Monday, 30 August 2010
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Sometimes the ideal way forward isn't the most time appropriate.
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
I've been experimenting with Google Calendar to make our systems more efficient. This term I'm turning to the school rotas.
It sounds a boring task, and it is, but getting the rotas right at the start of the year is essential to having and efficient year. It saves all those pointless conversations where people have to negotiate room usage and avoids all those embarrassing situations where two people, each with a class of 30 children, turn up at the Hall only to have their expectations and lesson plan dashed. getting rotas right means the administrators in the office, who bear much of the difficult conversations in school can work confidently within the frameworks given to them. As these people often have the dual role of also being first contact for visitors it helps them stay positive and happy. The visitors also pick up on this mood and the school's reputation improves.
Everything gets better with good rotas.
I love Google Calendar. I love the way it syncs so well with my phone and with so much other stuff. I also love the way you can collaborate with Google Spreadsheets - 50 people + on the new version it's pretty impressive. So my initial idea was to generate the rotas by sitting together with the staff and a room full of laptops, type into events into a Google spreadsheet, and then import the data via a .csv file into Calendar. After some initial research and some sterling advice from fellow GCTs Danny Silva and Nic Finelli I soon dismissed this idea. I realised that getting the staff to accurately put their activities into a precise format onto Google Spreadsheets when some off them have had no prior experience of any kind of spreadsheet might be asking too much. It may be a challenge for the future. If you're interested, the Google help page with the right format for importing into calendar is here.
So instead I've set up several calendars that describe everything we do in school. I'm intending to open up the calendars to the staff so they can edit them during the first week, set up the rotas, then I'll take away their access rights so they can only see the calendars and they'll be set. I'll then transfer over the admin rights to the actual staff, so if any changes need to be made in the future they can be made through the staff in the admin office.
The rotas I need doing are:
- Hall Timetable (mainly for PE)
- Small hall Timetable (mainly for eating, but some PE)
- ICT Table (for using our ICT suite)
- Laptop timetable (for accessing our bank of 16 laptops)
- Playground Timetable (for agreeing who's going to be out on the playground over the course of the week)
In addition I created 3 separate calendars.
- KS1 Timetable
- KS2 Timetable
I still need a 4th Calendar to finish the jigsaw - the Foundation Stage Calendar - but I'm not sure what their calendar looks like and won't get the details until next Tuesday. I need to have got the bulk of this sorted by then.
The Calendar Menu looks like this - several calendars that I can turn off and on and make available to different people.
The KS1 Calendar looks like this:
I need to plan how I'm going to explain to the staff how to put their events up. Each member of staff will have a certain number of events to fill in for each timetable, for example 2 for the Hall Timetable, 2 or 3 for the ICT suite. I'll probably use a video to record that - I quite like Smart boards screen capture video software - it's simple but effective. I'll need to remember to invite each staff member to fill in the appropriate calendars too.
Over the next few days I'll post my explanation video and after the training has been given, show some of the results of what happened.
Administration is 'Doing Things'Management is 'Doing Things Right'Leadership is 'Doing the Right Things'
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Sent from my thingamajig
1. It links between food and transcendant experiences with ease - I think being able to rapidly ascend and descend Maslow's heirarchy is a key to engaging children in education.
2. Not only do the bullies lose, but they make friends with the lonely child. That's hope on a stick.
3. It demonstrates you can learn things from unlikely people.
4. The experts in it are young, old, male, female, rich and poor - the heart of the unconference.
5. It shows that the links between people are as important as the actual knowledge they hold. So what film inspires you? Sent from my thingamajig
Sent from my thingamajig
Sent from my thingamajig
Sent from my thingamajig
I've been writing many posts recently 'off the grid'. Disconnected from both wifi and mobile signal at Lee Abbey in Devon. Apparently, if I walked to the top of the hill I could pick up a faint signal, but it would be a lot of effort for not much gain.* There seem to be both advantages and disadvantages to this.Advantages There is a certain clarity of thought gained through being here. And I think that is partly down to cutting down distractions - such as not being able to access e-mail, Twitter, text and the like. Since becoming a GCT, my e-mails have rocketed and even though many of them aren't relevant to me, it still takes a certain amount of effort to process the information. Another reason for the clarity of thought is the place itself. It is beautiful. The curves of the tree lines on the hills, the slope down to the bay and the arc of the bay itself. I'm sure there's something on Maslow's heirarchy about that. Disadvantages I am used to checking things that I'm not too sure of, and my favourite method is Google. For example, when I referred to Maslow's Heirarchy in the previous paragraph, I would have liked to check that my guess was correct and maybe provide some helpful image to explain what I meant. But Maslow's Heirarchy is one of those things that I'm not completely sure about. Another downside is being disconnected from my PLN. My PLN, particularly on Twitter, has become increasingly inspiring over recent months - not because of any radical changes to personnel, but more because I've become a better listener. Posts and tweets from my PLN have inspired me to think new thoughts and write new stuff. Probably 75% of what I blog about is inspired directly by other people's posts. Impact How will I post this post? It's written now. Will I hit the e-mail button so if gets posted as soon as I get back in range? Or will I wait until I get home, check out the Maslow's heirarchy thing, add a few appropriate images of the bay I talked about? What's more important to me, the process or the product? How many times should I re-draft a blog post? *that's a joke for electrical engineers.
There's that scene in Star Wars, A New Hope when Luke Skywalker and the other Rebel pilots are being briefed in the plans for attacking the Death Star. It looks like an impossible task. The Death Star is as big as a small moon and is bristling with defences. The Rebel pilots have tiny x-wing fighters, a bit like attacking a rhinocerous with butterflies.To make matters worse, when the Rebel pilots have evaded the enemy tie fighters and the Death Star's defences, they must fly into a narrow trench and hit a 2m wide target. One of them points out that it is impossible. But Luke Skywalker isn't locked into the spiral of negative thought. He remembers his own abilities and experiences, declaring; "it's no bigger than hitting a womp rat back home." his confidence changes the mood and inspires hope. And guess what - they do it, they destroy the Death Star. Someone should make a film about it. So the next time you're weighed down by negativity and overwhelmed by the cynicism of others, when the task seems impossible and it looks like everyone is about to give in, remember your abilities and experience and be the one that speaks hope into the situation. You never know, you may just change something. They may even make a film about it.