Category Archives: 3.1 Teaching & Learning

Geographical Mapping🗺

In our lecture today we learnt about using maps with children and how it develops new skills and knowledge of their local and global surroundings.

You should use maps with children as maps are a way of communicating information about a specific place, they give children the support to interact with an environment they can not physically access, they show the spatial layout, distribution and pattern of geographical features and we can use maps to navigate around our landscapes.

Having a knowledge about location is essential for children in setting themselves and their geographical studies in local and global contexts. It is important that children know where features, places and events occur and how they connect spatially to one another when learning about geography (Catling, 2017).

Mapping skills that a child will learn include:

  • Perspective
  • Representation
  • Scale
  • Direction
  • Location

Mapping skills are learned best when put in a meaningful context.

Map keys are an aspect of mapping that children will need to understand. These keys can give, for example, symbol representations, colour codes and line meanings. Getting children to investigate and make their own keys for their own maps is a good way of practicing and learning this aspect.

Scales are another aspect of mapping. Maps are not always draw to scale but they should have a scale at the side to tell you otherwise. Most maps are small scaled to fit the earths landscape on them.

Developing a perspective form above is key as most maps are formatted so that you are looking down from space on the landscape. Children are used to seeing 3D landscapes from their POV.

  • Google Earth is a great resource for demonstrating this.

There are so many more sources of maps, these include:

  • Picture maps
  • Street maps
  • Road atlases
  • Ordnance Survey maps
  • Architect’s plans
  • Sketch maps
  • Shopping centre plans
  • Atlas maps
  • National and continental wall maps
  • Thematic maps
  • Globes
  • Historical maps
  • Postcard maps
  • Tourist fold-out and brochure maps
  • Bus and railway maps
  • Shipping charts
  • Maps in newspapers and on websites
  • Maps in board and virtual games

Interaction with maps

Creating maps.

  • Fictional books
  • Develops understanding of place in a story

Representing landscapes through maps.

  • Relating to real situations and needs
  • Make connections to journeys
  • Focus on land use, pattern and texture in the landscape and then how this is represented on a map
  • Work in this area supports children to access OS maps

Representing landscapes through models (3D)

Activities for learning

  •  How can I help a visitor find my classroom?
  •  Treasure hunt around school (use school plan with numbered locations)
  •  Use O.S. Maps to describe my local area
  •  Model a plan of the classroom or school
  •  Picture maps of stories (Gruffalo, Little Red Riding Hood, Katie Morag)
  •  How do I get to school – draw a route map
  •  Where does our food come from?
  •  Create symbols for a school plan
  •  Landmark spotting
  •  How far is it? – fetch an object from the furthest away point in the room, put a pencil in the middle of the room
  • Journeys in the school building – the shortest ways, the longest ways – draw the routes on a school plan
  • Scale drawing of the classroom
  • Compare different maps of the same area
  • Record routes, use directional language, Beebotgrids of familiar areas
  • World map – where in the world have the class been, mark countries with a pin/spot/sticky note
  • Plan walks around the school grounds, colour code them

(Bridge, 2010).



Catling, S. (2017)  ‘Mental Maps Learning about places around the world’, in Scoffham, S (ed.) Teaching Geography Creatively. 2nded. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 58-75.
Bridge, C. (2010) ‘Mapwork Skills’, in Scoffham, S (ed.) Primary Geography Handbook.Rev,edn. Sheffield: Geographical Association.

Interdisciplinary Learning: A Reflection from my Childhood

Today we got an introductory lecture to our ‘Developing Effective Teaching and Learning‘ module. The module aims to explore and show us how subjects can take learning beyond it’s barriers and involve Interdisciplinary Learning (IDL) – making connections between different areas of the curriculum. It’s all about making appropriate links and showing these to the children so they gain an understanding and learning experience.

We were asked to think about the topics that we did in Primary school. The normal responses sounded out the topics of WW2, The Victorians, Vikings, Egyptians, etc. We discussed how much interdisciplinary learning went into each topic or were they purely based on, for example, history with little to no mathematics or english studying within them.

One of my most memorable experiences at primary school was a topic I did in my P6 class. Firstly a bit of background. My class was a very close class, we were pretty much all together in the same class all the way through the stages of primary school and our school was also a small village school. We had a strong bond and – if i am biased – favourited by our depute head, Mr Still. In primary 6 we studied the topic of Mary Queen of Scots. Along with our newly qualified, enthusiastic class teacher, Mrs Anderson, we created a professional movie. This same year we also hosted and preformed a knock off Mary Queen of Scots pantomime, “Mary Queen of Chocs”. But I’m going to focus on the movie.

This experience was truly special as no other class had got given this opportunity. As a class we worked with our class and depute teacher and a professional movie crew. Each week we dedicated an afternoon to this project with the additional out of school trips to filming locations in the local area. Our school was lucky enough to be in a great countryside location that we had amazing filming spots, these included; a few castles, lakes, walled gardens and countryside land and views.

The class got casted and put into film crew and acting groups so every pupil had a part in creating the movie. We were also put into separate groups and each group was in-charge of a specific scene. I was in charge of the locations of where the filming took place in my group. Other jobs included; costume, makeup, story boarding, camera directors, sound and music, editing, lighting, etc. This was very exciting for all of us as we got taught how to take the role of each job and how to go about them. This was a great learning opportunity to learn things that are not the learning norm in the classroom, for example, how to storyboard.

This topic involved a lot of IDL. As a class we created the soundtrack for the movie using our music lessons in school. With our music teacher we created and recorded the music using school equipment. We had a talented musical class which helped. We used mathematical subject learning when working with camera angles, timings and when it came to selling DVDs and tickets to our premier night. English subject learning when writing our scripts of each scene. Geography subject learning when choosing the locations for filming. History subject learning, pre-movie when we learnt about the history of Mary Queen of Scots and the timeline of her life events. Expressive arts subject learning when acting the parts of characters and creating costumes.

The aim of this topic was not only to give an unreal primary school experience but to link lots of curricular subjects together and show us, as the pupils, how you can link subjects. It’s not only now that I can see the real benefit of IDL as a student teacher and how good my Mary Queen of Scots topic was in relation to this. It also was a great topic for building relationships with peers in the class and bonding us even more as a unit.



Education Scotland. (2012). CFE Briefings, 4 Interdisciplinary Learning. Availible at: Accessed 18/08/18.


The Empowerment of a Child’s Voice

Our geography lecture today was all about enquiry and planning with children. We did a few activities which involved looking at a first lesson on a topic the children hadn’t studied before in social subjects. We discussed and planned how you would get out this lesson – how would you entice the children into the new topic – and which e’s and o’s/benchmarks you would follow for a first lesson. This was helpful for us to discuss as teachers what to put and what not to put in a first lesson, as well as motivational elements to excite the children with their new topic.

Our TDT involved reading an article concerned with the child’s voice in the classroom.

What are the arguments for encouraging children’s voice in the primary classroom?

  • The engage more with their teachers as co-learners.
  • The can be ‘co-teachers’, working with and for each other. Aids and adds to teachers learning too.
  • Many teachers lack understanding of geographical topics. Therefore a child’s knowledge can help boost a teachers confidence.
  • Giving children a voice will enhance geographical learning, understanding and values for all in any primary classroom.
  • Children can draw on own experiences, very real encounters and what they have witnessed in the world or in the media.
  • Children’s voice can have impacts on future developments.
  • Their voice can educate others, who then can educate more people – which can be in some instances, life saving.
  • ‘Children’s voice’ can life changing to a generation.
  • Increases personal development and confidence.

(Catling, 2014)

How can we do this?

  • Let children lead the development of a topic.
  • Let children be co-teachers.
  • Encourage children’s voices to be heard beyond the classroom.
  • Ask children what they want to learn or get out of a topic.
  • Ask children if they know more about a certain topic.

(Catling, 2014)

Are there arguments against this approach?

  • Some children may lack the competence and experience/knowledge to participate.
  • Giving a child the right to be heard can take away their childhood.
  • It will lead to a lack of respect towards parents.
  • Children may become too confident and not respect the voice of adults.

(Lansdown, 2011)

How does a teacher’s educational philosophy influence the implementation of approaches in the classroom?

If a teacher is for children using their voice to share their experiences and opinions in the classroom then a feel the children will be more confident around their peers and not afraid and participate in class discussions as the teacher will encourage this ‘classroom voice’.

Depending on how much a teacher knows about a topic depends on how much pupil voice is wanted/needed. A teacher also might be very knowledgeable about a particular subject so therefore will ask for pupils what they want to know about the topic, knowing that they as the teacher can answer these questions.

A teachers patience also influences the approaches used in the classroom. If a teacher is patient  they will encourage pupil questions and opinions to be heard. Whereas alternatively an impatient teacher may just want to voice their knowledge to their pupils and not ask for any input from them.

A teacher may feel greatly about the need for children to develop personally and children voicing their opinions is a great way to do this.

If a teacher also feel in the education philosophy that children need to be active participate in their learning, then they will also encourage children to use their voice.



S, Catling. (2014). Giving younger children voice in primary geography: Empowering pedagogy – A personal perspective. Article. Available at:

G, Lansdown. (2011). Every Child’s Right To Be Heard. PDF. Available at:


End of Placement Review

Further Learning

I feel that from this placement further learning can be developed. Since my placement was in France and it involved speaking French and English I feel that my French can be further developed. This will be useful for teaching my future pupils.

I aim to address this learning by regularly testing and practising my French by myself and with the other girls who came on this placement with me.

End of Placement Reflection

This placement has been a huge eye opener for me. I have learned and experienced so much while being here in France.

From a professional perspective I have learned about other cultures/backgrounds in terms of ethnicity and nationality. There are a lot more ethnicities in French schools than there are visible in Scottish schools. Along with this they have their laïque principle. This principle made me see they French’s views on religious beliefs in schools. I was able to compare this to Scotland quite a lot when observing the school days.

I observed how the French teach their school curriculum. They teach A LOT of French and Mathematics, because of this they don’t teach as much of other school subjects.

This placement made me appreciate the value of learning another language. As I came to France with limited French language knowledge I quickly learnt how important it is to have a good second language in your knowledge. I had to quickly pick up the basics of the language to help me communicate within the school and around the city of Orleans. Once I got the hang of some French it was very helpful and I enjoyed speaking in the language.

In French schools they start teaching their children a second language right from age 3 (nursery age). This was a big contrast to when I was in primary school as I only started to learn a second language when I was age 10. That’s 7 less years of being taught a language compared to when the French start teaching a second language in 2018.

From my experience with learning French and teaching English to the children in France it made me feel really enthusiastic to teach a second language when I have my own class in Scotland. The reactions I got from teach English were very positive so this boosted this ambition even more. I also bought a few basic French books whilst I was here in Orleans, which I plan to use with my classes. I am really excited to share my knowledge of French with future pupils.

This placement made me think about how to teach a language right from the start where the child has no previous knowledge of this language. I took for granted learning a language and I came to realise how hard it really is to learn one. Through my teaching I discovered how to teach the basics of a language to the children. The French teach languages slightly different to how we teach in Scotland. They are focused on the listening and speaking aspect of learning a language, as they believe this is the best way to learn a language in the first instant. I came to learn that this technique is best way. Children learn through imitation so this technique is proven to work better than showing a child writing and text in the first instance. In Scotland I remember being taught a language with writing and reading as well as speaking and listening, which is too much for a child when first learning a language. One reason being is that the way to pronounce a word and be very different to how you spell it. This can be confusing for a child, therefore it is best to only get the children to speak and listen at first.

From a profession perspective I reflected on the behaviour management strategy similarities and differences between France and Scotland. I observed in France that they are a lot more hands on and in physical contact with the child when giving sanctions, which is a complete contrast to in Scotland. I was quite shocked by the hands on strategies they used, as this would not be allowed in Scotland. It made we reflect on how in Scotland we turn to other techniques from sanctions, for example the way we verbally sanction.

Personally, this placement made me become a more independent teacher, as it was sometimes hard to communicate with the teachers. I took charge of my own lessons and decided on my own what I would include in them, judging what I thought was appropriate and most beneficial for the pupils. I thought this put me in a good position and I enjoyed being responsible for my own teaching.

Values & Culture


The French have had a midweek break/half-day in primary schools on Wednesdays dating back to the 19th century. It is a government concession to the Roman Catholic Church, which wanted children to study the catechism (Catholic book) on their Wednesday afternoons off. In today’s secular (schools not connected with religion) France, Wednesdays afternoons are used for a mixture of sports, music, tutoring for families of means, or a scramble for working parents struggling to get by, who must either find a sitter or send their kids to a full day at a state-run leisure centre.

Despite long summer breaks and the four-day school week, French elementary school students actually spend more hours per year in school than average — 847, compared with 774 among countries in OECD. But the time is compressed into fewer days each year. They get about 2 hours a day for lunch and the French school day begins around 8:30 and ends at 4:30 p.m., even for the youngest, despite studies showing the ability of young children to learn deteriorates as the day goes on.

But many parents are afraid that the changes will force them to figure out extra childcare five days a week, especially at schools where the after-school program amounts to sitting silently at a desk for two hours or near-chaos in the play areas.



Hinnant, L. (2012). School schedule: Reforming traditions in France. [Website]. The Christian Science Monitor. Available at: [Accessed 21/03/18].


Lunch Breaks

In French primary schools they have three breaks in their school day; a break in the morning, a lunch break and a break in the afternoon. This is different from Scotland, as we only have two breaks – a morning break and a lunch break. But the difference that shocked me the most was their extra long lunch breaks. They allow two hours for their lunch! In Scotland our lunch break in barely an hour. The French have a long enough lunch that some teachers even go home for a nap!

So why do the French have such long lunch break, in all types of jobs, compared to other nationalities? With accordance to a survey from The Local, 45% of French workers, in all types of jobs, spend over 45 minutes eating their lunch each day. This was the biggest percentage from all the countries surveyed. You are not likely to see a worker eating with one hand whilst still typing with the other hand during their lunch break in France, which is commonly seen in other countries, as they have so much time to do both separately.

Between only 3%-10% of workers in the UK and America eat for 45 minutes in their lunch break, whereas in France this percentage is at 34%. 28% of workers in the UK take less that a 15-minute lunch break; therefore they barely leave their work building to enjoy their lunch.

To the French, the reason for their long lunch breaks is to them this is one of the most enjoyable parts of their day, which they rarely miss. It is an important social time of which worker and friend relationships are built upon. Food is a way of connecting with people.

The French also do not snack like we do in the UK. So they are starving for lunch when it arrives. They also have much bigger portions for their lunch, compared to us in the UK, which keeps the French going longer without snacking.

In my placement school, the teachers spend the first hour doing work and the second hour eating and socialising.



Ditton, H. (2016). Why do the French take such long lunch breaks? [Website]. The Local. Available at: [Accessed 28/03/18].



One of the general principles for the education system in France is that public schools are “laïque”. The ‘laïque’ principle was introduced to separate the civilian for their religion whilst in school. The aim was to equalise every pupil, there is respect for all beliefs equally. In school is there should be no recognition of any of them. By not showing any signs of your religion everyone is seen as equal, there are no differences and discrimination and racism is avoided. Religion is kept to ones private life. The Catholic church (Christians), make up the greatest majority of those living in France. Because of this principle, Religious education is not a subject taught in school.

This is a great contrast to Scotland as a large majority of public and private schools let you show your religious beliefs openly and freely through any ways, may that be how you dress. They have religious assemblies and do work in class about religious holidays and ceremonies. But I believe this isn’t defining equality as in Scotland we teach mainly about Christianity and don’t touch on other religions, forcing those who don’t believe in Christianity to sit in and listen. It is only in the topics of R.E. that a school may touch on other religions around the world.



n.b. (2018). Laïcité. [Website]. Available at:ïcité Accessed [12/03/18].

Frenchentree Staff. (2017). La France : un état Laïque. [Website]. Available at: Accessed [12/03/18].



The first thing I noticed about the pupils in the French school is that there are a wider variety of races within the school than there is in Scotland.

In 2011, In Scotland 96% of the population was white and only 4% of the population were from ethnic minorities, which includes minorities such as, African, Asian, Black, Caribbean and mixed groups. Whereas in France 85% of the population are white, 10% are North African, 3.5% are Black and 1.5% are Asian.

This also leads to a wider variety of religions and ethnic backgrounds in the school. But as I have spoken about previously, the school I am in is a ‘Laïque’ school so there is no sign of any religion allowed. There is without a doubt loads of different religious beliefs in the school but I would not be able to tell which pupils believe in what as they show no sign through clothes, accessories, personal objects, etc.


Demographics of France. (2018). [Website]. Wikipedia. Available at: [Accessed 07/05/18].

Scottish Government. (2011). [Website]. Scottish Government. Available at: [Accessed 13/03/18].


Behaviour Management

The French classroom discipline is quite different to the discipline preformed in Scottish classrooms. In Scotland you are not allowed to physically touch a child for a sanction you can only verbally sanction a child. If you were to physically sanction a child there would be uproar on the parental side. Verbal behaviour management is also preferably made positively. For example, instead of saying “don’t do that”, put emphasis on what you would like them to do rather on what they are doing wrong.

From my French classroom observations the teachers can be quite firm and hands-on when giving children sanctions. They are not afraid the drag a child by the arm, whether the child is on their feet or on the ground. I was shocked when I first saw this, as it was so different to the Scottish classroom discipline.

Once article exclaims that the French teach children to “sit down and shut up” and mistakes are pounced upon and punished. I can relate to this statement as I observed in CE2. A boy drew a diagram for a science experiment but is measurements were a centimetre off and the teacher grabbed his work, dramatically scrunched it up and threw it in the bin. It wasn’t seen to her as a case of a little mistake that could be rubbed out and fixed.

A study based on students performance in schools along side a study based on children health and well-being in school, show that within all the countries compared, French school children are seen to have high percentages of low self-confidence and anxiety.



Hyslop, L. (2010). Sit down and shut up – that’s the French school way. [Website]. The Telegraph. Available at: [Accessed 05/04/18].


School Uniform

In France the public schools do not wear uniform. This is different to Scotland as all schools; whether they are public or private wear school uniform. The children are free to choose what they wear as long as it follows the laïque principle. This includes football strips, which is band in many schools in Scotland on non-school uniform days and in physical education.

Up until 1968, French schools had a uniform to be worn by the pupils. It was needed to protect the children clothes and hide socioeconomic differences. But since that date, the uniform in France has been phased out and only military schools, a few private Catholic schools and one state school still make is necessary for pupils to wear uniform.

There is a debate to bring back the school uniform. There are number of reasons for this; integration, bullying, peer pressure and provocative dress. Uniform disguises any discrepancy towards privileged and non-privileged backgrounds; no rich kid can flash around their expensive, in-trend jumper at the poorer kids. Everyone is physically seen as the same so is treated as equal. The rationale for wearing school uniform is to create a level playing field.

It is believed that school uniform improves behaviour in the classroom. Perhaps uniform helps pupil achievement, school pride or reduction in fighting. Some studies show that a change from no uniform to the introduction of uniform changed the level of respect seen in the school and also pupil’s ability to learn. One study that used data from 39 countries found that wearing school uniform did increase achievement.

Uniform creates the absence of choice. In the morning it is similar for a child to pick what they are wearing as they only have one option.

One article disagrees with the wearing of school uniform. The blandness of a uniform doesn’t allow one the right to self-express through clothing. Some of the highest academic achieving countries have no school uniform, for example Finland.

One article identifies the strictness of some uniform, enhancing the non self-expression allowed. Shorts are for boys and skirts are for girls, boys hair must be short, skirt length must be below the knee and socks and shoes must match the correct uniform colour.

“Scotland has the uniform without the stunning results”

I secondary education around exam time, no one student would rather sit a 3-hour exam in their tight, uncomfortable, button up shirt than a comfy choice of clothing. Maybe comfort could increase achievement?

In my opinion I think uniform should be worn in schools. It creates the difference from being at home and at school. Home is where you can relax but school is somewhere where you should be engaged and prepared to work. Uniform gives a child a sense of membership to their school. I also agree with all the point about no discrepancy.

I believe though in France that the Laïque principle helps with no discrepancy. This then creates a balance between the arguments of wearing no school uniform and wearing uniform. There isn’t discrepancy about ethnicity backgrounds while wearing no school uniform as they have the Laïque principle in place.



Oppenheimer, M. (2017). The downsides of school uniforms. [Website] The New Yorker. Available at: [Accessed 05/04/18].

Jacobs, E. (2014). Wearing a school uniform doesn’t help us learn. [Website]. The Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 05/04/18].

Mergler, A. (2017). Why do schools want all students to look the same?. [Website]. The Conversation. Available at: [Accessed 05/04/18].



In each classroom they have blackboards at the front of the class. They do not have whiteboards on the walls. They only have a couple of whiteboards, which are moved around the school on wheels. They do not have interactive boards or projector boards either. When they do want to use a power point they have to use a portable projector and project onto the blackboard, putting pieces of white card on the blackboards so that the projection can be seen. This is very different to Scotland as we don’t really have blackboards in schools anymore and we have predominately white boards and interactive boards.

This change of boards was an interesting experience for me, as I hadn’t taught with a blackboard before and was used to interactive boards and computer based lessons, which were projected on a board.



A huge difference between the French primary school and the Scottish primary school is the handwriting. In Scotland the handwriting of a lot of children is un-neat and the letters are not joined up. There isn’t a big emphasis on ‘joined up writing’ in Scotland. However in France from age 6 the children are taught to use ‘cursive’ handwriting. ‘Cursive’ is another word for joined up writing. A child’s handwriting is an important part in their education. Cursive writing ensures a neat flow of words, a ‘running hand’. The French handwriting appears elegant and mistaken to take a lot of time and effort to write but in fact it isn’t as they practice it everyday and it is the norm to them, they don not know any different. It is an art.

Most of my generation learnt the looped cursive way of writing at some point in school, which required all letters to be joined with loops and joins. But children got to choose how they wrote, as joined up writing wasn’t an essential. Therefore my writing isn’t joined up but rather manuscript. There was a longing to learn ‘joined up’ writing when you were young as it felt grown up and sophisticated.

In the 1960s, ballpoint and fibre tipped utensils were introduced to many countries, replacing the fountain pen – except in France. This action may explain why the French retain such elegant handwriting. A fountain pen requires fewer lifts between letters, allowing this ‘flow’, and this results in the slanted cursive and looped letters.

“Handwriting is an imprint of the self on the page”

According to Bernhard, with this generation of mobile phones and text messaging, children are not writing as much as before. Handwriting shows originality and expressiveness that a text message can only approximate. It is our identity, similar to our clothing and our voice. Children of the younger may not see the point in cursive writing anymore and children’s writing is become more and more similar to each other’s. Soon enough it will be difficult to identify the nationality of the writer.

There is an argument, which states that early readers read books that are printed in manuscript so why would we make children’s learning more difficult by asking them to learn two ways of writing. Another argument states that you will not write faster in cursive than in manuscript. You do not need to write fast until after primary school and you will join up letters anyhow if it is needed to help with speed. Cursive doesn’t need to be taught for this matter. Another argument says that when writing in cursive hand, children are less likely to mix up letters or write them backwards.

One cant help but wonder why the French insist that children age 6 must learn all the loops and tails of cursive writing when this way of writing is so different from the text in books they are learning to read. What if they are not ready for it? Writing and reading is one of the hardest early-learning task a child will face and the French are putting the children through this twice, with two different sets of rules, as the French believe that only the writing they teach is “beautiful”.



Ball, P. (2013). Curse of cursive handwriting. [Website]. Prospect. Available at: [Accessed 05/04/18].

Bernhard, A. (2017). What your handwriting says about you. [Website]. BBC. Available at: [Accessed 05/04/18].


Traffic Lights

Within a few of the classroom that I had observed, I noticed the use of a traffic light behaviour system, similar to the ones used in Scotland. If the child is badly behaved they are asked to move their name from green to either amber or red.

This is effective as the child moves their name, which makes the sanction real.


Pupil Roles

In the French classrooms they have a roles chart of their walls. This is also seen in the Scottish schools. Each day the teacher assigns the classroom roles to different children. The roles include jobs such as; jotter hander out, blackboard cleaner, messenger, line leaders, lights, cloakroom monitor and blackboard writer.

Assigning pupils roles in the classroom boosts their self-esteem, as they feel valued by the teacher as they have been picked and trusted to take on an important role for their classmates.



The primary school has a close connection to their local community. For their physical education they use the gym at their local secondary school, as they do not have an indoor gym themselves.

The school also took part in a ‘marche’. This was a run through the local community that the school took part in. The different stages of classes ran for different lengths. They trained weekly for the run in the playground, which I got to observe.


CP Classroom Differences

I clear difference that I noticed in the youngest classroom was that there were no playing activities around the classroom. In Scotland, when a child goes to school for the first time they are in a P1 classroom. The typical P1 classroom has lots of play activities around the room, including; play/house corners, sand/water trays, dress up, puzzles, games, a library corner and a child friendly computer.

In my schools CP class there is none of that. They only have a few puzzles and board games at the back of the class, of which I have never seen be used.

I feel in France that as soon as a child is in school they are made to feel they are in a grown up school and they are learning like the bigger kids. There are no more toys to play with as that was left behind in nursery school.

In Françoise Monclere’s CP class the chairs are fitted with tennis balls on the end of the legs. I thought this was a good idea as it avoids the chairs scratching and making a noise on the floor and it also avoids accidents occurring.

Week 6: Day 30


Today is my last day at École Louise Michel. I’m very sad to leave as I’ve had such an amazing experience and enjoyed every minute of it. Today was also special as they had a carnival dress up day for my last day. I dressed up at Lilo for Lilo and Stitch and all the teacher and children dressed up too. There were costumes such as scarecrows, Indians and princesses to jedis, clowns and dogs.

I was in Laura’s class today with CE2/CM1 and she Started the day by using a behaviour management technique, she sat at the front of the class, didn’t say anything and waited for silence. The children caught on and they quietened down. One of the children took the register, shouting out their names and asking if they were home or at school for lunch. I thought this was a good thing to do, to allow a child to take charge of the register. The child will feel trusted and respected by the Rachel for getting this role.

Laura then did a dictation lesson. She read out a passage a couple of words at a time and the children wrote them in their jotters. She every so often would go back to the start of the passage in case any child had missed a word. The class then went over the passage to make sure everyone had it correctly.

They then had a maths lesson. They got given a problem solving question which involved money. I helped one of the boys who was struggling with it and also asked a boy who was finished to help explain what he was supposed to do to him.

At break time I got to speak to all the children and see what they were dressed up as. I stood with some girls and I translated all the names of the costumes into English for them.

After break the class got out topic work. They each had a poster they were working on, each about a different animal. The poster contained information on the animals habitat, location, diet and life span. I helped the children cut out their information and then stick it down.

At lunch time I went outside to spend by last lunch time with the children. A few of the girls have a dance club at lunch times so they brought a speaker outside and showed me their choreography. I was very impressed with their dancing. It was a sunny 28 degrees today, which made the day even better. I also played hop scotch with two girls from CE2/CM1 and we counted the numbers in English and French.

Once the bell rang for eating lunch i went inside to eat with the teachers. Near the end of lunch they brought out two cakes for me. I was so surprised! One was a late birthday cake so they sang happy birthday to me in English and i got to blow out the candles, unknown to me that these were tick candles and when you blew them out they relit themselves!! All the teachers and I laughed at that. One of the cakes was a traditional French cake, which is only made in France. I was excited that i got the chance to try it, it was very nice. They then brought me out some thank you/leaving gifts, which was all too nice. I got a few unicorn themed gifts as i had taught the school that the uniform is the Scottish national animal. I was glad that they had remembered this! I then got my thank you card for the teachers and pupils and let them read it out at the lunch table. I wrote half of it in French and half of it in English. I also added my contact details on the card so we could still keep in touch. I also have all the teachers some sweets that i had bought for the school. After lunch i went up to CE2 to receive some leaving cards and then I went back to Laura’s class.

After break time we had the carnival!! This was the most exciting part of the day. All the children lined up in their classes so that they could each me given a bag on confetti. Once everyone had a bag every body spread out across the playground and when one of the teachers rang the school bell everyone chucked a handful of confetti in the air. It was such a joyful moment. I had to help Sylvie throw her confetti as she was dressed as a scarecrow and she couldn’t throw it up with her straw hands. All the children were running round and past me, throwing confetti at me. It was such a laugh and all the children had such a fun time. We then spent the rest of the afternoon outside. I played basketball with a few of the CM2 boys and I scored a point that they were impressed with. I also got some photos with the teachers and a few children to remember my time at the school.

Before the bell rang all the classes went back inside and i got two girls form CE2/CM1 to come round all the classes with me to hand out a sweet to each pupil as a leaving gift.

I have honestly had the bets time on the placement in France. I have learnt so much and enjoyed very minute of it. Missing the school, teachers and children already.


Week 6: Day 29


Today I was with Sylvie Lambert and her class CE2. Today there would be no canteen food so the pupils were supposed to have taken a packed lunch but many of them forgot it. The teacher then had to phone certain pupils parents to ask if they would take a packed lunch in for their children. This reminded me of when I was in school and if you for got your lunch the same thing would have to happen. Sylvie started off the day with a dictation lesson. She spoke out the paragraph a couple of words at a time so that the children could write it down accurately. After she had finished the paragraph she picked a few children to repeat back what they had wrote down.

After break I taught an English lesson. Sylvie had a meeting at the start of class so I took the class by myself, without her there, for the first time. I enjoyed this more as I felt no pressure from her being there. I started by sitting the children down and then asking them to take out their English books. I then asked what the date was today in English and I got the children to tell me each part of the date as I wrote it on the blackboard.

The lesson was a carrying on lesson from the previous weeks one in this class. This time the biography I gave them didn’t have my personal parts in it but rather blank spaces for them to fill in with their own details. We practiced speaking all the sentences in the biography and went over them quite a few times so that they would memorise it better. Then I asked the children to fill in the blanks in English. Sentence by sentence I wrote them on the blackboard and showed them what they would put in the blank spaces. I gave multiple examples of what to put in each space. The children also put their hands up to ask me how to spell certain words in English, especially for the animal and sport sentences. I really enjoyed doing this on the board as I got to practice my French handwriting, as it is difficult for them to read my English style handwriting. Once they had filled in their biography sheets I asked a few children to read out their whole biography to me. I thought this pulled this part of the lesson together well as they could hear and see how the biography flowed,

They then stuck a class picture underneath and circled their face and along side that they stuck a picture of the map of France and circled Orleans. This whole piece of work that they had then done of this page would be for me so that I would remember my time here with the children. I thought this was a very thoughtful gift. My lesson carried on until after lunch.

At lunchtime I went outside with the children. I played a card game with one of the girls, which involved me using my numbers and colours in French. This was fun as I got to interact with the pupils and using my French too. I also used my French during lunchtime to count down races and to count the numbers for hopscotch.

Once the children came back in from lunch we started the lesson again. On the page beside their personal biography page, I gave them the same handout as last week with my personal biography on it to stick onto this page. I then went over my biography on the blackboard, in French cursive writing, and told them to highlight each word that was personal to me. Underneath this they then each got a picture of me and stuck it along side a map of Scotland, which had a circle round Aberdeen. This would be for them to keep as a memory of me.

In the afternoon I went to Françoise Monclere’s class, CP, to help her with an art lesson. We went to the art room in the school and carried on the topic of kitchen utensils. All the children were given a sheet, which had a plate, fork, spoon, knife and chequered table mat drawn out on it. They used coloured pens and pencils to fill in and decorate their own one. While the children did this I pulled out a child at a time to help we with the hot glue gun. We were using the glue gun to stick down big polystyrene kitchen utensils onto an A2 chequered background.

During this part of the lesson I had to explain and brief the children on the safety aspect of using the hot glue gun. I told them not to touch the nozzle of the gun as it is very hot an to keep their fingers away from the glue as its drizzled onto the polystyrene as it would burn their fingers. I felt this was an important direction to give children before doing any activity that has a risk of injury.

I demonstrated how to use the hot glue gun and then gave it to the child, they then traced the glue around the shape and then I placed the shape onto the background for them to press down into place.

After break I went back to Sylvie’s class to play maths games with them. I played the same maths game as last week but with different children. This time I knew how to play the dominos game better, therefore this time round the games went much smoother. Again every time a child had the answer domino and placed it down I asked them to show me that time on the interactive clock and then listen and repeat back to me what the time is in English as well as French. I enjoy playing the maths games with the children as I get the Practice by French at the same time as teaching the children English in maths and I get to work with a smaller group of children, which is easier for communication and checking for understanding.

Week 6: Day 28


Today we were not in our French school but rather we had an end of placement meeting with Nina Huss at the ESPE centre. At the meeting we discussed; how we felt our placement went, what we had noticed that was similar and different from schools in Scotland, if we felt we had integrated well into the school team, the different lessons we got the chance to teach, how our French had progressed, what we would take form this placement back to Scotland with us, how this placement has changed our thoughts on teaching and if we had any quires about the placement.

Nina was very supportive and we thanked her at the end for organising the placement and helping us along the way, She suggested that we keep in contact with our schools for future reference and that we could even keep a close relationship by writing letters and even create pen pals when I have a class of my own.

We then went into the centre of Orléans to go to a children bookshop that Nina had recommended. We spent hours in there as the shop was full of useful French children books. They had books for basic French; numbers, colours, shapes, etc. and they even had English classics; Elmer, The Hungary Caterpillar, Fairytales, etc. I bought 4 books, which I thought would be handy to use in my classroom when teaching French once I graduate and I also thought they would be a nice memory of my placement here in France.