Tag Archives: edushare

Bringing Mindfulness and Poetry Together

I smell the rain appearing in the damp air

I see the drear grey clouds with the winter sun peering through

I see red, orange, yellow

Crunch! I can hear my exaggerated footsteps

I feel confused as to how a form of death can be so beautiful, yet often go unnoticed.

This poem was created using a combination of a technique taught to us by Susan Buckman for teaching children how to write poetry, and mindfulness techniques I have been working on.

I was walking home from university today, being aware of my surroundings, my senses and my emotions, and this poem popped in to my head. I found this very interesting as it showed me just how an activity provided by a teacher can sneak into your everyday life, without even thinking about it.

I have never been one for poetry. I can appreciate poems and how poems can provide an array of emotions to a reader, but I’ve never really understood how to write a poem or what can inspire a poem to be written, only the composition of a poem – e.g. a haiku being 3 lines long, with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 again in the third, and it doesn’t rhyme. Although basic, this idea of how to create an imagery poem really caught my attention, and here I am now, having rushed home to write down my thoughts, and currently sharing it on my blog.

This poem focuses entirely on your senses and emotions. In class, we were encouraged to think about a smell from our childhood, and then what we could see when we think back to that smell, and what we could hear, then what we could feel either at the time of the memory or how we felt as we thought back. I used this idea, and brought it in to the present moment, exactly what I could sense and feel at the current time. This is where I think mindfulness can become a powerful tool in writing poetry.

How did I go from not understanding much about poetry, to rushing home to write down a poem which had just randomly popped in to my head? How can I utilise these thoughts and adapt this in to a lesson of my own?

Mindful walking encourages you to close your mind to the flurry of thoughts rattling around your head, all the stresses of life and worries you may have. It does not encourage you to get rid of them entirely, but it does encourage you to focus your mind on something else, putting all other thoughts to the back of your mind. When practising mindfulness, you begin to notice everything in your environment, from the tiny bit of writing engraved on a pavement, to the slight whisper of wind in your ear. The poem technique fully compliments mindfulness in the sense of observing the area around you and the emotions present, and this is where I think it could be useful with a class.

My thought was that we could introduce the idea of imagery poetry, and use the technique of focusing on your environment and single senses to write our own poetry. Consider the work of William Wordsworth in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”:

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

This was written while he was admiring the Lake District. What can children admire when in your classroom, your playground, a local area or even the lunch hall? We can encourage children in any environment to jot down anything they can sense and feel and turn this in to a simple poem like the one I created, or something more complex, using writing techniques such as similes and metaphors, to create a poem similar to that of Wordsworth.

Of course, the prospects of providing a lesson which allows true senses and emotions will support the learning of poetry writing and provide an understanding of how some poets were inspired to write, but how can the mindful aspect support children in learning?

Mindfulness teaches you how to focus, it is the art of preventing your thoughts from overwhelming you by focusing on the current environment rather than dwelling on the past or future. So, by bringing mindfulness in to the classroom, you are teaching children how to focus their minds on their learning. (Reach Out, 2018).

Mindfulness also has a strong emotional aspect. The Experiences and Outcomes regarding Health and Wellbeing ask that children are aware of their emotions, they can express them and they learn ways that emotions can be managed (Education Scotland, 2006). Mindfulness encourages you to go through an emotional process:

  1. you name the emotion you are feeling.
  2. Accept that you are feeling that emotion, understand that it is normal to feel emotions, but allow the emotion to be there without encouraging it, judging it or resisting it, just let it be there and release itself as it feels natural.
  3. Investigate what the emotion is really making you feel. For example, you are upset, how are you breathing? What can you feel? A tear rolling down your cheek, a tense muscle, a twist in your stomach. Is anything changing (nature, posture, intensity)?
  4. If you engage with any thoughts other than your focuses, notice that you did that, but regain your focus on your breathing. (Vivyan, 2010)

Okay, so the evidence for using mindfulness in the classroom isn’t really there yet (Centre for Educational Neuroscience, No Date), but after practising mindfulness myself, I know that I have a way to escape from my thoughts, I feel more connected with my body and my environment and I feel more in control of my emotions, I feel more calm. My experience is enough for me (alongside many other teachers) to feel as though teaching mindfulness in school is worthwhile, and if I can intertwine it with another subject to provide more meaningful learning, I definitely think it is worthwhile even just giving it a try.



Centre for Educational Neuroscience (No Date). Mindfulness Has a Place in the Classroom. [Blog] Centre for Educational Neuroscience. Available at: http://www.educationalneuroscience.org.uk/resources/neuromyth-or-neurofact/mindfulness-has-a-place-in-the-classroom/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2018].

Reach Out (2018). Mindfulness in the classroom. [online] Schools.au.reachout.com. Available at: https://schools.au.reachout.com/articles/mindfulness-in-the-classroom [Accessed 11 Oct. 2018].

Education Scotland (2006). Health and Wellbeing. [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/health-and-wellbeing-eo.pdf. [Accessed 11 Oct 2018]

Vivyan, C. (2010). Mindfulness of Emotions. [online] getselfhelp.co.uk. Available at: https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/MindfulnessEmotions.pdf. [Accessed 11 Oct. 2018]

Bringing International Games in to the Classroom

During a lecture, we were considering the games we played as a child and how they related to our country, the innate parts of being human and the impacts that some games had on our futures.

It was interesting to see that the most prominent games played were schools (where we were all the teacher) and tig, or tag, or whatever you call it in your area…

After looking at the importance of the games we played as children, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the types of games played in other countries and see how  they relate to the country, and how we could incorporate these games in our own teaching. I found one game that I thought would be very fun and very thought provoking.


Greece (Push to Play, no date)

In Greece, they have a game called Agalmata (Greek for statues). In this game, you have someone who is “it”, and they stand in the middle of the area with their eyes closed. “It” has to count to at least 10, but they can keep counting higher, they are the only one who knows when they are going to stop. During this time, everyone else is running around. When “it” shouts “agalmata” (or “statues” to make it easier) everyone needs to stand like a statue they have seen (e.g. the statue of liberty, the thinking man, a javelin thrower) – the children may have decided to pick up items, like a stick, to make their statue more realistic. “it” needs to look at everyone and if they see someone moving, they have to go and tig them. If someone has been tigged, they either become it (the way I would play it to ensure full participation) or the person is out and the next round is played.

I like this game because it is a bit like a combination of Musical Statues and What’s the Time Mr Wolf. It clearly shows a link to the heritage of Greece as there are statues everywhere as they represent the incredible Greek history.



Soc 2-19a – By comparing the lifestyle and culture of citizens in another country with those of Scotland, I can discuss the similarities and differences. 


I can play the game “statues” and compare the game to some of the games we play in Scotland

S.C. :

  • I know how to play the game statues 
  • I understand how Statues relates to the lifestyle and culture in Greece 
  • By looking at the features of Statues, I can think of games with similarities in Scotland


Push to Play (2018). Agalmata – Push2Play presented by Saskatchewan Blue Cross – Active Games for Kids. [online] Push2play.ca. Available at: http://www.push2play.ca/games/agalmata/ [Accessed 7 Oct. 2018].

Effective Learning and Teaching: What Does it Look Like?

Everyone can remember certain things from primary school, whether it be a single lesson or a full topic, but why do we remember them? We remember them because they were fun. I don’t remember learning how to subtract one number from another, other than I had a Heinemann workbook to help me. What I do remember is learning about World War 2 in P6.

I remember the World War 2 topic because we got involved, we got to have an election where we created political parties and voted for the party we liked the most based on the policies they created and debated over. We learned songs like Run Rabbit Run and Roll Out the Barrel. The teacher would play a bomb siren noise and we would hide under the table. We got to feel like we were taken back in time to the war.

Thinking back to this topic, I have bits I would love to magpie, bits I would like to make my own, and bits that I would like to add to make the topic even better. This topic is one that has inspired me, and my teaching, and I would love to have this impact on the children I teach when I have my own classes.

Health and Wellbeing Module, What am I Looking for?

So I’m half way through my first week of semester one, year three. I’m at the point in my studies where everything counts towards the degree I have been working so hard for, and my chosen module for this year is Health and Wellbeing.

I have a little bit of knowledge about this subject from my time at college, but that understanding relies mostly on safeguarding and GIRFEC, using the Wellbeing Indicators as a method of seeing if there is a cause for concern. How do I teach HWB effectively?

Why did I choose Health and Wellbeing? 

I chose Health and Wellbeing because I didn’t really understand a lot about it. I know how to do a P.E lesson, but that isn’t all of the subject. I was very confused, as I knew H&W was supposed to be approached holistically, yet the entire subject area has been separated, and broken down into different areas, then even more areas again. I know that this is an incredibly important subject area to learn about, know about and to teach, but I just wasn’t too sure how to go about that.

What do I want to learn in Health and Wellbeing?

  1. As mentioned before, how do you effectively teach a curriculum area, that has been split into so many different areas, holistically?
  2. How do western countries teach Health and Wellbeing differently, and why?
  3. What are the pitfalls of the current CfE Health and Wellbeing subject area, and in what potential ways could this be changed?


Throughout the module, I will return back to these questions, hopefully with an answer, but also with my own opinions on the answers I have.

My Top Ten Warm-Up Activities

Before every P.E lesson, you need to perform a warm-up with your class to prevent strained muscles. Choosing the right warm-up activity for your activity can be difficult. Some may think that any old game of tag will warm everyone up, but is this relevant to the sport your are about to teach? Does it actively warm the muscles that are going to be used throughout the lesson?

During Easter, I started coaching at a holiday camp for children, during which we teach techniques involved in different sports in a fun and progressive way. Every session requires a warm-up, and I need a never ending bank of fun activities that correspond with sport and skill I am teaching.

As the summer camp has come to an end and the October camp is fast approaching, I have been looking back and thinking about which warm-ups worked best and which were not only my favourites but also the ones the children kept asking for, so here are my Top Ten Warm-Up Activities. 


10. The Beaver Song

Okay, so I’m working on a camp and camps have songs that make you sing, dance and make you look a little bit silly… But who ever said these won’t work in a school? This song, if done with it’s dance, would be great to get then heart rate raised, and for any activity which has a main focus on arm movement – tennis, badminton, passing/shooting a ball…

When I first learned this song, I was doing it everywhere, I absolutely adored it, hopefully you will be the same.

This song is great for all ages, however if I were to pick a specific age, I would say Early Years due to the nature of counting and showing the right number of fingers as your say the number.

I could type all the lyrics in this post, but the link in the sub-heading is the perfect example and is the video often used in the background to keep coaches right. Once you feel confident with the lyrics, you might even decide to change it up to fit the theme in your class.


9. Giants, Wizards and Elves 

So, Giants, Wizards and Elves is basically a massive game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Giant = Rock – Action: Arms up high and rawr as loud as you can

Elf = Paper – Crouches right down to the ground and makes a tickling action whilst making a really annoying noise of your choice.

Wizard = Scissors – Action: one foot forward, one arm forward as though you are holding a wand, shout “expelliarmus”

This is a game of teamwork.

Split your class in to two teams, each team goes to the wall on their side of the hall. In their teams, they must plan their attack – choose which creature they would like to be. I often do a count down from 10 in which they need to decide their attack and when I reach 1 each team runs to the middle and performs their attack. The losing team then must run back to their wall with the winning team trying to tag them. If you are tagged, you get to join the winning team for the next round.


8. Sharks and Fishes 

This is a great tag game which starts with one tagger but progresses on until there are no fish left in the sea.

To begin, choose one person to be your shark, everyone else is a fish. The shark will shout “fishy fishy, come swim in my sea” to which the fish reply “sharky sharky, you can’t catch me” and all the fish will try and run to the other side of the hall without being tagged.

If someone has been tagged, they have been bitten and this turns them into seaweed. If you are seaweed, you have to have sticky feet, meaning you cannot move from your position, you can only pivot to face the direction of the fish, but you still have to try and tag them as they run past.

You can make this game quicker by adding a few more sharks in the sea, or changing it so that if you are tagged, you become a shark rather than seaweed meaning you can run around the space.


7. Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Ground

Okay, this one sounds basic, but it is great. I use this one with the under 8s mainly, but really I would use it at any age.

This game is great for introducing techniques in volleyball and badminton.


I always start the game with music. The children will keep the balloon from touching their floor with their own technique while the music plays, when they music stops, they grab their balloon and come back to you. when they are back, introduce a new way to stop the balloon from touching the floor:

  • Give me a thumbs up, give it a hug, rest those thumbs – volleyball dig
  • Hold the racquet loose with your thumb pointing to the big end, try hit the balloon forward and move with it – badminton underarm

You can lower the amount you teach with this game or increase it depending on the children you have, but I find this a fantastic way to get the skill and movement required for different sports in while playing a fun and familiar game. I even get them to play balloon volleyball over the net and once I see great techniques, I swap their balloon for a ball.


6. On the Pirate Ship

Shiver me timbers – this game is all about remembering and following instructions.

Start with 4 easy commands

Port – Run to the left side of the hall

Startboard – Run to the right side of the hall

Main Deck – Back to the middle of the hall

Scrub the decks – Down on their knees and pretend to scrub the floor 

While giving the instructions, it can help to point in the direction the children should be going to begin with to help them remember.


As you progress through the game, you can start adding some new instructions:

Attention – Children stand up straight with one hand on their forehead in the attention stance 

Captain’s Quarters – Everyone must run to their captain (teacher/coach) 

Captain’s Coming – Everyone shouts “aye aye captain” 

Man Overboard – Children wave their arms like they’re drowning 

Captain’s Wife – Everyone shouts “Woot Woo” OR all the children can courtsey

Hit the Deck – Children lie down on their stomachs as fast as they can

And the list can go on further… You can even start adding in compass direction if that relates to other learning you have been doing in class.


5. Beat the Ball 

This game is great for working on paying attention and ball handling skills. It is fast paced and really enjoyable for children of any age.

Children all stand in a circle facing the middle, the person starting with the ball must pass it to someone standing next to them then run around the outside of the circle in the same direction. The aim for the person running is to run around the circle faster than the ball. The aim for the children in the circle is to pass the ball to the person standing next to them so that the ball returns to the starting point quicker than the person running.


4. Man on Mars 

This is another tag game that the children ask for all the time, they love it, plus it’s really simple.

You start with on person in the middle, everyone else is against a wall looking at your “man on Mars”

The children at the wall shout “Man on Mars, man on Mars, take me to the stars”

The person in the middle will then say a condition for people to run to the other side safely – Only if you are wearing blue socks 

 Once all the people who have met the condition have gone through, there is a countdown from 3, then everyone has to run and the person in the middle has to tag people. Anyone who has been tagged joins the people in the middle for the next round.

Older children can often run this game on their own and work as a team to decide the condition together and to catch as many people as possible. When I have a younger group, I help them out and ensure that as many children in the middle get to decide on the condition as possible and help them to shout it over.

You can restart the game at any point with a new tagger, otherwise the game ends when everyone has been tagged.


3. Traffic Lights 

This game is my go to for teaching skills in movement, it’s fantastic.

For older children, vocal instructions are often enough, but for younger children I use cones in the traffic

light colours to provide a visual aid. The different colours represent different speeds the children are moving in.

Green – Running 

Amber/Yellow/Orange – Walking 

Red – Stop / Return to teacher/coach


I have found this game increases confidence in movement with different sporting equipment and also allows the teacher/coach to see children progressing and provide any tips to children, e.g keeping your head up as you move so you don’t bump in to people.


2. Volcanoes and Craters 

All you need for this is a whole load of cones and a great bunch of children!

Place half your cones facing the normal way – thin end at the top (these will be your volcanoes)

Place the other half of your cones upside-down – thin end at the bottom (These will be your craters)

Make sure they are mixed up so that you don’t have loads facing one way at one side.

Split the children in to two teams, the volcano team and the crater team. On your count, they will have to try and make all the cones face the right way for their team. Do this with a set time in mind, e.g the length of a song. At the end, the team with the most cones facing their way wins.


1. Mr Man 

This game develops listening skills, paying attention, following instructions, reaction times and movement.

These are some suggestions of commands you can use, the children just need to react how they feel is appropriate for each character, but you may wish to designate specific actions to each character if you feel children may be silly without the Mr Silly character being called.

Mr Rush – Run

Mr Slow – Walk slowly 

Mr Noisy – Make loads of noise whilst doing previous action 

Mr Quiet – Be silent whilst doing previous action

Mr Jelly – Shake your whole body 

Mr Muddle – Walk backwards 

Mr Bounce – Jump around 

Mr Small – Crouch to walk or crawl

Mr Tickle – shaking your arms as you move 

Mr Happy – Move around with a big smile 

Mr Tall – Reach up as high as you can while walking 

Mr Strong – Flex your muscles as you walk

Mr Topsyturvy – Lie on your back with arms and legs in the air  

This game has a never ending list of actions and these are only a few off the top of my head. You could even ask the children to think of some of their own Mr Men and Little Miss characters and actions to go with them.


Warm-up games are a great way to introduce techniques, have some fun and warm up the areas of your body that you are about to be working. It is a crucial part of every session to prevent injuries and these have been just a few that I love to use. I would love to hear your favourite warm-up games and add them to my bank.



Almond Valley Heritage Centre


When attending University to become a Primary teacher, you don’t expect to have a placement that is not in a school, but when you attend the University of Dundee, this is the case for second year.

My placement is in Almond Valley Heritage Centre, and I have been designing an entire topic plan around the Shale Oil industry in Scotland.


When I first started, I have no clue what Shale Oil was… I feel that this is the case for many, yet it is actually a fairly major part of Scottish history – especially the local history in West Lothian.

A chemist called James Young found that you can extract paraffin oil from shale rocks and this led to what is called the Shale Boom. Young opened refineries across West Lothian with the main refinery being in Bathgate. West Lothian was a prime location as there are a number of areas where Shale can be mined.

Young’s Bathgate Chemical Works were arguably the first in the world to refine mineral oil on a commercial scale.

I have found it very interesting so far learning about the history of my local area, but it has also been fantastic to have the opportunity to plan on a long scale basis for an entire topic which can be handed straight to teachers without them having to think too much about it.

Although I am only half way through my placement, I have completed my first full draft of the topic and I am excited to share it with other museums to gain some feedback and new ideas that can be added.

I am particularly excited to visit the Open Museum today to see their loan boxes in the hope that I can create some of my own at AVHC which can be used to aid the teaching during a visit to the museum.