Author Archives: Amy Carruthers

Taking drama further

Read

  • Baldwin, P. (2008) The Primary Drama Handbook. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. – Chp.4: A Time & Place for Drama, Chp.5: Planning ‘Whole-Class’ Drama
  • Farmer, D. (2011) Learning Through Drama. Drama Resource.
  • Neelands, J. & Goode, T. (2000) Structuring Drama Work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

 Reflect

  • Consider how you might assess pupils during today’s workshop – Observing
  • What are the challenges of assessing a practical (and usually collaborative) subject? – A lot of comments to provide. Busy time throughout lessons. Hard to provide comments for their next steps. Not as much written content.
  • How might you overcome these challenges? – Videoing performances and making comments afterward. Letting children see their work back and making their own judgments. Letting children peer asses – provide partners from different groups (Number 1 assess other Number 1 performance)

Engage with the reading under ‘Assessing Drama’ on the VLE to inform your thinking.

  1. Use of benchmarks. 2. The Creativity Across Learning 3-18 report. 3. Assessing Creativity

Extend – Drama Conventions

Provide examples of how you might use this convention in class. You may also want to consider any organisation or management issues.

  • Conscience Alley
  • Improvisation
  • Mantle-of-the-expert
  • Mime (there are many different types!)
  • Freeze Frame
  • Hot-seating
  • Improvisation
  • Mantle-of-the-expert
  • Mime (there are many different types!)
  • Sculpting
  • Soundscape
  • Still Image
  • Spotlight
  • Teacher in Role
  • Role on the wall
  • Flashbacks and Flash Forwards
  • Narration
  • Tableaux
  • Role Play
  • Image Theatre
  • Cross-Cutting
  • Open and close

 

  • Teacher in Role – Teacher can take part in a make-believe situation and by doing so can challenge and validates the children’s involvement.“When I sit in this chair I will be the King”. Hot seating is recommended to try first if you are unsure. This can be used across the curriculum such as a figure from history, a character from a story to the role of a painting from art (Farmer, 2014) However, children will have to be responsible enough that the teacher can be engaged in the moment and not worrying over other students misbehaving.

 

  • Role on the wall – A collaborative activity. The outline of a body is drawn (encourage children to practice this?) on a large sheet of paper, which is stuck onto the wall. Words or phrases describing the character are then written directly onto the drawing or stuck on with sticky notes. This drama technique can be carried out as a group activity or by individuals writing about their own character. You can include known facts such as physical appearance, age, gender, location, and occupation, as well as subjective ideas such as likes/dislikes, friends/enemies, opinions, motivations, secrets, and dreams. Facts can be written outside the silhouette and thoughts and feelings inside. Key lines can be added. The class can add more info as they discover more about the character over time. Used to learn about historical people (link to history interdisciplinary). Ideas for improvisation or rehearsal. The strategy works well in combination with hot seating (Farmer, 2016)

 

  • Thought-tracking -Children verbally express their understanding of a character (what they are thinking). Can build confidence in talking in front of peers and enables children to be imaginative in putting themselves in other’s shoes. Thought tracking is a natural follow-up to still images and freeze frames. Children create and imagine and then the teacher (or could involve children) taps them on the shoulder and the actor speaks the character’s thoughts and feelings out loud. This can be both objects, humans or animals. Teacher and audience can ask specific questions to see how they feel towards another character or what their dreams and aspirations are. Thought- tracking can easily be employed in the classroom with children at their desks.

 

  • Flash backs and flash forwards – Actors are asked to improve a moment which could have occured seconds, minutes, days or years before or after a dramatic moment. Provides depth to freeze frames and improvisation so children must have prior experience to this. Can be used to show what led up to a particular moment, how it might be resolved or how it may lead onto additional challenges.  The technique helps to flesh out a dramatic moment or create the beginnings of a story.

 

  • Open and close – good way to introduce blackouts without the equiptment. Uses still images to tell a story – separate class into groups and ask for a certain number of images to be created (3 to 5). Either teacher or pupil says Open and Close between each frame.The audience should close their eyes while the first group gets into position. When the group has its first image ready, the designated person says ‘Open’. The audience open their eyes for a few moments and look at the scene. Now the same person says ‘Close’ and the audience close their eyes again. Quickly, the group moves into the second position and the audience are asked to open their eyes when the group is ready. The process is repeated until all the still images have been shown. The technique has a similar effect to watching a series of photographs or a flickering film.

 

  • Mantle-of-the-expert = (MoE) involves the creation of a fictional world where students assume the roles of experts in a designated field. of the Expert is based on the premise that treating children as responsible experts increases their engagement and confidence. Can be used to explore an issue such as a team of archaeologists to excavate a newly discovered tomb in Egypt. The children may be involved in mimed activities, improvisation, research or discussion. While the focus is on the enquiry process, it can often lead to real outcomes such as writing letters, printing leaflets or selling products. They can perceive a real purpose for learning and discovering together in an interactive and proactive way – providing them with the skills and knowledge they can apply to their everyday lives. MoE encourages creativity, improves teamwork, communication skills, critical thought and decision-making.

– Using strategies for cross-curricular learning –

  • Farmer, D (2014). ‘Teacher in Role’ Available from: https://dramaresource.com/teacher-in-role/ Accessed: 5.2.19

 

 

Talking and Listening

Using the CforE experiences and outcomes for talking and listening, create a set of group rules for talking and listening.

Group Rules

  • I will listen with my whole body:

  • I will stick to the appropriate voice level:

  • I will give positive and constructive opinions when listening and talking about the work of others and will incorporate this into my own work(When I engage with others, I can respond in ways appropriate to my role, show that I value others’ contributions and use these to build on thinking LIT 2-02a)
  • I will share what I think through discussions (When listening and talking with others for different purposes, I can: share information, experiences, and opinions (LIT 2-09a)  

 

  • I will create and ask questions when sharing and listening to information (clarify points by asking questions or by asking others to say more (LIT 2-09a)  

 

  • I will self regulate how I communicate with others. I will aim to develop my confidence inside and outside my learning environment (I am developing confidence when engaging with others within and beyond my place of learning LIT 2-10a / LIT 3-10a)

Read;

  • Medwell et. al. (2017). Primary English: Teaching Theory and Practice. (8th Edn.) London: Sage Publications. – Chapter 4. (same chapter in earlier editions)
  • Myhill, D. (2007) Talking, listening, learning: effective talk in the primary classroom, Maidenhead: Open University Press. Chapter 1. In addition to a hard copy, an electronic copy of this book can be accessed through the University of Dundee catalogue

Opening up to the world of science

I have found the first two science inputs to be invaluable for this stage of my teacher training. Not only have I learned science knowledge but I will have gained information and advice which I shall apply to all aspects of my teaching. I am now eager to start my own investigating and to teach not only science but across the curriculum, which is a sign of the exact sort of method and result I would like to produce as a teacher.

Science lessons should teach rather than tell and should promote hard-working children who are enquirers. It is important not to have to know random science-related information but for it to have connections and be purposeful (not in isolation). Teach with effective planning (along the path of the story) and share with children what, how, where and WHY. This can be through topical science – highlighting science in everyday life. When children understand and appreciate their learning it is easier to engage and be enjoyable.

An aspect of this is to share career paths through STEM learning such as:

  • Ethical hacking, game designers
  • Food development and tasters
  • Cosmetic industry
  • Social Science
  • Scientific Gardening
  • Engineering
  • Building
  • Medical
  • Animal work
  • NASA

– and to discuss transferable skills –

However, there will be barriers and challenges such as being a male dominant work force and imbalances showing from early stages into Nationals (which I think should be explored in the classroom). In turn it is also important to have a balance of scientists which are investigated in the classroom such as through Scotland as a Scientific Nation.

I can now identify that in secondary school biology, I struggled to say the least. I chose the subject because of it’s content, I enjoyed learning about the human body and the environment in particular, (which I look forward to teaching on in the future) but I struggled with a lot of the assessment methods. Conducting experiments which involved collecting data and analysing data. I recall struggling with a simple graph, but is it so simple when it hasn’t been taught well? As primary teachers we need to be installing science skills as well as concepts and ideas about science and to make this clear to the children. From this workshop I will take away that yes I can provide a range of science topics but that when children reach secondary school it is easier to teach knowledge on forces then it is to teach the skills needed for effective science lessons. This leads me on to scientific literacy;

“Scientific literacy is not about being able to talk in scientific ‘jargon’ that no-one else understands, but much more about being able to interpret ideas that are put in front of you, about the world around you, using as a basis the scientific knowledge and facts you already possess” (Dunneand Peacock, 2012). It is not being able to take in information and recall but to apply in unfamiliar or familiar situations. This helps children to contribute to society, understand the world around them and science ‘traps’ such as the use of ‘brain gym’ and diet fads. I believe this will become increasingly important in modern society, with messages from social media to environmental issues and voting participation. I also believe this shouldn’t be hidden information from children and this will be one key aspect of my practice I will install in my classroom. Teaching children about what exactly they are learning (including the skills) and why. Children also be involved in this process and .In turn supporting children to become;

  • Successful learners
  • Confident individuals
  • Responsible citizens
  • Effective contributors.

Not only in their primary school learning but in their social lives, secondary school and into adulthood. We are building the foundation for the future and with effective science teaching and learning I believe children stand in much greater position to view the world differently, cope with a variety of situations and regulate themselves. This also transfers to participating and achieving in the 4 contexts for learning:

  • Curriculum areas and subjects
  • Interdisciplinary learning
  • Ethos and life of the school
  • Opportunities for personal achievement.

I look forward to exploring science and I hope to inspire children of all genders to engage with science, in it’s many forms, and create active lifelong learners.

Education Scotland (2013) The Sciences 3 – 18. 25 – 33. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/documents/sciences/sci14_sciencescurriculumimpact/sciences-3-to-18-2013-update.pdf (Accessed: 14.01.19) 

Dunne, M. and Peacock, A. (2012) Primary Science, London: Sage  

 

Maths on my mind

Why do we need Mathematics?

I believe this was a very important input for me as it confirmed some of the fears I have around teaching mathematics and has spun them in a positive light – that we have to teach maths with enthusiasm, skill and purpose so our children can build confidence. Some aspects I have taken from this input are:

  • Changing attitudes around mathematics
  • Explore why we need maths with children – challenge their assumptions
  • Using finger counting as a tool shouldn’t be demonised, let children explore and use processes which work for them
  • There isn’t always a ‘right’ way to do a problem
  • Innumeracy is just as detrimental as illiteracy
  • Gender issues – explore female mathematicians in the classroom and encouragement to girls
  • Create deeper learning and not just passive listeners
  • Encouraging children that it’s ok to make mistakes and it’s all about how to move forward
  • Get children to identify their own mistakes
  • Incorporate ‘doing’ maths such as show me boards
  • Supportive teachers with a deep, broad subject knowledge
  • “Explorers”
  • Encourage “talking” and “seeing” maths

Numeracy 8 organisers

  1. Number and number processes
  2. Money 
  3. Time 
  4. Measurement
  5. Data and analysis 
  6. Fractions, decimal fractions and percentages
  7. Rounding and estimation
  8. Ideas of chance and uncertainty

Using activities such as baking a cake to explore the different criteria.

Haylock, D. (2014) Mathematics explained for primary teachers. 5th edn. London: Sage Publications Chapters:

Primary Teachers’ Insecurity about Mathematics

Mathematics in the Primary Curriculum

Learning how to Learn Mathematics

 

History – Repeating itself?

For my first input on Social Subjects and History, I feel inspired, motivated and ready for the challenge.

I can investigate a Scottish historical theme to discover how past events or the actions of individuals or groups have shaped Scottish society. SOC 2-03a

Ø Think about the selected outcome.

This outcome not only involves researching a theme but using judgment and current research to compare and reflect for today’s society in Scotland. I think choosing a war or focusing on war as a whole would be a good topic to use for this outcome as it has clear impacts that children might have previous knowledge on and would be able to identify.

Ø Brainstorm key questions – line of inquiry for the outcome

  • What effect does war have on how we treat other people in our society and beyond. (Example could be to compare how women, immigrants, and citizens from a certain country are treated)
  • What effect does war have on our industries and how it has shaped what we create now
  • The differences in how we dress as a society – have our attitudes changed through the time of war
  • Have our values as a society changed since then and how?
  • How do the children in the class feel about war

Ø Think of some activities

  • One group creates a newspaper from a certain date and one creates one of current news – review the differences
  • One group acts out a family situation from the time of war and one group acts out one from today
  • Reviews images of scenarios from wartime to today or simple aspects of society such as the high street.
  • Reviewing how society shares information from then to now

Ø What resources might you need?

  • Artifacts
  • Video clips and documentaries
  • Sourced pictures
  • Information – facts about war
  • Fact and fiction books
  • Class trip to a museum and visiting local areas – research and review

ØWhat concepts are you developing

  • Building on previous knowledge
  • Inquiry
  • Classroom talk

Talking about how to involve history in the classroom has inspired me to watch ‘Back in time for School’, a programme about time traveling students and their teacher. This episode involves a social historian exploring secondary moderns in the 1960s. This visually made it clear of the issues involved in the education and social systems of the time and I think it would be very beneficial to explore in a classroom.

Intro to HWB

  • Can teach children about different types of sugar
  • Show an item that is high in sugar such as chocolate then one low in sugar. Get children to measure out amounts of sugar next to them and see what they think about
  • Sugar in both savory and sweet foods
  • amount of recommended sugar in one day
  • sugar in ‘healthy’ foods
  • History of sugar – Britain after WW2 to now. Reducing fat = increasing sugar – mathematical lessons can be possible.
  • Different sugar related diseases – sugar as dangerous. Also in less obvious ways.
  • ‘Sweet tooth’ – show effects on teeth
  • Relating sweet items to occasions or socialising – birthdays etc
  • Build a healthy meal – get play food
  • Sugar vs sweeteners?
  • Damien Gameau documentary – Calories are not equal.
  • Process of sugar digestion in body – show a picture of insides and get children to label parts such as liver.
  • Healthy sugars in fruit
  • Metabolically unhealthy in non-obese children
  • How can children reduce their sugar? – Small swaps
  • What does added sugar mean? – Juice drink vs real fruit
– Up to 2 years of age children shouldn’t have any added sugar or salt in their diet.
Growth, Development and Relationships 
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk shows that babies are born connected. Important for children to have secure and healthy relationships from birth. As primary practitioners we have the responsibility to provide support and take action.
I would encourage a lesson which is purely based on relationships. I would start with getting children to come up to the board and provide one person they have a relationship with. If the children think they have no-one to write about then I think this is a Gage of how much they know and understand about what relationships are. I would then go on to explain that relationships are not just with partner but do exist with the people in your life. I would provide a couple of examples I have such as professional relationships with other staff in the school. I would then do the same activity and see what answers the children write (if there was a lack of answers before). We could continue with a class discussion over what it means in a relationship, what values exist in a relationship, what makes a positive relationship and a negative one. I would bring it simply to the example of a pet and how this brings responsibility, trust and companionship to a relationship. Continuing, I would encourage children to pick one relationship they have which means a lot to them and to write a letter to the person it is. Not only does this encourage literacy and language development but supports children in understanding how they feel and how to express this to another being, hence showing the impact we have on each other through our relationships. I would encourage children to explore how they feel towards this person and if they have anything they would like to express to them – such as an apology or simply being thankful. When completed I would get the children to either post the letter (which support) or give it to the person and see what the response is and how it makes each other feel. 
This has also made me reflect on the relationships I currently have and has reinforced to me how important it is to treat others with kindness, being nonjudgmental and positive, which I have noticed can be easily lost in day to day life. Therefore, it is part of my professional responsibility to make a conscious effort to work around this. I also hope to make to build this into the foundation of my classroom so each child can feel welcome and happy

Reflecting on Semester 1

In semester 1 I found a critical reflection moment to be the peer reflection activity, gaining experience to meet the standard of working collaboratively to share their professional learning and development with colleagues 3.4.2. This is described as ‘engaging with reflective practice to develop and advance career-long professional learning and expertise’ (GTCS, 2012).

I was delighted to hear that my peers described me as always being positive, friendly and nonjudgmental. This has been installed in me from as long as I can remember and continues to be values which my parents discuss with me. As soon as I shared with my mum that I will aim to be a primary teacher she has placed much emphasis on how a teacher is more than I might think, it does bring elements of community work (which she does) and social work into a teacher’s practice.

This moment reminded me of an activity in secondary school where my English teacher got everyone to use on word to describe each other to be turned in to a Wordle. When I received positive words it made me reflect on how others see me and the effect I have on them (when at times it didn’t feel too significant). I hope to use this in a future class of mine to support self-esteem and peer reviews.  An example, based on a cancer patient:

Image result for word blog

Not only did it build my self-esteem but it made me want to continue in the same way and treat each other how I would like to be treated, as teachers always say. This activity at University was deemed in a more professional manner but had similar results. Now, I feel more confident in my manor in a group dynamic and to apply this in my career.

I found familiarising myself with ‘reflection in and on action’ (Schon, 1983) to be the most rememberable to my previous experience. I can picture how to use this as a tool, and theoretical reasoning behind, for my professional development such as in lesson planning.

GTCS (2012) ‘The Standards for Registration’ Available from: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/the-standards/standards-for-registration-1212.pdf [online] Accessed: 21.1.19

Schon, D.A. (1983) The reflective practitioner. New York: Basic Books.

 

The 1st Dance

1ST DANCE INPUT

From this introductory experience of dance, I have learned the importance of:

  • How and why to present myself in a confident manner through body language and movement
  • Facilitating children to be creative and active
  • To help children understand why and how they are learning through dance
  • The use of music as a tool
  • How to manage classroom dynamics of organising a dance lesson
  • How to build children’s confidence
  • Supporting children in showing their personality through their work
  • How to utilise the space in a room
  • Health and Safety
  • The reality of classroom situations – friends falling out, insecurities.
  • Checking music before use in class and or when using youtube videos. Dance-related videos as the stimulus – create discussions with class around dance
  • Learning dances from different religions – RME.

Key Ideas and concepts:

  • Interdisciplinary through dance (Active cross-curricular learning)
  • Having conversations with kids over what they have developed in their dance lesson – different skills such as critical thinking
  • Exploring the benefits of dance such as better mental health

This workshop has helped me to understand how to plan a dance lesson to BEGIN to support meeting identified E’s and O’s such as:

 

  • I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and
    being part of an audience for other people’s presentations/performances.
    EXA 0-01a / EXA 1-01a / EXA 2-01a
  • I enjoy creating short dance sequences, using travel, turn, jump, gesture, pause and fall, within safe practice. EXA 1-08a

 

Understanding ourselves

This week in Values we discussed the history and current state of affairs mainly regarding racism and patriarchy.

I thoroughly enjoyed re-visiting African-American racism history in the USA, I would like to look into the history in the UK further. I have been brought up around traveling to different countries such as living with a family in the Gambia when I was young and being emerged and living in poverty. Consideration of different cultures is normal to me but I wonder how true I am to not making assumptions or identifying with stereotypes, and how this would affect my practice. I hope to reflect and engage on this further for my professional development.

I am now reflecting on how my role as a teacher involves gender equality. My passion for teaching girls that they are equal to boys and to never feel inferior. I believe if this was installed in me more when I was young I may have chosen different subjects at school that were boy dominated, would feel more confident in my skills and abilities, I may have looked to my male friends differently and have a different role in society.

Therefore, I hope to create a classroom that supports children in their individuality.