Northern Rocks

So this is the second time I have written about my Northern Rocks 2015 experience. The first one I wrote last night got eaten by Word Press. Gutted! It took me over an hour to write so I hope I can write as well as I did last night!

Just after 7am me and the lovely Carole (@Carole_XLIX) set off across the Pennines towards my native West Yorkshire. I drove us in the warm rain to Leeds Met Beckett University and only took a couple of wrong turns around the streets of Leeds (I still hate driving in Leeds!) saw us arriving at about 8.20am. Not bad going.

We headed for registration and spotted the lovely Mary (@Mishwood1) and so had a very brief hello, as she was on registration duty! A quick cuppa once our lanyards were completed and we headed across campus to the gym.

The gym was the setting for the introductions from the fabulous @debrakidd and @emmaannhardy whose hard work was clearly paying off and then it was in to the first debate, where Mick Waters soon became my favourite person in the room, saying a lot of what I was thinking. My phone then decided to have a bad battery day (upgrade due in a matter of days so I am limping through!) so I had to be limited with my photos and tweeting from then on.
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My first workshop was by the fabulous head and deputy duo of @rkieran and @lizzie_h18 where leading with kindness and great approach to teaching shone through in their words and photos. Lovely to see SLT with a clear passion for what they do and not being afraid to do it in a less conventional manner. Lots of drama techniques could be seen and my favourite quote from Richard being “Leadership is the art of getting on”.

I then headed across the corridor to my second workshop, which had been tough to choose between as I also wanted to attend @musicmind ‘s iPad for SEN session. However, my inner child shone through and I was suddenly in a room filled with materials and lights for a session on den building. @cathy_cross and @janeh271 were in charge. It was lovely to meet Jane as we have been sharing daily photos as part of a project all year! This session involved den making using a wide range of materials from junk places and half of IKEA! Being a special school teacher I am a huge lover of IKEA for many fabulous sensory items. We shared a lovely time in our first 1 minute den and then split in to groups. I was rather impressed with our group’s den, entitled ‘The den of possibilities’ which involved a lot of white nets and twinkly lights! I know @literacycounts1 was one of my duo but never checked the name of my 3rd group member. Let me know if you are her!
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Dinnertime beckoned and I managed to catch up with the lovely @missaudsley for a chat over our free packed lunch! It also gave me the chance to meet @jordyjax (who looks nothing like her twitter pic!) and @cherrylkd as they ended up on the table next to us!

After dinner, it was a chance for me to have a blast from the past! My old uni lecturer, @johnnyrainer was working with 2 other teachers to present work they were researching in to using drama techniques to get in to more meaty aspects of science history and ethics. I found it really interesting and rekindled my love of drama, reminding me I am still doing things now but could do more. Nice to be recognised by John, some 13 years after graduation. I guess I haven’t changed as much as I thought!

For the final workshop of the day, I had hoped to hear @johntomsett but it was a full house by the time I had caught up with John and found the lecture halls! So instead I headed next door and listened to @MaryMyatt dispell some myths about Ofsted. A nice lady who actually mentioned special schools and the work they do, which makes a nice change to not be an after thought or not even thought about at all!

Then it was time to head back to the gym and a debate about Ofsted with their very own @HarfordSean and my union general secretary @MaryBoustedATL I love listening to Mary speak. I have also had the pleasure of 1:1 conversations with her while attending ATL conference a couple of times over the years. I love how passionate she is and how she has managed to have many difficult conversations with politicians and Ofsted alike.
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The final section of the day had a much lighter feel to it. The arts that so many teachers feel are being pushed out of the school day were strong in force with the beautiful voice of @RachelOrr with some added comedy ‘I should have marked last night’ went down a storm with the crowd.
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3 of the worst Yorkshire accents around were heard when Mick Waters, @Hywel_Roberts and @realdcameron took to the stage to perform and education based skit on the Python classic sketch. Then David gave us a fantastic Education DJ set where I’ll let you decide who you think ‘You say it best, when you say nothing at all’ was played for!
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The day was filled with enthusiastic people, lots of learning, lots of hugs as people met up with those people they had previously only seen on their mobile/tablet/computer screens and above all, a really positive feeling. I didn’t get to see all the people I wanted to, turns out I was sat in the same workshops as some of my lovely twitter friends, but didn’t know it till after the day (damn you phone!) but maybe next year eh?

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