not your average zoe

life, love and knitting

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5 little monkeys


My kids at school absolutely adore this video!  Thanks Pancake Manor! [@pancakemanor on twitter]



a 5 minute lesson plan for Primary Schools

After falling in love with the concept of the lesson plan that takes a mere 5 minute to complete (when you are teaching 3 sessions with multiple activities a day and each day seems to take you about an hour to plan) I thought I’d try one Zoestyle.

Admittedly the plan took me wa-hey longer than 5 minutes, but I reckon with regular use they really could be a speedy, responsive method to plan – as long as extra activities were added to the back and you kept adding and editing to suit you and your own style.



As you can tell – I love a good bit of colour coding – I’m a very visual learner!

Thanks to Ross who is the Champion of quality teaching, with minimal fuss!

Follow him on twitter – @teachertoolkit and let him know you saw it here first!


a month of random acts of kindness

Since Easter I have been trying to carry out as many random acts of kindness as I possibly could.  Small gestures that might make things a little better/lighter/happier/easier for other people.  Then I thought it might be nice to share them here as I always used to think they had to be grand gestures like all-expenses paid trips to Disneyland Florida for a dying child and their family of 5 which would be totally out of my reach.  Whilst those have their place, I’m hoping that you’ll appreciate that I’m trying to make these tokens of generosity a daily contribution to making my corner of society a nicer place to be.

My acts:

  • 3 doors held open for others
  • 10 cars let in front of me
  • 1 car park ticket passed on with 45 minutes left to run
  • countless smiles to strangers
  • a “thank you” to every cashier, barista and waiter/waitress
  • 2 charity shop bags donated
  • 1 session of listening to a worried teacher talking about an ambiguous lesson observation feedback session
  • 1 reassurance session that a different year group may be a new love for said teacher
  • 1 random buying of a lunch meal deal for the stranger behind me in the queue (the cashier was more confused than anyone else)
  • taken 2 bin liners of yarn from people who gave them to me unwanted, to knitting group (where they were devoured!)
  • 1 welcome to a newcomer at yoga who looked like they might leave before trying it out
  • 2 hours staying after school to sort out an unloved classroom in secret whilst the Reception Team panicked about the outside area prior to an interim Ofsted Inspection.
  • taken 14 read, reread, loved and unwanted magazines to the Dentist and Doctors waiting rooms so other people can read and enjoy them.
  • 1 convincing a child she is not naturally incapable, nor bad and that I believe in her ability to try
  • 12 threepence worth of advice given re teaching ideas and interviews via twitter and the @twinkl stream.
  • 2 bags of shopping carried to help a neighbour from her car to her house
  • 3 pieces of litter picked up from the street
  • 1 loan of a book to a friend
  • 1 share bag of crisps taken to a BBQ
  • 1 thank you card made and given to hosts of BBQ
  • 1 bunch of flowers for a friend who gave me invaluable help with a a complicated morale zapping form
  • 1 hug for a stranger who said no one ever hugged her anymore when stepson demanded cuddles from husband and I.  She cried.

Acts I have Received:

  • texts from my family checking I am ok, filled with love
  • a ball of yarn from my niece (4yrs old – and insistent that I had it).
  • husband waking me at 2 am to tell me I am beautiful.
  • mother-in-law buying me a bunch of orange Gerberas as “they are smile inducing like you”
  • stepson getting cross with mother-in-law when alluding to me not being a parent, “I’m hers ain’t I?” (I’ve been with husband since stepson was 4months old, and I wasn’t a homewrecker by the way – she left at 2 months pregnant…).
  • best friend telling me to come over for coffee after work, making me a cappuccino and a fresh choux pastry with whipped cream to celebrate seeing each other on a Monday.
  • husband taking photos of my favourite flowers in the garden because “they make you do the jumpy clappy smiley dance.”  True.
  • a child at school calling me “the best teaching in my life” (aged 4).
  • stepson making me a latte and adopting my nickname of “Captain Coffee”
  • Hobbycraft picking me to review their exclusive WI yarn on this here blog!!

I think there have been many more given and received, these are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head – but wow – what a wonderful life we live!

So what random act of kindness can you do today? Do let me know here in the comments, or tweet me with the username @noturaveragezoe

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target display idea for Infant schools

Ofsted like the small people to know what level they are, and what they are aiming for.

I’ve always found this a difficult thing to do as it’s quite a concept for 4-7 (and older) year olds to get their heads around.

Most children are love the colour coding of reading levels and know what they are aiming for there, it’s Literacy and Maths that thwarts them!

At an Infant school I visited recently they used these displays for maths which I loved using amazing for level “a”, brilliant for level “b”, and cool for level “c”, instead of 1a, 1b, 1c etc.  Next to each level is the criteria which the children have in their books and tick off when they achieve them – and when they get so excited about moving to the next star “I was cool, now I’m brilliant!”




What do you do for your targets?

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characteristics of learning display idea

Reception and Nursery teachers across the UK are aware that the current big theme for EYFS are the effective characteristics of learning – which to the laymen of us are basically an acknowledgement of the type of learner that the children are.  At a school I was at today they had a lovely way of displaying it – and the children put there own photos on to show what type of learner they think they are too.






I love that they are colour coded, and that the words are all there to be used by the adults.  This particular school has reward systems using dragon hops – so they have dragons, I reckon it could be adapted to school mascots, school attendance bears, class bears, class names (like squirrel or rabbit) etc.

How do you display it?

PS I did ask permission to photograph and publish, and made sure not to take any photos of children.