Had I known, I would have stuck reindeer on the front of my car!

The term was almost over, almost without any great discomfort. Mary had almost finished classes and we were looking forward to spending time together for Christmas. All we had to do was get through Friday and Saturday and we were home and dry. I set off promptly to school on Friday as I needed to stop for fuel, after filling up at the garage I text Mary to say it had snowed a little so go careful. Within 3 minutes of me sending that text, I’d spun around on black ice on the Rhuddlan flyover and crashed my car. What are the chances?

Thankfully, I wasn’t at fault. Just before my spin on the ice I noticed a crash on the side of the road, and two minutes AFTER my crash, another car entered a spin not dissimilar to mine and crashed into a BMW 10ft away from where I did.

As I made the call to my wife to now say go REALLY careful, I was passed by two fire engines, an ambulance and two police cars, a little further down the road a car had spun and landed on its roof. What had happened? Were we in a scene from casualty and didn’t realise it? Or we’re we all just being stupid on the same day? The answer to these questions is no.

The problem was that despite numerous warnings of bad weather, and a 25% increase in salt/grit, the council in its infinite money grabbing, tight-arsed wisdom decided to save the salt for a colder day. The result, the worst black ice I have ever encountered on a road that I’ve been driving on for over ten years! This could all have been avoided had the gritters put a shift in the night before. The good news is no one was hurt. My car has seen better days but it’s drivable with just an unsightly dent in the door. I dread to think what could have happened in different circumstances with a different mix of vehicles.

I got to school in time to see the end of morning registration, and a fun last day was had by all, especially the chocolate consuming pupils. A few hours later I made “the call” to the insurance company, with a bit of luck the weather and no grit combo as well as the fact that there were 4 other crashes within 15 minutes will ensure I don’t get tagged as the guilty party.

The rest of the weekend panned out pretty much as planned and we can now begin to enjoy the run up to Christmas with a very excited little boy. And if anyone wants to stick a new car under my tree I won’t complain 😉

Merry Christmas everyone, that’s probably all from me for 2011 so Happy New Year, stay safe and have fun!


What will I learn tomorrow?

It’s amazing how much the little things matter, especially when you’re only two.

This summer we didn’t go/aren’t going anywhere on holiday, mainly due to the fact we have quite a bit going on right now with the business and also because we are toilet training Lincoln! Despite this we have gone on lots of days out and had lots of fun. Last week we went to see Bob the Builder live show at the theatre, Lincoln enjoyed it, especially the songs. We’ve also done some spontaneous walking and grabbed the odd iced-cream. It’s little things like this that Lincoln recounts with pleasure. He held on to his iced-cream like it was gold! He looked so cute toddling along with it, although I did have to keep it under control when it started melting, Lincoln wasn’t keen on this bit!

In addition to our days out, we’ve spent a lot of time playing in Lincoln’s new play room and in the garden. One of the biggest tasks I had to complete this summer was sorting the garage out as it had become a dumping ground, this was another job that Lincoln loved helping Daddy with, we got everything out and put it on the garden, sorted the “stuff” from the rubbish and put it all back tidy. Lincoln was in his element. The job spanned more than the time I set aside on Sunday so i finished it today, during which I introduced Lincoln to some basic DIY. He spent ages with a little screwdriver putting screws in a piece of wood. Who would have thought something so simple would have kept him amused/engaged call it what you will, for so long? I suppose to him, it was new, and he’d seen Daddy fix things in the past, he loves getting involved and amongst what you’re doing (with the obvious H&S precautions, no getting up and walking around with a screwdriver for instance!!). All the time I am teaching/playing with Lincoln I realised I was potentially learning about how he was using the information I was giving him.

It got me thinking, It’s not what is taught that’s important it’s how you teach it, content is important no doubt, and how it can be applied to other scenarios is also key, but as I get closer to the new academic year that will bring new pupils, new challenges and new questions, it’s nice to be brought back to basics and reminded that HOW you teach a topic, skill, or piece of information is vital. Making it fun, engaging, interesting, valuable, or desirable is the way to produce deep learning. Not learning a fact or skill to be regurgitated but learn it in a memorable context adaptable to many situations.

I wonder what else my little superstar will teach me tomorrow?

Summer so far

Well despite the weather, the summer holidays arrived, and the rain continued to pour into the first weekend of the summer break. A very much needed break however, following a manic finish to the end of term. Getting as much prepared for September was challenging itself, without having to battle with the WJEC about the exemplar material I produced for the Essential Skills Wales. Needless to say, I’m not backing down, they need to realise what does and what does not constitute evidence and understanding, I’ve met them in the middle on some points and thats that. Pack all that with a trip to Llandrindod Wells where I presented a talk on Innovation at Ysgol Bryn Elian and it was a very hectic run in.

Since then we’ve been very busy, we had a journey to Surrey for our friends christening which was lovely, Lincoln was very well behaved all the way there and back, made me very proud. My brother came to stay briefly, probably for the last time in a while as he starts his teacher training in September. We are awaiting a break in the weather so we can visit the zoo, Lincoln has been waiting patiently for over a week and if I hear the words elephants or chimpanzee again, I swear I’ll go crazy.

Anyway, that’s all for now, I’m about to have a rant about the Tottenham riots.

The things that make me proud

Yesterday marked an important milestone as a parent. One of the many you seem to hit along the way. There seems to have been hundreds already and Lincoln is only 22 months old. He seems to have grown up so much in the past month, putting fairly long sentences together for a child of his age. Hearing him speak with such understanding of what he is saying makes me very proud. But back to the main event. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon converting his cot into a bed (it comes with appropriate fixings and instructions, I didn’t just set about modifying it with my tools!). During the process of the conversion, I had a flashback to the moment I was building his cot in preparation for his arrival, it seemed like 5 minutes ago! Yet there I stood after my hard work, looking down at the cutest, tiniest, bed, all ready for my little boy. With all the bases covered as far as safety is concerned in the form of a baby gate upstairs, a nightlight and a rail on his bed so he can’t fall out I figured we were ready to let him have a little responsibility.

Lincoln was very excited when he saw what had occurred in his nursery, he duly set about getting on and off his “big boy bed” with such happiness. You could see the gratitude in his actions, you would have thought we had given him a bumper bag of chocolate buttons 🙂 this made me proud.

When bedtime arrived, he had his usual bath and we kept the routine identical to normal, the only exception was when he went to bed, he could if he chose to, get out and go on a field trip of the upper part of the house! Thankfully, Lincoln stayed in his bed, he didn’t complain or get out once, he just went to sleep as normal.

Even more surprising was when he woke this morning, he again, stayed in his bed chatting and waited for us to go in. I would say that it was a very successful transition. I told Lincoln how happy I was with him and told him I would take him out for a present for being so good.

During the visit into town where we purchased toy cars, helicopters, construction vehicles, race cars and emergency vehicles (he loves playing with cars and the like) Lincoln was so well behaved. He kept taking off his sunglasses in shops and put them back on when we got outside (too cute) and then assisted me by putting the coins into the car park machine.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m so so happy that Lincoln is turning out to be a polite, well behaved, respectful boy and he makes me so proud every time I look at him. I know Mothers and Fathers get their “day” where their children show appreciation to them, and every holiday I want to make it the time when I show Lincoln how much he means to me. We’ve already discussed we are going for a walk tomorrow while Mummy is in Birmingham, and I can’t wait, I have no idea what we’ll get up to but the main thing is we will be spending invaluable time together.

Being a Daddy to Lincoln is the best job in the world!!!!

Here’s to tomorrow 😀

The trials of life!

Its Monday 14th March 2011, 18:30 and I’m just sitting down to update my blog after what has been probably one of the worst weekends of my life. It all started on Friday morning when I received a phone call at school from Lincoln’s nursery saying he had been sick. My wife promptly picked him up and he continued being sick throughout Friday afternoon. Lincoln had seemingly caught some nasty sickness bug. Unfortunately on Saturday, Lincoln had zero energy and didn’t really want to do anything, he looked very ill and very tired. We assumed it was a 24 hour bug and assured ourselves he would be better soon.

Sunday arrived and Lincoln was even worse than the day before, the horrible symptoms of a sickness bug continued, all the while Lincoln was very very lethargic. We called the out of hours doctor yesterday at 6pm as Lincoln once again projectile vomited everywhere. The appointment was quite late in the evening so we took the drastic measure of taking him to A&E.

What are the chances! The night we go to A&E and everyone and his brother is there with everything from a cut eye, to a piece of metal sticking out of a young boys leg! Lincoln all the while is not at his best and as a parent I was getting increasingly frustrated at how long the wait was when you have a small child.

We did eventually get tended to and ended up on the children’s ward where we were seen by a paediatric doctor. Thankfully Lincoln is OK (well, as well as can be expected under the circumstances) but it would appear he has contracted a particularly nasty stomach bug that could last up to seven days! We brought Lincoln home at 10:30 pm and he couldn’t wait to go to bed.

Thankfully, Lincoln slept all night undisturbed by any nastiness, only for it to return the very next morning. So as it stands right now, I’ve spent the day at school worrying about him, and he is now in bed, still not well. My main problem is, as a habitual problem solver I feel complete and utter abject failure that I can’t make him better. As any parent would, I would swap places with him now just to make him feel better. It breaks my heart when he is asking for food and we can only give him very small amounts right now.

So, as far as being a parent is concerned, don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy because it’s not. There are many moments of joy, laughter and happiness and for sure they far outweigh the bad, but when your child is ill and there’s nothing you can do, its the most heartbreaking thing in the world. I’m hopeful that my poorly little boy may turn the corner tomorrow.

Putting it all into perspective, Lincoln has a stomach bug (albeit a very nasty one) and will no doubt be back to his chatty, playful self in the very near future, the news is on the TV in front of me, and the scenes in Japan are devastating, what has happened there has literally shook the world to its very core, thousands have lost their lives. No doubt there are whole families that have perished or parents that have lost their children, either way, Japan certainly will not be the same in the short term or even the long term. It’s easy to forget what matters and just as easy to take what you have for granted. I am thankful for what I have, and grateful for every day I can spend with my family.

Fingers crossed for a sick-less night for Lincoln and a bright fresh start in the morning.

New look blog!

In recent weeks, blogging has caused me some  significant stress. Mainly in the form of using Blogger with my students who already have a Googlemail account as we utilise this system at school. Unfortunately Google were asking for a phone number to verify student accounts. As students are encouraged not to enter personal details in anything on the Internet, we had some issues.

To top it off, Blogger messed me around as you know from an earlier post, so I decided to take the WordPress plunge. Its been in my head for some time now but finding time to sort it all out is not easy. Then half term arrived.

So as you can see it’s a little bit different around here, thanks to a good friend who hooked me up with some tidy hosting and a source for a theme, a lot of the pain was taken out of the process.

For pupils reading this, you will still find various homeworks on here from time to time, as well as on the school VLE (link at bottom of the page!) For my web design students you will also see I have added a nice accessibility feature at the bottom, to translate the site into many languages. Accessibility is one of those topics that has plagued us lately and this should iron out some of the issues.

Aside from using it as a teaching resource, I can also exhibit my photography. Hopefully I will get a lot more done this year than last year now Lincoln is a little older. I plan to go out a little at Easter wth Lincoln and Mary, and a lot in summer, so I am anticipating that I will be able to share some nice work.

Right now i’m thinking about going back to school tomorrow, looking forward to the remainder of the year (the business end of the academic year), its like the run up to the end of the football season. Lot’s to do and lot’s of pupils to “gee up” to get thier coursework finished.

I’ve just remembered a really funny story that I will have to share with you in the near future, I should have blogged it last week but have been busy.

Watch this space,.