Final Serial Day

Another busy day for P3, their first task was to create a set of questions or a quiz for a friend to check their understanding of their own story book, using questioning openers. Then it was imaginative writing where they … Continue reading

Another busy day for P3, their first task was to create a set of questions or a quiz for a friend to check their understanding of their own story book, using questioning openers. Then it was imaginative writing where they had to create a story with an interesting setting.  The teacher went over the importance of adjectives and what they are used for.  Their story had to be about being transported from the classroom to Ancient Egypt, and the pupils came up with descriptive, exciting journeys that involved mummies, crypts and pyramids!  Great imagination used here.

The maths input today was time related, and I assisted a small group of children learning their quarter and half past times.

As it was ‘Safer Internet Day’, an activity that led a discussion on what things the pupils like to do online ensued.  The pupils talked about the various fun aspects of being online, but also were reminded of the importance of not disclosing any personal information online, and they were given a task to create their own online ‘safe’ profile.

I’m looking forward now to my 3 week block placement.

Serial Days 2 and 3

Some interesting observations that I have witnessed during placement days 2 and 3. During maths lessons, the teacher would blow bubbles to allow the children time to think of their answer to the math question. This allowed the lower ability children the opportunity to process the question and think about the answer. After the numeracy … Continue reading Serial Days 2 and 3

Some interesting observations that I have witnessed during placement days 2 and 3.

1. During maths lessons, the teacher would blow bubbles to allow the children time to think of their answer to the math question. This allowed the lower ability children the opportunity to process the question and think about the answer.
2. After the numeracy lesson, the children were given a selection of activities that they could choose to do after they had finished their work. (The Planning Board). Some children chose to complete calculations in the sand or with playdough and others made pictures of calculations with the help of number lines and an abacus.  For the plenary of the lesson the teacher took photos of the work completed by the children on a camera and then put the pictures on to the whiteboard. The children then had the opportunity to sit on the “share and shine” chair and talk about their work and share it with the class.
3. What I liked most about this idea was how excited the children were to share their work with the teacher and the rest of the class and also how supportive they were of each other’s work – It was really great to see!
4. During literacy, the teacher introduced the ‘say and trade’ activity to help the children with word recognition of their common words. Each child was given a posted note with one of their common words and then they began to walk around the classroom. When the music stopped the children would join up with a partner, say the common word on their posted note and swap over. This was a good way of getting the children to actively participate in their learning whilst developing effective communication skills with their peers.
5. In the afternoon when the children returned after lunch the teacher put on the NumberJacks subtraction video for the children to watch to calm them down and allowed her time to set up the tooth brushing station.

Sit Comm reflection- den building

1) Not specifically, we all individually chose a job which suited our abilities so there was no predominant group leader 2) 3) We all took upon the rolls for example, one person collected suitable materials, another found a spot within the trees, another collected instructions etc 4) Everyone was included as we all individually chose … Continue reading Sit Comm reflection- den building

1) Not specifically, we all individually chose a job which suited our abilities so there was no predominant group leader

2)

3) We all took upon the rolls for example, one person collected suitable materials, another found a spot within the trees, another collected instructions etc

4) Everyone was included as we all individually chose a role which we felt confident doing. For example holly volunteered to hang the sheets on the trees because she had a height advantage.

5) I personally didn’t come across any challenges. We worked well as a group to make sure everyone felt involved and it was a really enjoyable task, I really felt like I used my communication skills and got to know others more!

6) The group explained in depth starting from why they decided the spot they chose, to the materials challenges and process they decided to take

7) instructions were clear however could’ve been put in a better order of instructions from start to finish

8) Planning- the group never mentioned about how or why they decided who’s taking on which role

9) I really enjoyed working outdoors, it made me enjoy the workshop a lot more even though it was raining. I think being able to communicate in a different study environment positively impacts me as I feel like I’m actively learning meaning I’ll remember the workshop more

10) use of word choice, more in depth explanation on challenges that we may have faced, time frame, ability, group selection

11) As it wasn’t a very loud area it was easy to communicate out doors. Using normal tone and volume of voice was our choice of method as it meant no one ended up shouting over one another. It felt like we we spoke the way we would indoors creating a calm atmosphere

12) sometimes I got distracted as I’d be looking around trying to see what materials we could use, I could have overcame this by having a closer proximity to the speaker

13) our negotiations were successful as no one spoke over another, we all added our own ideas and inputs, we all identified our strengths, we were all clear on our main goal and all took responsibility for ourselves and our team

Den Building

As part of the Situated Communication course we ventured outside and tried our hands at den building. Most of our dens would probably not have sheltered us with a great degree of success. Thankfully the purpose of this endeavour was … Continue reading

As part of the Situated Communication course we ventured outside and tried our hands at den building. Most of our dens would probably not have sheltered us with a great degree of success. Thankfully the purpose of this endeavour was more to do with metaphorical building rather than literal, building ourselves into cohesive teams who could communicate with one another rather than structural integrity.

We were assigned groups based on our birth months, this made it more likely for us to work with people we previously hadn’t. In this newly created group we began to establish a group dynamic. No one put themselves forward as leader initially and this continued throughout the project. Decisions were made collaboratively, not with a formal vote but by people putting forward suggestions of where to place items or how to attached various structures. Most people contributed through questions “What if we put the tarpaulin here?” or “Do some of us want to go a get some more sticks?” which lead clarifications “You mean like this?”. If there was a disagreement it would always be followed by a explanation which I hope meant that no felt excluded or that their ideas where not appreciated. We also joked and while we took the task seriously we were not overly competitive which lead to a relaxed atmosphere within the group.

There were two parts of this activity that I personally felt were challenging. Firstly I am aware that I can be a dominating character in a group situation and tried to make sure that I was listening more than I was talking. I think I was successful though I consider it an ongoing goal.

Secondly I struggled to use positional language. We needed to guide poles through tree branches for the roof of our den. This required one person to manoeuvre the pole from in the tree and one person on the ground to direct them.  I kept  saying “move the thingy a bit this way” coupled with hand gestures rather than the more clearer “move the stick a bit to the left”. This was particularly unhelpful when directing a team member who cant see you! This is a clear area of development for me which I will work on going forward.

Explaining
The group explanation was well done following a logical and chronological format. There was one spokesperson from the group which ensured clarity and that a common understanding could be reached.

Environment
We were lucky in that the environment was not overly noisy and the nature of the assignment and our enclosed location in the trees meant that we were physically very close to each other. When it came to explaining our den to the other groups we have to be more mindful of where we stood and that we were facing the group face on.

Although it was fairly quiet being outside is a more stimulating experience than in our usual sterile classrooms or lecture theatre. I found that my attention wandered somewhat or that I would be hyper focus on a manual task which meant that I didn’t listen as well as I could have. If there was a word to call the full attention of the whole group for examples “Guys, what if ..” or if someone called my name I would be engaged more readily. In a teaching situation I would also use children’s names, if possible be in the same location or  use a bell or other unique sound to call the attention  and gather groups before speaking.

Negotiation
We were wholly unsuccessful in  task to ask another group for part of their den which seemed essential to it’s construction. However the negotiation itself was carried out in a friendly manner and each group’s reasoning was well thought out. The most challenging aspect was having to continually say no to people and to also continually approach people asking for something which would effectively ruin their work.

Community Project: Rainbows

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old. Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged …

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a
Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old.

Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged five to seven. They take part in different activities, trips and overnight adventures all based around the Girlguiding program and our promise:

“I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Guide law.”

This is simplified for the Rainbows to:

“I promise that I will do my best to think about my beliefs and to be kind and helpful.”

(Girlguiding, 2019)

The most surprising thing I found at this unit was how big it was. The unit has been split into two and has up to 20 girls in each sections. The sections run back to back so we can have up to 40 girls in a night. We run this with two leaders and two young leaders. This also presents several challenges as we have a very small space in which to work and controlling girls who like to run around screaming can be very challenging. We try to overcome this by working with the girls in small groups when doing the activities.

Another challenge I have faced is learning about the new program that has been implemented in Girlguiding. I took a year out from Guiding when I came to university so did not receive any training for the new program, therefore I am having to learn how the program works and the new way in which the girls are earning badges and awards.

Despite these challenges I absolutely love working with the girls. It is one of the reasons I decided to become a primary teacher. I love being able to work with them and teach them new skills. To be able to see girls walk out with a smile on their faces that they didn’t come in with is really amazing to see.

The girls all come from different schools and different backgrounds but they all come together once a week to  work and play together. In doing this they are able to create their own community within Rainbows. Rainbows also take part in wider community events. Recently the rainbows took part in the Remembrance day service at the church we meet in. Rainbow units could also look after community flower or vegetable plots, help with toy appeals or visit care homes.

Girlguiding within itself is a community made up of “50,000 young members” and “11,500” volunteers in Scotland alone (Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This, however, is just one country if we look at our worldwide community – who all come together under the name of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) – we have 150 countries and 10 million members all over the globe ( World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, n.d. and Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This is something that I find amazing that 10 million girls and women can be connected by one single organisation which has commons goals and outlooks. Being part of girlguiding has allowed me to meet and become friends with people from across the country and around the world. It is through this community that I was able to start up with another Rainbow unit in another town.

Within Rainbows I have been able to build my confidence when controlling a group of children. I have also developed my communication skills with parents, children and with other volunteers. These are essential skills in teaching as communication and control are paramount in the classroom. I’ve also been able to develop my confidence in being able to keep this age group focussed on tasks – another thing that is vital in the classroom. As I continue to volunteer I feel that my skills in communicating and engaging children will improve. I also feel that I will be able to transfer the experiences of learning through play from Rainbows into the classroom.

Many of the activities that are in the Rainbow program have to be adapted to suit the venue, resources and the type of girls we have. This would be similar to the differentiation that has to be done in a classroom. This sometimes has to be done very quickly with no prior planning because of changing circumstances. This skill will help in my development as a teacher in a ever changing environment.

Volunteering with the Rainbows links with Sustainable Development through the badges that focus on looking after the planet and looking after the community. Girlguiding’s (2019) “#PlasticPromise” that is a pledge to reduce single-use plastic.

Rainbows also links to Interprofessional Working because as a Rainbow leader I need to work with other leaders and young leaders, district commissioners, county commissioners, parents, other organisations and the church minister. This requires good communication skills and the ability to work well as a team.

References

Girlguiding (2019) Girlguiding launches #PlasticPromise, the biggest ever girl-led campaign to tackle plastic pollution [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/what-we-do/our-stories-and-news/news/girlguiding-launches-plastic-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding (2019) The Promise [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/about-us/what-makes-guiding-special/the-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Facts and Figures [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/what-we-say/press-and-media/facts-and-figures/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Rainbows (age 5 – 7) [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/who-we-are/what-girls-can-do/rainbows/ [Accessed 25 November 2019]

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (n.d.) Membership [Online] Available: https://www.wagggs.org/en/about-us/membership/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Reflections on Placement

Having just come back from my first two weeks Primary School experience I can honestly say it was informative, motivating, enjoyable, exhausting and an eye opener in respect of what life as a teacher really involves. I had the opportunity … Continue reading

Having just come back from my first two weeks Primary School experience I can honestly say it was informative, motivating, enjoyable, exhausting and an eye opener in respect of what life as a teacher really involves. I had the opportunity to experience a range of classes, from P2-P7, this gave me the chance to learn an enormous amount in respect of the variety of teaching styles, the different levels of learning, as well as see the struggles faced by some children. I tried to take away as much knowledge from this experience as I possibly could.

Strength
I have always thought I was a good communicator with a bubbly, enthusiastic personality. This was highlighted as a strength during my peer observation, and from the teachers I worked with during my 2 weeks placement. When engaging with the students I would listen attentively, encourage and provide support where it was needed. I was interested to hear what the pupils had to say no matter their age, I found that P7 pupils appreciated your attention and assistance just as much as the younger pupils. Working with children either 1-2-1 or within small groups gives me a real sense of purpose and seeing them interested and wanting to learn fuels my enthusiasm.

Area for Development
I need to work on my pace and tone, I am aware that I speed up my speech when I’m both nervous and excited. This was highlighted during my peer observation and I when doing my own reflections. I need to be able to control my pace and tone more effectively, to adapt it in different situations and depending on the ages of the pupils I am working with. For example, when talking with younger children I need to slow down to make sure I am fully understood.

Action Plan

I need to develop my knowledge/strategies around varying my pace and tone to find out what will work for me. I feel this will help me to be more focused and aware of when I need to alter my pace/tone. This will help me to manage situations where I am nervous.

Placement experience

2 weeks ago, I nervously walked into school for my first teaching placement. Little did I know this would be the quickest and most valuable 2 weeks. I got to work with a lovely primary 3 class. Who helps me … Continue reading

2 weeks ago, I nervously walked into school for my first teaching placement. Little did I know this would be the quickest and most valuable 2 weeks. I got to work with a lovely primary 3 class. Who helps me learn and also gave me some lovely pieces of art to take home, who knew I had such a red face. Most of all through this placement I learnt areas of strength in my communication, some that I didn’t even realise and also made clear to me areas I can develop upon.

I got to work with groups closely and was able to identify key communication skills to interact with the children. But also the communication skills I could apply throughout with other teachers. This experience was valuable to me in the way I could see the teachers use their interactions to help benefit the children’s learning. As I observed and interacted I was able to realise the skills I needed to use to aid me in becoming a strong communicator within my teaching role.

Strengths

An area of strength I quickly became aware of my communication skills I used to interact with small groups, during a maths lesson. I was able to assist 2 groups at a time and have the ability to apply the appropriate amount of help to the children, looking at the different problems they required assistance with. I found I could use my initiative to go over to the groups and use effective and clear communication. I spoke at an adequate volume and used language that was appropriate for the stage of the children. Within this area, my body language was used in a positive stance and using eye contact to be able to also communicate my non-verbal communications to the children. During this maths time with the groups I found I could effectively use ‘thinking time’ to be able to help the children come to the answer themselves. I was there to support and make use of the strategies to lead them to an answer. I was able to apply this help through listening to the teachers exposition on the learning intentions for the children that day.

Areas of most progress

Areas I felt I quickly adapted to and made progress with was my interactions with individual children. I feel I learnt quickly to look at the values the children held as a school: Kind, resilient, respectful, confident and included. Through this placement, I learnt to use appropriate language and praise to effectively communicate and make the children feel valued. I used this to acknowledge the children’s efforts and also to promote positive behaviours. My positive choice of words such as ‘well done’ or giving them a simple ‘good job,’ helped them feel accomplished and respected. I also found I was strong in using enthusiasm, during free play time, to value the children’s confidence and respect their efforts. They would show me their creations and I would interact with them and making sure I was giving them the appropriate attention.

Areas requiring progress

My confidence is always a main struggle of mine. I find I sometimes don’t have strong communication with other adults. Lacking the confidence to ask questions or speak up on my ideas. This is an area I felt I got a bit better with on placement, but still the area of my communication that needs the most work. I find it easier communicating to the children but there is always still the nagging doubt if I am communicating the strategy correctly, or if the language choice appropriate to the stage. I know this will come over time and it will improve with practice and experiences. I try to get involved as much as possible but I feel that on occasions my confidence holds me back.

Action plan

My next steps I need to look at include, communicating to the class and creating my own lessons. This will help me look at the language I need to use and making sure my body language is positive to the whole class not just small groups or individuals. I need to also build on my group work and communication to my adult peers. From teachers to parents alike. Being able to ask questions on things I am unsure of but also sharing my own ideas. I know that group work within university will help with this but also my daily life at work or on my placements over the next few years.