Twitter for teachers: CPD

I just sent the text below as an email to all teachers at my school. I feel rather stupid doing it, like I’m blowing my own trumpet or whatever. I wonder if anyone will want to attend? May the farce be with me…


tweet tweet


Dear all,

I write a little nervously… #bearwith

During the year some of you have expressed an interest in how I use twitter and blogging. Those of you who have had the misfortune to endure my ICT induction session when you arrived at the school will have first-hand knowledge of my unshakable belief that twitter is the best CPD any teacher can have at any level. Why? From my experience it can connect you to teachers all over the world specialising in your subject or discussing teaching and learning and sharing their experiences. I have developed a genuinely valuable network of educators from all over the place. From headteachers to NQTs, professors to consultants, multinationals to entrepreneurs. Twitter is the great levelling playing field upon which many educators, just like you and me, can share and learn.

So, here I take my timid nature in hand, and, on Monday at 16:20, I will be presenting twitter for teachers as I see it (NB: this is not the definitive way because there are many mystical methods to this madness). Venue is ICT2 unless numbers require an alternative, which I very much doubt, but one or two of you might be interested. Please reply to let me know you are coming.

The aim of the session will be to give an overview of what I have done with twitter, answer your questions about twitter, and to try to unveil how you might get started with a twitter account. It is not compulsory. In fact I think we shall call it an unmeeting (I just made that up – it means you can say whatever you like whenever you like and decorum will be maintained by mutual trust).




Update: it seems unmeeting is not my creation…

Twitter for teachers: CPD

The Lazy Teacher comes to my school

Jim is on the right – obviously. Old iPhones are old.

Jim Smith was booked into our school by a Senior Teacher, Natalie Shaw. Another colleague (@cgasiorek) enjoyed participating in one of Jim Smith’s lazy teaching sessions last year. I read his book The Lazy Teacher over the summer. Packed full of good tips to lighten your workflow by engaging your teaching mind. Jim brings lots of classroom tricks to the table, not all new whizz-bangers, but all focused on putting pupil energy at the centre of learning. The tricks are clever ways of awakening the minds in the room. Find the pedagogy – the methods – that suit a particular bunch of learners and use them. I do not have his slides to reference from the whistle-stop tour of his content, but I really liked the ASDA reference he made, whereby you work out what you want the pupils to be doing before you work out what you – the teacher – are going to do. Content comes last, getting broken into the activities you have decided are going to work for that class at that time. Seems simple but it’s easy to forget as we drive hard through SOWs and POSs like they are bad weather.

We started with firework warnings: do not do the firework planning because the pupils won’t go off with a whizz, bang and crackle in a shower of coloured light. I thought of a colleague who was disappointed about a CSI style lesson he had spent all weekend prepping only to be met with a lesson that fell short of his expectations. I thought of my own attempts to build SOLO taxonomy into my lessons only to be left wondering why the pupils were not singing it’s praises. I thought lazy teaching has a got a point.

Other than Jim’s energy, I liked a bingo idea he mentioned toward the end. Give pupils a bingo sheet where they match different pedagogies – learning/thinking games/activities/stimulants – and call house when they get them all matched. What a neat trick for monitoring teaching and learning without the paperwork. Could there be a better tour of the school? A thumbnail sketch of what a pupil spends their time doing in lessons.

I’m not sure I liked all that Jim said. He talked about making yourself better than your colleagues with the aim of being the one teacher all those pupils remembered in years to come. If I understood this correctly, it’s not for me. I am a fan of variety in a school, for example, I don’t want all teachers using the same technology in every lesson. I am not bothered if some teachers never want to use it. We are all different and *vive la difference*.

Teachers seemed impressed with Jim’s INSET. Inspired. They saw the benefits of lazy teaching. [NB: it was fast and furious; it was twilight, after school on the first day back after half term]. However, I heard a couple of mentions of it making people *feel* like they were not good enough. Jim did not say anything of the sort – the opposite in fact. Nevertheless, take a very busy teacher working very hard and show them something that makes them feel like what they’re doing is not enough, and you’ve got a situation you have to handle – I know this all too well from delivering ICT INSET over the years. But the teachers I work with are great people! The effort and energy they have put into the Frog training we have done this year is immense. I wonder what everyone will make of lazy teaching. I wonder if some of the ideas will jump into tomorrow’s lessons or bleed into the daily fabric.

It is a leap of faith to start incorporating other peoples ideas into your workflow. You feel like you’re falling into the wilderness from your familiar routine. I am inspired by many teachers whose work I read about on their blogs. This takes time; I like to take ownership of a technique before I adopt it. But maybe this is me being too slow? I wrote this blogpost because Mark Anderson nudged me to. Maybe we need to find a way of nudging each other.

Bingo anyone?

The Lazy Teacher comes to my school

Creating Frog SOLO taxonomy rubrics

Frog training is here again! We have three sessions over the two opening INSET days and then fortnightly after-school directed time for the first half term. That is a total of nine hours training time.

There are a few questions I need to answer and this post addresses some of my thinking so far – your input is very welcome, be it to tweak what’s here or to start again.


  1. How to differentiate the training for every teacher?
  2. How to collate evidence of achievement?
  3. How do we best use the resources at our disposal?

1. Differentiation

My inclination is to use SOLO taxonomy as outlined here by Pam Hook and here on a handy MentorMob.

Here are my first attempt at the rubrics:

What do you think? Remember my aim is to make sense to the teachers participating in the training. An explanation of SOLO will accompany this rubric sheet. Comments welcome.

2. Collate evidence

The easiest way to exploit this opportunity may be to have a minimal expectation that each teacher screenshots everything they create and uploads that as evidence of their achievement to a Frog assignment. It might be better to ask them to paste all images into a presentation file and upload the single file. Obviously, the presentation file can be any they choose, and annotations and/or written comments are optional.

How would you feel if you were asked to do this by your school?

3. Resources

All training is delivered via instructional video as showcased here. We have seven ICT rooms and six Frog Champions. Last time each Champion was lead learner in one room, and each teacher logged into a pupil computer with the same training account. However, over the course of nine hours training, teachers will need to be at their own laptops. Since there is no WiFi in my school, and there are two separate physical domains, teachers can not use their laptops on the network anywhere other than at an allocated teacher network access point. So, is the best way forward:

A – lead learner Champion with teachers allocated to a pupil room (NB: a lot of their resources are already uploaded on Frog);


B – teachers go to their laptops (or teacher machine at front of each classroom) in their work areas (some communal, some private offices) and Champions float around the school discussing progress with their allocated learners.

I guess a blend of the two will emerge but we are most likely to start with model A because it is most effective to get people started working together. They might emerge into drop-in centres so individuals can choose their preferred working environment.


Your thoughts on all, or any aspect of this, are very welcome. Doing this stuff for all my colleagues always scares the marrow out of my bones.

  1. Is SOLO a good idea and are my rubrics ok?
  2. Is there a better way to collate evidence? Should we collate evidence of training achievements?
  3. Should we go for the classroom approach or let teachers learn independently in their own space?



Creating Frog SOLO taxonomy rubrics

Frog INSET: Rollout to all teachers

Frog arrives for St Benedict's teachers

This morning we ran a three hour INSET introducing all 82 teachers to Frog. Planning for this session may be read about here.  The video below shows the training materials developed to showcase Frog at the same time as providing learning guidance.

The training was a success with many compliments and positive feedback from our excellent staff. Much praise goes to our lead learner Frog Champions (six in total) who led one classroom each. But it wasn’t perfect…

Images of the resources used (click to enlarge, video at end of post shows more):

Section of the Frog Lesson Plan
Self-Evaluation and Feedback Form
Training website: A page of PDF resources
Training website: Example of video page

Successful things to note:

  • Videos were very well received;
  • Video annotations with arrows and text were important;
  • Sorting audio/headphones on all PCs was also important (all learners were silent and focused during training);
  • Keep the presentations to whole staff to a minimum – we did ten minute intro and fifteen minute plenary;
  • Differentiation was an absolute must – ours seemed to work well.
Things to improve upon:
  • Some of the resources were ordered incorrectly (d’oh!);
  • Some learners watched the video then did the activity rather than pausing. Clearer instruction required;
  • Some learners like badges (physical ones) and others do not;
  • Nearly all learners like mugs and lanyards are popular too;
  • Remember to set permissions on folders so learners do not accidentally move them;
  • More time; As a school staff we would have benefitted from more time to start creating resources and discussing how Frog will be used.

This is the first Frog INSET we will run. There is a planned dedicated session in September before it is launched with the pupils. Between now and then we will run workshops with staff wanting to achieve their aims for using the platform. But this was a big deal – first impressions count for a lot and I hope we have made a very positive impression on as many of our staff as we could. This was also my first time using Frog and it showed – a bit.


I would like to publicly thank the following who contributed in some way:

@frogtrade support staff (Edd! helped me via the support desk) – they were great – when we employed MoodleDo years ago, the relationship I developed after the bills were paid with Dan Humpherson was priceless – I get the feeling that similar support will happen with Frog (although Dan would fix any thing at any time as fast as he could possibly muster, far beyond the call of duty – he’s now working for the awesome and innovative Love Clean London);

Daniel Jennings who works for Frog;

Paul Benson, a Frog teacher/coordinator – just like me;

James Michie and David Didau for help clearing my head on learning objectives as discussed here;

Pete Lee, just left a Frog school for a new post but had some great ideas;

Steve Margetts, another Frog teacher/coordinator;

And, Frog Champion who looked over all the materials as fast as a text message could travel, David Brooks.

Overall, a good day. Positive. Result. There wasn’t enough time to discuss learning, but everyone was a learner for the day and seemed enthused by their new Frog.

Frog INSET: Rollout to all teachers

Frog: the first INSET day for all teachers

frog logo
Frog learning platform comes to Bennies

I have to prepare for our first Frog INSET day for 80+ teachers – 17/4/12.

I had an afternoon with our excellent Frog Champions to discuss the detail of the day. We got to here:

Time Duration Activity
0900 10 Intro and overview
0910 80 Breakout rooms for compulsory activities

  1. book a room
  2. upload file and multiple files
  3. create workspace
  4. if finished consult lesson plan
1030 15 Coffee
1045 50 Breakout rooms for differentiated activities.
Feedback forms
1135 25 Cloisters
Where have we got to and where do we go from here?
Frog Champions.
1200 30 Mass


You can see all the planning and prep work that needs to be done on this Google Doc. I shared it with all our Frog team at the school but they haven’t edited anything yet. My problem is I need to set differentiated learning activities but I also want to make sure I have created enough instructional videos to satisfy the questions of the most able.

The video list (some of these will overlap on the same video)


  • crystal menu
  • personal
  • subject resources
  • staffroom
  • front page
  • book ICT room
  • file upload including multiple files
  • quick issue work
  • create and use workspace

manage files and folders:

  • move files from subject drafts to subjects
  • bricks in workspaces
  • zip up folders, upload and unzip
  • web pages including bricks:


  • text and pictures
  • heading
  • columns
  • nested


  • scroll1
  • tabbed folder
  • collapsible container


  • rollover image
  • video
  • rss
  • gallery
  • flash
  • text and pictures revealed


  • web files
  • forum
  • thread
  • chat
  • blog


  • form
  • text
  • text box
  • check box
  • radio set
  • list
  • hidden
  • submit
  • form to diary
  • form file select
  • form results

Any experienced Froggers out there who might help me whittle this list down to a manageable size?

Frog: the first INSET day for all teachers