Its been a while.   Leave a comment

I have decided that my ideal job would be something where I could just read all day. Having a holiday, where my wife has had to go back to school as her Easter holiday and mine only partly overlaps,  has given me time to catch up on some reading. It also means that I can go back through certain favourited tweets from my PLN, and then of course up date my blog.

So a random selection of recent reading;-
A timely reminder from @DrDav regarding the now defunct National Strategy materials. These can be found on the national archive e-library among other places. Here is a link to pages with information on longer written answers and key questions in science.

Fave scientist

This  next one could be useful as starter materials when discussing scientists, the history of science, careers in science and whole mess of suggestions.  Its from the Nottingham Trent University and has links to a number of short videos of their scientists describing their favourite scientist, why they chose them and a summary of what they did.

Evidenced based policy making is something I have been talking about for a while as anyone who knows me will testify.  With recent articles by Ben Goldacre and with the seminal work by John Hattie (visible learning) being two more famous proponents.


This article is a useful starting point as it reviews the current thinking on the evidence behind some of the familiar revision strategies.  (These therefore are the ones that are likely to work and make a difference!)


The next one is for teachers themselves, its a good little article from the ever improving Guardian’s web-site’s  education section.  This one is advice on work like balance.



I recently read a book calling Making it all Work by David Allenwork, he is a self-help guru and has written a number of best -selling books which basically centre around getting into the habit of creating, referring to and using detailed “To do” lists.  this seems to work as well as anything and does help those of us with memories that are failing.  However he more importantly makes the point of greater relevance to teachers I fear, that for busy professionals there often is no separation between work and life, nor should there be.  For successful people they have a life, some of it involves doing work and some of it is doing things with our families, doing our hobbies, playing sport, DIY etc.  We often enjoy all parts of our life equally but just need to get it all done.  By including in your to do lists thing that are not just work it helps fit everything in.  My wife and friends will tell you that I live and breathe education and science so this kind of makes sense to me.




For a while I have been tinkering with SOLO. Structure of observed learning outcomes is a way of getting students to think about their learning and producing responses of increasing complexity.  This is a cute introductory video using my favourite toy; Lego.


That’s the first lot, there will be more.


Posted April 9, 2013 by agittner in Uncategorized

Just one more.   Leave a comment

I used the old one a lot for year 8 and 9 space. So its only right that I add the new version.

This is Eric Idle’s scientifically up dated Universe song

Posted January 27, 2013 by agittner in Uncategorized

Too Many to favourite   Leave a comment

In what has been an epic weekend for interesting articles, I find myself with 22 open tabs in Chrome with loads of articles that I have skimmed but need to follow up later. So I have decided to resurrect the blog instead of favoriting them. As much as I like favorites in Chrome or IE I often forget from the name why I actually saved the URL in the first place.
A really useful page full of really useful resources and thinking from the great @HThompson1982

An article on the “Teen Brain” part of my reading for a course I am delivering this week in London

Fascinating lecture on brain imaging (more background research)



Another interesting article from the always interesting @fullonlearning

One for later; always worth a listen but maybe not this weekend; Ken Robinson with more on creativity in the classroom

Whilst watching the Olympic cycling and hearing about the idea that the “Sum of marginal gains” has a collectively larger effect, I was struck about how this might be of use for schools. I wasn’t the only one!! and now there is a web-site to pull these ideas together.

A couple of articles about how to use marking effectively

One that speaks for itself; 10 Characteristics of effective learning environments

And finally an article from the Independent on how poor School League tables are as a predictive tool for future student success.

Posted January 27, 2013 by agittner in Uncategorized

Post 7; Tweet tweet tweet Twitter.   Leave a comment

This post is to promote Twitter.  If you are reading this blog its possible you are already one Twitter and that’s how you found it.  However I hope some people will find this blog in different ways.  Twitter is fast becoming the single most useful tool in social media for my professional career.  It is a great way of being alerted to and sharing all kinds of resources and information.  Need to know how to teach a topic, the safety issues on a practical, a worksheet for a lesson, the latest Gove announcement? Then get on Twitter.  Not convinced? Here’s a list of articles and guide to getting on line with Twitter. Only one of them is written by me.

Creative Education Guide to twitter.

Article in the ASE’s Education in Science.

Clever fiends guide to twitter.

With twitter the trick is to have a good balance of people you are following.  Think of it like subscribing to a number of newspapers and journals.  If you have a good range of reading you get to know about a good range of information.  Twitter is exactly the same so all three articles have lists of teachers and educationalists to follow. If by chance you want to follow me @agittner is my twitter username.  Remember to use hastags;

#ASEchat (is a good one for science education; the summaries can be found here)

#ukedchat (is another weekly chat on all things education)

Posted April 4, 2012 by agittner in Uncategorized

Post 6; Food webs.   Leave a comment

Another great interactive whiteboard resource and one I’ve used a lot.  The Gould League Food Web site has four different habitats where students can create a food web.  This makes a good plenary activity to reinforce key words such as consumer and producer etc.


Posted April 4, 2012 by agittner in Uncategorized

Post 5; Sorry its been a while   Leave a comment


 The Sellafield web site, that used to provide its resources on disk are now providing them on-line. A wide range of resources under its “Succeeding with Science,” that are suitable for a wide range of pupils and students of all ages.  As of this post I haven’t had chance to try them all out but I liked the chemistry ones for GCSE.  These ones in particular work well on an Interactive Whiteboard.


Posted April 4, 2012 by agittner in Uncategorized

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Post 4: From an ASE Teachmeet.   Leave a comment

For this week’s contribution I am grateful to James.  A couple of weeks ago we had a wonderful SciTeachMeet at Hallam’s Science Learning centre.  It was a great evening of shared expertise and ideas, and I left with a great to do list of things to investigate further.  I thought I knew all the best burning and blowing things up experiments but this was a new one on me.

Please note ” If you want to do this experiment you will need to do your own risk assessment.  As of the present moment I have not contacted CLEAPS to check the “official” guidance. Do this at your own risk”      There that’s the disclaimer out of the way.

Table tennis balls are made out of a pure hydrocarbon… when hydrocarbons burn completely they produce??? thats right carbon dioxide and water.  So when table-tennis balls burn they should burn away to nothing.  And who would have thought…thats exactly what they do. (all but a bit of ash which comes from the glue used to stick the two halves together, James tells me he has had a perfect ring of ash on a couple of occasions)

James with his flaming ball

The details;-

Wear safety goggles, couple of heat proof mats down, well ventilated room

 (the usual stuff)

Take a table tennis ball and make two holes in it (this is very very important, they explode otherwise, very dangerous if you don’t)

Jam your tongs into one of the holes and at arm’s length put it into the flame of a bunsen.

Be prepared to be amazed!!!

Posted December 4, 2011 by agittner in Uncategorized