A message for all you heads of department out there: if you haven’t used something for five years or more the odds on you needing it are close to nil! so stop saying “we might need it” … Listen to me when I say “NO YOU WON’T!!” – to be honest I don’t think the issue is long serving head of departments hoarding stuff (there will of course be exceptions – Dawn Denyer and Adam Creen probably are exceptional!) I think it’s a case of new HOD’s not wanting to throw anything out “just in case” because they have no idea what is and isn’t used … so as a compromise with Seager I’ve labelled some of the boxes with todays date and if they aren’t used in the next 2 years they are going to someone that will make use of them.
We arrived to find that Sam, (the caretaker) had moved lots of the furniture from the corridor, which we didn’t want in our rooms, and got rid of our two massive piles of rubbish that we had generated earlier in the week and after spending some time trying to empty one of the offices both of our classrooms looked worse than before with 2 new mahoosive piles of rubbish! What we are dealing with is the aftermath of a whole department moving location and all the associated text books, papers, and general “stuff” (basically EVERYTHING!) then being put into boxes and piled into a room to the point where it’s practically just a wall of boxes … it would make a great new GCSE exam question (a bit like the chicken feed on the new spec for one of the boards .. i.e. nonsensical!):
A room which is 5 m in length and 3 m in width, is filled to the ceiling, which is 3 m high with boxes. Each box is 30 cm x 50 cm x 40 cm. How long will it take 3 teachers to empty it and will it get emptied before the start of term?
Seager had also been in this week, on his own and his displays are starting to look brilliant (not that I am bitter and twisted at all!!). Einstein is back on the wall where he belongs in his room, and the department has it’s own “maths criminals” board. We’re going to take photos of ourselves and the rest of the department (if they are up for it) with our “crime” like the board I had in my classroom last year (see blog post HERE) and get students photos up when they have those “facepalm” moments … I’m also tempted to see if I can persuade our new Headteacher to go on the board too .. I might be pushing my luck there!
We’ve also put up signs on the entry into both ends of the department – the “warning” sign part of the corridor is slightly different now as we’ve finished it off with some yellow and black caution type tape which we’ve used as part of it and I think it looks fab (The wall isn’t curved by the way – I thought I was being smart taking a panoramic photo!) We’ve got loads of the black and yellow circles that are going up all over the department and then this evening I’ve printed off some Simpsons character posters that Amanda Hill (@makemathsmatter … check out her twitter profile and photos for her departments displays : the tweet is HERE… they really are fab!) tweeted about. Basically Simpsons characters, saying “I can” type statements and on each poster I’ve put yellow and black striped borders (like the caution tape) around them and these are going to get put up all along the top of the corridor walls, and interspersed with these will be some formula. For example I’m thinking definitely circumference & area of circle and then I’m thinking of including all the stuff that isn’t going to be on the formula page of the exams in a couple of years.
Once again, loads done, but no progress made on my boards (and thank you to all of you that have sent me ideas and resources. I am genuinely touched and grateful for your help but I can’t start mine as there is no backing paper that I like the colour of (basically there is just green left!) … I’d hate to start the term with bare walls but if I have to, I’m going to just put up with it! Seager has printed me some stuff ready to put up though when I’m ready as he wants us all in the department to have a section that includes the students user names and passwords to justmathsonline nice and prominent … which I think is a great idea! The one thing I was able to get up was my “stuck” display (which is looking a little dated so may get updated) but I like this one as it comes complete with picture of “the boss” which is me when I was about 9 years old!
Some people might think we’re barmy doing this, and that it doesn’t really effect the students learning or make us more effective teachers which may or may not be the case on both points (I’m not sure if there is any research about displays!) but what really matters is that it gave me an excuse to get the laminator out .. and what’s not to like about a “bit of laminating” ?