THIS WEEK - 11-17 JANUARY 2014
Time for your check-up
A plan for "teacher MOTs" was unveiled in England by Tristram Hunt, shadow education secretary. Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT union, expressed "serious doubts".
Holmes sweet Holmes
After two weeks of frenzied excitement, teachers in the UK bid farewell once more to the BBC's Sherlock, and prepared for some serious staffroom speculation over the third series' surprise ending.
Anyone for tennis? The heat was on for players such as Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open - temperatures soared above 100 degsF during the tournament.
Stars in his eyes
On this day in 2004, George W Bush, then president of the US, sought to inspire the young by pledging to send astronauts "to the Moon, to Mars and beyond", targeting a return to the Moon by 2020. Six years to go.
It's got a lot to answer for
Wikipedia was introduced to the world on this day in 2001, which means that the anniversary of the oft-heard teaching phrase "Wikipedia is not an appropriate source for your essay" can't be far away.
Prohibition - a ban on the sale, production and distribution of alcohol - was ratified in the US 95 years ago. Teachers attempting to enforce a mobile phone ban can no doubt guess how it went down.
All back to Barack's
A very happy 50th birthday to US First Lady and childhood obesity campaigner Michelle Obama, who's marking her birthday with a "Snacks amp; Sips amp; Dancing amp; Dessert" party. We're sure our invitations are in the post.
NEXT WEEK - 18-24 JANUARY 2014
Word of the day
Give your students a thesaurus and they'll be quick to express how delighted, glad, happy, ecstatic, excited, joyful, enraptured and euphoric they are about celebrating Thesaurus Day.
For decades, a mysterious man known as the Poe Toaster left a midnight tribute at the Baltimore grave of Edgar Allan Poe on the writer's birthday. However, the Toaster has failed to appear since 2009.
Science fact, science fiction
Spacemen of two different kinds will celebrate their birthdays today. Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, will turn 84, while Tom Baker, who travelled through space and time as Doctor Who, will turn 80.
Come here, you ...
The potential for awkwardness is high: it's International Hugging Day. If someone comes towards you with outstretched arms, they're either taking part or they're a zombie. Either way: run.
Burn after reading
The Crucible by Arthur Miller premiered on this day in 1953. The play, an allegory of the McCarthy witch hunts set against the Salem witch trials, gets full marks for drama, though few for historical accuracy.
Handwriting Day will be marked in the US in honour of John Hancock, once president of Congress and the first man to sign - rather flamboyantly - the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
I'll drink to that
Rather fittingly, given that it's the end of a school week, today is Beer Can Appreciation Day. Obviously, we recommend that you appreciate beer cans responsibly. Other beverages are available.