Monthly Archives: January 2019

Lesson Planning- A Work in Progress

For our health and well being workshops, we were instructed to create three lessons based on one of the Experiences and Outcome’s for that area of the curriculum. When I left that workshop I had already started to think of some activities that I could do– which I know now is the wrong way to start planning a lesson. This week, there has been great emphasises on the attention we need to put on the learning itself, rather than what makes a fun activity.

I decided to try and make a series of lessons that all build on from each other to start looking at the way lessons flow and all interlink in some way. I selected two of E and O’s as I thought they would work together well, they were:

  • I understand that people at different life stages have differing nutritional needs and that some people may eat or avoid certain foods.
  • By applying my knowledge and understanding of current healthy eating advice I can contribute to a healthy eating plan.

After I began to think about the outcomes, I started to have more ideas about what I wanted the lessons to entail and I decided to create my lesson plans for primary 6. I wanted to use a lot of resources, discussions and to include an art activity, to  make the lessons as engaging as possible. Moreover, it would allow me to incorporate other areas of the curriculum such as ICT and Literacy.

I have decided to attach my lessons plans to the blog, instead of just describing them in order to record my learning. I am not very confident in my ability to create a lesson plan to an appropriate level, but I think it will be a great resource to look back on after placement, to really see my progress.


Healthy Eating Starter Lesson Example (HWB)

Food Pyramids example (HWB)

Diabetes exaample (HWB)

On reflection, I have tried not to alter my lessons plans once I had initially uploaded them as I do want to consider the progression and the development of each of the three attempts, but also compared to the plans I will complete before, during and after my first placements. Already I can see key areas that I will start to build on through readings and practical;

  • I did not factor in transition times between activities and disruptions that may occur
  • Differentiation
  • Initially, I started off developing the activities and assessments before actually stating what the Success Criteria was going to be

These issues revealed that some sections of my lessons lacked relevance and it was not very adaptable to the constantly changing conditions of the classroom or to the pupils themselves. Despite these areas that are in need of much improvement, this activity has made me feel that itty bitty bit more prepared for my first placement and I know I still have a lot more to learn in the next few weeks, that will inevitably enhance my practice and build on my confidence with planning.


Out with the Myths and in with the Maths!

When I first got to our first Maths input, I was really looking forward to it as I haven’t attended a Maths class in four and a half years (AHHH). Tara started us off with drawing a scale and we had to mark the scale depending on how we felt about teaching Maths- 10 being extremely confident and 1 being far from it. I put myself into the middle of the scale; I liked Maths at school, but it definitely did not come naturally to me. I got a huge fright when I completed my NAT 5 prelim and I got a D. I was so disappointed! I kicked myself into gear, got a tutor and worked super hard, managing to bag myself a B.

The fear of failing deterred me from having a go at Higher Maths– which I completely regret now. The maths myths that we discussed really got me reflecting on my past experiences with Maths and I began to realise how much they had influenced me. I was someone who excelled at English and could imagine myself enforcing the “I’m an English person, not  a Maths person” myth. Although I don’t regret getting my tutor, I remember feeling that I had to get a tutor in order to pass.

Tara’s reassurance that you did not have to be utterly fantastic at Maths in order to teach it really assured me. After the first input, it is clear to me now that my enthusiasm to tackle Maths will actually be beneficial when I come to teach the subject on placement. I hope my eagerness to become confident in Maths, will be reflected in my teaching and will motivate the children  and impact their own learning and perspective on the subject.

This new perspective that I have now gained has me thinking about the relevance of maths while, simultaneously, combating the myth that Maths is not needed out with schools, other than just life-skills Maths. This is something I am considering to explore in my assignment, while  also looking at the interdisciplinary side of Maths that Tara has emphasised a lot to us.

Overall, I am grateful to have this new appreciation for Maths as it will certainly help my pre-placement jitters. I am excited about furthering my knowledge through the NOMA and other inputs, but also during the STEM module in second year; I think it is a great idea to reintroduce some of us to these subjects that we may have been closed-minded to due– again–  to the myths enforced on us.

The Brains of the Classroom

Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk’s and John Carnochan OBE’s videos by Education Scotland, empathise the need to create safe environments, to nurture and aid children to be able to deal with and contribute to society today.

Dr Zeedyk’s describes the neuroscience behind the brains development  and explains how easy it is for young people to cope with certain environments. Dr Zeedyk’s uses the example of domestic violence to illustrate how dangerous it can be for young people to adapt to these environments; if all a child sees, hears and experiences is violence, then it makes it appear normal which is a terrifying thought.

Carnochan also raises concern over the issue as he explains that young people who are in prison for domestic abuse are there because they are brought up in a “war zone”. If young people mimic what they experience during their childhood, it  will create a  continuous cycle of violence. This opens up the question: what can we do as professionals to disrupt and destroy this cycle?

My answer to the above, firstly, is for teachers to be up to date with how to identify and report safeguarding issues. Secondly, it is for teachers to create a safe environment that allows young people’s concerns to be raised. If babies’ brains are like blank slates, ready to be moulded and shaped to reflect their childhood, then teachers should be there to give them the tools to deal with all aspects of life. Providing a nurturing environment will not only earn respect and a close relationship between the teacher and pupil, but also with the rest of the class. In turn, this allows the children to learn about sharing, empathy, positive relationships and well-being.

Overall, I think it is important that practitioners educate and provide skills that enables children to recognise what is right or wrong- but more importantly- what they deserve. Although, aiding all these different brains can seem difficult as no one is the same, the varied backgrounds allow more experiences to be shared through the relationships formed in the caring environment supports this.

Intertwining learning with my not-so-favourite activity

The Teaching Across the Curriculum module has been the one I’ve been waiting for. A reason why becoming a primary school teacher was so intriguing to me in the beginning was due to the fact that they explore a wide range of subjects with their class. I have always wanted a job where I am always learning, too.

However, that was until I discovered the first subject area was dance– not my strong point.

On the dreaded day of the dance class, I walked timidly into the large, open space,  worrying my two left feet were going to cause a mass amount of embarrassment. But Eilidh’s bright and friendly greeting and a few friendly faces, began to chip away at the nervous feeling in my stomach. Firstly, Eilidh went over a powerpoint that had a lot of useful tools and ideas on how to use dance in a meaningful way, that intertwines other subjects but also used as a referencing point during other lessons to make learning easier. It was great to see how the sit-down-work lessons and the more active lessons can work together and positively impact a learners experience and their ability to understand.

The dancing part of the lesson was very simple, and even though a bit awkward at first, it was fun to imagine carrying out this sort of lesson with your own class. I’m glad to have taken part; my lack of rhythm had definitely resulted in a lack of real interest in what dance can do previously, so I excited to begin to think of more creative, engaging ways of delivering a lesson.

Throughout the lesson, I was constantly putting myself in the children’s shoes- the working together; the music; the space I deemed to be intimidating. What would they think ?  I believe the children would not share the same hesitation to dance, they would be itching to share their ideas with the freedom of imagination. Although I shied away from the more athletic aspects, I do believe in the arts. I want to incorporate this creativity as much as possible into my lessons, as the arts provide a different perspective on those generic sit-down lessons and allows children to begin to discover what sort of learners they are.