Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Another poem to try out…today? Tomorrow?

A Whale Got On My Bus

I was on a bus

and a whale got on.

The recorded announcement said:

‘Please move down the bus

so that there is room for passengers

getting on the bus.

Please move down the bus

so that there is room for passengers

getting on the bus.’

We moved down the bus

and the whale squeezed in

and the doors closed.

I was next to the whale,

it said,

‘Sorry, I’m dripping.’

‘No worries,’ I said,

‘same thing happens to me

when I’m wearing my waterproof coat.’

‘What this much?’ said the whale.

I didn’t want to make the whale feel bad

so I said,

‘Well, yes actually.’

‘Do people complain?’ the whale said.

And I lied,

I said,

‘Yes,’ when in actual fact no one

had ever complained.

‘I can’t see all the way round the back of me,’

the whale said, ‘could you look to see

if I’m dripping over everyone back there?’

‘Sure,’ I said and I looked.

People were getting showered.

‘There’s a bit of dripping going on,’ I said.

‘I knew it,’ said the whale.

‘Do you have a towel on you?’

‘No,’ I said, ‘I don’t usually carry a towel around.’

‘Well,’ said the whale, ‘isn’t that typical!’

‘Is it?’ I said.

‘You get on a bus, you’re dripping wet

you ask for a bit of help, a bit of sympathy

and all you get is nastiness.

What is it with people, these days?’

‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘I just don’t have a towel.’

And then it all went quiet.

It was all a bit tense.


All you could hear was a

dripping sound.

Drip, drip, drip,drip...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Poem to try out in school tomorrow? (or today even)

Card trick without cards

He said:

I can do card tricks without cards.

I said:


He said:

Pick a card.

I said:


He said:

Have you done it?

I said:


He said:

Put it back in the pack.

I said:


He said:

I’m shuffling the pack.

I said:


He said:

Is it this one?

I said:

Which one?

He said:

This one.

I said:

But you haven’t said which one it is.

He said:

I told you, I haven’t got a pack.

I said:

Right, I get you. Yes, it is that one. You picked the right one.

He said,

I know.

I said:

I can do writing without words.

He said:


I said:

Here’s what I wrote.

He said:


I said:

Glad you like it.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Roland Rance on the two-state solution of Israel

" Those who continue to advocate a "two-state solution" in Palestine, and who still maintain, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Israel might at some time relinquish control over the territories it occupied in 1967, must be wilfully closing their eyes to reality. They are ignoring the way in which the 1967-occupied territories are thoroughly integrated into Israel, and in which today the Occupation IS Israel.
Israel existed for just nineteen years within the Green Line, the pre-1967 border to which these fantasists believe Israel should withdraw. It has existed for 47 years with its expanded borders; it has been forced to disgorge the Sinai peninsula to Egypt, and part of the Golan Heights to Syria, but neither of these areas forms part of Palestine.
It was a salutary moment when, one day in 1984, I saw posters going up in Jerusalem regarding the conscription to Israel's army of kids born in June 1967. I realised that a whole generation had grown up, which had spent its entire life in "Greater Israel", and for whom tales of the state's pre-67 life were as remote as tales of the Attlee government are to me. By now, we are reaching the time when the first grandchildren of this 1967 generation will reach conscription age. Three generations living in the bizarre dichotomy of a state that purports to be democratic for its citizens, while maintaining military rule over millions of its subjects; but which is, in reality, one apartheid regime in the whole of Palestine.
No repartition of Palestine, no "two-state" stitch-up, no continuation of the unequal status of more than a million Palestinian citizens of Israel and the exile of millions of Palestinians, can possibly lead to a just and sustainable resolution of this conflict. Those concerned for the future welfare of Israelis, no less than those concerned for a just future for Palestinians, must join in the struggle for the abolition of political Zionism, and for a common future, in one democratic entity, for all of Palestine's current residents and exiles."
by Roland Rance

Teacher (on Facebook) comments on exam regime

"I'm a primary school teacher, a parent and a child of the 80s Thatcher education.
I've seen with my own eyes how schools have changed for the worst. I've been battered by a system, I refuse to bow down to. I've watched children drilled for exams, in tears with their confidence in tatters as early as 7; children that are unable to develop the stamina to read whole texts as they're force fed 'extracts' which meet some assessment focus somewhere; children that are merely dots on a graph expected to move in a linear fashion towards a meaningless one dimensional exam that teaches them no self worth or life skills.
I've watched my own children suffer the same, and eagerly wait for the day that they leave and have hopefully survived the 'education' system that is imposed upon them, rather geared towards them as whole human beings.
It's a sad, sad tragedy. I remain in my job to fight it. To give richness, creativity, opportunity, thinking skills, resilience and self confidence that will provide that love of learning that our system sadly now overlooks.
There are some schools and teachers that still do it but we are fighting a battle and a tide that is becoming harder and harder and to be quite frank, it frightens me."

"Good Ideas" in 7 tweets

You can't learn a fact without learning a way how to learn. You can't learn how to learn without learning a fact. Indivisible.

While reading a story, a child asks a question. Adult and child talk. Child learns that reading can lead to interpretation.

 Child and adult on bus. Child asks question. Adult says, let's look that up when we get home. Child learns how and where.

Child collects some things. Child sorts into categories. Child learns how to compare and classify.

Child browses in library. Chooses. Finds one book good, one bad. Child learns about texts which offer interest or not.

Child is in a club or activity. Compares the club leader or instructor with teacher at school. Child compares teaching and learning methods.

Child makes something. Collapses. No talk of 'failure'. Discuss why. Child tries again. It works. Discuss why.

"Good Ideas, how to be your child's (and your own) best teacher" (John Murray) publ Sept 11

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

How 'we' 'solve' world problems

1. Someone 'abroad' does something horrible.
2. Our politicians explain that they are monsters and not doing things in a British way.
3. We start bombing.
4. We kill loads of people.
5. Someone 'abroad' does something horrible.
6. Our politicians explain that they are monsters and not doing things in a British way.
7. We start bombing.
8. We kill loads of people.
9. Someone 'abroad' does something horrible.
10. Our politicians explain that they are monsters and not doing things in a British way….

Tory Britain: Polly Toynbee visits Cameron's constituency

This comes from Polly Toynbee's article in yesterday's Guardian

"I just visited his Witney constituency – a safer seat is hard to find. Yet when you lift the yellow Cotswold paving stones, even there you find the depredations of his government biting deeply. The local housing association can’t find smaller properties for its 252 residents hit by the bedroom tax: 47% are in arrears. The local domestic violence service is losing its helpline and 40% of its funds, though Cameron publicly promised to “get a grip” on the issue. I spoke to a Ukip council candidate who has been hit by the bedroom tax: he has a spare room now his invalid wife has died.

The Witney food bank is crammed in a tiny garage on the edge of town, because nowhere in this rich town, not even a church, will house it, yet demand is high. Julie, who runs it, cried when a man came in with four bags of food in repayment for feeding him, now the Department for Work and Pensions had finally sent his money. Cameron visited once, but brought nothing, says Duncan Enright, councillor and Labour candidate here, a man who devotes himself selflessly to local campaigns in this deep blue zone. He found a man and his son sleeping locally in a tent for weeks recently. Wages are low, he says, and housing impossible.

Even here, in this rustic idyll, there are people struggling and Tory voters can see it too, with day-centre charges soaring and service cuts growing. But the Tory party is swimming out to sea on a tide of Euromania, in the grip of a nihilist ideology. Only disconnect from Europe and all will be well – that doesn’t sound likely to connect with most voters’ lives."