Thoughts On Packaging(and marking)

*     As a teacher I get through some 10-15 biro pens every year, all of which end up in landfill, are unpleasant to write with and produce unsatisfactory splodges of glutinous semi-dried ink. A recent government emphasis on ‘showing’ that I give feedback has meant that now all books are to be marked with two sentences; one for a positive comment and one for further steps. This of course ensures that I have around 180 sentences to handwrite each and every day – and sometimes 210.  As a dedicated professional I have always given detailed feedback to my students usually by speaking to them individually with smiles of encouragement for their efforts. It seems that it is easier to ‘assess ‘ my teaching through a quick glance at my books to ensure that I am ‘assessing’ properly ( this of course makes it much easier for an inspector/advisor to see at a glance, rather than have to dig deeper and watch carefully as well as listening to children’s thoughts and feelings). The children also use disposable handwriting pens and use some 3- 4 per year.

*     As children we were rewarded with being asked to purchase a fountain pen when our writing was deemed to be of a good standard. These were proudly purchased by our parents, often entailing a special trip to a pen shop and buying the best pen they could afford. Our pens were a thing of beauty and a prized possession, built to last for years and certainly not destined for landfill. As I seem destined to continue having to write for at least 2 hours a day I felt it was time to invest in that feeling again; thus I am now the proud owner of a fountain pen ( fine nib) with refillable plunger and green ink, I’m not sure that I could say that writing has been a delight, but it’s certainly a lot more bearable ! I just have to now convince my headteacher that the children need these too !

*     And speaking of things of beauty…….

Wooden hand-made tools

*     Look at these gorgeous handmade kitchen utensils my mother in law sent us from Canada; they were made by a gentleman as part of Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto, an open air museum. They are so beautiful, fashioned in hard wood, tactile and ergonomic, a far cry from what is available in most kitchen shops. They even stir better than their more modern style counterparts. Thank you so much CC’s ‘Mom’ ! We love them.

*   January has also seen us visiting two of our favourite places – Bowland for a very muddy ( ankle-deep !) walk around Nicky Nook and an overnight stay at the CB Inn with CC’s mum in Yorkshire.

We hiked to the top of Nicky Nook and enjoyed a very cold and wind-swept Coffee and Christmas Cake.


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*    Beautiful Bowland

*  The stunning Yorkshire Dales

Walk from the CB

The Dales

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*   On a more domestic note, and trying to reduce packaging I have been making my own granola bars, courtesy of another fantastic recipe from Gill Holcombe:

Recipe For Granola Bars

Makes 16

4oz butter

4oz golden or maple syrup

1/2 lb rolled oats

4oz dried apricots

4oz dried cranberries

4oz nuts

2oz desiccated coconut

2oz flax seed mix

1. Lightly grease and strip line a small tin ( 8 X 10 inch)

2. In a large saucepan melt the butter and syrup together.

3. Add all of your dry ingredients, mix well.

4. Press into your tin and bake at 170 C for around 30 minutes until they look golden.

5. Leave to cool in the tin ( thoroughly cool – don’t be tempted by taking them out early because you can’t wait to get at them; which of course I never do !)

6. Remove from tin and cut into squares.

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