Emma McCartney UWS ITE ePDP

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Week 2 15/1/19

Today we were learning about programmable toys and specifically a toy called ‘Bee Bot’. We were asked to read an article before the class called ‘Robots in early education’, which gave us some useful knowledge about Bee-Bot and the experience some children have had with this toy. For example, “The children had great fun. No-one was reluctant to use the Bee-Bot or had to be persuaded, and most returned for an extra activity”  (Lydon, 2008, P.2). On reflection of this activity I noticed the majority of the class having fun with the activity, which further backs up this statement. I found this article interesting and very helpful as I have absolutely no experience with programmable toys and this gave me some insight and knowledge about them. The aim of today’s class was to design an activity for children using Bee-Bot achieving one or more experience and outcomes for the curriculum for excellence. “ The curriculum introduces programmable toys as a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world (Janka, 2008, P.2). 

 

It took me a while to decide what activity I was going to design. I had so many ideas in my head, however a lot of these ideas were far too complicated and not directed for the early years or first level children. I decided to choose my experiences and outcomes and then design and fit my activity around that. The experiences and outcomes I decided to choose were, HWB 1-15a. This curricular area is Health and Wellbeing and the experience and outcome is “I am developing my understanding of the human body and can use this knowledge to maintain and improve my wellbeing and health”. I then decided that this would tie in nicely with one of my initial ideas, which was to identify the organs in the body. My plan was to draw the outline of the body and then draw and colour in the organs. I assumed this would be straightforward, however I encounter a couple of problems such as there are two lungs and two kidneys in the body, and I couldn’t squeeze the pair of organs in the one box. This wasn’t a problem I envisioned before starting, it was only when starting to draw I noticed this was an issue. I managed to get around this problem by making sure I asked for the left side of these organs to be acknowledged in the questions. I could have also by passed this issue by only putting one of the organs on the drawing, but I did not want the children to think we only had one of these organs. My second issue was the large and small intestine would take more space up than one box and the small intestine is inside the large. I made the decision to draw half the large and half the small intestine in separate boxes next to each other. Reflecting now I am not sure if I have made the right choice by doing that and I may take a different approach to the drawing of these organs in future. TCH 1-14b was another experience and outcome, which covered this activity. The curricular area is technologies and the experience and outcome covered in this area was “Demonstrates an understanding of the meaning of individual instructions when using a visual programming language”. As part of the activity children need to read a question for example,” which organ pumps blood around the body” once the child decides they know which organ they are looking for they must then locate that organ on the drawing of a human body with Bee-Bot. They need to follow specific instructions to allow Bee-Bot to move from one location to another. I believe this activity would be very beneficial to children and by using Bee-Bot it would further enhance the learning experience for the children. I found this task extremely rewarding for myself and I thoroughly enjoyed designing the activity. I hope going forward I can learn from my mistakes and design better activities covering a variety of outcomes and experiences for the curriculum for excellence. 

 

I feel this activity was a success and I can see how beneficial Bee-Bot can be to improving academic and life skills for children. I have taken on board the mistakes i have made designing this activity and I feel next time I can create an even better activity. 

 

References  

 

Janka, P. (2008) Using a programmable toy at preschool age: Why and how? 

 

ICTopus Article (2008) Sharing good practice: Robots in Early Education by Alison Lydon 

 

Reflections On Placement

Having completed a two week placement at a primary school, I have reflected and highlighted areas i have made the most progress and areas that require development. I was fortunate enough to observe each year group in the primary school and was given informal feedback from the teachers, which has allowed me to really highlight areas requirng development. It has  also given me more knowledge and insight into the different stages throughout the primary school i attended. In return this has afforded me with the luxury of experiencing the different problems and struggles for children at different stages of the curriculum.

Strength

Throughout the two weeks it was highlight by many of the teachers and my peer observation that i was confident working with the children on a one to one basis and it groups. An example of this was taking a group of children for a reading task in which i had to get the children individually to read to the group. After this i asked the children questions about the book to ensure they had a good understanding of what they were reading, I did this with ease, in which the kids felt relaxed, open and trusted me to talk openly. Ensuring all children were involved, engaged and learning successfully.

Area of most progress

It was highlighted at the beginning of the placement that i should show more confidence in utilising behaviour management strategies. I felt at the beginning of the two weeks placement i was worried about stepping on the teachers toes, so i tried to take a step back approach to work out how the teachers used their behaviour management strategies throughout the day in the class. However the children soon picked up on the fact that their misbehaviour was going unnoticed and ended up misbehaving even more. I would say this has been my area of most progress as i effectively by the end of week one was dealing with varying misbehaviour from children such as aggressive, verbally abusive and even physical abuse behaviour. An example of this was when two children were physically fighting in the classroom and i managed to calm the situation down and spoke to the two individuals seperately and then had the two children apologising to each other and getting them focused back on their work again. The children in this particular class were known for continually fighting with each other and it was a massive eye opener on how to deal with this sort of behaviour calmly and effectively. Im not sure i would have handled this situation the way i did at the beginning of the placement so i was very pleased with my progress on behaviour management strategies.

Area Requiring Progress

I require progress on my positioning when talking individually or as a group to children. This was highlighted on more that one occasion and it was a suggestion for improvement on my peer observation. I need to “ensure that you are facing all of the children as often as possible”. As soon as my back was turned from the class to talk to children the rest of the children weren’t doing their work and started to act up. I found this difficult as i tried to give the pupil or pupils i was talking too my undivided attention but then i faltered on my class control as i didn’t have visual on what the rest of the children were doing. I need to learn to multi task a little better in the classroom.

Action Plan

On reflection of my placement, i plan on researching more into behaviour management strategies. I plan on working on my positioning when talking to people and to get into a continuous habit of making sure i have a visual view of all surrounding people. This will ensure when i am back on placement that i a view of everyone in the classroom when talking to individuals or groups of children.

 

Shared Observation Feedback 22.10.18

My partner and I both noted that the teacher spoke with adequate volume all of the time. The teacher enunciated his words clearly. He made the classroom fun to enter, “Ok ladies and jelly beans sit down now”. This is a strength as he starts the class off with a positive, joyful attitude. This gives the classroom a great atmosphere. He had strategies for helping children who were struggling such as shortened targets, this again is a strength.

Raising his voice quite considerably when he was speaking to Michael, this could be seen as quite frightening for the child. This was an area for improvement, he could have asked Michael what the issue was and he could have asked what could have been done to help the situation.

I was surprised at his sharp, aggressive tone with the children at certain points. I was also surprised that my notes and observations were very similar to that of my partners. I didn’t find the tasks too difficult. Most of the teachers strengths and areas of improvement were very clear to hear and see.

Feedback in an important practice as it allows us to build into a better teacher. It allows us to see areas of improvement where maybe we didn’t realise we needed them. Judgement of a teacher is not positive practice because it is not constructive.

If there is one thing i could take away from these tasks then it would be to help develop a positive attitude and mindset in the children.

I am feeling really excited about placement. I am looking forward to seeing the methods the teacher uses to keep the children disciplined and how they teach certain subjects such as literacy and maths. As a fitness instructor and a person who is very keen on health and fitness amongst children, i am particularly interested in seeing how the health and well being is being taught in the school and if there is anything i can do to help.

 

My First Two Weeks Of University So Far

My experience of University so far has been extremely positive. I have enjoyed new challenges, such as Spanish. I have already noticed in my short time at University that i need to work on my listening skills and this was personally highlighted in a lecture in situation communication when i found myself drifting into daydream and not fully grasping the task at hand.

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