365 days in my shoes Day 31


WE do not choose our friends.

They choose us.

Fab Friends!!!

What is a friend?

What makes a friend?

Why are you chosen to be a friend?

Different kinds of friend? Real and virtual?

Am I a good friend?

I really want to be a fab friend.

I want to be that one person to make someone’s day.

I always want to be there when I know that is impossible.

I want to be something special in someone’s life and not mess (f**k) it up.

I want our friendship to mean something. Sounds superficial, but if you really have got under my skin, you will understand.

I will shed the skin of the cocoon and emerge as the butterfly, bright, vivacious and sORRing high.


Last night I hooked up with an old school friend, Bradley.
We have known each other since we were 4 years old.

And, oh, WHAT a night!!!

When we left school at 18 we all seemed to go our different ways. University, college, jobs etc…

20 years after leaving school Bradley added me as a friend on Facebook. The phone rang on THAT NIGHT and we picked up a conversation as though it were the day we left school. Quite amazing. We started at 9pm and I put the phone down well after 2am.
We’d arranged to go out when he next came up north to visit his parents. This would be the first time we had seen each other in 20 years. Quite a scary moment. The night out turned in to attending an engagement party. We danced like no one was watching.

At 4am we finally kicked off our dancing shoes!!! A fabulous night out.

We live over 300 miles apart so seeing each other is not often. However, when the phone rings we pick up the conversation as though it were only the day before.

This was an incredible turning point in our relationship.

It became so very strong. We knew how much our friendship meant to each other. How much we relied on each other. How much we loved each other as fab friends do.

This was the real start of our amazing friendship. One that cannot be broken by anyone at all because we know ourselves so well.

Whenever I can, I nip down south to visit and spend a week in London. We often catch up with a show. It was Bradley who introduced me to the stage show of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I have the pink feather boa to prove it!!! One of the best scenes is on top of the bus when the diva sings Sempre Libera from La Traviata. Apt!

When I moved home last August, Bradley sent me the most amazing card. Those who read my blog and tweets will know how important it is being part of the card revolution.
You couldn’t really get mORR personal!

Tonight we caught up with each other over dinner.


It amuses me when people say they have hundreds of friends on Facebook etc… and yet for me, the test of true friendship is simply being there when needed, picking up where you left off, non-judgemental and true.


We share conversations with each other we know we could never have with anyone else. They can be the good, the bad and the ugly. We know we can say anything and open our hearts and empty our brains.
I know I can let my guard down and shed my skin so that by the time we have exhORRsted our chat the butterfly emerges from the cocoon.

Bradley is totally real. We have shed tears, drunk wine, shared many personal accounts etc… We are at one with other.

We have this ability with each other to pick up where we left off, no matter how much time has elapsed.

We are truly at ease with each other. We know we can pick up the phone at any point and simply be. This friendship is something special.

It’s lasted over 40 years.

The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends.
A relationship between friends.
amity – fellowship – companionship – comradeship

Our friendship is so much mORR than this.

Bradley is the real, live, living and breathing friend. I can hold him in mORR than my heart.

AND THEN……. You have the other types of friend which cannot be discounted.

These friends are mORR than acquaintances.

There are those who are friends simply because we have known each other a long time. Perhaps we went to school together, worked together, send Christmas cards once a year, wish each other happy birthday etc… We may not be gushy with each other but we acknowledge there is a friendship as opposed to simply being acquaintances.

What about friends in the ‘virtual world’?

I suppose we probably have many so-called twitter friends all over the world. We share experiences and opportunities and make connections. We may even let them in on our private an inner most thoughts as we feel they are just a voice.

Twitter (my male muse – although @kevbartle will disagree on this and to him twitter is a she) is full of many walks of life. There will be hundreds of people I have not met, do not know and will never ever know. The same is not true for Facebook. I profess only to have those added as friends whom I have met and they tend to be friends from school and family life. Very separate from my working professional world.

However, there are one or two very special twitter friends who have tweeted into my life, dug a bit mORR to find out how I tick, wanted to know mORR, engaged in conversation and pop up on a daily basis.

There’s the friend who wants to check on you, make sure you are ok; you know that perhaps they want a bit mORR of you than just a friend but know it’s not possible, but they would never leave you out on a limb.

I have a twitter friend who does check upon me at the start of the day whilst driving to school. It’s a hands free moment when they make you feel special because you are thought about first thing in the mORRning.

Then, finally, but certainly not the least, there is the guardian angel friendship. Sometimes this friendship can feel so intangible. Sounds rather tautological to express it in such a fashion.

The guardian angel friend goes deep. They are in on my inner most thoughts. My guard is truly down. Quite apt to be the first syllable in guardian. I no longer need to keep my guard up because it is within the hands of this angel. They can second guess what I am thinking. They know just when to ask the burning question. They know when I am not myself.
This friendship is quite different and very powerful. Perhaps this is the friendship where I want it to be mORR but know that’s impossible.
Everyone needs a guardian angel friendship. I love mine. It is there just when I need it to be. It is special. It is unique. I’d like to think it is truly one that is unconditional.

Friendships built upon love, trust, passion are keepers. These friendships allow me to be me. I am what I am.

365 days in my shoes Day 30


I keep promising myself I will keep a log of amusing things children say or write and I never do.

The other day was full of corkers.

I was undertaking a book scrutiny of writing across the school focusing on standards but also monitoring against our assessment and marking policy.
We use WALT and Success Criteria in all subjects. As I turned over a page I noticed the WALT at the top of the page read, ‘Same as yesterday’. Once I had looked at the previous page and realised the work was a continuation of the previous day’s lesson, I imagined the child asking the teacher, ‘What’s the WALT?’ and the teacher replying, ‘Same as yesterday.’ Really made me smile – also made me wonder whether that child really understood what they were learning, too!

The writing at the start of 2013 was riddled with recounts of Christmas and lists of presents. One little chap had written, ‘My bestest present was a penis case full of peniss and rubbas.’


As I passed the hall a class were heading back after a PE lesson. The majority were quite red-faced and one little girl commented, ‘My hair’s dripping wet. So wet me nits have drownded!’


And finally, one from the teacher!!!

The lesson was an English lesson and the conversation centred on diseases. The teacher was explaining how today’s modern medicines and science had wiped out many diseases such as plague, cholera, diphtheria, cowpox and smallpox. The class were fascinated by the topic and the questions flowed. Links were made to the past and how many children suffered these diseases and the fact mortality was high. In summing up the teacher said to the class, ‘So those of you with small cocks would have died.’


I had to leave the room!

365 days in my shoes Day 29


What a blast Sunday night!!!

Huge thanks to @TeacherToolkit, @headguruteacher and @kevbartle for chats and tips about managing the evening – really appreciated it chaps.

I had such fun hosting @SLTchat   #SLTchat  on Sunday 27th January 2013.


Tips for hosting:-

Some of these are tips from other hosts as well as those I picked up on the hoof.

Once you have received the docs from @TeacherToolkit you can begin to tweet for ideas for questions as well as submitting questions for debate yourself.

@kevbartle suggested blogging and tweeting about certain topics – hence my blog about ensuring data is rigorous, robust and accurate. Without this, ORRganising intervention is futile.



Once the poll is live, tweet it from the @SLTchat several times during the day and the Saturday/Sunday before the live chat to get the poll reaching as many followers as possible. You can RT from your own account too.

@TeacherToolkit suggested I set up tweetdeck or twitterfall with 3 columns – one for the @SLTchat timeline, one for the hash tag #SLTchat and one for the @mentions. I used my iPad and iPhone to tweet as myself – not that there was much time for that.


The voting stops at 7pm and then the results are in. This week was incredibly close for the second place topic.

Quite amazing that there were 758 votes!!!

Once I knew the two top topics (and you can begin to hazard a strong guess beforehand) I had tweets and questions I wanted to contribute as myself but knew there wouldn’t be time to type them live – SO……………… I created the tweets and saved them on my @RachelOrr account as drafts. This made it easier to have that page open on iPhone and simply drop in a tweet when appropriate.

I don’t think I have ever typed as fast ORR read and RTd so quickly – mad half hour but it’s ORRsome to do. Keeping an eye on the clock too is a must – where did the time go?

I felt quite humbled by the comments before and after the chat. Just goes to show how supportive an international network we have in twitter. (still a man in my book!)

The evening would not be complete without my signature heels. Purple and sparkle an absolute must. Best foot forward and time to walk the talk!


It’s multitasking to a tee – even had the assistance of my G&T friend, GORRdon who enabled me to ‘work’ hands free!!!


There’s tea, there’s T and there’s G&T!!!

Once it’s all over, the tweets still pour in and you get time to read the ones you missed.

Finally, it’s collating the tweets through storify and posting the link. Here it is!


I’d love to do it again sometime.

Follow @SLTchat and the hash tag #SLTchat and join the debate to change and shape learning.

365 days in my shoes Day 28


Slight MONdayRIAN look about today’s footwear!!!



It’s another Monday!!!

It’s time to be ORRsome once again.

What has been the highlight of your weekend?

I’ve had an ORRful lot mORR snow.

I moved in the summer hols to be closer to my parents and act as general carer.

My Dad is 87 and he popped outside to help shift the enORRmous mound of snow from our private cORRtyard parking area.

I had already been shovelling for around an hour when he appeared.

My scotch on the rocks was chilling in a snow/ice heap!!!


Not only is my Dad my highlight of the weekend, he’s my highlight of every day!

We shovelled snow, we chatted. we hugged, we drank single malt from the same glass, we were together. Love my Dad. (Love Mum too – so much!)

I am thankful for every moment we have together.


I love the start of the week.

It’s MY DAY – Mon day!

Monday 1

Isn’t it wonderful!!!

Today is what you make it, what you want it to be!!!!

I make it MINE!!!!! ALL MINE!!!!

It’s an amazing day because it’s mine. I will make sure I make the most of every second.


It’s important to make the most of every day!

Here it is again, that one day of the week the whole world hates. ….MONDAY ……The energy, or lack of, is palpable. Everyone is tired and cranky, in a rush and usually late. Things always seem to go wrong on Monday mornings when you’re trying to get organised.

Songs are written about it.  The Boomtown Rats, The Mamas and Papas, The Bangles… and there are so many others.

Let’s make Monday special.

It’s a mORR amazing MONDAY!!!

Monday 2monday-and-coffee1

Monday 3

I believe in Mondays.

I love Mondays.

I love Monday TWEETS!

It’s a mORR Mozart Monday too!!!!! (@timlihoreau @Classicfm)

Mondays belong to me!

It’s MON DAY = MY DAY!!!

Love Mondays. Be thankful for Mondays as you know you have made it through the weekend!!!

MONDAY MONDAY Mamas and Papas – for those who love Mums and Dads!


365 days in my shoes Day 48



We found that our boys have been particularly hooked onto writing through the topic of dragons.

Evidence of Dragons – a collection of dragon poems



Pie has a complete collection of these books for different ages throughout the school. They are amazing for storytelling. without being able to share stories, retell stories and learn how to tell a story, we can not expect children to be writers.

Harry Potter
The scenes from Harry Potter using dragons provide amazing ideas for description aout dragons, the power of dragons and so much more.

How to train your dragon – more fabulous ways of hooking the writer.

We are always trying to move writing on for our boys and finding new ways of hooking them. Following a training day with Pie Corbett on developing non-fiction writing, DRAGONS has certainly been that hook.

Pie shared some amazing resources.


There are some amazing video clips out there to add extra excitement to hooking the writer.

These are fab vid clips of dragon sightings!

Can you imagine children making their own videos like this! Fabulous!




Work on dragons













365 days in my shoes Day 27


Recent posts have included some ideas for maths.

I’d like to share further maths ideas and resources. All can be downloaded from TES.

When my staff are planning, I insist that any planning is always for the teacher. It has to make sense to the teacher and be of value to the teacher.

Planning is not for me. Nor is it for any external agency. Planning is for the teacher. A tool to organise what is to be taught, learned and how it will happen.

I have always found it hard to follow someone else’s planning whenever I have been covering lessons. I’d much rather be given a set of learning aims than a series of tasks.

Having said that, I still feel it is important to know a series of lessons can be planned thoroughly and be focused upon learning, reflecting, evaluating and targeting progress and improvement.

I drafted maths planning grids for TES when the National Strategy for maths first came to the fore.

Below are links to these documents which are outline plans for every year group, block/unit. Each plan encompasses 2 weeks and shows key vocabulary and prior learning.

They do not indicate activities as this is not possible for any generic plan.

It is important that teachers focus upon the learning first and then how they are going to enable that learning to happen.

Too often activities can get in the way of learning and teachers can be too focused upon the task rather than what it is they want children to learn.

When giving feedback after lesson obs, I always focus upon what I want the children to:-
be able to do
apply etc…. and THEN how I am going to make that happen.

Feel free to use the plans, adopt, adapt, tweak and make your own. Planning is for you and no-one else!

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

I’m special mini blog

I love my life and I love those who are part of my life.


I am special and don’t let anyone ever let you fORRget that!!!

We are all unique.

We are all individuals.

We are all ourselves.

We all need to be ourselves and to be enough.


We can often get embroiled in comments where we feel less than we should be.

No-one can let us be that.