Into Integrated Arts (11/09/18)

Our introduction to Integrated Arts in Education proved to be an interesting session as we were challenged to think about the real impact of exploring a range of Arts in […]

Our introduction to Integrated Arts in Education proved to be an interesting session as we were challenged to think about the real impact of exploring a range of Arts in the classroom. This insight into the importance of arts to children helped me to realise the weight we put on literacy and numeracy in the classroom is significant, and we need to start putting more emphasis on the arts as a prominent part of primary education. Fleming (2012) discusses the idea that the arts provide us with a deepened perception of our world, help us engage in other activities and widen our knowledge, therefore linking to our session’s main discussion points that the arts have a worthy claim to be a bigger part of education.

During both our visual arts and music session we discussed how they can be nurtured in the classroom, for instance in our music session we played some rhythm games which could be useful to engage young pupils. Also, in visual arts we discussed the importance of letting children explore their imagination and not to discourage them from creating ambiguous works of art. One element of the session that stuck with me was the value of appreciating a small child’s work even although, as teachers, we may not always understand it. Furthermore, we looked at the different stages of children’s development in drawing such as the scribble stage, the pre-schematic stage, schematic stage and the transitional stage. We looked the example of artwork from each of these stages:

 

The practical aspect of physically looking at the artwork created helped me to understand the different stages and appreciate the work gone into them. Whitehead (2010) also discusses the idea of the importance on the scribbling stage in young children for their development in not only the arts, but also in all curricular areas as the need to progress their writing skills.

As a developing primary teacher this session allowed me to develop my knowledge and gain a new understanding of the importance of arts in the classroom. I felt that it was very beneficial to me as I will be more aware of how needed art, music, dance and drama are in all aspects of the curriculum and how they can be integrated into other areas in order to increase children’s evolvement, confidence and enjoyment.

 

References –

Fleming, M.(2012) The Arts in Education. Oxen: Routledge.

Whitehead, M. (2010) Language and Literacy in the early years 0-7. 4th Ed. London: Sage.

Digital Technologies | 16.1.18

Programmable Toys Today’s session involved learning about programmable toys and, in particular, Bee-Bots. We looked at the history of programmable toys, the benefits of using them in the classroom and the links to the Curriculum for Excellence. Programmable toys being used in the education system dates back to the 1960s when the programming language Logo … Continue reading Digital Technologies | 16.1.18

Programmable Toys

Today’s session involved learning about programmable toys and, in particular, Bee-Bots. We looked at the history of programmable toys, the benefits of using them in the classroom and the links to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Programmable toys being used in the education system dates back to the 1960s when the programming language Logo was created by Seymour Papert. This involves controlling the ‘turtle’ (arrow) to draw lines on the computer screen. We were able to give this a try in class today – it was really interesting to use and find similarities between this and the Bee-Bot. We also got the chance to use the Bee-Bot app on the iPads – this is a great tool to use in schools that might not have the physical Bee-Bots.

The benefits of programmable toys are seemingly endless: Janka (2008) claims that these types of toys are “a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world”. Janka (2008) also states that programmable toys help children to “develop the ability to describe simple journey and instruct the programmable toy in order to develop positional language and estimation.” Lydon (2008) claims that children “gained independence faster than anticipated” when using Bee-Bots. The benefits are inter-disciplinary: The National centre for Technology in Education (2012) say that floor robots such as Bee-Bots help with “development of skills such as logical sequencing, measuring, comparing lengths, space orientation, and expressing concepts in words.” Other benefits include: there is instant feedback gained by the learner; their problem solving skills are developed; it is a hands-on lesson; the pupils experience challenge and enjoyment; the learner is in control and has the platform to be creative.

I found it really interesting to think about all the different ways these toys could be used in the classroom to support a vast range of learning. When using programmable toys, it is important to keep in mind the Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes (Es&Os). To ensure that the child is receiving the most from the lesson, a teacher should make sure the lesson is targeting at least one or two of the Es&Os, if not more. Es&Os should be the bones of a good lesson, and the success criteria should be made clear to the pupils at the start and end of the lesson.

As a class, we were challenged to come up with a lesson in groups, using Bee-Bots, with a numeracy focus. My group and I used a treasure hunt theme, incorporating the 3 times table: the idea was the the learner would start at the ‘ship’ square, and would have to complete the sum on that tile, in this case 3×1. Once the learner had gotten the answer, they would look for the card with the answer on it, in this case they would look for the card with the 3 on it. If they turn the card over, they would find instructions on where to go on the map, using the points of the compass such as north, south etc. The learner will have to answer different 3 times table sums in order to eventually reach the treasure.

The hunt included some obstacles, such as the shark which you cannot pass! This encourages the learner to use problem solving skills and also brings more enjoyment to the game.

We even made a little eye patch to immerse the Bee-Bot fully in the game!

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about these programmable toys and can’t wait to take what I have learned into a classroom soon!

I have included a small clip of the the Bee-Bot in action!

References:

ICTopus Article (2008) Sharing Good Practice: Robots in Early Education by Alison Lydon.

[Online] https://oponoa-programmeertalen.wikispaces.com/file/view/BeeBot_article.pdf

[Accessed: 20th January 2018]

 

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How?

[Online] http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf

[Accessed: 20th January 2018]

 

NCTE (National centre for Technology in Education) (2012) NCTE Floor Robots – Focus on Literacy & Numeracy.

[Online] http://www.ncte.ie/media/NCTE_Floor_robots_focus_on_literacy_numeracy_primary_12-06.pdf

[Accessed: 20th January 2018]

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Sustainable Development – Diversity

Diversity within learning for sustainability refers to both biodiversity and cultural diversity. Considering cultural diversity in a primary school setting is essential for meeting the following outcomes: I can gather and use information about forms of discrimination against people in societies and consider the impact this has on people’s lives. SOC 2-16b I can discuss … Continue reading Sustainable Development – Diversity

Diversity within learning for sustainability refers to both biodiversity and cultural diversity. Considering cultural diversity in a primary school setting is essential for meeting the following outcomes: I can gather and use information about forms of discrimination against people in societies and consider the impact this has on people’s lives. SOC 2-16b I can discuss … Continue reading Sustainable Development – Diversity

Placement Reflection

My first ever school placement experience was everything i imagined it could have been. I enjoyed every single minute of it. It was fun, rewarding, energetic and also some parts were challenging. It was interesting to see how teachers and other school staff members dealt and coped with challenging behaviours and situations. This really helped … Continue reading Placement Reflection

My first ever school placement experience was everything i imagined it could have been. I enjoyed every single minute of it. It was fun, rewarding, energetic and also some parts were challenging. It was interesting to see how teachers and other school staff members dealt and coped with challenging behaviours and situations. This really helped me in my experience because i was able to see what was right to do and how children can benefit from set rules and how teaching is not a 9 to 3 job.

For this first week, i was placed in primary 1. This was amazing. The children were a delight and the class teacher was so helpful. Throughout my week in this class, i was on hand helping the children with their daily tasks. It was such a good feeling when a child would ask you to help them and when they finally understood what to do. I felt confident as soon as i stepped into the classroom. Even though, running up to my placement, i was very nervous.

I got some great feedback from my experience in primary one. I found it very easy to bond with the children and make little friendships with them in a short space of time. After every class, i went home really happy, that i managed to help a young child with their numeracy and literacy skills. It made me feel so good about myself and my ability to teach.

The second week, i was placed in primary 6. This was a much more challenging class. I would say, it was a real eye opener. By this, i mean it was a shock at first to see how many children today, live with additional support needs. Each day, i would help the children with the ongoing problem solving task that was set out for them to do. This was really beneficial for myself as well because i really got to see how children’s mind work and how they can find out different answers uses the same strategies or how they used a variety of different methods to what i would use.

The teacher of primary 6 asked me to work with two boys who were both still at early level. Both of these boys struggled to read and also count to 20. For two mornings, i worked with these two boys by reading a passage to them and asking them questions on what they have heard. I also helped them to do number charts and how to add numbers together to make 10 or 20. I felt as if i really did help these boys. Afterwards, one of them said to me “Miss Grady, I really understand numbers now”. Just hearing someone say that is wonderful and it made me very happy.

This experience really did help boost my confidence not only in my work but also within myself, I have lacked a large amount of confidence in myself for a while now but my placement really helped to identify myself.

Teaching is honestly the most rewarding job and i cannot wait to get back out on placements in second year.

Placement Experience

During my two week block placement, I was based in one of two P6 classes. The class was at full capacity with 33 pupils, which gave me an insight into the difficulties that this can bring to a teacher. I’m definitely glad I got to experience this early on in my journey to becoming a … Continue reading Placement Experience

During my two week block placement, I was based in one of two P6 classes. The class was at full capacity with 33 pupils, which gave me an insight into the difficulties that this can bring to a teacher. I’m definitely glad I got to experience this early on in my journey to becoming a teacher, and hopefully this means I will be more equipped to deal with big class sizes in years to come. It was also evident to me that due to the needs in the class, the teacher had to take on more of a nurturing role than she would normally. This also gave me a great insight into the complexities of a large group of children and how to cope with varying needs in the classroom. I am keen to develop my knowledge of Additional Support Needs in the classroom and how to support pupils in the appropriate way.  I am also glad I got to witness days that didn’t go 100% smoothly, as this happens often in reality, and how teachers coped with hic-ups in a calm and collected manner – a skill that is crucial in being a primary teacher.

I spent the first week in the P6 class, getting to know the pupils and familiarising myself with their class routines. I got the opportunity to have some responsibility of the class and small groups, i.e. taking their spelling assessment, bringing in the lines in the morning and after break/lunch, leading a group in practically working out a problem solving question with hula hoops. My second week was spent getting a taste of other stages in the school – I got the chance to work with nearly every stage. This gave me a real understanding of the different teaching styles needed for different levels within a school. It was genuinely interesting to see different approaches of teachers from class to class, and I hope to take these inspirations on board to develop my own professional teaching style.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time on placement: it allowed me to put the theory I have learned so far into practice and gave me a context for my future learning. I think it will be easier to understand new concepts as I can relate it back to a realistic setting.