How many is too many?

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My wife and I currently have 2 beautiful daughters (O is 2 years old and A is 3 months).  Many of our friends are pregnant with or are just having their second child and it seems that most people we know are happy with 2 children.  We on the other hand want more!

The problem that we currently have is the decision, how many children is too many?Ophelia & Artemis-365

For a long time we had said that 3 seemed like a sensible number for us but now that we’ve got 2 we can’t help but consider 4… or more! Continue reading

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Review: Tomb Raider

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Last night I completed Tomb Raider for a second time. There are very few games that I’ve given the time to play through twice. This should in itself tell you a lot about just how good it is.

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I’ve not played any of the earlier Tomb Raider games, just Crystal Dynamics 2013 take on the popular series. I had previously always taken a dislike to the game’s lead, Lara Croft, and the way she was portrayed in the media.

This game is a series reboot and everything is new and different, for the better.

Lara begins the game barely surviving as a ship she is on as part of an exhibition sinks violently into the ocean. She makes it ashore an unknown island and dazed and confused from the beach witnesses some of her friends who have also survived being approached by sinister figures. As she calls out to them she is struck on the back of head and passes out on the sand. Continue reading

What can we learn from Minecraft?

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Minecraft screen shot

The biggest gaming sensation of the past few years is without doubt Minecraft. As teachers we (hopefully) spend a hell of a lot of time communicating with children. As such I have little doubt that most teachers will have heard of Minecraft.

Minecraft differs dramatically from the vast majority of video games because it is not about “winning”. Minecraft is a sandbox game, meaning the game is open, with little or no story to play through and encourages player exploration and creativity. What could be better in a game for children? Of all popular Games Minecraft provides one of the rawest play experiences. It is very similar, at face value, to Lego. The world is clearly created of different coloured and textured blocks (including the player). The player plays in a first person perspective and proceeds to explore, destroy blocks, collect different resources from destroyed blocks, craft new resources and tools from those resources and defeat creeps (enemies spread throughout the world). Incidentally the world is created randomly every time you start a new game so exploration is incredibly important.

Continue reading

Playgroup taster

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This morning O is off to her new playgroup for her taster session. The bags are packed, her clothes are labelled, she’s excited and I’m feeling sad.

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For the past year she’s gone to a wonderful childminder for 2 days a week whilst we’ve been working but our childminder had changed job so today is a totally new experience for us all.

I’ve been very excited for O about going to playgroup but now we’re finally at D Day it’s starting to sink in that she’s growing up.

Watching your children growing up is an incredibly emotional experience. Never before in life have I been so aware of the passage of time. All our Mummy and Daddy friends are also finding it hard to accept at times, every day our babies are a little bit older.

Every new thing they learn to do; smiling, rolling over, crawling, first steps, first words etc. is so exciting but marks important landmarks in a one way journey. Time sucks.

It’s also worth sharing that O is only at Playgroup for an hour and a half today. It’s not that length of time that she’s there that hurts though, it’s what this symbolises. Our little girl’s not quite as little as she was yesterday 😦

@ColchesterZoo photo!

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I was just uploading a load of old photos taken over this summer and came across this one from our wonderful day out in Colchester Zoo for O’s 2nd Birthday treat.

 

 

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Here are a few more.

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What can we learn from Angry Birds?

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Education is catching up with modern trends.  We use books in schools, comics, magazines, films, cartoons and toys all to aid learning.  But we are slow to make use of one of the most popular forms of entertainment, especially for children; Video Games.

Last year I had a go at teaching a topic based upon games, primarily video games but also board games, playground games etc.  It was hugely popular with the children.

Whilst teaching the topic last year I wrote the following article about using Angry Birds to teach, enjoy.

Angry birds is an extremely popular game made by Rovio.  It made it’s biggest impact on the mobile platform but is also available to play on most other gaming devices.Loading_screen

The game is centred around pulling Angry Birds back on a catapult to fire at Pigs that are waiting in and around elaborate towers, the Birds then collide with the towers and destroy the Pigs for points. Continue reading

Hearthstone – a teacher’s point of view

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Video games can offer a lot other than just brain draining screen time.  One of the most popular games in the world is also one of the best mental maths work outs that I have ever come across.

Hearthstone is a free to play card game produced by Blizzard Entertainment.  Blizzard have made some of the most popular video games ever.  Their top titles are World of Warcraft; the world’s largest MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online game), Starcraft; the world’s top competitive real-time strategy game and the Diablo series, the world’s best selling action role playing game.20130927021742a0dl9fx3or4b46g1

Hearthstone is a simple to learn, difficult to master game that can be played on PC, MAC and iPad, Android support is due sometime later this year.  Hearthstone consists of two players placing cards on a table top opposite one another and attempt to whittle away the opponents health from 30 to 0.  The cards are a mix of types such as creatures, spells, secrets etc.   Continue reading