Category Archives: 3.1 Teaching & Learning

Taking drama further


  • 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


  • 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: 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)


  • 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: (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