Making the most of the Summer – #Summer10

This is my #Summer10 offering. Thanks to Rachel Jones for the inspiration.

Life has significantly changed this week as we welcomed our daughter to the world on Tuesday, so my summer will probably involve a lot of family time.


Kids. Spend as much time as possible with my family. I’m lucky enough to love my job, but it can be all consuming at times. This summer I plan to properly switch off from school life by having at least two weeks without doing anything to do with work. I know I’ll find this hard as my mind wonders and I get ideas, but I know my family and myself will benefit from this.

Move house. It’s been a saga to say the least. We’ve got the the ‘sale agreed’ stage 3 times now, and we’re hoping it’s 3rd time lucky. It’s pretty much out of my control now, but if it does happen soon it will be a huge relief and great for all of us.

Run. I will go running 3 times a week. There, I’ve said it. Now it must happen.

Play football. Following a ligament tear last year I had to stop playing football for a while. That while is still going on. I enjoy it and it’s good for me, so I really need to get going again.

Look at my phone less. I really don’t want to get to the stage where I need to quantify this. I probably wouldn’t like to outcome. But it’s safe to say, for one reason or another, I look at my phone too much. Well no more. It’s time to put the phone down and engage with those around me more. Unless there is no one around me, then I can look at my phone.

Build something. Not sure what yet. But something. Something awesome and from scratch. Maybe  a bench, or a toy, or a brick BBQ surround. You know? A thing. Made by me.

Read ‘The Magic-Weaving Business’ by John Jones. I was given a copy by someone I used to work with because she thought I would get a lot from it. So it’s time I found out.

Perform. I used to play gigs a few times a month but this has taken something of a back seat in recent years. This summer I will perform again, somewhere.

Swim in the sea. I have no idea when I last swam in the sea, and I live really close, so I need to sort that out.

Learn to use Sphero. This is my proper ‘school one’. I need to get better at coding in order to plan for it and support other staff in teaching it. For the ‘controlling physical systems’ bit of the computing curriculum we’ve got ourselves some Spheros and a Ollies, so I’m planning to become an expert. If I achieve this goal, a blog post will surely follow.



Podcasting with Spreaker

People communicate in many different ways and in the modern World it seems that new avenues of communication are being created all of the time. As a teacher, I think it’s important to make as many of these avenues available to our children as possible to allow them to choose the way they wish to express themselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, mfl, coding or anything else, what’s important is that they are able to say what they want to say, and make their voices heard.

I have always had an interest in radio and was lucky enough to attend a college and university which both had student radio stations. Growing up, my Dad also spent many years hosting a show on a local radio station, so I have long had an affinity with the medium.

Since becoming a Primary School teacher I have wondered how I might use radio in the classroom. I have made radio adverts during persuasive writing modules and written scripts before, but it’s all been rather hypothetical as we didn’t have the hardware.

I have looked at a few school radio station providers (namely School Radio and  Anderton Tiger Group) and they offer some fantastic equipment which is very child friendly, of a professional standard and even rather sexy! Like I say, I’m into radio.

However, I had a few problems with these options. The main problem, and if I’m honest, the real problem, was the cost. It’s very hard to justify that sort of expense when it’s unclear how much it will be used and how much impact it will have on results. Practically speaking, the equipment takes up space, quite a bit of it, so you’d need a room to house and use it in. We don’t have much free space. Also, given the money spent, it could/should take up valuable curriculum time. So I kept on looking…

Then, Rachel Jones was speaking about interesting stuff at TeachMeet Pompey, and she happened to mention Spreaker.


Spreaker ticks a lot of boxes for me. It’s a FREE on-line podcasting app. It’s available on iOS and Chromebooks (as well as others) so we can use it on all of our school devices. As it’s on-line, it takes up no room and as it’s free, we can use it as much or little as we need without feeling like we’re wasting precious and limited resources.

It is fairly straight forward to use and importantly can be shared easily.  We had our first go today. I borrowed a couple of Year 6 children and talked them through the plan. They wrote a script and had a couple of run through practices before asking our Head to come in for an interview. This seemed a suitable topic for our first episode as he is leaving us at the end of term, so it was a chance for some of the children to ask him some questions. We added a simple effect at the beginning and got on with it. Once recorded we uploaded it to the school website and then played it in assembly.

Within an hour we’d gone from no script to published on-line and played to the whole school.

I realise it’s not always that simple and Spreaker has a far greater capability than we’ve used today, but it’s got me thinking and planning for the new year. School Radio Station here we come.