Sunday, December 09, 2007

Horse play!

Scouts on a hiking expedition came across some horses in a field which seemed to want to join us on our walk!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tactile tools for learning

This lightbox is covered with sand and allows pupils to draw shapes, patterns and letters. It's very similar to my iPod Touch and Sketch app, except it doesn't email the pictures! Great for play in this particular primary school.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jamboree Dining Shelter

We've recently benefitted from equipment used at the enormous 44,000 big Jamboree camp that took place at Hylands Park in Chelmsford earlier this year. Here, pupils at Stepping Stones have erected a dining shelter for use at their next expedition.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Polyethylene Oxide - "tubeless siphon"

Last Friday, during our science session, we played with a Polyethylene oxide solution which was dyed pink. This experiment is called the "tubeless siphon" and is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid, probably because it doesn't obey the usual rules. It is used it to illustrate the strength of the hydrogen bonds.

Here's how it works.

Simply pour the solution from one beaker to another. As soon as it begins to pour, put the pouring beaker into an upright position, as if to stop pouring. You'll notice that the viscous solution continues to pour or siphons into the other beaker. Clever, huh?

Watch the video! (shot from my mobile phone)

Monday, November 19, 2007

MacBook Pro gets hard disk upgrade

Upgrading the internal hard disk in my MacBook Pro seems to be a bi-annual task these days. The demand for fast, large data storage continues to grow at a rapid pace. I've upgraded to the Hitachi 250gb, 5200rpm disk, opting for faster disk rather than more space, that comes with the 300gb 4200rpm model. Will the available storage capacity be double that of today, in six months time?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Duke of Edinburgh induction morning

great presentation on good practice when working with children who have special needs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mixed aged teaching

Classes 4 and 5 are researching famous people using the Internet in preparation for writing a biography. This class of mixed aged children have been grouped by ability and it is a wonderful example of how children in the future will no longer be grouped simply because they share a birthday in the same school year. Thinking about it now, it sounds like complete madness that grouping children by age is indeed sensible or helpful for learners, whom we know, learn at different rates. It was wonderful to observe the success of this initiative, and see children brimming with confidence amongst their peers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Train line is back in service for the first time in 12 years.

Max, who IS the most wonderful person in the world, helped me put my model railway back into service after 12 years of disuse. Everything was found exactly how it was left, and after some gentle encouragement, we managed to get some of the trains moving again. The whole track was built around the perimeter of the loft space in the family home, making it quite an experience for a little boy of 3 years.

Max had great fun playing with the toy cars which can be placed on a transporter, which took me back to how I had modelled this on my experience of using the French Motorail. One day, I might tell you the whole story of how our car ended up in a completely different place to us, the family, on holiday to the south of France.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friend's Reconnected

Internet now restored after troubleshooting another broadband problem. I'm amazed that what is quite a simple process is made tricky by manufacturers. Most routes configuration could be automatic, and a wizard need only request username and password. Working with Windows is a tribulation in itself as you dismiss notification after notification warming you that life will end in 60 seconds unless you scan for viruses. If it's so vital, i'd rather it just got on and done it. No wonder i'm busier than ever helping people through the nightmare.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Millennium Wheel at night.

Stepping Stones are in London again. This time at the National Theatre to see War Horse.

Friday, November 02, 2007

3rd Billericay Scouts on the driving range

Scouts from Orion Troop developed their golf swings this evening at The Belvedere Golf Club this evening. We had the son of a former champion give instruction. However, what was more interesting was the way the scouts helped each other. Those who knew gave advice to novices. The smart ones exchanged advice for more golf balls, clearly they're not lacking in ingenuity either.

Lesley at Bedales School gives a talk on bees and beekeeping.

Stepping Stones pupils listen intently to Lesley. This is an example of where small schools utilise local expert knowledge from the community. Pupils have been studying evolution and adaptation. It's a wonderful model of learning.

Monday, October 29, 2007

One man MOT test rig

Has a clever gadget for testing the front wheel bearings and steering column.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

iPod Touch and jailbreak

I've had my iPod Touch for just over a week and am completely taken by just how good the interface is. I think it's easy to completely miss how refined and usable it is, and how much engineering went in to making it really work. Thanks to ijailbreak mine now has a full suite of cool apps.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A shady character?

...or a big sombrero?

La Bayadere at the Royal Opera House

Stepping Stones pupils in London to watch the Ballet

New housing built right next to the Mi5 building...

... and built using the same design. It'll be a brave set of home owners who purchase one of these!

Video conferencing with pupils, parents and leaders in Little Cayman

We, the Cayman Ministry and I, invited parents and pupils, to learn more about connecting schools together on a global scale.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Max feeding squirrels in the park

At this time of year, squirrels are out gathering food before the winter.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rear view

M25. Junction 4.

Roadside rubbish

We were talking today about the amount of rubbish found on the central reservation of motorways. Odd shoes and reflective lumino jackets are in abundance on the M25.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sausage fest!

Stepping Stones pupils go camping in Frensham.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A secret box?

Driving around Grand Cayman in Gareth's little Mitsubishi car. I noticed a little pop out box on the dashboard. It says 'SECRET BOX' Next to it there is a 'MULTI BOX' and is exactly the same inside. Curious.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Baby Iguana

Little Cayman Beach Resort

View from the bar.

Beach Nuts Good Time Bar

Sitting here in the bar with a whole raft of drift wood above my head. This is how people leave their mark on the island when they visit.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Cayman beer - very refreshing after a long flight.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

BA flight to Grand Cayman this morning

I'm off to work with children on Little Cayman in an International project to connect them with Stepping Stones School.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Beautiful scenery though...

Could it be worse?

Let's hope it dries up a bit next week.

Wet and muddy

Our pupils will take part in a DofE hike next week. It's pretty wet out here as I walk the route to make sure it's all safe. I'm in the Cayman islands soon, I wonder if it's this wet there?!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Geocaching in Billericay

My scouty friend, Colin and I went Geocaching today. Essentially this requires the use of a GPS device to pinpoint the location of a box. One activity for our Scout Troop

Shouldn't this be red?

A telephone box in London.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Summit... the Old Man of Coniston

We reached the summit in atrocious weather conditions, wind and rain with visibility very short.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lake Windermere from the hotel room

Team Stepping Stones has arrived in preparation for the Total Objects challenge tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Steve Jobs talks of a new iPod, the iPod Touch

Sitting here at the BBC in London.

Apple Special Event, BBC, London

Arrived at Apple Special event. Lots of people in studio 1 waiting in anticipation. Video stream already working - phew. Will update you all when it starts at 6

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Off to New Zealand

Here is the Boeing 747 parked and being loaded.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cracker has her hull scrubbed

Rudi volunteered to do this very important job.

Happy Birthday Stephen

We are helping our skipper celebrate a birthday today. That probably means more drinking tonight.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Folly Inn

Here for dinner after a fantastic day of sailing.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Man up the mast

Quite often we need to send someone to the top of the mast for maintenance.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cowes Week has begun already

Skandia have laid on a great event once again.

World Jamboree Scouts descend on Billericay to complete community project

Some 40 boy and girl scouts participate in a community project. Nationalities include Brazilians Mexicans, Irish, Americans and Dutch.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Meals from my neighbours

Such a generous gift, and very tasty!

One of the fastest monohull yachts in the world, Leopard

It's not every day that you get to see a really fast yacht this close up. She was having her hull scrubbed ready for Cowes Week.

Friday, July 13, 2007