A special visit from the tooth fairy

imageWhen I was a Kiddiewink, my mum made the tooth fairy a really special affair. Initially I just had a special cushion with a special pocket and poem embroidered. Then a few of my school friends got a special note from their tooth fairy, I remember feeling sad my fairy didn’t love me enough to write me a note! Magically, a little gold card appeared through the post, with red swirly writing on it. My fairy introduced herself as the Poppy fairy, it was so exciting!

With Kiddiewink 1 waiting until she was 6 and bit before she lost one, I wanted to recreate the magic for her. Being a disorganised mummy, I had failed to get everything in in advance (numpty given I had so long!) So we cobbled a special box together- her love heart tin… Tiptoeing in once she was asleep, I scattered silver stars on her bed and windowsill, and in the tin with a £2 coin! Luckily I found these at the last minute! Needless to say she was chuffed to bits, so chuffed she spent lots of time over the next few weeks making rooms and chill out zones for the tooth fairy out of Lego!

When tooth two was lost, she wrote the tooth fairy a letter asking her name


Cue some swirly writing of my own and the big decision, the tooth fairies name… This time I scattered stars on her Lego and put her letter back in her tin with a shiny £1.
This time she woke coughing at 2am and checked her tin, I was awoken by coughing then exciting squealing; followed by lots of excited wake up calls to her brother! Fortunately I got there before he was disturbed and made the required fuss!
The letter made a trip to school the next day with a chuffed little lady!

Oh to be six years old again!





Prescription upped and traumas with patching…

Kiddiewink 3 had another eye test on Saturday, to check how she was adjusting to her glasses. She is brilliant keeping them on, but the test showed that there is still a significant amount of far sightedness there, so her prescription is being upped to +9 from +7. I had expected this as the initial test showed her to be +11! Fingers crossed it doesn’t need upping much more! She is a star and so far no battles with wearing them!

Kiddiewink 2 is going through a bit of a defiant mood and is resisting the patch big time. “patch time” “no it’s not” shouted crossly with stamping feet. he has now taken himself up to his bedroom to play to avoid the patch a little longer! He will do anything at the minute to procrastinate and when not at pre school, it often is going on around 3pm rather than first thing in the morning. Not that it matters, but I have started dreading the battle again! I really do feel for him! Fingers crossed, it reduces not increases at the appointment on Friday!

videos of the start of kiddiewink 2’s resistance

Beginning patch procrastination

patching procrastination

My Sunday Photo

Another from the shoot with Starwinkle photography. I love the emotions and moods captured in this one. Kiddiewink 2 had had enough, but got a second wind after this photo. Kiddiewink 3 rarely cries, but she was tired as a result of the clocks going back. One of my favourites!


Where do all the tupperwares go?

It is driving me insane! Every time I batch cook for Kiddiewink 3, I never have enough pots or lids to store it. All I can find is mismatch pots which doesn’t work! I buy them, we lose them! Two weeks ago I bought 12 small pots, granted some are currently in use, but even so, where the hell are they? I am sure the dishwasher eats them; a bit like the washing machine eats socks.
So on continues the search, while the broccoli and cauliflower cheese sits without a home on the hob.

Do they tell you if I have been fighting…

Kiddiewink 2 has always been ridiculously honest! Telling us what he is about to do, before doing it or telling us not to look…
The other day he was helping me make the bed when he dropped this little bombshell!
“Do they tell u if I have been fighting”
“Why have you been fighting?”
“Yep but only once it was with the Lego. W and I made guns and were shooting everyone but then the teacher saw us and said ‘No guns allowed’ and then she took the guns of us
And that is the end of the story! Now cuddle!”

It really tickled me an the voice he put on to illustrate what the pre school member of staff had said was hilarious!


Parents and Schools together make Mini Mathmagicians

As teachers, we can help motivate and inspire the mind. We can foster a life long love of learning. We can teach knowledge and skills, care and nurture, but we cannot do it in isolation.
In 2008 a lot of research was done into the teaching and learning of mathematics (Peter Williams report), one of their findings was that it is believed that a positive attitude to mathematics was a big stumbling block. One of my lecturers at university back in 1998 had said the same. I remember him saying how it really wasn’t cool to study maths and even less cool to lecture in maths. He joked that at dinner parties, when he told people what he did, it often provoked either awkward silences or a response of utter shock that anybody in their right mind would study mathematics after school. They were useless/rubbish at mathematics, hated mathematics etc.

Hands up if when faced with a maths related question, you feel a panic deep inside and instantly worry about looking stupid? This is still the case amongst my peers, people are quick to proclaim their rubbishness at mathematics, it is socially acceptable. To declare you were rubbish at reading, would attach a bit more of a stigma…
In literacy, reading in particular, once you have learnt the phonetics and patterns, the skill will rarely be lost. Unfortunately, in mathematics this is not the case; if not practised regularly, even basic mathematics can be difficult. 9+7, double 8, 7 x 8, 64/ 8 , 123 x 5… Without the recall of number facts such as number bonds, multiplication and division facts; the world of mathematics is a scary place.
That is why I ask you as parents, please help us produce mini Mathmagicians.

I don’t mean extra homework as I honestly don’t believe that is the way for many children. Instead, they need to want to learn. Make it fun, slip it into everyday activities, make it frequent and in short bursts. Make it a non stressful, no pressure environment. Where mistakes and misconceptions discussed and learnt from, a mistake is nothing to fear or get upset about.

Ten Top Tips for helping your child be a Mathmagician

1) Help them grasp the basics- pairs of numbers which make 10, 100 and in KS2 pairs which make 1 is additional.
Multiplication and division facts- regularly but for short bursts.
Reading and writing numbers

2) Play Bingo as a family- six squares with a number in each and either multiples of… Or pairs which make. Shape names etc. Bingo caller asks a question, if children have the answer, they cross it off. If playing with siblings you can always use a multiplication grid or similar to support the younger.
Eg 6 x 4 (children cross of 24), shape with 4 equal sides (cross of square)- pairs to 100( you say 30, child crosses off 70) etc

3) ‘Talk mathematics’ everyday with your child. On the journey to school or a granny’s Ask them quick recall questions (such as 6x 4, pairs to make 10/100). what shapes can you see? Reading numbers on labels, discussing weights and quantities.

4) ask them word problems linked to your shopping, menus in cafes etc

5) Find some good mathematics pc games and apps, that practice the recall of the basic calculation facts and skills
Interactive resources -currently 9apps for i devices and android devices

  • topmarks
  • bbc and channel 4 learning
  • woodlands junior/primary homework help
  • Mathematics shed has lots of links for all areas of mathematics (can be annoyingly slow to load at times though). Although a lot of the resources are designed for classroom use, there is no reason it can’t be used for home. There are some great raps and song videos to help to learn key facts, games, puzzles, downloadable resources. (I printed a brilliant frozen multiplication mat for my little girl)

6)  Get a copy of the school’s calculation policy, read it and ask them if you don’t understand anything; teachers won’t bite. This is important for consistency of approach.

7) Get a copy of maths for mums and dadsIMG_1381



8) Whenever having fun as a family with maths, don’t move too quickly. It is far better to get them happy and confident with something first; self esteem is key. Keep this high and your child will flourish. (Try not to inadvertently make it acceptable to be ‘rubbish’ at maths).

9) let them play with maths, explore weight,capacities, calculations with their toys, drawings to represent calculations, arrays for multiplication(basically dots and crosses in rows and columns) talking things through, using a 100sq, charts etc. Playing with apparatus can really help them fully grasp principles.

10) Keep it fun! Make maths a part of everyday with nothing to fear, only learn from.

multiplication and division facts ideas.

  • bingo
  • chanting in funny voices
  • displaying those that always trip them up in prominent places and bright colours
  • writing/typing the facts in lots of different fonts and colours.
  • Making mini card games( fact on one side, answer on another- how many can they get right in a minute?
    Fact and answer cards and play memory
  • Children design their own times table game.
  • http://www.teachingtables.co.uk

Teaching the Time
General everyday discussion. sharing the time eg Its half six now, time for your bath. What time do we have lunch?
Make a paper plate clock- start getting them to make O’clocks, half pasts etc.

All of the above are just a selection of ideas you may find effective at home but remember, even when they appear to know all the facts, keep revisiting them as just because they can do them in Year three, it doesn’t mean they will remember them in Year five. More resources and ideas will be coming up in the future…

REMEMBER…keep it fun!