365 Things To Make You Go Hmmm...

A Year's Worth of Class Thinking

By: Sparky Teaching


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 148 x 180mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781781351154
Format: Paperback
Published: June 2014

365 Things To Make You Go Hmmm… provides an opportunity a day to develop skills like creative thinking, a sense of wonder, logic and decision-making. The book offers teachers ways to provoke thought and start discussion – something schemes of work don’t always allow time for. As the curriculum becomes increasingly content-heavy, it is important to make the time to develop thinking skills; the Hmmms are in turn philosophical, challenging, meta-cognitive, provocative, irreverent and brain-stretching. Use the Hmmms to take your class on a ‘controlled tangent’ and revel in the joys of questioning, as a five minute activity, or as the starting point for a whole lesson. Complete with a Hmmm-dex to guide you to specific topics such as literacy and numeracy skills, big topics or problem solving, there is a Hmmm for every lesson and for all age groups, primary and secondary. Get thinking and make your classroom sparky! Topics include:

• creative thinking
• mathematical thinking
• problem-solving
• critical thinking
• personal / inter-personal skills
• a sense of wonder / curiosity about the world.

For use by primary and secondary teachers, parents and children.

Watch the video announcement for this book by clicking here.

Picture for author Sparky Teaching

Sparky Teaching

Sparky Teaching was launched to help teachers create classrooms where ordinary things are thought about in less than ordinary ways. With a background in primary teaching and speech and language therapy, their goal is to ignite creative thought in teachers and pupils by providing unique teaching resources.


  1. As a practicing teacher, it is often a frustration that books about education leave me with precious little that I feel I can take directly back into the classroom. Not so with -˜365 Things to make you go hmmm-¦', which is packed with an endless stream of quick-fire questions demanding plenty of slow-burn consideration. Perfect for lesson starters, plenaries and in some cases entire PSHCE lessons.
  2. Break out of the box, ditch the boring SODAs and make your children Hmm-¦ a witty, well presented and thought provoking way to provide your learners with brain tangling, tongue twisting questions that inspire critical thinking. It is impossible not to use this every day.
  3. Following from our UKEdChat Subject Special focusing on Philosophy for Children, it seems fitting to review a book which poses questions aimed at getting us thinking.

    Packed with 365 questions, scenarios and discussion starters, “365 Things to Make you go Hmm” has something for everyone. Through the humour and style, the book aims to help students explore their own creative thinking, imaginations and consider their own values in a philosophical and thought-provoking position.

    From the book, here are a few questions to get you thinking-¦

    You have one with, but can't wish for something for yourself. What would you wish for?
    If there was a device that showed exactly when you would die, would you want to know?
    What life skills can computer games teach you? What can't they teach you?
    When does a human being first begin to think?
    Technology is changing all the time. How can you keep your life private when there are so many ways to share it? Do you care?

    It's easy to see how many of the questions above (and those contained within the book) could easily be used as a whole lesson focus, discussion and consideration. The stimuli offered are a rich bank of resources relevant for teachers at all stages of education, or at least for those who want to help their pupils develop into considered thinkers who start to question the world around them. If you're a teacher who wants a bank of questions to help stimulate deep thinking and deep discussion in your classroom, this certainly is a handy book to keep in your collection.
  4. I love the ideas in this book. When I taught, many many years back, I would have been delighted to have had such a bank of ideas to make children think and wonder. These are the sort of ideas that could be used in an odd ten minutes of the day but equally could result in many hours of investigative work. They cover all aspects of the curriculum and I personally love such challenges as, -˜What job would you enjoy so much, no amount of money would make you give it up?' or -˜What was the last thing you sacrificed for someone else?'

    Ideas like these make both children and teachers think. In a curriculum that quite often seems to discourage original thought, they are badly needed.

    Oh, and if you're in need of no 366, here's one I use - -˜If you could ask one question of a supreme being and know that you would be given the correct answer, what question would you ask?'
  5. At the Northern Rocks Conference in May 2014, Debra Kidd talked about designing -˜a curriculum with a conscience' and suggested that we ask ourselves, -˜Is the child being asked to consider big questions?' If, as a teacher, school leader or parent, you are committed to the principle that this should happen in your classroom/school/home, this book will be a terrific resource.

    Its gentle humour, its flexibility (which gives you the scope to use it in your own way and to suit your context) and its focus on values, imagination and creativity will ensure that it sparks -˜awe and wonder'. It will stimulate your curiosity and then suggests useful links so that you can follow up your interests. It will help children to discover talents and passions they didn't know they had, and encourage them to be the best they can be -” within the classroom and beyond it.

    If you are searching for interesting facts and big questions to intrigue you, to make you think, to challenge you (whatever your age) and to stimulate fascinating discussion at school or at home, then 365 Things To Make You Go Hmmm-¦ is an excellent place to start.
  6. Whatever you do, don't buy this book! At least, not if you want to be remotely productive, focused or are required to feed a small child regularly. 365 Things To Make You Go Hmmm-¦ entertains, inspires, frustrates, befuddles, baffles and amuses in equal measure. Although the concept is to use one Thing per day, it is impossible to not read on, wrestle with a Thing', read on, wrestle with another Thing ... You know this book has you completely hooked when you can hear your own brain arguing with itself!

    From the challenging, and in some ways uncomfortable, introduction 365 Things sparks your thinking into life by making you reflect on the values and messages that you give learners. For example, how many times have we said (even though we hate the thought of it) -˜only 105 days until SATs'? Most of us have done it, not through some sadistic pleasure of piling stress onto young learners, but as a reflection of the externally induced pressures we're put under. Maybe this book will go some way to alleviating this. By embedding the messages, values and prompts contained in 365 Things, we'd get deeper thinking, self-valuing, confident learners ready to take on the world, secure in the knowledge that they're all good at what really counts and see SATs (and other tests) as an opportunity to show those in power just how great they are.

    The 365 Things themselves cover a wide range of topics and concepts, and are in some ways similar to -˜Thunks', but the Sparky Teaching flavour is unmistakable: lots of value based content, with practical tips and tricks to extend and augment the learning, all done in a positive, light-hearted way. A particular strength of this book is how -˜real life' has been used to develop some of the Things (e.g. news stories, web content), increasing relevance for your learners, and many Things are cleverly illustrated, with the presentation adding an extra -˜must-read' dimension.

    365 Things, despite seemingly limiting itself to only one year's use, will undoubtedly impact on you and your learners for years to come. Aside from the value-instilling content, the Things will stimulate enough additional questions and thinking that you could end up writing your own book! (This probably isn't the result the publishers wanted though, so don't tell them I told you!).

    With this book in your collection, you'll have a ready-made source of stimulating content that can be used for everything from whole-school assemblies through to class debates and corridor displays. And if you do work out if street dancing is a sport, let me know!
  7. Before reading 365 Things To Make You Go Hmmm-¦, I hadn't realised that I'd been on Earth for 1.3 billion seconds, and I'd never thought about what someone would feel like after spending a day in my mind. That's the beauty of this incredible book - it asks you to think about things that you've probably never thought about before. The questions are great for starting classroom discussions, but they also work well for starting a conversation between a parent and child.

    365 Things To Make You Go Hmmm-¦ is an amazing resource. Chock full of questions about maths, logic, crosswords and introspection, it made my head hurt - but in a good way!

    I highly recommend this book for any teacher, parent, or curious individual.

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