Tag Archives: ks2

State of play (stop the world…)

I’m tired. I’ve had two nights of parents evenings (both full, no gaps) and my daughters birthday yesterday. It’s more than that though. I’m not quite sure how to explain it other than a mental malaise. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love my children (both the ones I teach and the ones I sired), I enjoy teaching and work in a great school full of happy people. My two little ones are well behaved, cheeky and full of energy and love. But… I’m tired.

I wondered if it might be the March of time. As I trudge wearily to my eternal resting place (let’s face it, I’m more likely to be heading down than up), adding more mileage each year, burning both ends of my candle, is it all catching up? I don’t think so. I’m only in my thirties.

Winter then? Waking up and heading to work in the dark. Finishing work and heading home – in the dark. Cold, rain, wind and more cold. I don’t think that’s it either though. I love the winter. I love my winter clothes (that long herringbone trench coat, my scarf collection and my wonderful flat caps), I love the Christmas period and the dark ales that are around at this time of year. So no, definitely not the season.

Too much work? Too many hours? Again, probably not. My job, boss, class, school and staff are amazing. I love coming to work and even the marking has recently become an enjoyable thing. Some of the writing my kids are doing is fantastic, the maths is moving along nicely and the other subjects happen in the afternoon when I do my assistant head bits and bobs. So nope, not work.

What then? Why then? How then?

It hit me yesterday. Trump. Well, Trump and Brexit. More than that I suppose. People. People are stupid. We are becoming a world of idiots run by idiots.

I’m off to pack now and move to a cabin in the woods. Give me a call when we come to our senses.

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The art of the quote

A good quote can be so many things. When I was younger it could mean the difference between a grade in an English literacy test, a better percentage in my sociology course work and, most important of all, it could really make my friends laugh. I may not write coursework or do tests anymore but the art of the quote still lives on.
She's your queen to be
This weeks blog is inspired by a friend of mine who placed a quote from Coming to America on Facebook. The response was huge and I partook with a big smile on my face. “I was Joan of Arc in a former life.” This may not be the most famous quote from the film but those who know the film well (I used to watch it once every other day over one summer while my friend and I stole his parents Cointreau and filled up the bottle with squash, hoping they wouldn’t notice) know it. I still reckon I could say about half the lines before the Mr Murphy and Mr Hall.
mam name him clay, i'm a call him clay
Facebook though has changed the rules a bit. No longer do you have to rely on your brain for a quote, you can research it. Here’s my mini guide for quoting Facebook style.
1) Try and remember the quote and respond quickly. If it has a small flaw in the repeating of the line then it seems more organic.
2) If you do have to research it then add a small mistake. See second line of number 1.
3) Make sure the quote you use is from the same film. Nothing worse than being ridiculed in cyberspace.
4) Don’t include the character name at the start. If the quote is good then people should know.
5) Not too big. If the quote is too long then it is a dead giveaway. You may as well leave the hyperlinks in.
i assumed you had sex with your bathers
Quotes don’t need to be famous though. A friend of mine was exceeding drunk at a party. He decided to run for the door, presumably to throw up, whilst shouting, “abandon ship.” The quote was used more than once. Private quotes can be great fun but can also exclude many. If I were to write, “swinging from a tree!” Then it would mean a great deal to few people and nothing to most. The private club can be great fun but needs a have to be there pass.
I have never tried to pass a quite off as my own knowingly. I will always state my source (csi quote there) so people don’t think I’m smarter than I am. The problem I have is that there are times when I don’t even realise I’m quoting, times when I’ve said what I’m saying so many times that the origin of it is lost somewhere. This can be highly embarrassing when you get called on it. I do however have some favourite quotes. Some are funny, some witty and some odd. Here’s my top five.
Live forever or die in the attempt.
1) “Live forever or die in the attempt.”
-Yossarian – Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.
I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day
2) “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”
-Frank Sinatra
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
3) “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
-Oscar Wilde
My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
4) “My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.”
-Michael Corleone – The Godfather
every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.
5)”How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?”
-Homer – The Simpsons
There are so many that I could have done a top 50. I would love to hear any you think I have overlooked.
squidge andrew thomas
I hope that one day, when I am a famous author, I might find my own words quoted somewhere. Maybe.
Enjoy your weekend.
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Diamond Jubilee Quiz answers

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Hope you enjoyed the flotilla thingy, even though it was wet and cold. Her Royal Queenyness seemed pleased.

As promised, here are the answers.

1.What is the Queen’s full name? ​Elizabeth Alexandra Mary WINDSOR
2. Who is the Queen’s husband? ​​Prince Phillip, duke of Edinburgh
3. How old is Queen? ​​​​86
4. Who are the Queen’s parents? ​​King George VI , Elizabeth
5. What is the name of the Queen’s Sister? Princess Margaret
6. What year did Queen Elizabeth get married? 1947
7. How many children does Queen Elizabeth have? ​4
8. How many Grandchildren does the Queen have?​8
9. What are the names of the Queen’s children? Charles, Anne, Andrew & Edward
10. Can you order the Queen’s children starting with eldest to the oldest?
Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew & Prince Edward
11. What breed of pet dogs is the Queen known for? ​Corgi’s
12. What year did Princess Elizabeth become queen? 6th February 1952
13. Who is the heir to the throne? ​​Prince Charles
14. Can you name any four of the queen’s Grandchildren?
Peter, Zara, William, Harry, Beatrice, Eugenie, Louise, James
15. What is the Diamond Jubilee a celebration of? 60 years reign?
16. What is the Queen’s well known residence? Buckingham Palace
17. What film did the Queen appear in? None
18. What is the first line of the National Anthem?
God save our gracious Queen
19. What does HRH mean? Her Royal Highness
20. 20. What material represents 60 years?
A Diamond

I would love to know how you got on. Enjoy the rest of your extra long weekend.

Lovely jublee

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Diamond Jubilee Quiz

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So what are you doing for the Queens Diamond Jubilee? Down the pub? BBQ? Street party? Nothing?

As a teacher of 10 year olds I learn more about current events and nationwide celebrations than I ever did as a civilian. Having fun with the kids while trying to trick them into learning is the key. So with that in mind ,here is my Diamond Jubilee quiz. It’s all about the Queen (of course) and her 6 decade rule of these fantastic shores.

How British are you feeling?

1. What is the Queen’s full name? ​
2. Who is the Queen’s husband? ​​
3. How old is Queen? ​​​​
4. Who are the Queen’s parents? ​​
5. What is the name of the Queen’s Sister?
6. What year did Queen Elizabeth get married?
7. How many children does Queen Elizabeth have? ​
8. How many Grandchildren does the Queen have?​
9. What are the names of the Queen’s children?
10. Can you order the Queen’s children starting with the eldest?
11. What breed of pet dogs is the Queen known for?
12. What year did Princess Elizabeth become queen?
13. Who is the heir to the throne? ​​
14. Can you name any four of the queen’s Grandchildren?
15. What is the Diamond Jubilee a celebration of?
16. What is the Queen’s well known residence?
17. What film did the Queen appear in?
18. What is the first line of the National Anthem?
19. What does HRH mean?
20. What material represents 60 years?

Struggle on some? So did I. Your punishment is to sing ‘God Save The Queen’ as loud as you can, in a public place, and encourage others to join in.

Answers in tomorrows blog. happy Jubilee.

Please feel free to share the quiz, just copy the bit across the top (the http bit), put it as your Facebook status and WordPress will do the rest.

Or you can copy and paste this one
http://andrewauthor.com/2012/06/02/diamond-jubilee-quiz/

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Sequels, Remakes and Trilogies part III

Episode 3: the recycling of the film

The remake. I feel like I need to get a few things straight before I dive in. There is a film I must leave at the door and not mention again. To do so would make me swear (something I do very often but have tried not to do on this blog). It is a film that I loved as a child which had the ever awesome Gene Wilder as the star. Willie Wonka and the chocolate factory (1971) was remade horrifically. Even worse than that, it was done by a director I love and a star whose acting I admire. I will just leave it there.

The Italian job is a tough one for me. The original film is iconic in both its stars and script. It is one of those films that have seeped into everyday language with sayings that are very recognisable as having come from the film. I watched the original as a kid and loved the car chases and action. As an adult I still love those things but the dialogue is clever and witty and has further endeared the film to me. The new version is a pretty good film but lacks a certain something, certain flair, a leading man that is both charismatic and funny. If the new film had not been called the Italian job then I think I may have liked it more. Having said that, if it hadn’t been called the Italian job then people would have called it an Italian job rip off. Lose, lose I suppose.

Ocean’s eleven, what a great film. The remake I mean, not the original. The original was way before my time but I can see it has certain charms. You can tell that the people on screen are friends and that the story is meant to show off this chemistry. The new film needed to have a cast capable of standing up to rat pack comparisons, and it didn’t disappoint. Even the bit part players are Hollywood openers! I think though for me, the best part of the film is its intelligence. It’s increasingly hard to make a good heist film with all the casino technology in place, being able to get past it seems increasingly impossible. Not only did this film manage that, it did it in a way that was believable.

The remake of the remake.

The incredible hulk

I caught the original Hulk the other day (the 80’s one starring Lou Ferrigno) and found that when Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk it was pretty scary. In fact it was very scary. I then took a look at the remake, then the remake of the remake. The CGI is not very scary at all. I am unsure as to whether this is because I know its CGI or whether the original Hulk actually grabbed people by the throat and had to coordinate stunts. The last Hulk was impossibly big, didn’t move right and just looked plastic. The new films for me went on too long, had very weak storylines and the last one had a leading man who was neither big enough nor believable enough to be an action star.

I really hope this reboot craze stops with the new new Spiderman. It seems that ignoring the previous film has the advantage of being able to do whatever you like and start again. The problem is this: if the film was made badly then maybe it’s the premise that’s flawed, not the previous actors or directors. Most cartoons are best as just that. It takes a special kind of superhero to become a movie star.

My overall feeling about the remake is this.

1) If it aint broke, don’t fix it

2) Leave it alone for 30 years plus before a remake is even considered

3) Don’t re remake it. If it didn’t work once or twice, third time is unlikely to be a charm.

Take heed Hollywood, and tremble at the ravings of a 30 something semi popular children’s writer.

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Sequels, Remakes and Trilogies. Part II

The film of the series (not the snappiest of titles).

You have to do an amazing job to be in with a chance of appealing to the original fans of the show, either that or go down the star trek route of actually having the actors from the series play the film roles. It worked well with both the original star trek and the next generation. As a real Trekkie (can’t believe that just got spell checked to a capital letter), I loved the films. Having William Shatner and Patrick Stewart on the same screen at the same time? Yes, yes oh yes. The same thing happened with firefly and the film version serenity (well worth a look) and the sex and the city films (not my cup of tea but the Mrs. loves em). They are recognisable characters playing recognisable parts and they work. Well, with the exception of the Simpsons movie. That was a real doh.


The problem comes when you transfer a TV show (especially a cult classic one) to film with a new cast. Basically, you can’t replace Mr T, Hannibal, Face or Murdock. Not if you want to tap into the original market anyway. I’m not saying the A-team film was awful; it wasn’t very good either though. I think the main reason was the original actors were those characters. Mr T is BA Baracus. I find the same with the avengers and the saint, and don’t even get me started on the new star trek film!

There is evidence that it can work though. Look at the Batman franchise. I loved the Adam West show, I loved the Tim Burton films (not any of the others though, why Arnie? Why?), I love the new incarnation. I think they are all sufficiently different, and no one actor really owns the role. There is no Mr T in batman (neither literally nor metaphorically).

I will finish with my 2 favourite TV show to films. It also strike me that it may well be because they started as sketch shows.

The Muppet show: I loved the Muppets as a kid and love the first Muppet movie. They took a sketch show of believable characters (albeit puppets) and showed us what they were like when they weren’t on the show. The plot is thin, the acting is hammy (terrible pun, sorry miss piggy) and you can see wires coming out of their arms. This to me though adds to the charm.

Monty pythons flying circus: An amazing TV show with a string of amazing films. The show and films are my dad’s era really, but I think they are timeless. My favourite of the lot has to be the life of Brian, if only because of the outrage of the religious community.

That’s it for episode 2: the return of the over opinionated bloggist.

Episode 3 promises the remake and the remake of the remake. I’m going down the Godfather route though (not making it rubbish, hopefully) and leaving a gap between parts 1 and 2 and part 3. Until next week.

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Sequels, Remakes and Trilogies. Part I

Seeing as this is, in part, about trilogies I thought I would do it in 3 parts. Which will be the best? Will part 3 come years after part 2? Will it have a prequel blog? Will I re do it in a few years? Will I just get on with it? Ok, here goes…

Episode 1: the Blogfather

I shall start with the Godfather. As I have said before, I came late to the godfather trilogy. It’s one of those films where the critics said you either love it or you haven’t seen it. I agree wholeheartedly. Part 1 is great, part 2 is epic, part 3 is duck suckingly bad. What happens with these great film makers? Too much time on their hands to write? Mellowed by old age? Just need the money? Part 3 could have been great. Instead you have a story of priests, borderline incest and a really dodgy hair cut. And In the end, it’s the fall from the chair that kills this great character. People may say its old age, heart attack, an aneurism. I like to think he has just realised what a pile of poo he had made and fell to his inevitable, but timely, demise. Shame on you Al Pacino. Check out the end of part 3 and you’ll see what I mean, very funny.  (Cheers John and Nick for pointing that out).

Back to the future is much the same. 1 and 2 fit so well together and have that rare quality of being able to be followed by everyone, while at the same

time making you feel smart for being able to follow it. It has hoverboards, skateboards, a cool car, outstanding music and is very funny.

Part 3? A western that is not a western. No car, no skateboards, no Hewie Lewis and the news. No thank you very much. It’s not an awful film but it has no place in the trilogy.

Two trilogies that (in my opinion) don’t feel like they have add-ons.

Star wars: my dad told me (I sound about 10 years old starting with that) that when ‘return of the Jedi’ was released that some people had the same disdain for the Ewoks that I have for Jar Jar Binks. I find this odd. I loved the Ewoks, I wanted to be Wicket! The point is that the 3rd in the trilogy was not as widely loved as the first 2. I think all the original films are awesome, but then I was very young when I first saw them. The same can be said to be true for the kids I teach and the prequel trilogy. One of them once said to me that the original trilogy was old and boring. All I could do was stand there, dumbstruck and confused, and mumble something about the youth of today. Either way, the films all have a flow from the first scene of episode 4 to the last of episode 6.


Lord of the rings: the first of these was a bit dull. I loved it (the whole trilogy) but even I struggled with the extended version of ‘the fellowship of the ring’. Unlike other trilogies though, they get better. Yes, I know it was Tolkien’s writing, that the books are amazing and that they were always gonna be great. I suppose that I was primed to like them, being a uber geek as I am. It is the only trilogy I can think of (and am open to suggestions of others) that ends better than it starts. Not that the middle one is the best, the last one is.

Thanks for watching (reading) part 1. In part 2, the film of the series. I pity the fool who misses it, unless you have something better to do. Then that’s OK by me.

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School dinners

Being a teacher, I have the opportunity to have free meal on a daily basis. If I wish, I can go down to the dinner hall (the same one we use for assemblies and PE when it’s raining), sit with my lovely class (no sarcasm there, they are an odd bunch but very lovely) and have a free hot meal. I never do this. Why? Here comes a list…

1) I get loads, they don’t. I get given enough to stuff me. I reckon it’s about 3 times as much as the kids. I know that they can’t all have massive lunches but it does at times seem a bit like Oliver Twist. “Please mrs meal time supervisor, I want more”.

2) the waste drives me nuts. Having said about the tiny portions, there are children who just don’t eat. They sit and pick at the food until no one is watching the quickly run up and chuck it into the overflowing food bin. My mum would have told them about the starving children across the world and then made them eat.

3) it’s not very nice. Sorry, and no offence intended, but it’s mass catering made with ingredients from the lowest bidder. If your looking for quality then you have to pay for it and no parent would pay £5 a day for school dinners, at least not in the area I work.

4) the custard hug. This is the worst! Basically it’s a big hug from one of the younger kids who have just finished their pudding. Your jumper, shirt or cardigan is then covered in whatever is still on their face. At that age they miss their mouth many times a meal. The worst part is though that they are so cute you can’t tell them off.

5) they don’t do coffee. I am a teacher. I need coffee.

I do feel that the dinner staff do a good job with the products they get. I do also feel that it is much healthier than when I was a kid. Long gone are the days of thick chocolate cake and pink custard (imagine that on Masterchef) or of Jamie Oliver’s nemesis, the turkey twizzler. So it is better, it’s just not that great.

My favourite at school was the arctic role. Ice cream wrapped in soggy sponge, but maybe the memory of it is better than the actual thing itself. What was yours?

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Here comes Santa claus?

We are off to see Santa today and I for one can’t wait. I have a shopping afternoon off work, we have booked in (yes, you need to book with santa’s PA for an appointment) and my son has no idea what is going on. It’s not a surprise, it’s just that he is not yet 2.

Last year was a disaster. We took the boy to a shopping centre, got there early, queued for ages and had to leave within seconds due to the screaming. Our expectations of a magical and festive experience were smashed to pieces by the piercing screams of our nearly one year old. To be fair to my son though what did we expect? There you go son, sit on this big fat mans lap in a strange place, try to ignore the massive beard and strange person (with big ears and a stripy outfit) taking your picture, just smile for the camera. New parents? You bet.

But what makes a truly great Santa? Here it comes…

1) real fatness. Santa must actually be fat. It’s no good shoving pillows up a skinny mans top as it makes him look like the voodoo head Shrinkers have got to him. Scary.

2) a good beard. It needs to be like goldilocks hair, white of course, but not straggly. The last thing you need is your Santa looking like Dan Ackroyd when he goes nuts in trading places. It also needs to look real, not stuck on, otherwise pulling of the beard will occur. De bearding Santa? A dream crusher.

3) the grotto. It needs to be cosy, warm and welcoming. The one last year looked like an evil Micky mouse lair. No wonder my son went nuts.

4) Santa needs to be old. A young Santa is just weird. Crows feet yes, deep, gruff voice yes. Youthful exuberance no.

I hope today goes well. To be honest I just hope it’s not a scream fest. Above all else though, I hope the picture is good. It’s a long time to wait for the next one.

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The best and worst Trilogy

What makes a good trilogy? Is it a good idea? is it something that gets better as you watch or read each one? Is it something that is well thought through? I am unsure what makes this magical thing of 3 great things, I can however tell you what makes a bad trilogy. Here are my top 3 bad trilogies.

1) The Godfather. This may surprise some, especially those that know me, but the Godfather trilogy is guilty of committing a terrible, terrible crime. The first Godfather film was amazing, made even more so by the fact I hadn’t seen it until the age of 25. I loved the interwoven story line, the effortless violence and completeness of it all. I loved it. Then came number 2. It was even better than the first and added another great Italian actor into the mix. The dual story lines went extremely well together and the whole ‘how times of changed’ angle was great. Number 3 was s**t. End of story. From such high expectations came a less than mediocre film. Why oh why!

2) Back to the Future (although the illustrator of the Squidge series disagrees). The first 2 films were interwoven so well that you couldn’t just stop at the first, although it dies stand alone very well. The ideas behind it, the great acting, and the fact that it makes you feel smarter than you are by being able to follow it. It hits all the right notes. Number 3 though, oh dear. It is all the things a western shouldn’t be and it really feels tacked on to the end as a money spinner. A flying steam-powered train? Really?

3) The Matrix. What a concept. seriously, what a concept. The real world isn’t the real world, the real world is a desolate waste land. Only one (the one) can save man kind. WOW. I walked out of the matrix thinking ‘how will they ever follow that up?’ The answer? Badly. I think that the idea of Zion was a very bad one, as did many other people. So much so that you can watch the Matrix de-zionised. check out U-tube. 

So then, to the best 3. Trilogies that I love.

1) Star Wars. It’s Star Wars, what else do you need? And yes, I am ignoring the prequels. Mr Lucas was given the green light on one film, even though he had 6 (or 9 if you believe certain quarters) he chose to start at number 4. He basically went for the best one for commercial viability. It gets better with both Empire and Jedi.

2) Lord of the Rings. Either the books or the films, I’m not fussy which. All films and books are wonderful, clever, linked and, as with all great stories, a tale of good versus evil. Now some people think they are a bit long and others liked them enough to buy the extended version. Guess which one I was! I would quite happily spend an entire day of my life watching back to back extended films. I have already done it with the 7 star wars films (I included the clone wars animated film).

3) Squidge: Little elf, Little bear. Ok, Ok, I admit it may not be the greatest of trilogies but it is close to my heart. It’s the story of an elf, a bear, some lemmings and a wolf pack. It was really fun to write, lets hope it is as fun to read.

Squidge: little elf, little bear.

That’s it from me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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