TDT: Task Mat – The Rainbow Fish

The children’s book I have chosen to do my task mat on is The Rainbow Fish. I loved the book when I was younger and I feel if I was back in school and given this task mat I would be motivated and enjoy the tasks given to me. I feel the questions I have put on the task mat promote active thinking and encourages children to think of what message the book was trying to put across to the reader. I feel due to the book it would be within the First Stage level of the experiences and outcomes, and continuing on from this you could incorporate the rainbow fish in maths, art, drama and P.E.

TDT: Restorative Practices

Restorative Approaches: What it is.. It is about seeing the person and not the behavior. It is about planning for the future and repairing the harm that has been caused. Key principles that are within restorative approaches include: Taking responsibility for ones own actions and their impact on others; showing empathy with the feelings of others; fairness; allowing the participants of conflict to engage; non-judgmental, blame free approach and a willingness tp create opportunities for reflective change in pupils and staff.

Punishment or Discipline.. What is the difference? Punishment is to inflict pain on a person for breaking the rules and discipline is to train by practice, especially to enable self control and positive regard.

“Restorative Practice is an approach to offending and inappropriate behavior which puts repairing harm done to relationships and people over and above the need for assigning blame and dispensing punishment. ” Restoring Respect for Justice, Wright (1999)

After reading ‘Implementing restorative practice in schools’ by Thorsorne and Blood I have summerised the key points I have taken from it most:

  1. Restorative practice can also be known as restorative approaches and restorative measures
  2. Practitioners since the nineties have been using it in different solutions and settings and it is about working out a way forward if a problem has occurred.
  3. A restorative approach is about understanding that when something wrong has been done, we need to work with those involved to help them take responsibility for their actions, learn from it, and what actions can be taken to repair the harm that has been caused.
  4. It is highly important that attention is given to the stories of those who have been harmed, in order to repair the harm, and to help the person responsible understand how their actions have affected others.
  5. A key quote direct from the book in which I find invaluable and paramount to remember when situations arise with in an educational setting was: “Punishment has a compounding affect on children who are already dealing with stress and trauma  in their lives. Punishment contributes to this stress, something that may be very evident in those children who are easily aroused and explode in anger and rage on being challenged about their behavior. “
  6. Doidge (2008): The brain can change, by creating new experiences (with focus and repetition) new brain pathways can be formed.

We use restorative approaches to help encourage members of the school community to  effectively resolve and learn. It helps pupils learn empathy and understanding of other peoples feelings and can help promote a positive school ethos. Pupils seek fairness from adults who are dealing with disciplinary issues within the classroom, school or playground. Restorative approaches helps children understand the consequences of their actions and behavior and moves away from a win/lose culture to a more fair process.

Developing Classroom Talk…

After the lecture on classroom talk and looking the reading by Pollard (chapter 12) I have a much better understanding on the importance of classroom talk and how effective it can be in the classroom if used properly, from the pupils involved but also teacher dialect.  The power of talk helps the brain to build connections and build its capabilities (Perkins 2012). Within the general teaching council Scotland, it highlights as one of its main criteria’s that teachers should be able to communicate effectively and interact productively with learners whether individually or collectively. Teachers use talk for many purposes, this includes to: Instruct; Check understanding; Maintain control; Develop learning and help pupils see learning trajectory. Pupils need to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding to promote discussion and thinking, further developing their range of question types, and developing un understanding of people will have different opinions and views in which they need to learn to respect and value. When asking questions, it is important to give pupils appropriate time to answer, and asking questions to which there may be more than one answer. It is important to engage with the answers given, particularly the wrong answers as it can help generate as to why a pupil may be thinking something giving the teacher an insight on where progression and future goals may go. Exploratory talk is to explore ideas and probe others thinking. When planning for opportunities to talk within the classroom it is important to have a clear learning objective in mind, developing a clear plan of the context to be covered, concepts to be developed and issues to be explored. Materials should also be prepared, such as websites, questions or dvd’s as an example. Its important to set ground rules within the setting and deciding on how to evaluate and assess the questions and answers that are given. Questioning is a vital part of teaching and is paramount for both pupil and teacher as there can be low order questions and high order questions. Questioning can give an informal way to assess how a child is getting on, and gives immediate feedback on pupil’s thinking and where progression strategies may lead. (Pollard) —> Communication can be verbal and non verbal as body language and facial expressions can contradict on what is being communicated verbally. Tone, pitch, and volume are all ways we project our voice and are part of the communication process. Language skills are fundamental to communication, as we need to think about what we are going to say successfully to get information across to someone else, but in turn listening to their point of view and information understanding how to process it and understand what they are trying to communicate to us and how to respond to it both verbally and non verbally.

Science TDT 2: What makes a good lesson?

What makes a good science lesson? – After looking at the Es and Os within the curriculum for excellence, and then looking back on the last workshop with Jonathan, we came up with a list of contributors that we think will make a successful and good science lesson that encourages children to explore and experience new information and material which they can learn from and use in their futures.

The contributors to making a good science lesson:

  1. Working with local agencies/trusts
  2. Actively ‘doing’ what the children are learning about
  3. Incorporating other areas of the curriculum (e.g maths, literacy)
  4. Challenge children’s abilities
  5. Experience learning in real life context
  6. Practical Experiments
  7. Strong subject knowledge and expertise
  8. Positive attitudes
  9. Engaging
  10. Active
  11. Investigative work/Investigative skills
  12. Discussions
  13. Use of ICT
  14. Enhance local environment in biology
  15. Filming experiences/practicals and analyzing others work
  16. Parents contributing to children’s learning and work
  17. Positive ethos in classroom
  18. Work independently and collaboratively
  19. Less use of copying out notes, more practical involvement
  20. Encouraging thinking and questioning

“Science is fun. Science is curiosity. We all have natural curiosity. Science is a process of investigating. It’s posing questions and coming up with a method. It’s delving in.”  – Sally Ride

Social Sciences TDT: Flying back in time

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

  1. Think about the selected outcome – This outcome makes me think of several different topics to base this on when teaching in the classroom. These include: WW1/WW2, Women gaining the right to vote, Titanic, and the Great fire of London to name but a few. I feel these alongside many others contributed greatly in shaping our society and the way we live today, and the children within a classroom setting can learn from this with age and stage appropriate materials.
  2. Brainstorm key questions– line of inquiry for the outcome -Initially I thought of asking the children what they might already know about the topic in hand, and what they may want to explore and learn about further, this includes what questions they may have. A few I thought of myself included: – Why did this event happen? Who were the major influencers? How? Has this event left an impact on society and the way we live now? If so, explain… how? How does this event make you feel? Would you liked to have lived when said event happened? What caused this event to happen? Who can you think of from this event? Can you think of any differences from the way we live in society today?
  3. Think of some activities– (Drama)- rein act a key scene of what happened in the event.. what characters or props might you make or need? What might they have said? (Literacy) Pupils could crate a poem, short story, newspaper article, diary entry based on the event, or if they were alive at the time of the event. (ICT) research topics based on the event nd present back to class, working with a partner or in a small group. (HWB) What food did they eat back then? Is it different to the food we eat in this day in age? What did they do for fun? What was it like to be a child in the event era? What was school like, how has it changed?. (Maths) has money changed since the event era? If so, how? What does it look like? What is its value now? What could you buy with it then compared to now? (Music) What was the music like then? Have the class listen to some music from the era and have them try to identify how it makes them feel? What instruments they might hear? What the song might mean? Is there a dance to go with it?

Easy as 1.. 2.. 3..?

After missing the last maths input, due to having my pre-placement visit early, I have managed to catch up with the thanks to Tara’s PowerPoint notes and friends taking notes for me. What I have taken from it, is that maths is one of the three areas in which is classed in the responsibility of all (the other two being health and well-being, and literacy).

There are 8 organisers for numeracy: 

  1. Number and number processes
  2. Money 
  3. Time 
  4. Measurement
  5. Data and analysis 
  6. Fractions, decimal fractions and percentages
  7. Rounding and estimation
  8. Ideas of chance and uncertainty. 

What I have taken most from this input is that it is fundamental that we are all numerate as well as literate. Being numerate involves having the confidence  and competence when using numbers which helps solve problems and analyse information such as time telling and using money and percentages. This helps make informed decisions based on the information gathered. Ensuring lessons and planning helps children have realistic expectations and a real-world idea on how numbers are used, as an example, home economics encourages children to bake and weigh out ingredients and have an end product at the end (such as a cake) which can make the lesson memorable, relatable to real life experiences and gives them a sense of achievement. This gives a realistic context for learning and it is key for teachers to give children this opportunity, to inspire and show them that numbers are all around them and not give them maths anxiety. Promoting lessons which go well, sharing with other practitioners is good practice and gives inspiration to other teachers, which in turn could help other children throughout the school. Children within a class all come with their own experiences and knowledge, so it is important to check in before a lesson to have an understanding of what children know without a topic of maths, taking on board what positive experiences they may have, or concerns which worry them and restrict them from progressing further. As a part of lesson planning, preparing for a maths lesson is important to ensure there is enough resources for a smooth running lesson, and to ensure children are engaged and learning in all aspects. 

From a personal point of view, in primary school I loved maths (apart from problem solving, where the problem just seemed too hard). When I got to high school I felt it was too regimented, strict and if you had a question the teacher would act as if you should already know it and someone would snigger from behind. In primary school I remember learning chimney sums and being told I was great at it. I remember learning to tell the time and sticking my hand up in the air so proud with myself when the teacher asked what the time was on a huge clock prop. I later revisited my love for maths when I took a night class (to help me get into teaching) and the lecturer was nothing like a class teacher, who actually encouraged us to speak out and ask questions. No homework was given and no wondering how something was done if you fell behind. Liz’ method in teaching was if you felt like you went home not understanding, the next class you told her and she went over it until you got it, and there was always someone else in the class who felt the same. I felt confidence and the determination to pass my exam (which I did!), and without that love of maths in me, I don’t think I would have. Do I have the confidence to teach it? Not yet. Do I feel I will get the confidence to teach it? Absolutely. 

Unfortunatly I was unable to access the “Mathematics explained for primary teachers” by Derek Haylock in the library or online. However I am looking to buy the hard copy as in investment for my future development and career.

Reflection: Where am I now?

Dereks Lecture (pedagogical studies) – Reflections/Evaluation on professional practice. 

One of the most important moments for my professional development in semester one is the working together module. As a whole it was really good to work with other people from the same and different professions, building and developing a professional and also friendly partnership. I feel my confidence grew and became one of the “leaders” of the group. I feel after getting my peer feedback it put my mind at rest, as I often over thought if I was having too much input and being annoying. The group I was with were fab, and although our CLD individual left the group, it made us stronger and come together more as we pulled together and cracked on with the work and tasks we had to do (as this was after our visit). We all shared equally the presentation preparations and discussing who should say what. I feel by doing this with individuals that I previously didn’t know, I have learned to take a step back and realise that not everything is in my control. Reflecting, I feel I developed my communication skills better as I was able to take on board everyone’s point of views and understand why they thought or came up with an idea. I feel it helped me develop a further understanding that everyone has their own expierences and backgrounds, and how that influences the way we think, hence viewing situations differently.

I feel I developed a sense of empathy, when someone was off before we got to know each other, I feel I was judgemental and assuming they were skipping the class. Hoewever, when relationships were formed and I got to know people and they were off, I had a better understanding of why they were off, and the reasons behind it. I feel I have become a lot less judgemental and slowly realising that not everything is as it first seems, and that I need to go deeper rather than just scratching the surface. Everyone has their own life and circumstances and it is important to realise that individuals can have more going on in the background than others. In the future I will take this nugget of information and use it in the classroom, in the aspect of being non-judgemental in the classroom, and making sure that I do my upmost best to always meet the needs of the children in my care, ensuring they are in the best environment to learn in and be themselves.

In relation to further developing, I hope to bond with my placement class, and learn of the needs they will have. I hope this will help me plan effective lessons which they will find fun and stimulating, ensuring they are learning from it too. I am looking forward to getting to know them individually, and finding ways to help them reach their full potential in the time that I am there. In order to help me reach this development goal, I will communicate and also get to know the teacher who’s class I am in, and also build an effective professional relationship with them.

What’s your brain like? (hwb)

Suzanne Zeedyk- ‘Pre-birth to three: Importance of early years’ 

The 8 minute video on the importance of early years was short but very impactful. It made me think of what environment children come from and that each child is unique in their own way. Cultures in every aspect of the world are different which creates such a diverse humanity from languages to learning techniques and styles.

What does this mean for primary practitioners? – My thoughts on how the importance of early years will affect primary practitioners is a great deal. Each child within your care is entitled to a safe, nurturing environment in which they can learn and succeed. Some cases in Home life (which the video highlighted) children are subject to abuse, malnutrition and lack of their needs being met. From a young age they are looking for where their next threat may come from instead of exploring new environments such as the way a ball moves or developing gross motor skills. This can affect how they may be in a school environment, they will be cautious and unsure on how to interact with others. They may have a lot going on in their mind on deciding whether or not a child or adult is a threat, and in turn will be affecting their learning, as their concentration will be on the threat being made (or not). Due to their home environment children will have different expierences and emotion towards subjects, such as a child may have extremely out going parents and has been around the world and expierenced different cultures in societies, giving them a different expectation and view on what the world will be like, compared to a child who has only had the opportunity to explore their back garden and surrounding areas. As spoken about in the video by Suzanne, this develops each child’s characteristics and how they develop and learn further, in turn creating who they will be in adolesence and even in full developed adulthood. As practitioners we should be encouraging children to risk take and try new expierences (bearing in mind age and stage appropriate) giving the children a development of their five senses and how it can impact them in a world. What might they think of a smell? What might they see differently to everyone else in class? How might they react to tasting something from a different culture. As practitioners we need to remember that if a child is going through a tough time at home, their concentration and sitting skills may not be there as their brain is focusing on something different, and stress levels may still be high from morning expierences at home. It’s about looking at how to help that child develop and grow in their own way, helping them in a safe, nurturing environment which a classroom should be, in where they can develop and grow further, and have expierences in which they may not receive at home.

What impact will the importance of early years have on professional practice? – Early Years will have a significant impact on professional practice as a child is still developing until the age of 20. The brain is able to react in different situations from a young age, and expierences help development and growth. Stimulating and challenging exercises within school from different parts of the curriculum help children reach their full potential in a safe and secure environment where they are surrounded by friends and children their age. From a young age children’s expierences are important and within the school setting we should developing them further and helping them become the best person they can be in the future giving them the tools to succeed. It is important to remember each child is different and their brains will react differently to situations given to them. Creating a positive working ethos and finding out within the classroom environment on the different styles children learn and adapting lessons to help meet their needs. As each child is brought up differently, and as practitioners we should be encouraging them to succeed, but also be mindful and respectful of their needs, and come up with lessons to meet their needs.

“What kind of brain are we asking children to develop?” – Suzanne Zeedyk

Language: The Experience

My experience with language throughout my time in both primary and high school was positive. I feel I have always engaged in it, and found lessons fun and interactive, in which I hope mine will be too. Since I had such a positive time in school I want pupils within my classroom to have the same environment and positive ‘I can do this’ mentality, which teachers instilled in me within my time at school. I feel as I got older, my writing developed as over time I was taught about finger spacing, the use of punctuation, how to form a sentence and as my time went on in primary school how to join up letters properly. The joy of being rewarded with a pen instead of a pencil is something I will never forget. My ability to communicate and listen to others has come from having lots of friends in school and finding the ques on when to speak and have my say within a conversation. I’ve always enjoyed the aspect of listening to other’s idea’s and then wondering how or why they have came up with it, then thinking ‘why didn’t I think of that?’. I was always taught that it is important to listen to others, and take different opinions on board, even if it is different from my own. Michelle’s input really opened my eyes on how important it is to be a role model for children as they pick up on the smallest things such as an eyeroll and the way you communicate with other adults. Reading is something I have always enjoyed, and to this day use it as a tool to wind down and relax. I have always enjoyed reading different stories, and learning new words and phrases developing my verbal word bank at the same time. Communicating with others is a key aspect to teaching, As speaking to the whole class helps communicate the expectations of the children for your lesson and what the achievement or end goal may be, along side the instructions on how to achieve this. Over time, my confidence on speaking to large groups has grown. I feel I used to be a shy person but over time my confidence has grown, and within my job as a waitress this has really came on. I feel I am now able to communicate myself well to and within large groups as I am able to vocalise myself and not be introverted. I feel this is key to teaching as I may need to speak to a whole assembly or staff room with lots of pairs o0f eyes on me.

Workshop 1: Dance

  • I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and
    being part of an audience for other people’s presentations/performances.
    EXA 0-01a / EXA 1-01a / EXA 2-01a
  • I enjoy creating short dance sequences, using travel, turn, jump, gesture, pause and fall, within safe practice. EXA 1-08a
  • Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express my ideas, thoughts and feelings through creative work in dance. EXA 0-09a / EXA 1-09a / EXA 2-09a

Using the experiences and outcomes from the expressive arts segment of the curriculum for excellence, I personally can relate to the three I have chosen. The dance workshop I attended yesterday afternoon was daunting at first as I am not a sporty person, and the idea of dancing in front of others, never mind a class, was scary. Furthermore, realizing that none of my friends were in my class was even worse. However, with a positive mindset I put all my doubts and worries aside and ended up enjoying the class completely.

If I was asked in my placement to take a dance lesson, I think after this workshop I would know where to start and have a few ideas to generate up a class lesson. I enjoyed socializing with new people, that I maybe wouldn’t have before, and becoming familiar with more faces from our huge lectures. After partnering up and realizing that everyone was on the same boat, my confidence grew and I was able to relax and enjoy the workshop. I liked how simple it was to start of with, in finding just a few ways to travel across the room, then seeing what others came up with and then thinking “why didn’t we think of that?”. Building on this, it has shown me that I do need to think outside the box more and care less on what others may think of me. The second part of the workshop when grouped with another pair was effective as the routine and the idea of dance really came to light and would be fun as a lesson for children, especially if there was steam needed to be let off. The simple way of finding a way to travel and then building on it with others, really showed that creativity can come from anywhere, and the more ideas the better, as the first idea isn’t always the best. Working with four other brains helped broaden my horizons as it highlighted that not everyone thinks the same and having other people’s ideas and inputs helped create a routine that we could perform in front of the class successfully.

Moving forward to the prospect of teaching dance in placement the three core ideas I will take from this workshop and potentially use are:

  1. Having children pair up and think of a safe and fun way to travel across the room, and to then have them show the class. After this building on the travelling and have the children create a sequence that would then formate into a dance routine.
  2. Creating an idea of a performance and show for the children, giving them something to work towards and be proud of. This would develop their interpersonal skills and working together abilities. I feel those involved would be excited and like the idea of being able to perform in front of the class. I feel this would help children who may not feel included or feel confident, have the opportunity to work with peers and have an end goal, creating a sense of achievement and have a factor of risk taking, building on their social experiences.
  3. Another idea that this workshop generated for me, is to have the children involved critique each other and peer mark each other. It would help generate ideas, giving them feedback and areas to improve before their performance as such. Using ipads if allowed to film in their rehearsals and then watch it back in their group to see where improvements or new ideas could be added. I feel this would help the pupils understand that not everything is perfect first time and that work and effort needs to go in to get the outcome they would like. This would help those involved to share ideas on the positives and negatives of their routine, building on what they have and using it to go forward.

Rounding up, I feel as the workshop progressed, my confidence grew not only in the class, but also in the idea that I could develop a lesson plan on dance if I needed to during my placement. After looking through the PowerPoint and using the expressive arts outcomes I have an understanding what is expected of me as a teacher to help generate an effective lesson for the pupils in my care, building on their experiences and understanding on what they think of dance and how it can be used.
Lastly, I feel using a youtube video at the beginning of the day would indeed help children come in and get ready quickly, as they would be curious as to what is planned for the day, and how relevant videos can help them with their learning and what is planned for their school day. However, as a side note it would be useful to load the video so that no advertisements are viewed by the children, and ensuring content is appropriate for them to view.