My experience of BA1

Getting my results In August 2019, I got the result that I would be going to the West of Scotland University to study BA (Hons) Education. So I packed up all my boxes and made the drive from Northern Ireland to Ayr. It was daunting at first to leave behind everything I knew to be … Continue reading “My experience of BA1”

Getting my results

In August 2019, I got the result that I would be going to the West of Scotland University to study BA (Hons) Education. So I packed up all my boxes and made the drive from Northern Ireland to Ayr. It was daunting at first to leave behind everything I knew to be fully on my own for the first time, but I adapted quickly and found I prefer living on my own anyway.

Making some friends

The first day of classes was nerve-wracking. I felt like everyone knew each other, but luckily by the end of induction week my friend group had formed (who are also all in the same mentoring family). Having a stable friend group made things so much easier throughout the year. For me, it was super important to have someone there to complain to or voice my concerns or ask questions and receive support from people going through the same things. I do believe if I did not have this support system, I would have struggled a lot more throughout this year.

Term 1

In term 1 the modules I had were Mathematics for Understanding, Literacy for Understanding, Health and Wellbeing for understanding and Spanish 1.1. For me, this term was more relaxed than term 2. I was just coming to grips with university life, and even though I don’t go out, I still went to a concert and died my hair purple (which I got rid of in December). Because I liked stayed inside, I focused on my work and the independent study tasks we were given.  Throughout the year I made sure each of my folders was categorised and organised, which I am so glad I did because it made the assignments at the end of the year a lot easier.

In terms of the modules, I found most of it easy to understand. Health and Wellbeing felt repetitive but useful. It taught me the importance of your own health as well as the health of children, and how if your health isn’t good, it won’t reflect well on theirs. Maths was very useful for seeing the different methods of solving equations, and a good insight into what would be taught in classrooms. I struggled most with Literacy, having never been very good at English in high school. But even though I struggled, I still benefitted as I saw what we had learned in class come through on placement. I found Spanish fun. I had already done Spanish for my GCSE’s back in high school, so most of the class was a recap for me, but I did learn some new things. I got to help my classmates out too, even though I wasn’t fond of participating in class due to the fear of mispronouncing something (most likely due to my accent). If I have one regret, it’s that I wish I did participate more, and answer more questions, especially when I knew they were right.

Term 1 Assignments

In terms of assignments in December, we only had 2. An essay for  Literacy and an essay and presentation for Health and Well-Being, as Spanish and Maths exams were being held at the end of term 2. I am glad we were eased into the assignments, as it was very different from what I was used to, and I was often referring back to the assignment brief to make sure I was doing it correctly. The UWS Ayr library was a great resource, as I probably took out 8 or 9 books in that time, and I was glad for living in University Accommodation only a 7-minute walk away. With assignments done, I headed back to NI for Christmas. Luckily, I passed both of my assignments, which meant I could relax and focus on term 2’s modules.

Term 2

My term 2 modules consisted of Spanish 1.1, Maths for Understanding (both from term 1), Situated Communication and Society and Lifestyles. There was a big jump I felt from the content given in term 1 to term 2, but I kept up with my organised system to try to stay on top of things. I enjoyed Situated Communication a lot, as it involved moving around and getting involved and having some fun, as well as being very useful for placement. It taught us how to move our bodies, and use our voices and be animated in front of children. I found it really beneficial to learn these things before stepping into a classroom. On the other hand, I really struggled with Society and Lifestyles. The lectures were long and information-full, and so were the independent study tasks. I found it difficult to focus on those classes because they were about topics I’ve never learned or heard of before, but everyone else seemed to have. If I could go back, I would tell myself to get more sleep and bring some chocolate for that specific class. On one hand, it was informative and showed me a lot I didn’t know, however, I didn’t see the connections for being in a classroom like with my other modules.

Term 2 Assignments

Unfortunately with the outbreak of Covid-19 in March, our year ended early, and our exams were cancelled because it just wasn’t possible to go in and do them. This meant we didn’t have to do the Maths, Society and Lifestyles or Spanish exams (though I still did as much of the Spanish as I could and got great results). All that we had to do was our Situated Communication Assignment which consisted of recording us telling a 10-minute story to a group of children without a book. After this, we had to write an essay reflecting on our experience. I am still waiting on my results, but hopefully, I have passed both aspects.

Placement

Being on placement was amazing. We started off having 5-serial days every Thursday and then moved on to our 3-weel block. I got placed in a small primary school a 25-minute drive away from where I was staying, which worked out perfectly for me. I was even lucky enough to have one of my friends as my placement partner, so we already got on well and didn’t have to introduce ourselves. The serial days were used for observation of the class and the teacher. Our class teacher was wondering and extremely helpful throughout the entire process, and answered our questions no matter what we asked. I truly believe she made our experience a lot better. However, when the 3-week block began, was when it got a little harder. In week one we focused on getting our Situated Communication story done. We did a practice run before the real thing and found that really beneficial for seeing what our timings were like, and how pupils reacted to what we were telling them. This was nerve-wracking for me, as I had never been filmed before, but I like to think I didn’t do too bad for my first time experiencing something like that.

In week 2 I did my first class lesson which was a maths lesson on area. For this lesson, I made 5 different worksheets and was prepared for it, but I didn’t realise how hard it was to take on a class of 21 who were all at different levels at the same time. I  felt like I had to rush to keep them focused on me so I could move on from one group to the next quickly. After I gave out the worksheets (which may have both been too hard and too easy) I was more relaxed, as I was more used to walking around to pupils who had their hands raised. Overall for my first time ever teaching a class, I found it successful.

In week 3, I did my last two lessons: literacy and health and well-being. I learned from my maths lesson, and for my literacy lesson, I focused on 1 group after starting off with the entire class. I found a group more manageable and wish I had done that for maths. The lesson was about spelling, and I helped my group create their own roll and read activity using difficult words they came up with which had the sound “f, ff or ph”. My health and well-being lesson was about friendship, and I took the whole class for it again. This lesson was fun, as it got the pupils talking to and learning about classmates they may not have known as well. I also showed them ways to be helpful and to make friends. This was a fun lesson to end on, but I wish I had done it sooner so I  could’ve learned more about the pupils earlier on.

In the end, placement was a really enjoyable experience, and I was sad to leave the school and not return, but glad that I got all 3 weeks before Covid-19 took full effect. The teacher we had was amazing, and helped us plan every single lesson plan and gave us helpful advice after each lesson we took so we knew what went well, and what went less well. The pupils were so fun and interested in us being there and asked us lots of questions. We managed to go into the playground at lunchtime twice while we were there, and while it was cold, it was really nice to see the class in a different environment than the classroom.

The end of the BA1

Unfortunately, the year ended in an unideal way. My friends and I didn’t get to share stories face to face but instead wished each other well over text. We didn’t get the closure we wanted of going out for a nice lunch after assignments like we did in December but instead will have to wait until September. The year was a great year, and I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. I’m sure BA2 will be stressful and hard, but I hope to get a lot out of it just like I did this year. Throughout the year our lecturers were amazing, and some of them really made the course as enjoyable as it is. All of them were approachable and kind and happy to answer any questions or emails you sent them (of which I sent my fair amount). I hope the lecturers I get in year 2 are just as good and enthusiastic about what they teach. Here’s to a great BA2! 🙂

Serial Days 4 and 5

Day Four To start day four off we had a class catch up as it was after the February break and all the pupils told their stories of what they got up to, it was nice to hear. The maths lesson was continued from the previous week with 3 rotating activities, to recap on their …

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Day Four

To start day four off we had a class catch up as it was after the February break and all the pupils told their stories of what they got up to, it was nice to hear. The maths lesson was continued from the previous week with 3 rotating activities, to recap on their learning they played ‘guess the shape’. Each pupil put their hand into a bag of shapes and without looking for picking it out they had to guess the shape they were holding. This was useful as it allowed children to think of how many sides and points shapes have.

In the afternoon the 3 winning pupils practiced their burns poem ‘Sare Finger’ in front of the class as a practice for the burns assembly the following day.

Day Five

In maths each group were given different nets of 3D shapes and they had the activity of cutting them out and forming all different kinds of 3D shapes, the children showed a lot of interest into this and were pleased once they were all disaplyed around the class to show.

The class topic is the Romans and they have been working on a story ‘Romulus and Remus’. They were set a reading task to fill in the missing words from sentences and this made them think about what had happened throughout the story.

 

Serial Days 2 and 3

Day 2 For my second week the children began with literacy in the morning and they were working on creative story writing. Previously the children had made story plans and the teacher recapped with the pupils of the standard and expectations of their writing. The success criteria and learning intentions were spoken aloud with the …

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Day 2

For my second week the children began with literacy in the morning and they were working on creative story writing. Previously the children had made story plans and the teacher recapped with the pupils of the standard and expectations of their writing. The success criteria and learning intentions were spoken aloud with the children and then stuck into their jotters for them to refer to when they were writing. I found this helpful to the children as they could refer to it throughout which continued to emphasise what was expected and the purpose of their writing.

After break there was a whole school assembly which involved children from every class receiving awards nominated by their teachers. This allowed the children to be recognised for their hard work and allow the school as a whole to congratulate them. The school is sectioned into houses and throughout the assembly their behaviour expectations are highlighted to encourage points to be won.

In the afternoon the children continued with their story writing and began to piece it together on paper, they were introduced to VCOP to encourage them to think how they can improve their writing skills.

Day 3

In the morning children worked on maths and their topic was 3D shapes. The lesson started with a quick recap and use of the interactive whiteboard to play a matching game of shapes to their correct label. The class was broken into 3 groups and they all had a different activity. Education city on the computers, 3D bingo and colouring sheet made from shapes.

As this was before the February holiday the school received golden time in the afternoon and they have the choice to chose the activity they would like.

Serial Day 1

Thursday 23rd January was my first day of placement in primary 3. I was very excited to be out on placement as after all my learning and use of previous knowledge since starting first year back in September it was exciting to see it all in practice. Throughout my day of observing in the classroom …

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Thursday 23rd January was my first day of placement in primary 3. I was very excited to be out on placement as after all my learning and use of previous knowledge since starting first year back in September it was exciting to see it all in practice.

Throughout my day of observing in the classroom I was able to take note of all the activites and learning that was carried out throughout the school day.

To begin in the morning the class worked on maths, they were working on how to subtract tens and units, before they carried out the sums they were reminded of their previous knowledge on tens and units sums. The teacher made use of the interactive whiteboard giving opportunity for individual pupils to carry out sums themselves and allowing their peers to watch the process.

Before lunch time as a whole class we went out into the playground and we completed the daily mile, I found this very beneficial to the pupils as after a morning full of maths it allowed them to get up and be active and to recharge.

In the afternoon the children were split into their 3 literacy groups and worked on phonemes, each group had a different activity such as making words with playdoh, typing them onto computers and using whiteboards along with magentic letters. I thought allowing the pupils to practice their words with different resources rather than just writing them out engaged the pupils well.

 

Situated Communication Workshops

Today in situated communication, we were learning more about how to use Glow and shown how to upload audio files and videos to our blogs. We also had a workshop in the performance studio where we got to practice our … Continue reading

Today in situated communication, we were learning more about how to use Glow and shown how to upload audio files and videos to our blogs. We also had a workshop in the performance studio where we got to practice our storytelling to group of peers, and they then gave us feedback.  It was nerve-wracking as I felt very conscious  of my body language and voice when I was standing up in front of my classmates but they were very supportive and I got really nice feedback along with potential opportunities to make the story better. I was so glad once I’d done it, and felt a real sense of achievement. I only have to emulate that in the actual assignment now!

Finally we took part in a role-play workshop where we had to act out certain scenarios given and reflect on how we would do them in the classroom if confronted with them.  This ended with a question and answer session on aspects of placement that have arisen that we wanted advice or feedback on, which was very valuable.

Today in Review

Today in Situated Communication we had the chance to perform part of the story for our assessment to a group of our peers. I was so nervous for this as I was scared I would forget my story. After telling my story I now know what I need to work on after receiving feedback from … Continue reading “Today in Review”

Today in Situated Communication we had the chance to perform part of the story for our assessment to a group of our peers. I was so nervous for this as I was scared I would forget my story. After telling my story I now know what I need to work on after receiving feedback from my peers.

Also, we went through a couple of scenarios of situations that may arise on placement or when we are teachers and how to deal with them. It was good to hear other people’s experiences on placement and how it compared to my experience.

A class teacher from North Lanarkshire came in to talk to us about how he uses blogs with the children in his class to display their targets, school work and achievements. He also showed us how to insert audio files and images into our blogs.

UWS

Today we are learning about how to insert pictures, voice memos and videos onto our posts.

Today we are learning about how to insert pictures, voice memos and videos onto our posts.

UWS

Today we are doing different workshops. One learning about GlowBlogs and how to insert audio, featured pictures and videos on to posts. We learned about different scenarios that we could be faced in school and how we should go about solving and dealing with them. Lastly, we will have the opportunity to tell the story … Continue reading UWS

Today we are doing different workshops.

One learning about GlowBlogs and how to insert audio, featured pictures and videos on to posts.

We learned about different scenarios that we could be faced in school and how we should go about solving and dealing with them.

Lastly, we will have the opportunity to tell the story we have chosen for our Situated Communication assessment to a group of peers and get feedback.

3rd Placement Day

I am thoroughly enjoying the placement serial days, I can’t believe it’s week 3 already.  As my class were undertaking Standardised Testing, I was able to spend some time in a P1 class this week.  In Literacy, they had chosen … Continue reading

I am thoroughly enjoying the placement serial days, I can’t believe it’s week 3 already.  As my class were undertaking Standardised Testing, I was able to spend some time in a P1 class this week.  In Literacy, they had chosen to talk about a time when they were happy, and had to write a sentence about this and why it made them happy.  The teacher made a word bank out of words the children suggested, and they had to do a black ink drawing to accompany it.  I was impressed by some of the sentences that were produced, and learnt how, at early level, to assist them with their spelling by letting them ‘have a go’ at spelling difficult words, then writing the correct spelling out underneath for them to copy.

When I returned to the P3 class, I was able to help a group with Maths.  The topic was money, and they had to work out how much change they would receive when given an item to buy and an amount of money to buy it with.  Resources we used were whiteboards, and plastic money.  It was interesting to see how different children engaged with the resources as some did a calculation on their white boards whilst for others it worked better to see the coins, and draw them out as the answer.  Then it was outdoors for muddy movers where they had to construct a bridge in groups and go over them. The children enjoyed this, and I saw great teamwork as they figured out the best strategies for using the equipment available.