Serial Days 2 and 3

Some interesting observations that I have witnessed during placement days 2 and 3.

  1. During maths lessons, the teacher would blow bubbles to allow the children time to think of their answer to the math question. This allowed the lower ability children the opportunity to process the question and think about the answer.
  2. After the numeracy lesson, the children were given a selection of activities that they could choose to do after they had finished their work. (The Planning Board). Some children chose to complete calculations in the sand or with playdough and others made pictures of calculations with the help of number lines and an abacus.  For the plenary of the lesson the teacher took photos of the work completed by the children on a camera and then put the pictures on to the whiteboard. The children then had the opportunity to sit on the “share and shine” chair and talk about their work and share it with the class.
  3. What I liked most about this idea was how excited the children were to share their work with the teacher and the rest of the class and also how supportive they were of each other’s work – It was really great to see!
  4. During literacy, the teacher introduced the ‘say and trade’ activity to help the children with word recognition of their common words. Each child was given a posted note with one of their common words and then they began to walk around the classroom. When the music stopped the children would join up with a partner, say the common word on their posted note and swap over. This was a good way of getting the children to actively participate in their learning whilst developing effective communication skills with their peers.
  5. In the afternoon when the children returned after lunch the teacher put on the NumberJacks subtraction video for the children to watch to calm them down and allowed her time to set up the tooth brushing station.

The Skill of Questioning

Broad themes

It is clear that the main idea of the chapter is that questions are powerful tools and that the answer to a question can vary greatly depending on the questioning methods used.  The key themes of the chapter are the purpose of questions, types of questions, the effectiveness of different types of questions and the different contexts in which various types of questions may be used.

Claims and evidence

 The chapter emphasised that today’s school students do not answer questions in class due to the fear of their classmates reacting negatively. This was followed by a US Study that showed that as children grow older, they feel less comfortable to ask or answer questions within the classroom. I agree with the statement as since starting university I have personally found it very difficult to speak out loud in front of such a large group of people which makes it difficult for me to answer and ask questions whilst in lectures or workshops. However, I know that as a developing student teacher, this is something that I need to work on.

Analysis and evaluation

I disagree with asking children leading questions especially when a child discloses personal information about abuse to an adult. It is a adult’s responsibility to never ask a leading question or to put words into a child’s mouth but take only the information that a child has disclosed.

Knowledge and understanding

One theory mentioned within this paper is the “Funnel Sequence”. This is when a person is initially asked an open question allowing their response to have many possible answers. As the conversation goes on, it gradually progresses to closed questions being asked meaning the question should then have only one real answer. This method of questioning looks like a funnel as it starts off wide with open questions and then the questions gradually become narrower.

Chapter five, ‘Finding out about others: the skill of questioning’, in Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge.

Placement Day 1

Thursday 23rd January

Today was my first day of placement in primary 1/2. Whilst in the class I found it very interesting and exciting to see all of my knowledge and understanding in practice as the children worked on their literacy and numeracy skills.

Interesting observations

  1. When explaining the learning intentions and success criteria the teacher used toys called “learning ladybug” and “successful snake” to engage the children and keep them focused on what is expected from them.
  2. In the morning when the children arrived, the teacher reinforces the days of the week, months of the year and asks the children the date.
  3. In maths, when looking at number patterns/sequins the teacher used a washing line and gloves to teach the children how to count in patterns of 5. The gloves with 5 fingers were a great visual for the children as they could easily count the fingers if they needed to.
  4. When completing the writing task the children used number lines to help them identify missing numbers in the sequence.
  5. One successful method that I noticed the teacher using to ‘chunk’ up the lesson was to use interactive videos on . I noticed that the teacher used this strategy to help the children when they were becoming restless or beginning to lose focus. This not only improved the children health and wellbeing by getting them up and moving as all the children were very keen to join in and dance along. In addition the videos developed their understanding as they were related to the task i.e. patterns.

Communication in Other Environments

In today’s workshop we were put into groups of 5 and set the task of building a den using some materials provided such as poles and cardboard and other materials that we found i.e. leaves and sticks.

Within my group there was a leader, however, this leader was informally chosen and naturally stepped up to this role and she had experience in building dens. The leader had a vision for out den and explained to us how she thought would be the best to build the den based on the materials that our group had. I was happy for someone who had more experience than me to step up and share her ideas with the group. In my personal opinion the most challenging part of working in my group was having to work and communicate with people that I normally wouldn’t and discussing different ideas until we found one that suited our group and materials.

When talking to other groups about how they built their den, they used the ‘5 P’s of explaining’ as a way of communicating with us about how they built it. The group discussed how they planned and prepared their den and then listed some key points and features of their den and why they built it the way that they did.

As we were outside our communication was not only verbal, when explaining to others within my group, I used hand gestures to communicate instructions and sometimes had to raise my voice to communicate with other group members if they were far away. Throughout the task we were constantly listening to other people’s ideas and giving feedback based on our own opinions. In my personal opinion I didn’t find that I was having to speak above the sounds in the environment as all my group members were actively engaged and listening. I understand that when completing this task with children that they may become distracted by the environment, I feel that one way of overcoming this is to not talk at the children for a long period of time and get them actively engaged in the task such as finding materials and building the den quickly.


Welcome to my blog!

This blog is going to follow my journey to becoming a primary school teacher. Please feel free to join me on my journey as I learn and discover new things every day about the world of education and myself. I will be sharing information that I find interesting and useful related to education and will be reflecting on myself and my studies as a developing student teacher.