Category Archives: 3.3 Pupil Assessment

RRS Discovery⚓️

Today we had a day off from university, so Jennifer, Beth and I decided to use the time to do an education trip to the RRS Discovery ship in Dundee. Our aim was to learn about the history, geography and science of the exhibition and reflect on the suitability of the exhibition for children and school trips and justify learning that would take place on a school visit.

The Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic is the reason Dundee has it’s fond relationship to penguins and they are seen throughout the city.


The RSS Discovery was built in Dundee by the Dundee Shipbuilders Company and its purpose was Antarctic research. RRS stands for Royal Research Ship and it was first launched on its adventure to the ‘unknown land’ on the 21st of March 1901.

Only 6 years previous, the first person landed on the continent and no one had ever travelled more than 50 km from its coast. The expedition to the coldest place on earth was in the pursuit of new lands, scientific advancement and adventure. Their first expedition was successful and named the ‘Discovery Expedition’.

The ship sighted the Antarctic coastline on the 8th of January 1902 after it’s long journey from Dundee. The journey consisted of many stops along the way, these included; London, Madeira, Brazil, Cape Town, Macquarie Islands and New Zealand.

The expedition was an exciting experience as the land was so unknown to any person at this time.

The ship was caught in ice at the end of the expedition. They had to use explosives to set it free. This happened on the 16th of February 1904 and they sailed back home to Dundee.

The successfulness is the reason it floats in Dundee today.



The city of Dundee is positioned on the east coast and because of this it gets a great deal of shelter from bad weather and this meant for an ideal location for a harbour.

The River Tay also serves great importance. It is a passageway for imports and exports which supported the city and it’s development over time.

Whilst in Antarctica drinking water was a lengthy and hard process. Ice blocks had to be cut out of the ground using picks and shovels, placed on a sledge and then pulled back to the Discovery ship where they would be melted into drinking water.

Fresh food would not survive long over the lengthy time at sea so they had to take a lot of preserved food with them. The continent of Antartica does not produce any fresh produce as the conditions are so harsh and cold, no plant would be able to survive and grow. The only fresh food it provided was seals and penguins which the men hunted and used for food.

Hartley T. Ferrar was the first person to do any major geological research in Antartica. On the expedition he discovered and plotted the distribution of the different types of rocks found in the mountains. He recorded his findings in details scale drawings. He found the evidence that Antartica was indeed a continent by finding granite – the main rock from which continents are formed. He also discovered the some of the first concerns of global warming. He found evidence that the ice and glaciers in Antartica has receded up to 2 or 3 miles in places. Today global warming is a major concern for us. The conclusions from Ferrar’s research was that the climate conditions in Antartica was once very different. Be found evidence of once existing rivers. His work helped scientists construct theories of continental drift and plate tectonics proving that Antarctica has moved to its present position from a part of the world’s surface where the climate was very different.



Edward Wilson was the zoologist on board the Discovery. His role was to identify and describe the variety of penguins, whales, seals and birds that he would find. The Discovery expedition was the first to sight an Emperor Penguin and to collect the first egg of the species ever seen.



Thomas Hodgson was involved with the marine biology research on board. During the expedition he collected; fish, sponges, corals, jellyfish, sea-urchins, sea-lilies, starfish, sea spiders, parasitic worms, spider-crabs, amphipods and sea-squirts. He caught the species by cutting holes int he ice and putting nets through the holes. The species collected were collected within a slushy ice which meant they had to be thawed before they could be inspected.


Justification for a class visit

The RRS Discovery is a great resource for a school trip. It offers an active approach to learning about social subjects. The RRS Discovery could even be made into your class’s term/year topic as it offers IDL opportunities.

After our visit to the expedition I am able to reflect on its suitability to a class. I think that a visit to the exhibition would suit the upper stages in school best as there is a lot of information to read on your way round which younger years would struggle to read and engage with. But saying this it isn’t all text information there are also movies to watch and audio recordings to listen to which means a not so confident reader could use these instead. Things also to consider are the heights of the exhibits as they many not be suitable to certain age groups.

I think the class visit should take place during their topic but closer to the start since i feel if you took a class pre-topic they might be confused as to what the exhibition is about or not have to motivation to engage in the exhibition as to if you did it during the topic you would be able to brief the class prior to the visit so they would have an understanding of what to expect and the basic story which they can then deepen during their visit.

The intended learning of the visit would be; to learn about the history of the RRS Discovery and it’s heritage relating to Dundee, to learn about the how the achievements the research gained effects the present day, to develop an understanding of different cultures and geological climates, to explore different times and places, to build on any previous knowledge and to develop a knowledge of past artefacts. This learning can be then explored and discussed back in the classroom through a series of lessons.

Experiences and outcomes that would guide these learning intentions would include:

  • I can use primary and secondary sources selectively to research events in the past. SOC 2-01a.
  • I can interpret historical evidence from a range of periods to help to build a picture of Scotland’s heritage and my sense of chronology. SOC 2-02a.
  • I can investigate a Scottish historical theme to discover how past events or the actions of individuals or groups have shaped Scottish society. SOC 2-03a.
  • I can compare and contrast a society in the past with my own and contribute to a discussion of the similarities and differences. SOC 2-04a.
  • I can discuss the environmental impact of human activity and suggest ways in which we can live in a more environmentally- responsible way. SOC 2-08a.
  • By comparing my local area with a contrasting area outwith Britain, I can investigate the main features of weather and climate, discussing the impact on living things. SOC 2-12a.
  • I can explain how the physical environment influences the ways in which people use land by comparing my local area with a contrasting area. SOC 2-13a. 
  • To extend my mental map and sense of place, I can interpret information from different types of maps and am beginning to locate key features within Scotland, UK, Europe or the wider world. SOC 2-14a.

There are many interdisciplinary links that could be relevant to this topic. This topic would use the second approach of IDL which is uses curricular areas “to explore a theme or an issue, meet a challenge, solve a problem or complete a final project”.

Technology –

A link to technology and design could be made. This could involve learning about the design of the ship, how it was made and what materials were used. A lesson could be conducted whereby a class get to design and create their own ship with the influence of the RRS Discovery design.

I can extend and enhance my design skills to solve problems and can construct models. TCH 2-09a.

Health and Well-being –

A link to health and well-being could be made by learning about the harsh weather conditions that the people aboard RRS Discovery had to endure and learn what they did/used to survive.

I am learning to assess and manage risk, to protect myself and others, and to reduce the potential for harm when possible. HWB 2-16a.

Expressive Arts –

A link to expressive arts could be made. During the RRS Discovery expedition the zoologist pained pictures of the animals found in Antartica, this could be made into a lesson whereby the children practice painting pictures of the different animals you get in Antartica.

I have the opportunity to choose and explore an extended range of media and technologies to create images and objects, comparing and combining them for specific tasks. EXA 2-02a.

Another link in this curricular area can be under the Drama heading. Children could create a drama piece of the RRS Discovery’s journey based on what they learnt on their visit.

I have created and presented scripted or improvised drama, beginning to take account of audience and atmosphere. EXA 2-14a

Science –

A link to science could be made. Children could investigate and learn about the different animals that were found on the expedition and learn how they survived in the Antarctic conditions.

I can identify and classify examples of living things, past and present, to help me appreciate their diversity. I can relate physical and behavioural characteristics to their survival or extinction. SCN 2-01a.

Another link to science could be made by learning about buoyancy, relating this to how the ship stayed afloat and what makes this happen. An activity in the classroom could involve a tub of water and the children would test different materials and record their buoyancy levels.

By investigating floating and sinking of objects in water, I can apply my understanding of buoyancy to solve a practical challenge. SCN 2-08b.

 Another link to science could be made by looking at the substances that make but the continent of Antarctica and compare these to the substances that make up other continents in the world.

Having explored the substances that make up Earth’s surface, I can compare some of their characteristics and uses. SCN 2-17a.

Another link to science could be made by looking into the what research was found and discovered during the RRS Discovery expedition and identifying how this has impacted society today.

Through research and discussion I have an appreciation of the contribution that individuals are making to scientific discovery and invention and the impact this has made on society. SCN 2-20a.


During the class visit to the RSS Discovery they will get to engage in the number of activities. These activities can provide an evidence-based approach for children. These include; watching short movie clips, dressing up, creating crayon rubbings, using a toy crane (involves problem solving skills), drawing animal pictures, paying with child friendly builder tools, using their senses to feel, smell, hear and see what the expedition was like and walking around the desks of the RRS Discovery.

The exhibition also offer pre-booked school group visits. These visits are 4 hours long and have a structured timetable to its contents.

10:00 Arrive and introduction – group taken to dedicated “Polarama” education suite.– Snack and comfort break – bag drop in our secure lockers.
10:15 Full guided tour of RRS Discovery – focusing on elements of the ships design, her voyages and the stories of the crew.
11:15 Workshop (in Polarama)
12:15 Packed lunch (in Polarama or on quayside if good weather)
12:45 Exhibition area with free treasure hunt sheets and chance to explore all exhibits and interactives as you saw on your visit.
13:45 Comfort break and bag collect
14:00 Depart

The visits can be tailored to different age groups including the activities and workshops within them. But the above structure is the most common one they would use with a group.

One of the most popular workshops the exhibition can offer is one called the ‘Polar Explorer’ workshop. It is run by the education team at the exhibition. The workshop begins with a discussion with the children on what the climate and conditions were like that the explorers had to endure while in Antartica, including details on frostbite, scurvy and hypothermia. A debate can also be brought up for children to give their own opinions on about women in society, as there were no women in Antartica during this “heroic age”. The workshop then moves onto a demonstration and re-anactment. Children will get to be models and try on the different clothing that they would have worn on the expedition to Antartica. Children will get the opportunity to examine them and consider the materials use in them. The workshop then ends with a question and answer session.

To reflect on what the children have learnt during the trip I would create a series of lessons touching on different curricular areas to include IDL and each lesson would touch on a certain aspect of the exhibition to test, renew and deepen their learning and knowledge on the topic.

To assess that the children have achieved the intended learning I would devise a suitable plenary for each lesson to check for understanding of the learning intentions ad success criteria.



The Discovery expedition made a great contribution to human knowledge. While answering some questions about the nature of Antartica and the creatures that live there, it also posed many more questions, setting the stage for future explores and scientists.

For children, the Discovery is a great local exhibition where children can expand and build on their knowledge of the world they live in. It gives them the opportunity to use fieldwork, specifically the look and see type, along with sensory activities which really brings the experience alive, active and create a context for understanding. Also by making a topic out of the RSS Discovery it would motivate and influence children to want to explore and discover their world.



Turn your pupils into Polar Explorers!

Lesson Planning

Today in our Social Subjects input we spoke about lesson planning around current/recent news events which relate to social subjects. This way the children are learning about current issues.

Jennifer and I paired up to create a lesson plan, for a primary 7 class, based on a new article we found online about the effect rubbish pollution has on sea turtles. We used this as a stimulus and hence based our lesson around recycling. The lesson we created could be anywhere in the series of lessons, so we chose to create a lesson which in 2 or 3 lessons into the series.

The lesson plan we created is shown below:

Once we had finished our plans we then presented them to another pair in the class. The activity was very useful for giving us as student teachers ideas on how to come up with lessons that relate to what is happening in the world around the children at the current time, making it meaningful and gives context to learning.

Our tutor also gave Jennifer and I some tips to edit our lesson plan which i found very helpful. One tip she gave us was that instead of telling children information about a topic, get the children to research and find answers/knowledge out for themselves, this way to are using active learning and engaging the children to use researching skills. Allowing children to research topics also develops children’s teamwork and note taking skills along with children learning to decipher if information is useful, reliable and appropriate. This idea is also a bonus for teachers as it reduces their workload and they can use this extra time for other things.

I feel like after this input I will be more critical when writing lesson plans and be more inclined to look back over drafts to see what could be changed for the better, whether its to benefit the children or teacher.



End of Placement Review

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.

Week 6: Day 27


Today I was with Axelle Holef in CE1. Axelle started the day by asking the children the day of the week and what day comes before and after today’s day. She then spoke about the weather and asked the children to describe it to her.

She then started a mathematics lesson linked to a money goal of the classes. The class has a change piggy bank and each morning the children put any loose change into it and today they had reached 131€. They wrote on the blackboard as many ways as they could make the number 131 by adding and then how many ways of making 131€ using notes and coins. Axelle used hundreds, tens and unit squares to also give a visual representation of 131.

She then moved onto dictation. She wrote the sentence on the board and then discussed with the children what words in the sentence were the; preposition, adjective, noun, verb, feminine, masculine, singular or plural and the ‘determine’ word. She then read a passage and picked certain phrases out of it to analyse. The children analysed them and told Axelle whether they were feminine, masculine, singular or plural and what language rule makes them this way.

During break time a few of the pupils had to stay in for a few minutes since they had to correct their dictation. I think this is a good consequence as it teaches the children that if they do not correct themselves during class they then have to stay in during break.

After break she continued teaching about singular and plural words. She wrote lots of nouns on the board with a ‘determine’ word in front of each. The children then identified the singular and plural words.

CE1 then had a mathematics lesson. They were again adding and taking away using different sized squares that represented hundreds, tens and units. These squares had magnets on the back of them so that they could be stuck to the blackboard and moved around depending on the equation. They also looked at partitioning tens into tens and units. She used a number line above the blackboard to help explain the jumping up in tens and then units.

After lunch I taught my English lesson. This was my final class to teach my Scottish lesson to. I started of my lesson at the front of the class while Axelle set up the projector. I tested the children to see how many English phrases they already knew. I asked; how they were feeling today, how old they were, what their name was, what the full date was, what the season was and what the weather was like today. They all managed to respond to most of the questions I asked in English well.

I then started my lesson on Scotland. I did this lesson the same as all the others I had taught, getting the children to repeat each word a couple of times before moving on. When I got to the slide on tartan a few of the children told me that they owned items of clothing with the tartan pattern on them. One child even asked me where they could by tartan!

I felt this lesson went very well for my last teaching of my Scottish lesson. They were very engaged and interested about Scotland and they asked lots of questions at the end.

Week 6: Day 26


Today I was in Benjamine Duplouy’s class, CP/CE1. They started off the day by assigning the classroom helper roles. Benjamine went down the list of roles and asked who would like to do them for this week. The children put up their hands if they wanted to do the job and Benjamine picked a child to take on the role.

I think this is an important thing to do right at the start of the week so that all classroom jobs are covered before starting lessons and activities that involve using them. Assigning roles to children 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.

Since this is a composite class, whilst the CP got taught a lesson and CE1’s were given a word search to start off their day. Benjamine read out a passage to CP and then she got a few of the children to come up, one by one, and also read the passage she had just read. I thought this was a good way of testing the children reading and presentation skills.

CP then had a French lesson whereby they were discussing the sound of ‘c’ and ‘ç’ . Benjamine didn’t tell the children what specific letter/sound they were learning about at first, the children had t figure it out. ‘c’ and ‘ç’ in French can sound like a ‘s’ at times so a lot of the children were shouting out words which had a ‘s’ rather than a ‘c’ and ‘ç’. It was only once a child said a word with a ‘c’ in it that Benjamine wrote it on the board and the other children caught on what the sound for today was. The other children then came up with words that have ‘c’ in them. For example, some included; cinq, François, c’est, police and garçon. Benjamine when got the children to get their mini whiteboards out and put a tick on one side and a cross on the other side, she then shouted out words and the children had to show a tick or a cross depending on if they thought the word had a ‘c’ or ‘ç’ in it.

I went around helping CE1 with their word searches and dictionary work. The children had a list of words and they had to find them in their dictionaries and then write down the page number they found them on.

After break, CP was given a worksheet to do with the sound ‘s’ and letters ‘c’ and ‘ç’. CE1 had a lesson on adjectives and a worksheet to go with it. The compared two pictures of cows and had to match the correct sentences that described the cows using adjectives to the correct picture of the cow. Another part of the lesson involved the children looking at a picture and a connecting sentences that gave the read two options of adjectives describing the pictures, the children had to pick the correct adjective out of the two. After the worksheet, on the blackboard, Benjamine wrote up sentences and got the children to identify which word was the adjective. This gave the children more practice of what they had just done on their worksheet.

Once some of the CP children had finished their work a few of them want to try speak to me in English so wrote me messages in French and I translated them for them into English, I found this quite fun as I liked how interested they were in the language.

After lunch I went with Sylvie Lambert with Laura’s CE2s to help with her science lesson. We went out into the playground where they have a garden. In the CE2 lesson we were planting vegetables and flowers and learning how to use the garden tools and equipment correctly and safely. Before we went outside Sylvie explained on the blackboard with diagrams what we were going to do outside. I followed along so that I knew what they were doing too so that I could help and demonstrate instructions outside. The children helped Sylvie and I take all the garden equipment outside and then we both helped demonstrate how to use the tools. To start we raked the soil to turn it up and flatten it out. We then used bamboo sticks to indicate where we were going to plant each vegetable/flower. The children used metre sticks to space out the bamboo sticks along the garden. Once all the bamboo sticks were positioned in the ground we got rope that had a metal rod at ether end and placed each rod in the ground, right where each bamboo stick was, and ran the cord perpendicular, right across the garden to meet the bamboo stick at the other side. This created a grid to work with. We then started to mark out where we would plant the vegetables/flowers. We used a tool to create an indented line in the soil parallel with the robe and then deepened it with a sharper tool. I particularly helped the children with this bit, as it was trickier as the tool was big and heavy. Once we had created these valleys in the soil we took out the guide ropes and started to plant the seeds.

Firstly we planted the potatoes that they had, had in the classroom for 6 weeks now, to allow them to sprout. We used a tool that created a circular hole in the ground when you pushed it into the ground and pulled soil back up with it. The sprouted potatoes were then placed in the holes that were evenly spaced out along the line and covered over with soil. Next we planted peas. The peas were scattered across the next valley and then covered over with soil. Then we planted beans, which were planted the same as the peas.

Next along we planted lettuce, we used the same tool that was used for the potatoes for this vegetable and it was covered over in soil so that the existing leaves were seen coming out the top of the soil. Beside the lettuce we planted carrots, the seeds were scattered in the valley and then covered over in soil. In the final two valleys we plated two different flower seeds, these were scattered in the valleys and then covered over with soil also. Once all the seeds were planted we got watering cans to water all the seeds. It was a very sunny day so perfect for the seeds to start growing. The children then got lollipop sticks and labelled each one with each of the vegetables/flowers. These were then stuck into the ground at the start of each planted line.

I really enjoyed this lesson and I think the children did too as it got them outside and hands-on during the lesson. Although it was fun it also needed the children to use their mathematical skills when measuring and judging during the lesson.

Week 5: Day 25


Today I was in Françoise Monclere’s class with CP. She started off the day by asking the children what the date was. She wrote it on the board as on of the pupils recited it out. She also had a pupil writing it on the board alongside her so that they could practice writing it. She then picked a few pupils to recite the date out and then tell what day was before and after this date.

I then taught my English lesson. I did the same lesson as I did yesterday to the CP/CE1s. This time I prepared my French script better so that I could do more translating from English to French since the children in CP are so young I wanted to make sure they were understanding and following.

At the start of ‘Spot Can Count’, the book about English numbers and animals, I introduced it in French and English and then I asked the children to count from 1-10 in English for me. I thought this was a good idea so that their brains were refreshed with the numbers before starting the book where they would need to answer with these numbers. After this I taught the lesson with this book the same way as I did yesterday as I thought it worked well for the children and me. I thought this class was more difficult to control regarding behaviour as there was a few pupils during the lesson who weren’t listening as well as others and misbehaving. Because of this difference from yesterdays class, who behaved really well, I had to use the phrase “Levre la main” more, which means “put your hands up” and write a few names on the board for warnings.

I then moved onto the book ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’. I also taught this book the same as yesterday but again with more behaviour strategies in place. I felt this class struggled more with the names of animals than yesterdays class but there was a few different children who confidently knew the names for certain animals that I was happy about. After I had finished the books, I told the class an animal in French and then asked them if they could tell me what that is in English. They managed to respond back with most but struggled with ‘bird’.


I felt this lesson didn’t go as well as the lesson the pervious day but I think it was down to the behaviour of today’s class. Because there is a language difference it is difficult for me to give proper sanction to the children, as I am not confident in the language. So I have to try my best but it doesn’t always work and the class teacher has to help and jump in for me.

After break they had singing with CP/CE1 and CE1. They sang a new song, which involved half of the children singing at one time and the other at another time. The children managed to do this well. After singing CP came back to class and they did some maths. The maths was counting involving adding tens and units. I helped a girl when counting sets of beads in tens and units and then adding them together to then figuring out which groups of beads had more altogether than others.

After lunch CP from Benjamine Duplouy’s class came through to our class and we watched and discussed how baby animals are born. I helped set up the projector for the videos. We watched the hatching of a chick and a turtle and then the birth of a horse. The children were very interested in the subject and had previous knowledge on which type of animal is the mother and father of the chick would be (a chicken and a cockerel). During the videos a few children misbehaved and I had to speak to them and give them warnings. At one point Françoise had to give a sanction to one of the boys. I was quite shocked when she proceeded to lift the boy over the table to then push him in the direction of the door. This type of hands-on punishment wouldn’t be seen in a Scottish school.