New Year’s Resolutions

What a great idea! Also like the being kind to self motto:
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land among the stars.”
Is there life on Mars?

A Life less ordinary

As each year draws to a close the question on everyone’s lips is “what’s your New Year’s Resolution?” There is a list of answers that are often repeated year after year; getting fit, losing weight, quitting smoking. Some of these resolutions are broken faster than they were imagined up, so is it worth making a resolution at all?

Over the years I have made only a few resolutions. To start with, as a kid, I used to make up some unrealistic goals for the New Year. They would perhaps last a couple of weeks before I ended up breaking them and feeling really bad about it. There’s nothing worse than beating yourself up over failure at achieving goals you’ve set for yourself.

One resolution I kept making and breaking was to stop biting my nails. I was really bad for it as a kid and I used to make my…

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How to view your dyslexia in a positive light

All respect to jo crawford :))

When life gives you melons, you're probably dyslexic

I think its important to say why, because doing something without reasoning or understanding never really works. For a very long time I used to associate my dyslexia with a dark cloud of problems which would trip me up wherever I went. In return, this completely damaged my confidence because I felt I could do not right and would never be able to achieve anything. However, for about a year or so, I’ve become far happier and confident about myself and my future, because I’ve had a so called ‘epiphany’ about my dyslexia. The research for my film helped me feel far more at ease with who I was and how I worked, and it made me realise that I was not alone. If you cannot except a part of yourself, then you will never be able to feel and live a fabulous life. So, lets begin.

You should accept that your dyslexia will…

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We should all be a little more Danish

Those magic words we all long to hear: “Dyslexia is actually respected…” in Denmark. How wonderful… now for the UK :))

When life gives you melons, you're probably dyslexic

I came back from Denmark last week and thought I should share my experiences there. It turns out that the Danish education system is at least two or three steps ahead of us with their understanding of dyslexia, and it really is paying off.


Dyslexia is actually respected in Denmark. No one would question its existence or call a dyslexic person stupid – it is dealt with respect and sympathy. For once, no one would attack my need for extra-time or use of laptops in exams! My cousin is a teacher who specialises in dyslexia, because she is fascinated by the dyslexic brain and how important it is that we can properly support those with dyslexia. However, she did also mention that not all teachers have dyslexia training, as like in England, but she is adamant that it should be changed. Just the fact that people can understand dyslexia will make such a…

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Another education-system-struggle in the middle of summer

When life gives you melons, you're probably dyslexic

I’m going to have a rant on here because, well, I have nothing better to do with my time. Once again I have found myself knee-deep in a struggle with the education system. My exams went well and I have a place at university but my accommodation offer has managed to put a stop to my celebrations. Accommodation and dyslexia? I guess you’re quite confused, so I shall explain.

Here’s how it went; Wednesday morning I received my accommodation offer; a twin room which I hadn’t applied for. One too many frantic calls later and I’ve discovered that if I do not accept this, then I will lose my place at university. You’re probably thinking, ‘oh man up, lots of other people will have to share a room too!’ But it’s not that simple. You see – as a dyslexic, I find it incredibly difficult to filter noise and with…

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The Questions to Ask When The Kids Aren’t Reading

Excellent post on this topic, which is below my own musings

(lack of technical aptitude that they are out of sync, not anything else…)



audio books… at bedtime particularly… were revelatory for my son and reignited his love of stories, which led – if not immediately – to his return to reading. one thing i would like to see further research on is the impact of reading aloud in class on ‘love’ (or not)  of / and confidence in reading: if children think that ‘reading aloud’ is reading, no wonder some of them decide its not for them.
Apart from the embarrassment factor of doing something in front of others (on which they will all judge you), just how easy is it to ‘make meaning’ when reading aloud – in public? surely, for most children (and adults?) concentration is centred around each sound / word and not on the sentence: i.e. the meaning, the rhythmn, the emotions and ideas packed into each rich sentence..?


When it comes to many dyslexic people, we need to make meaning of something, so reading through something, mulling it over, asking ourselves / being asked questions about what the author was trying to say, whether its interesting / relevant / bogus or enlightening in some way takes a qualitative approach, measured in time, effort and much skill…


On a slightly different note, but still about learning, motivation, excitement.  nowadays, i teach reflection: critical reflection and reflective professional practice (there’s more than a ‘blogsworth’ in there). It leads me to wonder about how children are supported in writing reflective logs, about whether they want to use them for organic, authentic learning, where they can spill their innermost thoughts, ideas, queries, concerns – or whether they are only too aware that they are being monitored, graded in some way, making caution and duty the drivers instead?

How do we enable diverse learners / individuals to thrive, learn, explore, reach their full potential through such activities?  Perhaps we could learn ourselves from a model in which learners are honestly and openly urged to be truly ‘unruly’ in their learning processes and products (within obvious boundaries) – and be as creative or unusual / original in their thinking / planning / decision-making and in their ways of writing / capturing thoughts / making something that represents what they want to say, how and as they want?

What does that look, feel, sound like? what effects does such a model have on learners and their learning? How do we know?  What has changed recently in working towards this as a mainstream model? Should it? Would it be disastrous? How? Why? Questions, always questions: as in reading to make meaning…

Indeed, nothing we do is for ‘all’, everyone is and learns differently and for different reasons, which is why the multi-modal, multi-sensory approaches which are learner-centred rule for those with and without SpLDs

Happy Holidays!

All for all
Annie :)) (1).jpgI met my first book abandoner my very first year of teaching.  Yet, he was not your average run of the mill book abandoner.  No, he was the “look you straight in the eye and ask you what you are going to do about it” kind of abandoner.  So I did what I knew best; forced him to read the book and not allow him to abandon it.  And he did what he knew best; fake read for a good amount of time, skimmed a few pages, and failed the book report as well as the presentation.  Repeat with every book.  I don’t think he ever read anything beside Diary of A Wimpy Kid that year.

Everyone has these types of readers.  The ones that abandon because they hate to read.  The ones that abandon because they cannot find a great book.  The ones that abandon because they get bored…

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Great Picture Books to Use for Aha Moments

Passionate readers… wonderful!

One of of the main texts we use to guide our reading instruction is the amazing Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst.  This book provides us with the foundation for having deeper reading conversations and a common language as we develop our thoughts.  While the book has excellent text ideas to use as mentor texts, I thought it would be nice for my students  to use picture books on the very first day of a new strategy before we delve into the longer text excerpts.  I have therefore looked for picture books I could use with the different strategies and will publish posts as I have them for the 6 different strategies since I cannot be the only one looking for ideas.

The first post was on Contrast & Contradictions, so this week I am turning to Aha Moments.  These are the books my…

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#53 Ideas in Learning & Teaching – No. 32: Students don’t always learn from experience…

Reflection plus Experience = Experiential Learning??

  • What does Graham Gibbs say?
  • What does that mean?

How can we develop our learners’ critical reflection on, in and before they do something, so they are ‘mindful’, likely to learn from the experience and add that to their tool-kit?

So much more i could write, as spend much of my time trying to do this…

annie :))


Item 31 discussed the general cyclical process that all learners need to go through if they are to make the most of their experience, and learn from it. This item is about differences between learners in how they learn from experience (or do not learn).

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Autism and Processing Grief: Feelings Change

Thirty Days of Autism

This post is a follow-up to  and also a very late response to a comment left there. It was started long ago… but due to some things we are dealing with as a family now… it has become relevant to post…

I know now that H feels things more deeply and intensely than many people seem to do – so I have sometimes wondered if he needs to almost shut down or close off the feelings when they become too much.

I have observed that his feelings can be as strong as, and almost seem like an extension of, his heightened sensory system. When he listens to music – he can hear all the sounds at the same time. When he gets a new Lego set – he opens all of the little bags with the sorted pieces – and spreads all of them on the table. I’ve…

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Ladybugs: Autism, Empathy, and Processing Grief

Thirty Days of Autism

Ladybugs: Autism, Empathy and Processing Grief

As a parent of a child on the Autism spectrum and as a teacher I have a difficulty when others report that students with autism/Autistic children lack empathy. I try to correct this faulty judgment when I have the opportunity to do so, by explaining that there really is not lack of empathy, nor any absence of the ability to feel this. There may however be a different way of processing or expressing the feeling, and also a challenge with understanding the perspective and therefore the experience of others. This is fundamentally different from the judgment that an individual lacks the capacity for empathy.

My son H has recently begun to process grief. It hit him hard at age 10 when his Tutor and Caregiver Roberta’s dog was sick and dying. It hit him all at once. He did not seem…

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Yours, Mine and Ours: autism, self-advocacy, and setting limits

Setting Boundaries… always a great idea in theory, but how to make them fair, consistent, workable and person-centred in practice?

Thirty Days of Autism

I have been thinking about limits: the edges of ourselves… that place where we interface with the world. Our limits and where we set them are the control valves for our emotional, social, physical, cognitive, and sensory experience. These boundaries are the meeting place between ourselves, others, and the world around us, and they deserve our mindful attention.

I have been told I am patient with my child and with my students… that is because I use strategies to support them before I am at my limit. Let me explain…

As a parent I have often considered that with my own children it is important for me to set my limits, the place I draw the metaphorical line at a place different from, separate, and well before, my level of frustration. If the limits we convey to others are at the same place as the end of our level of…

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