maths homework help funny Video

If you need help with maths homework, call Kip McGrath – not the police please!

Needing help with maths homework?  Please don’t call the police!

Hilarious!  This 4 year old boy was needing some help with his maths homework.  He couldn’t work out what 16 takeaway 8 was so he called the police.  I have to say the policeman was very patient and understanding.  Had to laugh when the boy’s mum discovered what he was up to!

If your child needs help with maths or English homework, tell them to call Kip McGrath and not the police!



World Book Day 2013 Costume Ideas

It is world book day on 7th March 2013. Here are some excellent tips for dressing up as your favourite literary character.  Thank you to my colleague in Urmston for sharing.

Impact Tuition & Dyslexia Centre Urmston

Ideas for World Book Day Outfits 2013

It is almost that time of year again – World Book Day. On the 7th March 2013, school children across the UK are encouraged to dress up as a favourite book character.

When it comes to World Book Day, parents tend to fall into 2 distinct categories; the ones whose hearts sink when that letter comes home and the ones who rub their hands with glee at the thought of the wonderful creative opportunity offered by a day of fancy dress at school. If, like me, you fall into the former group, try some of these ideas to avoid a)unwanted stress and panic b)tragically disappointed face on your child.

Although it can be fun to make your own costumes, if you are that way inclined, it can be too time consuming for many busy parents. Here in Urmston we are…

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What is Your Dream for 2016? Children’s National Writing Competition at Kip McGrath Education Centres

Dream a Big Dream National Children’s Writing Competition

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games showed how thousands of people could be inspired to pursue their dreams to achieve great things and break world records.

The Kip McGrath national writing competition is an amazing opportunity to inspire your child to celebrate and write about their “big dream”, whatever that may be.

Anyone aged 9  – 14 years can enter the competition and prizes will be awarded to 12 regional winners and two overall national winners.  For full terms and conditions and to enter the competition visit

Inspirational Athletes Involved in Dream a Dream Competition

Best Christmas TV Adverts/Commercials- Favourite Christmas Television Ads – Which is the Best Christmas TV advert ever?

Christmas is Coming!!!

It is the 12th November 2012 and as usual I am normally very critical that Christmas seems to be getting earlier every year.  I even saw my first Christmas tree in a house the other day – too soon!!  I have had a very busy year and Christmas seems so far away and I have to say  that I am not ready for Christmas yet.

However, last night I was watching TV and saw my first Christmas TV commercial of this year and I had the warm, fuzzy reaction that I am sure these companies have paid a lot of money to instill in consumers just like meal.  As a grandmother in Scotland, my favourite day of the year is having my children and grandchildren over on Christmas Day and delighting in the opening of presents and joy of my family being together and happy.

This is not always the case for many families and I urge that we donate to childrens charitites in the UK to ensure that every child receives a present from Santa Claus. Below are a few fantastic causes: (Great Ormond Street Hospital) (Yorkhilll Childrens’ Foundation) (Childrens Hospice Association)

What is the Best TV Christmas Commercial Ever?

For me, whenever I hear the Coca Cola advert “holidays are coming” TV advert I start to get into christmas mode and realise it is time to start shopping.  These ads have changed over the years but always have the same theme and music and I just love them

Christmas TV Ads are big business and prey on our sentimentality at Christmas.  There have been some extremely successful tv adverts in recent years.  Who can forget the 2011 John Lewis advertisement with the little boy counting down the days until Christmas only to ignore his presents to give to his mum and dad? Did this get us in the Christmas spirit or encourage us to shop at John Lewis?

There has been much talk on social media sites this week about the big supermarkets’ TV advertisements.  Is the John Lewis 2012 advert as good as last year?  Is the Asda TV advert sexist?  Is the Morrison’s TV advert too similar to Asda’s? Why is the TV advertisement so popular this year?  Why are big brand shops launching Christmas tv commercials this year and spending so much money on pr?

Is the most successful TV advert as important as the Christmas Number 1 this year? On media coverage you would think so but does  successful Christmas TV ad campaign result in more business?  I am not sure.  Last year the John Lewis ad campaign enchanted me but I didn’t shop there- I shopped at Debenhams who are not featured in my list.

I would ask two questions therefore:

1.  What is the best ChristmasTV advert of all time and put you in the mood for Christmas?

2.  Did this advert encourage you to spend in their store and why?

The Best Christmas TV Adverts/Commercials of AllTime in UK

So I want to ask the question – which Christmas television advert pulls on your heart strings, which advert best describes Christmas? Which advert do you watch and feel “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”  Does the TV campaign encourage you to shop at their store?  If you live in Scotland but your religion does not celebrate Christmas, how do you deal with this subject if your children attend mainstream schools?

Best Christmas TV Adverts of all Time in the UK

These are in no particular order!!!!

1. John Lewis 2011 Advert

2. John Lewis 2012 TV ‘Snowman Advert”

2. Barrs Irn Bru TV advert

3. Coca Cola Christmas Video – Holidays are coming.

4. Asda Christmas 2012 TV Advert

5. Morrisons 2012 Christmas Advert

6. M & S 2012 Christmas TV Advert

“It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!”

Technology of the Future in the Classroom – Glimpse into the Future

Thanks to our Dunfermline Centre for sharing the above blog. What a fascinating insight into the future of technology.

Dunfermline Tuition at Kip McGrath Education

Technology in the Classroom

The advancement in technology within schools is incredible!  Whiteboards and ipads are becoming commonplace with ICT an important subject in the classroom.  Many children are coming home and showing their parents how to navigate a computer!

A Tablet and a Pencil!

I was watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie the other day (which was a favourite TV programme of mine from my childhood) with my children and they were very confused at what a writing tablet was for.  They were very amused to see the classroom environment from those days and astonished at the basic materials children had.

My youngest asked me “Dad, did you have to use a writing tablet when you were at school in the olden days?”  Needless to say I found this highly amusing.

Nevertheless, it made me think about the advancements in technology in schools even…

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Summer Fun Activities for Children in Falkirk – Come to our KipCamp 2012!

What’s on in Falkirk for Kids in July and August 2012

Details of the Summer Camp at Kip McGrath Falkirk have been announced.  Running over 5 weeks in July and August, each week is a different theme of fun learning activities designed to  keep brains active, to enhance memory, concentration and communication skills but most of all to have fun.

Parents can enrol their children for one week or all five depending on their interests.  The themes include Suvival Skills, Music & Theatre, Water Sports,  Archaeology, Adventure Planet and Treasure Trail.  To find out more, please contact Janice Rough on 01324 682 077.  To find out more about English and Maths Tuition classes outwith the Summer months, please visit the Falkirk website at

Goldilocks and The Three Polar Bears – An Illustrated Essay by Finlay Currid (aged 8)

Finlay Currid is aged 8, in Primary 3 and attends the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Falkirk for help with this Reading and Writing.  His teacher, Janice Rough, is so proud of the hard work and excellent progress Finlay has been making she wanted to share his latest exercise with the whole world.  We have to admit we are pretty impressed with Finlay’s story about Goldilocks the Mermaid in the Arctic Circle.  Well done Finlay!!

Please click on the first box below to read the story in full screen!

To contact the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Falkirk, you can contact Janice Rough on  01324 682077 or visit the website at

Michael Jackson Teaches Hilarious Maths Trick – How not to Learn Maths

How Does 28 Divided by 7 = 13?

I wanted to write a blog about maths tricks that we can all use and, during my research, came upon this hilarious video of a very young Michael Jackson teaching a bewildered Flip Wilson how 28 divided by 7 equals 13 and not 4.  Watch it!!

How does 25 Divided by 5 = 14?

I also found this video demonstrating how 25 divided by 5 = 14! Very funny and very convincing.

How Maths Should be Taught

These videos are very funny and very convincing but it makes me more aware that learning the basic foundations in maths is so important.

A colleague of mine, Suzanne Lanzon who is a teacher and runs a Kip McGrath Centre in Cambridge has created a video which explains how maths learning is like building a brick wall and if you don’t build the foundations in maths, then gaps can appear in learning maths which can lead to the wall crumbling and you never get there.

However, if you could go back and fill in those gaps and learn from and build upon those gaps and create a solid wall that you can be proud of and build upon, wouldn’t that be fantastic?

Maths Tuition at Kip McGrath Education Centres

Sometimes when children learn maths, they can miss some of the foundations and building blocks of maths so when they move on to the next level, they struggle to understand and keep up.  Our qualified teachers at Kip McGrath can assess your child in Maths and identify areas of weakness.  If there is a lack of understanding in a particular area, our teachers will be able to quickly identify this and ensure a programme of study is followed to enable the child to catch up and therefore understand what is being taught in class.

If you have concerns, please find your local KipMcGrath Education Centre and arrange a FREE educational assessment now.

Top 10 most Recognisable Movie Theme Songs of All time 2012

What are the Top Ten Most Recognisable Movie Theme Songs Ever?

A bit of fun – can you help us pick the top ten most recognisable movie theme songs?

I could not pick my top ten however so have listed below my top twenty and thought it would be fun for others to vote to create the ultimate top10 most recognised movie themes of all time.  Hope you can help me decide on the final top ten.

If you would like to take part, please post your top ten in order under the comments section below.  We will also be conducting a poll on Facebook.

1. The Magnificent Seven

2. Last of the Mohicans

3. Platoon

4. Rocky

5. The Good THe Bad and The Ugly

6. Jaws

7. James Bond

8. 2001 A Space Oddyssey

9. Braveheart

10. Chariots of Fire

11. Star Wars

12. Indiana Jones

13. The Great Escape

14. The Pink Panther

15.Bridge on the River Kwai

16. Mission Impossible

17. Beverly Hills Cops

18. Lawrence of Arabia

19. Doctor Zhivago

20. Titanic

Scottish Sayings – English Translation for the Sasenachs

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been a teacher for over 40 years.  English grammar and literature are high on my agenda. Some could say that I tend to sound a little posh.

Some say we are headed for Scottish Independence in 2014.  My opinions on that matter are my own.  However, regardless of the fact whether we may be part of the UK or an independent Scotland, I have always considered myself as Scottish first and British second.  I have always loved the lilt and phrases of the real Scots language.  Even although I may speak and teach proper English, when I hear the Scots word abroad, I always delight in hearing it and even become more Scots in talking to strangers just for the fun of it.

For a bit of fun, I wanted to post some Scottish sayings (traditional and modern) and their meanings for those who are not Scottish.  Firstly, please watch the Scottish expert on local sayings, Mr Stanley Baxter who is the expert.

Haud yer wheesht! Be quiet
Ah’m up to high doh! I’m worried
Y’er on tae plums No chance that is happening
Yer heid’s full o’ wee men You’re a bit scatter brained
Yer aff yer heid Are you crazy?
Awa an bile yer heid Don’t be daft
I’ll gie ye a skellpit lug! I’ll give you a slap on the ear
In the name o the wee man! For goodness Sake!
Yer bum’s oot the windae No chance
What’s fur you ‘ll no go by ye What’s meant to happen will
Skinny malinky long legs Tall skinny person
Skinny malinky long legs big banana feet Tall skinny person after Billy Connolly
Ah dinnae ken I don’t know
Gonnae nae dae that Please don’t do that
That’s pure dead brilliant by the way That’s good
Ah’m scunnered I’m fed up
Ah’m blootered I’m a bit drunk
See him – he’s burlin by the way He’s drunk
Get it up yae!  Ha ha!!

Yer talkin mince

 Your talking rubbish
I was sae hungert I coulda ate a scabby heided horse  I was very hungry
 Ah’m goin fir a swally  I fancy a wee drink
 Ah’m gonnae gie it laldy the nicht  I’m going to have a good night tonight
 Yer a bawbag!!  Made famous by “Hurricane Bawbag”
 Yer a numpty  You’re a no hope waste of space
 Ah don’t have a scooby  I don’t have a clue
 I’m Scotch! No no no!!! !Scotch is a drink (whisky).  If someone is from Scotland you call them Scottish or Scots – never Scotch.

Ones that We missed!!

Yer affy peely wally -You’re a bit pale

Americanisms – 50 of your most noted Examples

I came across this article from the BBC about the 50 most hated “Americanisms” and I have to say this is something that irritates me somewhat.I have a very close friend who uses the phrase “24/7” every time we meet.  I have no idea why but that particular phrase really annoys me.  I also watch America’s Next Top Model (only because my daughter loves it and it is something we watch together).  That’s my story anyway!  I hate the way they use the word critique as a verb instead of criticise.  I understand from reading online elsewhere that this is becoming acceptable but to me it just sounds wrong.

Due to the amount of American TV we all watch I suppose this is inevitable. I know that the English language is continuing to evolve as it has over  hundreds of years with the influence of other languages so I suppose I am just being a bit of a snob here.

Anyway, please read the list and let me know if there are any Americanisms that annoy you.

Blog written by Kirsty McHugh, Scotland Administrator at Kip McGrath Education Centres Scotland

The Apprentice Final 2011 – What does this say about our education system?

TV’s brightest and best but they know next to nothing

So The Apprentice is now finally over and Tom is the winner.  This is the candidate, along with fellow competitor Helen who in the previous fast food task thought that Byron wrote at the same time as Shakespeare and that Christopher Columbus was British and discovered the potato!  The other two candidates were no better.  They named their Mexican Restaurant Caraca’s.  This would have been an apt name if the restaurant in fact was Venezuelan and not Mexican.

I came across this article by Virginia Blackburn, Daily Express Columnist who was obviously as shocked as me at the total lack of the candidates’ knowledge of history, geography and culture.  As a teacher, I was very interested to read her comments about the “debasing of this country’s education system”

Blackburn states that perhaps it would be better if we had an education system where the academic elite are filtered into a separate system so they are not held back by less academic and those who disrupt learning in class.  She believes we can then tailor the teaching and learning to suit all.  Firstly, society would not tolerate this and secondly the government would never fund it. Also, that is exactly what the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland is meant to do.

It is a well known fact that individuals with a disposable income have the choice to employ tutors or send their children to private school if they feel this would help but those without such financial means can’t.  She also states that poor parenting is adding to our problems in schools.  She uses personal experience saying that our society is too child-centric where we let them set their own agenda and that schools bow to the pressure and bullying tactics of parents, stating that this attitude means that children disrupt classes, attack teachers and sue the school over trivial matters, such as being able to wear corn rows (a hairstyle).

However, we have laws that mean schools must involve parents in their child’s education and that children have a voice too.  It is difficult for schools to find a happy medium.  I have had parents demand that I move their child to the ‘top reading group’ or skip a whole section of reading books to push them on.  The child in question was a good technical reader but had poor comprehension skills and a distinct lack of understanding regarding what they were reading.  I tested the child to back up my professional judgement but despite this the Head Teacher demanded I move the child anyway.  I stuck to my guns because I wanted to do what was best for the child and gave the parents advice on how  they could support their child’s reading at home.  I was told by the parents that “they didn’t have time to read with them and that was what school was for”.

The writer points out that life is competitive and children should learn skills they need and told why they need to learn them.  This is an excellent point.  I am always totally honest with my classes and explain why they need to learn certain skills or about certain things, because without a purpose they see no point in it whatsoever.  Also they need to learn that they may not enjoy everything school has to offer but they owe it to themselves to try their very best at everything. The class teacher should be adapting tasks to suit all the children in the class and teaching the necessary skills.  One child in my P6 class used to play up every time I introduced a new maths concept basically because he perceived himself to be the ‘cool kid’ and did not want to look stupid or unintelligent to his class mates.  I had to come up with strategies to counteract this or he would literally wreck the classroom.  As all teachers know, some children have learning difficulties they have to overcome such as retention and it’s the teacher’s job to work with the child to do this.  Due to budget cuts, larger class sizes and the growing array of learning difficulties children have, this is extremely difficult for teachers.

An important point in the article is that despite large class sizes in Hong Kong discipline problems are zero.  Disruptive children are excluded immediately and their families feel deep shame with the result being such problems are extremely rare.  Over the years I have become acutely aware of the escalating behaviour problems within schools.  I am currently doing supply teaching in the primary sector for two local authorities.  Recently I have been in several schools where I have had to work hard to control behaviour which has seriously affected the teaching and learning.  I had a class of 13 children and could not believe the level of poor and disruptive behaviour from 8 of the children.  In addition, their skill levels for maths and English made me weep.  This is simply not good enough for our future generation and I worry about their future.

I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that the wheels of education turn extremely slowly.

The Curriculum of Excellence was born in 2004 with working groups and lots of excitement and discussion.  It is now 2011 and primary schools are struggling with some aspects of it and it is just taking off in our high schools with no one any the wiser on how the secondary exam system will work.

Thank you to our guest blogger, Angela Mitchell, one of our qualified teachers who runs the Kip McGrath Cambuslang/Burnside Tuition Centre .  If you would like to comment, please feel free to do so below.

Cambuslang Tutors, Angela MitchellFollow Kip McGrath Education Centres Cambuslang on Facebook.

100 Best First Lines from Novels

From the moment I picked up my first Enid Blyton book as a young girl I have been obsessed with reading.  I love books and have often been known to read through the night for that special book.  The satisfaction of coming across a great book that you just can’t put down is one of my greatest pleasures in life.  That will sound incredibly dull to many but I know there are many lovers of literature out there who feel the same as me.

That’s why I wanted to share this list of the 100 best first opening lines from Novels which was published by the American Book Rewiew in September 2010, although I only stumbled upon it today.

There are so many great books on this list including my favourite at number 65.

“You better not never tell nobody but God” – Alice Walker, The Colour Purple

I also realised from this list that there are so many books that I have not yet read and it has inspired me to head to the library tomorrow.  I wonder if I can manage to read all of the books on the list?

The top ten in the list are:

1. Call me Ishmael.  —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

2. It is a truth  universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune,  must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

3. A screaming comes across  the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)

4. Many years later, as he  faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant  afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. —Gabriel García  Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

5. Lolita, light of my  life, fire of my loins. —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

6. Happy families are all  alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy,  Anna Karenina (1877;  trans. Constance Garnett)

7. riverrun, past Eve and  Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of  recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. —James Joyce, Finnegans  Wake (1939)

8. It was a bright cold day  in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

9. It was the best of  times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of  foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it  was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of  hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two  Cities (1859)

10. I am an invisible man.  —Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

To read the full list go to

Is your favourite there?  Do you agree with their results and why are there only 2 entries in the last decade?  Surely there must be some recent books that merit a mention?  I think I may start my own list and ask friends and colleagues to participate.  Please feel free to add your own nomination in the comments below.

This article was written by our guest blogger, Kirsty McHugh who is PA to Margaret Carmichael at