Category Archives: UoDEdushare

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


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: [online] Accessed: 21.1.19

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


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.

Being unequal

This week I took part in a seminar where we were separated into groups to create an item which would benefit 1st-year University students. We opened an envelope, provided to us, which revealed a few miscellaneous items. We were taken back by this but continued on to develop an idea. However, after describing this to our lecturer she was not thrilled at the idea. At this point, we looked around the room to discover other groups were given more materials and were being praised. We then presented a last-minute new idea to the class, which was rated lowly by the lecturer. I felt disheartened at this point that I didn’t connect well with my lecturer, that I wasn’t creative or smart enough with my idea and didn’t display the correct presentation skills.

It was then announced this was a lesson from the lecturer to reflect on how inequality can exist in the classroom. I have been in a lucky position in my education to have had lots of resources, activities, and support for my learning. However, in this seminar I thought ‘this isn’t fair’ ‘I can’t do as good as them without the same stuff’. This, in turn, brought structural inequalities to reality. I, therefore, have the responsibility to be ever-aware and respectful of the different levels of inequality I could be involved in teaching. As a teacher, I should create a classroom which is built on;

  • equality
  • communication
  • trust
  • integrity
  • social justice
  • inclusion

This should ensure that each and every child can attain well and meet their personal and general development targets, in line with Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC). This seminar made me reflect on how children should not be taught equally but with equity. Within this, a teacher must discover the needs and wants of each and every child and tailor the child’s learning to the best of their ability. Instead of how I was treated in the lesson of this seminar I would lesson plan to be level and individual appropriate, I would provide each group with a fair amount of resources, I would provide praise to each group with positive and constructive advice  and I would provide each group with a reasonable score on their work.



Why primary teaching?

From writing in my primary 7 leavers book that my dream job was to become a teacher I have made it a point of mine to pursue leads towards this. Whether this was childminding, volunteering, work experience, and placement I have always enjoyed the atmosphere and the creativity which comes with working with children, parents/carers and other professionals.

I am fascinated by the opinions and interests across the age range of children and am always keen to engage with them. This includes the questions children have, the topics they would like to learn about and how I can support and guide them. I feel I have had many positive experiences with children where I have made a difference or impact in their life from which I will never forget. It is these moments which I can clearly recall from years in the past which reinforce my desire and potential to be a teacher. However, teaching is a profession which has scared me in the past and still does, whether it is the responsibility, skills or abilities I must possess. It is this however which challenges me to continue learning and develop throughout my adult life for a rewarding cause.