Author Archives: Amy McGee

What makes a good science lesson?

  • One that helps the children develop citizenship skills by providing opportunities to develop respect and learn to care for living things.
  • A good lesson is one that helps children to develop investigative work through engaging them in the work that is being presented, this can be helped by carrying out tests, recording results and by drawing simple conclusions.
  • Raising topical issues that are related to the children and having group discussions about these issues to help progress everyone’s understanding.
  • The use of ICT within the lesson helps stimulate learning within the lesson and helps develop basic ICT skills.
  • Making experiments that show what the children have been learning can help with their understanding as they are seeing it rather than just hearing about it. For example, Jonathon gave the example of showing us an easy simple example of how you can explain gravity, this to us was very simple however when shown to children can make it a lot easier for them to comprehend.
  • Sometimes children do like to work on their own because that’s what they find to be more stimulating however the power of letting the children observe and record can be very beneficial to the lesson and then letting them share their learning with each other.
  • When children hear things from a peer it can sometimes stick in their brain more than if they just hear it from you as the teacher.
  • Through daily outdoor activities, children will not only develop their natural environment skills, develop their creativity and their problem-solving skills it also links to their health and wellbeing skills.

Most of the time if these concepts are used within your teaching you will produce a science lesson that is stimulating, engaging, interesting and fun.

The Importance of Relationships

The video that we were asked to watch on the importance of early years was eye-opening. It showed just how important a child’s environment is as it has an impact it on their development and relationships.

During the video, Suzanne Zeedyk talked about the importance of relationships in babies lives and how the type of responses they get are very impactful to their brains. She expressed how the environment that babies grow up in shapes their relationships and experiences and therefore their brain develops in relation to the environment they are in. She then went on to tell us how once key pathways have been established they don’t change and they stick with you into adulthood. 

So how does this link to me as a Primary practitioner? In the video, Suzanne Zeedyk gave the example of a child who has grown up in a home where domestic violence is prominent therefore facing high levels of stress. She explained how cortisol is released when someone is in a situation that causes stress. However, a child living in a home with domestic violence is going to be faced with more stress than the average child, to deal with this the brain realises even more cortisol. This means when the child arrives at school cortisol is continuing to be released and they find it physically impossible to sit still. This is because their mind is elsewhere as they are busy thinking about where the next danger is going to come from. Therefore in the classroom, they are not able to listen or concentrate on anything else that is going on around them, for example, their work.  The video re-enforced to me how important it is as a primary practitioner to make my classroom a safe, inclusive and nurturing environment to ensure that my relationship with every child has a positive impact on their lives. 

Even though this video was only 8 minutes long it managed to have an impact on my views and the new way that I will look at my relationship with children in my class. It has also made me want to take up further reading to find out more about it and what else I can do.

So much Drama

I believe the video about how to structure a drama lesson that we were informed to watch has been very beneficial to my understanding of how to take a drama lesson that is structured and stimulates learning. It provided a range of ideas and examples of activities that keep the children engaged.

The video discussed how you should try and start your lesson with a class agreement. This is a set of rules that are agreed upon by the teacher and pupils through a discussion. The set of rules helps to guide the work and behaviour of the pupils during the entirety of the lesson. I think this is a small but helpful task as straight away the children know what behaviour is expected of them. The video then discussed the three C’s which are the main reasons you might come across as to why a pupil may be disrupting the lesson. It could be down to either, communication, concentration or co-operation. This is important to keep in mind when planning any lesson as you may have to alter your teaching methods in order to keep all pupils engaged or to make sure that they all understand what you are asking them to do. The next thing that should be done is a warm-up. There was a variety of different kinds of warm-ups, for example, team warm-up or a vocal warm-up as long as the pupils are warming up parts of their bodies, however, it also mentioned the importance of the children’s understanding that this is not playtime and that there is learning involved within this task. Furthermore, you must establish a focus of lesson with the pupils. This is very important as because of the amount of physical activity involved the pupils with more than likely be very excitable. Therefore establishing with them the purpose of what they are about to do will mean that they are excited but also focused.

The next part of the lesson was the development stage which was described as when a small drama task is developed into something much bigger. In the workshop with Nikki, we experienced this. We were first asked to think of a still image that showed the moment that the clock struck midnight on new years eve. Then we had to do the same thing, however, one image had to be from 6 o’clock that same day and the other had to be from the next morning. We then had to do them in sequence whilst other groups watched with their eyes open and then they had to re-watch but within the transitions moments, they had to shut their eyes. After that Nikki then asked us to press play on our still image and bring it to life. This showed us how a small task such a creating one still image can turn into a mini performance. The video also gave tips on how to draw more ideas out of the children through the use of soundscape and bodyscape. This is when the children have to make the noises of the thing they are portraying or they have to use only their body to create an object within a picture. It showed the example of women acting as a gate and when she was acting to sound it out she made the noise of a gate squeaking open.

At the end of the lesson, they said to schedule in an evaluation to see if your learning intention was achieved and to see what the children have learnt. It is also a good time to see what they would want to do next time and see if they enjoyed it the lesson. This means that you have material for your next lesson and also helps you make changes to certain parts if they didn’t enjoy certain activities as much or didn’t really understand certain parts of it.

Overall the workshop with Nikki and the video gave me a clear indication of how to structure and run a drama class. I feel a lot more confident about teaching drama as I have a distinct idea in my mind of the basic way a lesson can be taught.

 

The Power of Dance.

I have had very minimal experiences with dance. Throughout school we never had classes devoted to dance specifically, it was more of an extra curricular that you signed up too, if you were interested in it. We obviously had the yearly Christmas cross country dancing, however this was never anyone’s favourite. Especially mine.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I found out we had a dance workshop. When I got there I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. We were shown a variety of different videos that could aid us if we are asked to take a dance class. From this workshop I learned that you don’t have to be a professional dancer in order to take a class, in fact you didn’t have to have an experience with dance at all. All I needed was a positive attitude and a willingness to participate. I would have the same attitude if I was to teach a dance lesson to my class on my placement because I feel that if children see their teacher enthusiastic and willing to do something, they are more likely to act the same.

Before the workshop, I believed that dance was just another form of physical activity. Although it is, I can now see that it is also a lot more than that. It can be merged with all different aspects of the curriculum. For example Eilidh told us of a class that was studying Buddhism in R.M.E. So, for their dance lesson they looked at “Buddha with 1000 hands” and then used that template to create their own dance based on this. She expressed that they didn’t copy exactly what the dancers in that video did, instead they used their imagination to create there own modern interpretation of it. I would like to try and take this technique onto placement with me as not only can I use it to link dance to other subjects but also link a variety of subjects together e.g maths within p.e. I believe this is a very good and impactful teaching skill to have as it helps children understand all areas of the curriculum, in a number of different ways.

During the workshop Eilidh gave a us a number of techniques that not only helped the class get involved but also helped to keep them engaged, for example, when taking a warm-up you pass the power to one of the pupils and they take part of the warm up, then it continues round a number of pupils. This gives the children the opportunity to show everyone their ideas and also have loads of fun. It can also help with confidence and leadership. If a child sees everyone smiling when they are copying the moves that they made up it can really boost self-esteem and make them more willing to participate. I will try and take these ideas with me on my placement as I can really see how they would help my class lesson.

Overall I found the workshop to be very beneficial to my learning. Before the workshop I wouldn’t off known where to start if I had to take a dance class on my placement. Now I would feel confident if I am asked to take one as I know what is expected and what I can do to provide a lesson to a class that is not only fun but also benefits the children’s learning.

 

 

Racism and Patriarchy

Tuesdays lecture all related to Racism and patriarchy. During the lecture, I gained a much broader understanding of both topics

During the first half of the lecture, we learned about the issue of racism and its prominence through the 18th century. I learned how even though it is nowhere near as bad in our society today it is still a major issue that needs to be addressed. We heard various stories from both past and present such as the story of Emmet Till which took place back in 1955 and the story of Stephen Lawrence which took place in 1993. I knew a little about both of these events but during the lecture, I found out a lot more. It showed me just how appalling the issue of racism was and I believe that if it had been a white person involved in either of these events neither of them would’ve taken place. As a teacher, I will be working with children from all different backgrounds, this lecture reinforced to me just how important it is as a teacher to treat everyone equally and with the same amount of respect. 

The second half of the lecture was on patriarchy and its prominence within society both in the past and in the present. We saw many photos that showed how women were addressed and treated by the media and men. One of the slides that caught my attention showed women being told how to dress. In one picture it showed women back in the 1920s at the beach being told what they were wearing was too short. In another photo, it showed a woman again at the beach this time in 2016 being told what she was wearing was not appropriate. This showed me that even though we have progressed massively, there are still problems that exist.  We also watch a video called “like a girl” which highlighted gender stereotypes as it showed a group of people of different ages and genders imitating how girls do certain things like running and throwing. Most of the people were imitating the girls as weak or not capable apart from the young girls. This showed me that as a teacher it is very important to show both genders that they are just as capable as each other and that if hard work and dedication is put in they can achieve anything.

Overall, this lecture was very informative and thought-provoking. It showed me how important certain issues are and how they can be prominent in classrooms as well as the outside world.

Values Workshop

Four envelopes, four groups, one task.

Our first workshop for the values module was, to say the least, eventful. Each group was handed an envelope which contained some resources that we had to use to complete the task. Our task was to make something that would benefit a first-year student on their university journey. Our lecturer also told us that we were going to receive a mark out of 10 for the finished product, this seemed relatively easy.  However, when we opened up our packets we quickly realised that this was going to be a harder task than first thought as all our packet contained was:

  • 2 sticky notes
  • 5 paperclips
  • an A4 piece of paper
  • blu tack
  • 2 elastic bands

Upon further observation, we saw that other groups had better resources than us, for example, one group had scissors, multiple sheets of coloured paper and tape. When the group saw all the supplies they had we were confused, however, we worked on the task with the resources that we were provided with and tried out best to make a functional piece of equipment that a student could use. We decided to make a map of the Dalhousie building as most of the group felt that it is quite a hard building to understand as there are so many rooms. We used all our equipment and we were very proud of our end product, even though we felt we were at a disadvantage.

When our lecturer went around all the groups and asked them to present our ideas, we were looking at the group with loads of supplies with envy. They received a score of 9/10, it was now our turn to present our idea and finished product, we presented it with enthusiasm and pride but yet when we received our score which was 3/10 our spirits were brought down massively. We felt cheated and very hard done by. She then went around all the groups and asked if they had noticed that all the groups had different resources. Whilst the two groups who had the most resources said no, as they were too engrossed in making their product, my group and the other group, who had also not been given that many resources said that it was the main thing that they noticed.

Our lecturer then proceeded to link this to how we treat the less fortunate or disadvantaged children. She explained that if you asked the members of your class to go home and make a rocket ship out of the materials that they have at home this may put some children at a disadvantage. A child from a privileged family might come in with a huge rocket made of loads of different materials, that mums helped them make, whereas, a child from a less privileged family might come in with a small rocket made out of few resources, that they’ve done all on their own.

This showed us that we can not discriminate against children from disadvantaged backgrounds as it is not fair. It opened our eyes to the fact that just because they don’t have fancy materials, doesn’t mean that they haven’t put the same amount of effort or work in as a child who has a wide variety of materials to work with.

Growing up a teacher

“Because no two days are the same”‘ almost every teacher has said this when asked about one of the main reasons they love their job- and it’s undoubtedly one of the reasons I want to become a primary school teacher. In the classroom experience I have had, I have learned that this statement is definitely true and it excites me greatly. Teaching is not just about children learning to read, write and count, it’s also about developing life skills, helping children grow as people and, perhaps most importantly, playing a major role in shaping futures.

The fact that both my parents are teachers meant that I was afraid to tell them I wanted to be one as well. However, I feel that they were the people who influenced me the most because every day I was exposed to how rewarding the job was but also how much hard work it involved and how you can’t just turn up to the school at 8:30 and leave at 3:00. I therefore felt that I saw the real and true aspects of the job and thus was not going into the job with “rose-tinted spectacles”

Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your ePortfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The ePortfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

You can pull in a YouTube video:

You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:

You can upload an image or pull one in from Flickr or any other image sharing site.

Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.