Posted in Key Stage 2 Support

Are you a Superstar Student Supporter?

Are you a parent or carer of a child in, or going in to Year 3 to 6? Are you a terrific teaching assistant (TA stands for Totally Awesome, by the way!) working in Key Stage 2?

Then you’re a Superstar Student Supporter!

All our kids deserve to get the best education support possible to help them achieve their potential throughout their school career. And that’s not easy in the age of austerity, government cuts, local authority shortfalls, larger class sizes, poorly supported SEN integration, more rigorous curriculums and over-worked teachers.

I’ve created the Supporting Superstar Students group over on Facebook to give everyone who lives with, loves, supports or works with Key Stage 2 children a safe place to access unique resources, get news and views, connect with other like-minded people and learn more about what our kids are being taught in Key Stage 2.

Come on over and join us!

Posted in science

Science Geek Alert! Partial Lunar Eclipse TONIGHT!

I’ve been fascinated by space, the moon, our Solar System and all things Not Of This World since I was a little girl who created a travel agent shop in her bedroom selling trips to other planets!

You’ll find me outside tonight with the camera trying to catch shots of the partial lunar eclipse that should be visible from the UK tonight. If there’s a break in the clouds, of course!

Smithsonian Institution

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is between the sun and the moon – the moon is in the Earth’s shadow. A full lunar eclipse happens when the full moon is completely in the Earth’s shadow – and tonight’s full moon will only be partially in the Earth’s shadow, so only part of the moon will be affected.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse happens over several hours. Tonight it should be at it’s deepest – around 65% in shadow – at approximately 10.30pm, but you should be able to see the effect half an hour either side of this! (so don’t panic if you can’t see it through the clouds at first!)

Credit: Greg Smye-Rumsby / Astronomy Now

You won’t be able to see it all over the world – this shows where in the world you CAN see it! Clouds permitting, of course!

Image credit: NASA/Fred Espenak

And if the clouds DO bugger up my chance of seeing it, there’s always live stream from the Royal Museums Greenwich Facebook page!

With impeccable timing, this eclipse coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission which put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.

Boggle your kids’ minds with these facts about going to the moon!

  • Only TWELVE people have ever walked on the moon – all men!
  • Nobody has walked on the moon during more than one mission
  • The last time anyone walked on the moon was in December 1972
  • Only FOUR men who walked on the moon are still alive today
  • They are all in their eighties
  • The successful missions to the moon were called Apollo 11, Apollo 12, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17.
  • Apollo 13 was supposed to land on the moon but due to an explosion in an oxygen tank, it was unable to. Fortunately, the crew were able to return to Earth safely, although it was a very close thing!

I’m all excited! Can you tell?

Posted in holiday, Maths, reading, times tables, Uncategorized

Beating the Summer Slide!

Who doesn’t love a good slide? Even The Teen can be persuaded to let go of the grimace that often accompanies Forced Family Fun if there’s some messing around on slides to be found. But what the heck is the ‘summer slide’?

Unfortunately, the summer slide isn’t a whole heap of fun. It’s the term that refers to the loss of learned skills during the summer holidays. It’s been studied extensively in the USA, where children often have as much as twelve weeks of holidays during the summer months, where studies showed that ALL the children studied lost maths skills equating to 1.8 months of study and spelling skills were set back almost 4 months!

There has been much less research into this learning loss in the UK; however a study in 2016 tested children aged 5-10 in three schools in spelling and word-reading at the end of the summer term, the beginning of the autumn term and seven weeks into the autumn term. Whilst word-reading (individual words only) didn’t deteriorate, spelling did!

Maths skills weren’t tested in this study, but I do know that The Tween easily forgets some maths skills (if you don’t use it, you lose it!)

You don’t have to make the summer holidays school-like to combat the summer slide. I’m a firm believer that our kids NEED the down-time the holidays provide. Keeping our munchkins’ brains active doesn’t mean thrusting a pencil and paper at them and tying them to the kitchen table filling in worksheets!

Here’s a few ways to keep those brains ticking over during the summer holidays!


  • UK libraries run great reading challenges every summer, with posters, stickers, bookmarks and rewards to collect. And it’s free to join in and borrow the books! Pop into your local library or click HERE to find out more.
  • Reading isn’t just about books. Magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, maps, recipes, instruction manuals – that’s all reading. The Tween loves singing karaoke – she’s reading the lyrics!
  • Reading doesn’t even have to involve words on a page or screen – listening to audio books is fantastic as well (and something I recommend to my students with dyslexia – this often enables them to access texts that they find hard to read in book-form.) And if you have the time, reading TO your kids is just as fantastic for their learning when they are competent readers as when they are toddlers. Sharing books YOU love is a great way of inspiring a love of reading in them too.


  • Keep practicing or learning times tables! When I’m asked what’s the MOST important thing a child can work on in maths my answer is always times tables. And it doesn’t have to be incredibly tedious – check out my post HERE on different ways to learn times tables and click HERE to find free downloads of times tables fortune tellers, and HERE for the division facts fortune tellers!
  • Get cooking or baking – following a recipe is FABULOUS for maths skills. From working out whether you’ve got enough ingredients to measuring skills, it’s fabulous. And if you’re anything like The Teen, you can use your multiplying skills to make double the amount of Triple Chocolate Brownies!
  • Use comparison skills when shopping – for example, what’s the best teabag bargain? Supermarkets often put the cost per 100g on shelf labels, so your kids can compare different sizes or brands to find the best bargain.
  • Grab a tape measure and start measuring things – how tall are plants in the garden, how long is the dog’s tail, who can make the tallest pile out of bricks! Can they tell you the answer in centimetres? How about in millimetres? Or metres?

Here’s wishing you and your Superstar Students an AMAZING summer holidays!

Photo by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash