Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

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Some Problems with Topic Planning @imagineinquiry

This weekend there developed an interesting conversation on Twitter about the merits and drawbacks of planning using Topics. Several of those involved agreed to write blogs outlining and expanding their views on the subject. This is my contribution.

Topic Planning

Topic planning has been popular in primary schools since the early 1970s. Its proponents maintain it can create coherent study links across different subject areas. And there is no doubt, in the hands of an experienced teacher, planning methodically and systematically, it can be used to plan engaging and relevant activities for cross-curricular learning.

However, as an approach, it does have some significant drawbacks that can make it difficult to use well and sometimes result, when used badly, in ineffective learning experiences for students.

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How to cock up spending £150 million @ajjolley

By @ajjolley

My latest stream of consciousness blog on Free school meals

As i explained in my last blog, the recent announcement of £150 million towards infrastructure was all rather shambolic, it is the epitome of too little, too late.

This week the DfE released its plans for spending the £150m it says it doesn’t have, but will be spending anyway. The allocation of this money sheds even more light in the chaos going on with this policy, pointing to yet more incompetence and a total lack of understanding of what is needed.

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Guiding developing readers

By Chris Chivers

If you can read this, thank a teacher.  Attributed to Harry S Truman

In the wake of recent pronouncements on reading, it is a wonder just how children in the past learned to read, especially without rigorous tests to make sure that they were learning. A high quality reading curriculum has benefits across the whole curriculum, so deserves to be centre stage. It is often the prescribed, often narrowing approaches that get in the way.

I’ll admit at the outset that I’m not a fan of “fonix” being the only route to reading. It is an important component among many that contribute to accuracy. In and of itself, it does not develop fluency, nor enjoyment, nor meaning and comprehension, with children engaging in reading for pleasure, creating their own reading dynamic. It is a tool and like any tool, needs to be handled carefully at the right time.

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Guided Reading – Enjoy it

In The Twelve

Two things – firstly, this has nothing do with ICT, but I felt I wanted to blog about it as I love reading (and have done since I was a child) and the recent ukedchat discussion on guided reading made me more confident in what I am doing in my classroom.

Secondly, I agree with Michael Gove.

Wait, where are you going? COME BACK.

In 2011, Gove talked about the need to make reading a pleasurable, enjoyable experience. I agree with this. Reading is a wonderful thing; an activity that feeds the mind, nourishes creativity and allows imaginations to run wild. A life skill. Of course, the fundamentals of reading need to be in place, such as decoding of words and recognising and using punctuation, but now that I’m teaching a year 5 class, there are only one or two children who need support in this regard. The rest…

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Possible Topics for Weds 4/12/13

This week’s #primedchat is going to be… “Does guided reading work?”
We decided completely undemocratically, by show of ‘twitter hands’, but next week we’ll organise a proper vote.

Some reading:
– In The Twelve: “Guided Reading – Enjoy it”
– Chris Chivers – “If you can read this, thank a teacher”

This weeks possible topics for discussion were:

– Lesson observation
– New SEN codes of practice
– Preparing for the new Curriculum – esp how schools are approaching – projects/topics,some standalone subjects? Also CPD req to support NC
– Thoughts on the new History curriculum
– Generally something positive and uplifting!
– how do people using EYFS as a role model throughout school?
– Does guided reading work?

Please comment below if you have thoughts on these topics and others you would like to discuss in the future.

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After a short conversation on Twitter (as these things tend to happen) we decided  it would be interesting and worthwhile to start a primary education chat, (#PrimEdChat), to discuss issues in and around the subject of primary education. Not as a replacement for the already existing, very lively and interesting, EdChats that already happen throughout the week, but as a supplement, one that focuses intentionally on issues that concern educators involved in Early Year, Key Stage 1, and Key Stage 2.


– The conversation will be every Wednesday night between 8:00 and 9:00 PM.
– Please remember to use #PrimEdChat in each of your tweets, that way everyone will be able to follow the discussion.
– The topic of each Weds discussion will be decided by Monday morning and we will publish a post on PrimaryBlogging with a short introduction to the subject and links to relevant blogs and other reading etc. (if applicable).
– If you would like to suggest a topic for discussion, please tweet @primaryblogger1 using #PrimEdChat.

Please use the comments section below if you have any suggestions or remarks concerning the organisation of this discussion.

Although the conversation will be centred on the concerns of primary education, everyone is welcome to contribute. Our aim is to develop an open, respectful, and productive dialogue and to share experiences, strategies, and ideas that will help improve our professional practice and create successful and worthwhile outcomes for our students.