outburst. 

2. This time next year/term you’ll have a potted history of learning – a valuable creation for moving on to the next and following years/terms.

3. Share your diary with pupils (if appropriate) and colleagues – maybe inspiring them to keep their own.



Mike's Books:

Books to help you with Transition to Secondary:

Moving to Secondary School
by Mike Fleetham & Lynda Measor

Moving to Secondary School<br> by Mike Fleetham & Lynda Measor Book with Advice & Activities to Support Transition. Co-authored with Dr Lynda Measor, this book is packed with activities to make transition to secondary school as smooth as possible. Using Galton's 5 bridges model you'll be able to plan effectively for pupils moving from KS2 to KS3. Focussing not only on the paperwork and data, you'll also find out how to manage the smooth transition of teaching, learning, emotions and friendships.

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Transition, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Transition Year 6 Year 7

Next month we think about Independent Learning