Author Archives: Jim Smith

Singing in the rain & signing books #pedagoosunshine

(Me signing Tait Cole’s Lazy Teacher book)

Mmmmm  it was always destined to rain once the name for the latest pedagoo get together was named #pedagoosunshine, oh boy did it rain!

I arrived early to get set up for my workshop and was greeted by sandbags keeping the rain out of Joseph Swan Academy, once I stepped over the sandbag I was greeted by Academy’s head, Heather Scott, and other Joseph Swan staff who were all busy setting up for pedagoo Sunshine, this is when it hit me, it was going to be a really big event! I made my way through the corridors where balloons and windmills led the way to where pedagoo sunshine would take place.

I set up my workshop, 32 cardboard tool boxes in place and powerpoint sorted (more about these later), people start to arrive and I started to panic…. Loads of people had signed up for my workshop but did they think that they would be coming to see Jim Smith the Lazy teacher? Would they be disappointed when the realised it was me and they wouldn’t be able to get their book signed?

Anyhow Rachel Orr (@RachelOrr) broke the ice and my panic nicely with her fantastic ‘who to follow on twitter’ song. I thought if she had the bottle to sing so fantastically in front of a load of strangers I could easily pull off my 30min workshop. From the start I was inspired! Then I had the pleasure to walk & talk to the ‘what is pedagoo’ talk with Chris King (chris1990king), a trainee  Physics Teacher. We had a great chat and geeks and teaching, both very similar. I started to realise what pedagoo was all about, pedagoo sunshine had only been 10mins old and I had been inspired by Rachel and made a friend, in Chris, and started to share stories on our teaching experiences!

Then off to my first workshop, which was led by the one and only John Sayers (@johnsayers) in a red tent . I reckon John need at least 2 hours to talk about all the amazing questioning resources he had brought to talk about. This is where Pedagoo Sunshine would start to effect my teaching! John explained his question grid and my mind went into overload in how I could use it in my teaching, fantastic stuff.  Loads of great ideas already in my bag and it helped me forget that I would be leading a workshop in 2omins time.

(John Sayers showing off his ‘foldables’)

After John’s workshop I power walked to the room where my workshop would take place, the nerves where kicking it. One by one the people that had signed up for my workshop walked in and sat in front of their very own cardboard toolbox I had made for them, in each tool box were templates and resources I use in my lessons. The idea behind my workshop was to give everyone who attended at least 5 resources/strategies that I use to promote student’ independent & divergent thinking. Wow it went quick and everyone seemed to like it, people taking photos of my resources and lots of engaging conversations on how they would use them in their teaching. It was a great feeling, I had shared some of my ideas and other teachers thought they were good. The penny had firmly dropped what pedagoo was all about……and I LOVED it. At the end of my session John Tait (@teamtait) came over and said he really enjoyed my workshop and asked me about my resources….a new friendship begun.

Lunch time came and a hog roast butty and a ice-cream was wolfed down and then off to David Gray’s workshop on book marking. David got straight to the point and gave me and other some food for thought when it comes to marking and again I pinched another idea for me to use in my teaching. This is called +-= where students have to mark their own work by saying where it is better (+), worse (-) or equal to (=) than their last piece of work  and state WHY! Brilliant stuff, thanks David.

Then off to my final workshop, led by the talented Lucie Golton (@LGolton), who shared her ideas and resources on active learning, getting the students to work hard not the teacher. This is where the ‘foldable’ was brought to my attention, Lucie and John Sayers were in their element. Foldable after foldable were demonstrated, myself and John Tait definitely need extra support with these!

The day went in a blink of an eye but this is what I got out of it:

  • John Swan Academy is a great place to work
  • Heather Scott is a really supportive Headteacher
  • Lisa Ashes is a T&L warrior
  • Being inspired by other professionals to change and develop my practice
  • How to develop my questioning and assessment
  • The world of ‘foldables
  • What kind of geek Chris King is (a comic book geek)
  • John Tait and I need more practice with making ‘foldables’

Pedagoo Sunshine had finished but the day had just begun (teachmeet blog post to follow) I met some more fantastic people and talented teachers, here are just  few:

  • Tait Cole (@totallywired77) got me to sign the Lazy teacher book and I became #notthelazyteacher
  • Sam Bainbridge (@Beetlebug1) Cross curricular project guru
  • Lisa Ashes (@lisajaneashes) English Pedagoo gaffer
  • Rachel Orr (@rachelorr) & her high heels
  • Lucie Golton (@LGolton) The queen of ‘foldables’
  • John Sayers (@Johnsayers) Question king
  • Chris King (@chris1990king) Comic Book geek
  • John Tait (@teamtait) aka ‘the Hoff’
  • Kenny Pieper (@kennypieper) the Pedagoo god father

Without a shadow of a doubt pedagoo sunshine has changed what I do in the classroom already, I will be there at the next one and hope I get asked to run a workshop again. It was a fantastic day where I learned loads and met some brilliant people and it was all FREE!