Monday, 30 December 2013

#PhotoChallenge 52 - The Way I see it

As lots of people have expressed an interest in joining us -welcome everyone! - we have thought about having a Flickr group that we can all upload to. I have created a group and have put details of how to use it below - you will need to DM me your e mail so I can invite you - I've set the limit to 3 per week just to give us some room to add extra image sif we want. I will probably still post on my blog and this is not to tell anyone what to do - just give a place where we can share - you can then share via twitter straight from Flickr.

1. Sign up for a flickr account and UPLOAD images see top right here

2. Drag & Drop images or choose from Computer

3. Add a description and Tags

4. Upload to your photostream

5. Once you are a member of the group - The Way I see it it will appear in your groups lists - found under communities tab


Click ADD PHOTOS - see highlight above

7. Click the photo you want to add

8. It automatically adds it to the box at the side click ok
9. You can leave a comment or share to twitter etc

Once uploaded to the group it will be easy to see everyone's photos and comment underneath.

I really hope this makes sense!!
I am not trying to tell everyone what to do - just trying to find a way to make this as easy as possible - please let me know what you think xx

Thursday, 26 December 2013


With thanks to various people on twitter - namely  @ChocoTzar & @theheadsoffice for introducing me to this idea -  13 positive reflections from 2013 and 14 aims for 2014.

  1. 1.Although we haven't finished quite yet I am sure that we are so close we will all make it - thank you to my 365 friends (@renoonog37 @theheadsoffice @nicoladarling78 for encouraging me and sharing their year! Our 365 project is almost complete and it is wonderful to be able to look back on the year in this way.  It was tough at times but we didn't give up!

Adam with my Christmas present of Rod Stewart's set list.
2. My book - is now written and copy edited but it has been much harder than I thought. When it came back from the copy editor covered in comments and alterations I actually wept and thought that I couldn't do it - but with support from the wonderful team at Crown Publishing I made it - now just waiting for the design process!  You can buy it here!!

@yourvoicedearne - have you bought your copy yet!!

3. My great nephew was born in January - I love him so much - he has brought so much to the whole family!

4. I have been freelance for 18 months now and was asked to go back and work at the Dearne for a couple of days a week just for a term. I had real misgivings and doubts about this for a variety of reasons but I've loved it. I've loved being back in the classroom regularly, loved my form and so enjoyed being part of a team again. Go #teamenglish I've cemented some friendships and made new ones - I will be staying in touch and hopefully working with staff in the new year.

5. Big Days Out - I've been fortunate to work with @ITLWorldwide and attended 2 Big days out - Barnsley & Cardiff. Great fun, great learning and made some new friends! 

6. This brings me to old friends - thanks to the Barnsley crew @Hywel_Roberts @davewhitaker246 @mobo40 @kathrinedavies @beccapaddock @thebenhorbury Teachmeets and sharing!

7. A mention to a special friend here. One of the year's saddest events actually proved to show how amazing some people are. Here's to my friend @elaronndy and her grandson Harry (his family will always treasure his memory) - out of the most tragic circumstances ... Harry's Hope x

8. My mum fell in early Summer - whilst this was a bad thing it did open the doors for us all to admit her problem with dementia and get help - it is so sad to see someone you loved become someone else entirely - to the point she had no idea it was Christmas Day yesterday - this must figure on my aims for next year.

9. I worked on My photography last year, weddings, studio shots, new website, photographs published in Magazines and sold via Alamy.

10. My work with Barnsley Youth Choir has brought me into contact with some amazing young people, volunteers and families, including the Aurin Choir from Hungary (my FB stream is still half in Hungarian)  The final highlight of the year was their Christmas CD for the local Hospice and singing Live on Look North! I am proud to be associated with you even in a small way.

11. I have been fortunate to be asked to support other books this year - including Will Ryan's Assembly book. 
Covers for @Hywel-Roberts and @musicmind's new books too!
I am so fortunate to be in a position to do what I love - a lot of that is down to the support of my long suffering Husband Tony.

12. Tony - I can only be me and do everything I do because he is so supportive!

13. Travel _ I love travel and have this year managed The Fringe in Edinburgh, The Isle of Harris Outer Hebrides &  London.

All of the above has only been possible because of my amazing family and friends (real and virtual!) A special mention to @mariamariamusic for her ever ready ear and being my coffee companion - we will write that guide book!

Aims 2014

1. Avoid imposter syndrome! I am frequently crippled by self doubt - I saw a quote on Pinterest that said 'I'm an acquired taste, if you don't like me acquire some taste!' - need to remember that.

2. Set aside one day a week - whatever is happening or needs doing to work on my photography - get out and take more images, even if it's just getting on a train and wandering around a random town or city for a couple of hours.

3. Health! Continue with weekly Chiropractor visits and try hard to improve the state of my back!

4. Read more - I have the biggest pile of books waiting!

5. Project #Photochallenge52 - should be easier that 365 - all welcome to join PhotoChallenge 52 information here

6. Stop worrying about money - the curse of being freelance - it will work!

7. Work with ITL - fingers crossed for Ghana and Chile

8. Finally meet @thatiangilbert - a long time hero of mine since @hywel_Roberts and I gave his book out to everyone at our first ever course - too many years ago to remember now!

9. @NorthernRocks June7th with @DebraKidd and meeting the wonderful Mick Waters yet again.

10. Working with 'Blooming Curriculum' on her new book - and anyone else who wants photos!!

11. Research dementia, support dad and be more proactive!

12. Big Day Out - Manchester planned, TM - Sheffield planned - need to get out and meet more like minded teachers and educationalists

13. Support BYC in their quest to get to Latvia 

14. Appreciate what I have, start to say no! Enjoy what I'm doing and if I'm not enjoying it - change it!

Have a wonderful New Year everyone - may your hopes and dreams be fulfilled.

Monday, 16 December 2013


This is an open invitation to anyone who wants to join in with a photo challenge for 2014. This year a group of us did a 365 project but it has been hard work at times see here for example
 So for 2014 there is a prompt for the week - many are really open ended and all are open to interpretation - the more off the wall the better. If you want to take more than one photo during the week you could upload a collage. 
If we use the hashtag  #photochallenge522014 we can comment on one another's photos. If you are interested let me know and I'll add you to the list below. feel free to download and print this poster!



Monday, 2 December 2013

Creative writing and cooking trays

Year 9 are currently working on creative writing. We have worked so hard on developing settings, characters and plots twists. We understand genre. We've grappled with opening sentences that hook the reader in. We even built set boxes complete with glue, aliens and green salt dough! But to be honest - we are now 'flagging' and need a boost.
I use images frequently and pupils love to ask me questions about my own images - I can physically see their body language change as they lean forward and pore over images, asking questions naturally and spontaneously as they don't see this as 'part of their work' and so they are often more relaxed.
Sitting in my kitchen drinking coffee at the weekend, I had a lightbulb moment - in front of me was my fridge - it's there and I see it but I don't actually look at it any more.

It is covered in photographs but has loads of magnets created using  and my  images. (currently on offer at 9 for around £6)

I bought some cheap baking trays - stimulus for next lesson sorted!

There are obviously many ways of using these:
  • Diamond 9 exercise which do they prefer as a starting point
  • Categorise into Genres
  • Choose three random images - these must be woven into your story
  • One image to give you a setting/1 a character/1 an object 
  • Choose six images - these are your story board - you must now write the story.

I will post the results next week!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Mantle of the Expert - From the Heart

This blog post is from the heart and I make no apologies for that.

I have watched with growing dismay this weekend whilst people attack and ridicule something which I hold dear and feel very strongly about. Mantle of the Expert is a method of teaching which was introduced by the late Dorothy Heathcote(above). I had the privilege of working with her, watching her work and learning from her. I say ‘privilege’ because that is what it was; she was insightful, driven and passionate about her work. I have seen children enthralled in their learning, compassionate, focussed, and desperate to learn more and push themselves. I have seen empathy, cooperation, discussion, pupil led sessions, research, design and so much more. I am proud to embrace this teaching style.
To the detractors out there, I would not dream of telling you what to do in your classroom, YOU are the one who knows your children and what ‘works’ for them – I’m not talking research here I’m talking from the heart! So if you feel that this way of working is not for you, then you are right – don’t use it – you have a choice!
What gives you the right to ridicule Mantle of the expert when many of you who are doing so admit that you have ‘read about it’ – nothing can replace seeing it in action – the moment a child realises that the verdict of ‘Act of God’ at the end of a trial where 26 children died is unfair but that’s the way of the world cannot be explained in words.
Please be cynical if you want but don’t attack others, it’s just counter productive.
Don’t presume
·          Don’t presume that  because you’ve read about it  you understand it.
·         Don’t presume that you have the right to foist your opinion onto others.
·         Don’t presume that you have a right to tell me what works in my classroom (yes I know it infuriates people when I say that but do you know what  - I don’t care!)
·          Don’t presume that because I embrace Mantle of the Expert I’m woolly minded and don’t care about pedagogy – I do and I spend hours researching and reading to improve my work.

I don’t normally ‘bite’ when people are being critical on Twitter but this weekend was a step too far. There are hundreds of passionate committed teachers using Mantle of the Expert and unless you understand it or are prepared to watch and learn – your views aren’t based on anything other than point scoring. Let’s be open minded and learn from each other – I know I want the best for my pupils and can only hope that all pupils have someone who cares.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Book update

My book has now been through the first stage of the copy editing process and  it's time to redraft certain sections and update others. I am thrilled (and nervous) that Mick Waters is going to 'Introduce the book' - if you haven't booked for Northern Rocks 2014 - you should have a look now as he is going to be there.

Link here to Learning Through a Lens

(If you are considering buying this Please would you do so via the link for Amazon Associates on the right of this page thank you!)

Hope you all had an amazing half term. We visited London - this is the view from the top of the Shard

Friday, 30 August 2013

The elements of a story.

I've used some of my photos with the app 'Phoster' to create a series of posters around the 'elements of a story.' These are obviously not the only elements - they are just intended to be discussion starters.
Feel free to use them :)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Outer Hebrides - Isle of Harris

This was our second visit to the Outer Hebrides. It is an amazing place - unique and stunning!