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

Derek says: Reflect

Thinking back on the lecture we just had, I feel it was honest and raw. I was engrossed the whole time and hanging on every word. It really took me back to Higher History, which I loved, but the lecture was so much more in depth and uncensored, looking at things in a sociological way, which really did capture my attention from the get go.

The different aspects of coffee really helped me understand the different layers and depths of what sociology can be, with it taking my own interpretation and looking at things in a different aspect. Four main points I learnt from the text (with the coffee reference) and with the lecture include:

  • Coffee is a key piece and often a necessity in peoples morning routines, and often lunchtimes too
  • It is a socially acceptable drug
  • Coffee can link the rich with the poor, as it is a valuable trade (connecting globally)
  • Over time, it has become branded and politicalised.

Even though the example given was coffee, I feel anything can really be substituted in, and after the lecture I was thinking more and more of social media and the way it has adapted and grown in our society. Could we really live without it now?

During the lecture, learning more of Emmet Till, I was engrossed as to why society back then thought the way they did, along with lynching. As I have always thought of everyone as equal, I am shocked to have been enlightened more as to how back in the day people were so horrible, and I can not think of what life would be like now if this to were happen. I would like to think there would be a fair trial and that times have indeed improved for the better for African Americans. I find it interesting the juxtaposition of how back then, African Americans were separated from white people, but the popularity of music from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald.

I feel, if I was alive during and after World War Two, that I myself, would be a suffragette. I find woman fighting to get the vote, and winning, is such an interesting and fascinating subject, as it was the women before us who done this. If there is a chance to vote nowadays, I make sure my the women around me use it, even if they do not know who to vote for, using the vote is better than not, as women in the past fought and died for it. The UK as a country has come such a long way from the sexualised, degrading advertising. The lecture this showed how far our country has come, as if this was publicised now, there would be an out cry. I found the lecture empowering because as time goes on women are becoming more equal to men, whether it be in sport or politics, we have more and more of a say. Society is changing as even though coffee shops may be on every corner, the women in our society are gradually becoming less known as ‘someones wife’.

I feel as a future teacher, it is important to encourage children to follow their own paths even if it isn’t the social norm. Everyone is unique and this should be celebrated. Children should be reminded that everyone is equal, no matter the colour of their skin, the background they come from, the clothes they wear, or who has the latest game and who doesn’t. I feel this should be important within the classroom as they are the future social societies.


four envelopes… one lesson.

Within our first values workshop, we were divided up into four equal groups. Each group was then handed out the same looking envelope, but what was unknown to us at the time was that each same looking envelope had different contents…… but why?

The task was to create something that would be handy for a new student to use when starting the university. In each group, each envelope had different usable materials in it. In my group, this consisted of: one single sheet of A4 paper, two post-it notes, two elastic bands, a pen, a pencil and four paper clips. In our group we thought what could we make that would be useful? Scratching our heads and brainstorming, we came up with the idea of an information leaflet, which consisted of folding the piece of paper in half. At this point our brainstorming session was over, as we were only given ten minutes to then present to the rest of the class our idea and pitch it. At this point, we realised that everyone has different materials, which indeed did confuse our group, as we had the smallest and plain amount. After listening, and taking on board other groups ideas, we revamped ours slightly but went ahead with our main idea, and with the next 10-15 minutes given, we did indeed create our lovely leaflet. At this point however, we were informed that our presentation and ideas, along with our final product, we would receive points and that there was potential to win a prize. This upped our game even more. We then with the time left, planned our presentation and finished our leaflet which included a map of campus, social media outlets, important emails and student information, along with a basic timetable.

When presenting, we were all confident and took pride in what we had achieved and made. Our group done well (I thought) with the resources that were given however, we were given a 2 out of 10. How soul destroying. We found that the better the groups resources were, even if their ideas weren’t the greatest, they were scoring better than us and were getting lots more praise and support from our main advisor. The group with the most resources won, as it was bright, attractive and colourful which really captured everyone’s attention.

What I personally took from the lesson is that, as a future primary teacher, I need to respect everyone no matter where they come from, what they might have or not have or what background they come from, everyone should be treated with the same respect and fairness. It is important to include everyone in a lesson and give praise when it is needed as it can help encourage children to keep going and to develop and succeed further. I think it is important to remember that everyone is their own individual with different circumstances, and that no matter where you come from in society that we should all be given an equal chance in life, but as this workshop proved, is that it is more likely that someone from a well off background is more likely to succeed and do well in life, unlike someone who is from a deprived background who may not have as much, which may lead to them not reaching their full potential and having the chance to reach for the dreams they wish to achieve. I hope that when I qualify as a teacher, I will inspire and help the children that I teach, no matter their background, to reach for the stars and follow their dreams.

Oh! To be a Teacher…

Why would I like to be a teacher? I would love to become a teacher to change and inspire young lives, no matter the age and stage of development. When I was in Primary 5 and Primary 7 myself, I had a teacher who I looked up to, who I knew I could trust and was approachable whenever needed within the classroom. I remember being very shy, and I remember being brought out of my shell and having confidence shone into me. Thus, ever since, giving me the inspiration and drive to become a teacher myself.  With lots of questions, I asked my teacher endless amounts and at no point was she impatient or unwilling. She listened to me, and helped me develop my own knowledge and skills which I’m sure will help me still, when I become a teacher myself. She was one of the first people to tell me that no questions can be considered as ‘silly’, and that someone else in the classroom might well be thinking the same as me.

I feel with my teaching degree, I can also give children the confidence and guidance that they need to reach and become their full potential that was once given to me. I feel that everyday in the classroom would be different, and that each day would bring a new opportunity to encourage, and inspire children to be the best they can be. Children are young and vulnerable and I feel that when in a safe and positive environment, such as the classroom, they can strive to reach their goals with the support they need. I think it is important to remember that each child is their own individual who, in turn, has their on unique experiences and background, which means each child will have different needs. This in turn, makes me excited and looking forward to creating, developing and carrying out lessons to cater to the classrooms different needs. I feel that as a person, I am creative and I look forward to having my creative streak and love of colours inputed within my lessons and throughout my classroom, which I hope creates a fun learning environment for everyone.

Aged 23, I feel now is the right time to embark on this new adventure and journey (plus it being third time lucky getting on this course), with the goal of having my own classroom to enrich and inspire future generations to become the best they can be and that if they put their mind to something, have a goal, and work hard that they can achieve and become anything they would like in their wildest dreams. Whilst at college and on placements, I witnessed children grow and build their confidence, and when conquering a task the satisfaction and glee on their faces. No matter the age and stage of children, at each development stage they are at, they need a positive and enthusiastic teacher, and I do believe that I can be the one to guide, help and encourage them to become the most optimal person they can be. I am determined and driven to be the best teacher I can possibly be, to help motivate and fuel children’s desire to reach for the stars.