The reason that I’ve been silent on my blog recently, is that my writing-motivation (aka ‘bedtime reading’) slot has been filled by writing a few books for children. The aim was to create interesting stories for older children with low reading ages: high interest age/low reading age. I chose Doug Merlin (our two dogs!) as a pseudonym, and if you are intrigued, search it on Amazon. (Any profits go to charity- my favourite is Magic Heart).
Last November, I was able to share the groundbreaking Attenborough film “A life on our planet” via LiveStorm. I felt it was essential viewing, encapsulating the reality of the sustainability venture that all Oxygen House companies share. Since we showed the film, one question has arisen time and time again: just what can we personally do to help? Many people have said that their efforts feel insignificant against the scale of the global crisis.
Last time I blogged, I shared the story of Sideshore – how I was inspired to create a destination for watersports thanks to Exmouth’s perfect natural conditions. It wasn’t based on a whim either – I’ve been kitesurfing in Exmouth for years and have rarely found a day when it wasn’t superb. So, as the opening of Sideshore approached, and we were all plunged into lockdown earlier this year, I set myself a challenge: to kitesurf every day for 30 days.
I can’t remember exactly when the idea first came to me, but I know I’ve always hated how the road ran right along Exmouth seafront. It’s always seemed such a barrier to the beauty and potential of the beach and water beyond – and a logistical nightmare for families with young children. Then, in 2011, East Devon District Council published plans to regenerate part of the seafront. Various plans were put forward – and ultimately dismissed – but this sowed a seed of an idea in my head.
I’ve just read an outstanding book. Mark McCourt’s Teaching for Mastery is an excellent resource for maths education specialists. What’s so compelling about it is how clearly Mark understands the art of maths education. One part in particular struck a chord with me. He states that in order to convert to mixed ability classes from a setted structure, a school needs five or six years of commitment, forethought and funding to sufficiently develop their teacher’s mathematical pedagogy.
Naturally “compostable” materials have enjoyed a rather smug status for some time. We all know that single use disposables are bad news for the environment, both practically and, increasingly, ethically too. But name something “compostable” and our halo shines a little brighter, and we feel more comfortable with the idea of throwing away that coffee cup after use.
Writing down maths is imperative to learning
It turns out “writing down” maths is imperative to learning and retaining new techniques. Yet it’s a hard concept to incorporate into ed-tech based learning. In the end, we found an ingenious way to ensure students were taking the time to write down the stages of their answers.