Archive for the 'blognews' Category


A very quick one, this – and one aimed more at publicity than information.

I hope that any and all student readers of this site are sharing useful posts with friends. There are easy ways to do this, especially now that we’re on Facebook and Twitter. But how are students going to find out about it in the first place?

One way is downloadable by clicking on the image below, a fairly boring poster.

I’ll work on a slightly flashier one, or perhaps small ones (A6 maybe) that can be added to existing displays. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from adding links to VLEs, noticeboards etc, either in text or QR form. You may find it most useful to link to specific pages or sections of the blog, of course. And the printables available here can be added ‘as is’ to displays, with the QR code already included.

Now also available on Facebook…

Just a quick post to say that you can now find us on Facebook. How much will be posted there is not yet decided – which means I’ve not yet figured out how best to use it – but it means you can link to us easily at least. Hopefully like Twitter it will provide an easy way for students to be updated about what’s appearing on the site.

If you have suggestions or ideas about how Facebook or Twitter will be most effective, please get in touch.

About this site

“Let me explain. No; there is too much. Let me sum up.”

Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

I’m a teacher who gets really frustrated that those kids who want to learn don’t always have the opportunity. There are lots of reasons. For me (like all teachers) the most heartbreaking are those who could learn, but can’t be bothered. This site isn’t for them.

Instead it’s for the quiet kids who just need a few tips. It’s easy for us to neglect them, sometimes because they don’t ask us for the help they need. Some students are so good at feigning understanding that we don’t realise, until it’s too late. I’ve lost count of the number of parents who have asked what they can do to help their children learn. And of the number of times I’ve explained – as part of a lesson, in resources handed out, in displays and examples – how it’s really not that hard to learn. Kids don’t always lack motivation; sometimes they just lack the skills, the tools.

So this is a toolkit. It’s based on techniques I’ve used in school, things I’ve read about, things I wish I’d used myself. It’s aimed at students, not teachers or parents – although I’d love for it to be shared. I’m adding Creative Commons Licenses to all the resources, and consider that to apply to the pages and posts too. If you’re a student and something works for you, please consider passing it on to friends, family members or teachers. If you’re a teacher, please share it widely and let me know about improvements, suggestions or corrections.

ETA for the site: March 2012

Making Learning Better

Most things can be done in more than one way. Some ways will work better, some will be easy in the short term but work badly in the long term. This site aims to suggest simple ways to make learning more effective. It’s not just for the able, or those who struggle. It’s for any secondary student who wants to find a better way to do things.

The links above take you to the main stages of learning, so you can click on the aspect you want to focus on. They’re also categories of post, so use the links on the left for recent additions and resources. Some of these are ideas, some are printable – usually pdfs that you can write on. The hope is that you can apply the ideas quickly and easily, but there is a catch. You have to want to.

The first stage is teacher knowledge – yes, they do know stuff. In lessons you’ll use a mixture of activities, depending on the subject, which are intended to help you learn. Thinking through the ideas or doing homework is a way to review material, helping you to transfer it from short-term to long-term memory. You finish this process off when you revise, usually in the lead-up to exams – which need techniques as well as recall. Hopefully you’ll find that what you’ve learned is also relevant in real life, sooner or later.