Author Archives: Isla Keith

PRESENTING: Performance Skills

After creating a breakdown of performance skills which are represented on a mind map (see above), I have chosen to specifically focus on the aspect of self-confidence. Attached below is a lesson plan which focuses on building up the self-confidence of pupils in the area of drama.

This aspect was selected as a child’s self-confidence is an incredibly important part of their whole being. To have self-confidence means that a person believes in themselves – in their own abilities, qualities and decisions. As such, they are often assertive, positive and self-reliant. However, self-confidence is a fragile thing and needs to be nurtured in order to help a child feel able to express themselves which, in turn will help them survive and hopefully succeed in life. Equally, it is important not to damage a child’s self-confidence as this could also have major repercussions, making them feel worthless, withdrawn and unable to face challenges in later life. This aspect is obviously important in the area of drama but it is also clearly a crucial skill which can support pupils in their wider lives. Having self-confidence can help a person feel like they can take on or face the world with energy and determination and this in turn, can result in better relationships, help with getting a job and ultimately a more secure, settled life.

The lesson plan outlines a lesson which focuses on students developing self-confidence by encouraging the pupils to express themselves verbally and physically in front of their peers. Activities for this include games, role-playing and the presentation of short group improvisations. The games activity was introduced at the start of the lesson to try and make the pupils relax and loosen up so that they felt more at ease when speaking in front of the class. Having the games at the beginning also helps to start the lesson off on a high note with something fun, involving a lot of laughter and smiles. Likewise, the role-playing and presentation of improvisations were done in groups to avoid pupils feeling uncomfortable and under too much pressure if they had to perform by themselves. Using groups for the first lesson will then provide a stepping-stone for more drama lessons or productions with individual work to come.

Below is the lesson plan:

Individual Lesson Plan Format (Primary)


Class/Group: …class…lesson……  Lesson: …Drama…………        Date: ………..…


Previous Experience



Working towards outcomes of a Curriculum for Excellence

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 2-01a)

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

Responsibility of all – Literacy/Numeracy/ICT/HWB (where appropriate): Expressive Arts – Drama
Learning Intentions Success Criteria
(we are learning to)We are learning to role play short scenes
(what I’m looking for)-       Voice projection and expression-       Awareness of audience-       Awareness of other actors/actresses

–       Spatial awareness

Resources Chairs, backstage description group cards
Timing 1 hour Assessment methods



0 – 5


5 – 15






15 – 30














30 – 45















45 – 55





55 – 60




Setting the context/Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

How confident do you feel performing to the class in a group?
fist of 5

Class spaced out standing in a circle

Game of Splat

Game of Zip, Zap, Boing


Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

Park Bench Activity

– Class sit down on carpet

– two chairs put on stage area

– one volunteer (teacher join in with example)

Aim of the exercise is to try and force the other person to leave the park bench.
Explain that no pushing off chairs is allowed but it must be done with their acting skills.
For example

one pupil pretends to start chewing gum very loudly with mouth open right next to the volunteer’s ear. Takes gum out and puts it under the bench. Finds two pieces of used gum underneath the bench, asks volunteer if they want a bit. Puts used gum in mouth.

The volunteer would have to be honest and decide whether this would make them leave the bench or not.

This game would carry on getting a new volunteer every time the person leaves the park bench.


Group work

Split the class into 9 groups // approximately 4/5 per group (depending the size of the class)

Each group are given a card – depending on size of class, groups may be given two cards.
The cards as listed below:
1. Be a good audience
2. If you can see the audience, then they can see you.
3. Speak loudly and clearly onstage
4. Do not upstage your fellow actors
5. Make sure your body is open to the audience (same for feet).
6. Do not block your fellow actors.
7. Stay focused and in character on stage.
8. Silence in the wings
9. Keep quiet whilst the director is giving notes.

Each group must act out what is on their card. They have the choice of either acting out a short scene demonstrating what the card says, creating a still image or acting out a mime.

The teacher will go around each group and will discuss what each card means to make sure the groups are on the right track.

Each group will demonstrate what they have created to the class.
The cards will be up on the board.
The audience’s job is to figure out what card each group is performing.


Ending the lesson (Plenary)

After our lesson are you feeling more confident performing in front of the class?
showing of:
– thumbs up
– thumbs in the middle
– thumbs down


Observation of how many fingers from each student


Observation of participation, big arms, loud voices




Observation of listening skills








Observation of volunteers



Observation of creativity








Observation of teamwork skills






Observation of who is being a good audience


Observation of group work and confidence within the performances




Observation of thumbs to see if there has been improvement after lesson



The theme of shape has been chosen and this will be explored through song and dance.

This song was selected because it is very upbeat and catchy. Having a strong tempo, with a cheerful tune is important in terms of getting the pupils hooked and maintaining their interest. The different verses will also stimulate interest and will provide an understanding of how shapes are present all around us in many different settings.  The song also has a straightforward, repetitive chorus which is perfect for this level as the repetition will make it easier to remember and ultimately will help with consolidating the pupils’ understanding of contrasting shapes. The repetition will also make learning the dance moves easier and quick to pick up. Overall, it is hoped that combining music and movement to help recognition and understanding of shapes will provide an important kinaesthetic way of learning.

Below is the dance that will be taught to the class.
The shapes that are in the song will be shown to the class before the song/dance is introduced to recap and to help them remember.
This will be taught section by section so that it can be learnt more easily.



0 – 22 seconds Intro – begin on the floor, wake up and get stand up with feet apart ready for the dance to begin.
23 – 30 seconds Shape chorus actions – draw 2 lines, draw one circle, draw outline of square to the beat, then make a triangle with both hands and raise to the sky.
30 – 38 seconds Get in a circle and hold hands. Gallop left for 8 counts in a circle then gallop right for 8 counts in a circle.
38 – 46 seconds Shape chorus actions – draw 2 lines, draw one circle, draw outline of square to the beat, then make a triangle with both hands and raise to the sky.
46 – 60 seconds Get in a circle and hold hands. Gallop left for 8 counts in a circle then gallop right for 8 counts in a circle.
Keep holding hands in a circle – go in for 4 counts, walk back for 4 counts
1 minute – 1.09 Shape chorus actions – draw 2 lines, draw one circle, draw outline of square to the beat, then make a triangle with both hands and raise to the sky.
1.09 – 1.15 minutes FREESTYLE – use the space around the hall
1.15 – 1.22 minutes FREESTYLE – use the space around the hall
1.22 – 1.32 minutes Shape Chorus actions – draw 2 lines, draw one circle, draw outline of square to the beat, then make a triangle with both hands and raise to the sky.
1.32 – 1.57 minutes Make shapes with a partner or in groups – changing slowly
1.57 – 2.12 minutes Shape Chorus actions – draw 2 lines, draw one circle, draw outline of square to the beat, then make a triangle with both hands and raise to the sky.   (x2)
END Finish song at 2 minutes 12 seconds

Art & Design

Children, architecture and the urban environment

This TDT will explore Dundee University’s campus, which is a close-knit campus with everything that a student might need within a 5-minute walk. In particular, the TDT will focus on the main student library.

The main student library is positioned in the very middle of campus. It was creatively planned in this way to enable easy access for every student, no matter what course they were studying. Therefore, by positioning it in the centre of campus, it means students can easily access the building and make full use of it. This central position also reinforces and perhaps symbolizes the importance of reading and research which lies at the heart of university study. Having the library positioned close to the student Union and the Premier is also convenient for students whether they are needing to buy snacks, paper or need a change of scenery for a lunch break.

External Appearance

The library has a very open, inviting feeling to it created by the use of the big glass windows and glass doors. Indeed, the majority of the left side of the building is formed of glass, meaning that light floods in, giving the library a bright, uplifting atmosphere which captures the sunshine. Although the majority of the library walls are glass, the remainder of the building has been built with stone and a wood-like material. This ensures that the building blends in well with its surroundings and the neighbouring buildings close by.

Although the creation of the library does not appear particularly decorative from its external appearance, the building does suit its function. Indeed, if there was too much décor or if the construction and architecture of the building were too extreme, then it would not fit in with its surroundings. This could also look rather off-putting, which potentially would have a far less warm, inviting feel to it, meaning that students would be less inclined to enter. Thus, the current external appearance is simple yet effective. However, inside is where the appearance of the library comes to life, providing many different rooms/floors depending on the different functions required.

Ground Floor

The bottom floor of the library provides a group study area which is suitably furnished with large tables to allow and encourage group discussions. This floor also permits people to talk out loud to their peers, thus providing students with the option of working in an area of ‘quiet noise’, as well as the option of working in groups. The floor also contains several group rooms or pods, each representing a different continent of the world (eg. Asia, America, Australasia etc.). The individual illustrations in each pod room provide distinctive colours, making the rooms more eye-catching and distinctive and therefore easy to identify. These rooms are also well lit, which allows people to work, yet the lighting is quite subtle and not harsh which creates a welcoming atmosphere. As a result of the environment, these pods have become extremely popular and are a favourite place for students to meet and discuss their studies.

The library café is also on the ground floor. The location of this function actually within the library makes it convenient for students to eat main meals or snacks without having to leave the building. Likewise, the positioning of the café by the glass windows creates a very open area with lots of natural light streaming in. This encourages a feeling of relaxation.

First Floor

This floor has recently been remodelled and decorated. Now, the decorative items for this area of the library follow the theme of a rainforest, with a green, pastel yellow and white colour scheme. This is actually my favourite floor as the nature theme creates a feeling of relaxation, peace and tranquillity. As such, it provides a positive atmosphere for students who are trying to study, making this floor fit for its purpose.


Second Floor

The second floor is the top floor of the library and is a completely silent area to work in. This floor is very basic with single desks spread out. Likewise, the colour scheme is a basic brown and white. Whilst not particularly aesthetically pleasing, it does create a business-like, no-nonsense type of environment where there are no distractions. This is also fit for purpose as it is useful for some students because it helps them to focus on the study task.



Overall, the main library, although a basic shaped building on the outside, strategically uses a lot of large glass windows. This allows natural light in to keep it bright, giving it a modern, airy feel yet still fitting in well with the rest of the university campus.

Completing this art TDT has made me realise the numerous classifications which come under the area of ‘Art’ and how much it relates to the modern-day world and our every-day surroundings.

Farewell to Discovering Mathematics

Image result for i love math

So, first Semester is coming to a close and Discovering Mathematics has ended. Overall, I have learnt that fundamental mathematics (connectedness, multiple perspectives, longitudinal coherence and basic ideas) is clearly essential in the wider society as it is present in almost every area of our personal lives and the world around us. I believe that my mathematics has developed throughout this module. At the beginning of this module I as nervous towards the subject of mathematics because it was also a weakness of mine, therefore I had anxiety towards teaching it. This module has however given me confidence in understanding mathematical topics and I now believe in myself to be able to teach it.

In conclusion, as a result of the new knowledge I have developed and the confidence I have gained, I feel I am now becoming far more of a “mathematical thinker” (Mason et al.,2010).



Ma, L., (2010) Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics (Anniversary Ed.) New York: Routledge.

Mason, J., Burton, L. and Stacey, K. (2010) Thinking Mathematically (2nd ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education.

Is there maths behind board games and puzzles?

My family have always been into board games therefore I’ve grown up with the rituals of always playing them on boxing day etc. Thinking that there was maths behind these games and even simple mathematical methods used to win the game made it even more interesting and in intrigued me to investigate more.

In class we were told to investigate board games and analyse the fundamental maths utilised behind the game. On my table we had ‘The 5 Second Rule Mini Game’. This is a quick thinking and fast-talking game which puts the chosen individual under pressure. The question master will ask a question, for example, “Name 3 foods beginning with the letter ‘c’?”. The timer will be turned, and the chosen individual has five seconds to answer the question. This frantic game puts you under pressure and can make your mind go blank with the fast pace and the pressure!
After investigating this game we were able to analyse and find the mathematical connections. The five second timer is a mathematical link as there is a countdown from five to zero. There is also a mathematical link from the question being said aloud for the listener. The mathematical equation is how long the listener takes to process the question and understand what the question is asking them. The processing of this is different for everyone and some people are slower or faster than others.

We also discussed the technical game of the Rubik’s cube. The Rubik’s cube is a 3-D combination colour puzzle which was invented by Ernő Rubik, a Hungarian sculptor. The Rubik’s cube is also known as the magic cube and has six sides with six colours: white, red, blue, orange, green and yellow. The aim of the game is to make each face of the cube a full colour. After investigating this game, I realised that there could be cheats on how to solve the puzzle in the fastest time! Every square has eight corners, twelve edges, 6 faces. There are 40,320 combinations to solve a Rubik’s cube! The mathematical connection which I found interesting was that each equation/combination which solves the magic cube has a different amount of moves therefore some combinations are faster than others!

Here is a video of the world record of solving the Rubik’s cube. Patrick Ponce was able to solve it in 4.69 seconds! It’s interesting watching him look at the cube before he begins, analysing the combinations and sequences of the coloured squares starting positions. It’s weird to think that he solved this in 4 seconds and it’s averaged out that we blink nearly every 4 seconds. You could easily miss him solving the magic cube by blinking!

Music and Mathematics…


Being brought up in a very musical family meant that much to mum’s annoyance, there was never a quiet moment in the house. It also resulted in ‘happy birthday’ being sung as a riff off or in several harmonies! I had singing lessons up to the end of high school and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the school summer musical every year. I was also part of the school pipeband, playing both snare and tenor drum. This was a serious commitment as we won the World Championships several years in a row! I took music up to higher and it was a lesson I would look forward to going to every day. It’s clear that music is more than an enjoyable hobby to me and is something that I’ve grown up with and love.

“Rhythm depends on arithmetic, harmony draws from basic numerical relationships, and the development of musical themes reflects the world of symmetry and geometry.  As Stravinsky once said: “The musician should find in mathematics a study as useful to him as the learning of another language is to a poet.  Mathematics swims seductively just below the surface” (Marcus du Sautoy, 2011).

After having our music lesson, I went home and reread this quote repeatedly. The more I read it the more it made sense. I had never seen the relation of music and maths before and after realising all the connections it made a lot of concepts easier to understand.

Here is a mind map of the connections between maths and music:

The Fibonacci Sequence
The Fibonacci sequence is something I had heard about before and after hearing it in the lecture I thought I’d do some more research on it. I never knew that this sequence was not only used in music but also in art and nature. From using the numbers from the Fibonacci sequence, it can lead to spiral patterns forming. Here are nature images which display these spiral patterns:

Doing scales was something I always dreaded and personally, it was the least enjoyable part of the subject. However, after discussing Wiggins theory behind the relation of maths and scales in music it has made more sense and has helped me remember it more clearly.

We then learned about the 12 note row. This is something which anyone can do and is great fun to compose a piece like this! However, in my opinion it is note the most pleasant of music to listen to. Here is an example of what it sounds like:

Although music is a subject which I already knew a fair bit about, I have learnt a lot from the lecture and really enjoyed it!


Du Sautoy, M. (2011).  ‘Listen by numbers: music and maths’ Guardian.  Available
(Accessed: 06 November 2017)

Wiggins, G.A. (2012): Music, mind and mathematics: theory, reality and formality.  Journal of Mathematics and Music: Mathematical and Computational Approaches to Music Theory, Analysis, Composition and Performance.  Available (Accessed: 6 November 2017)


Maths in relation to Field Hockey

Hockey is a sport which I have played since I’ve been in primary 4. It’s something I train for 3 times a week whilst playing 2 games throughout the week. However, even though I’ve played this sport for many years I had never thought about the connection and relation it had to maths. Therefore, after being told to think about this before class I was very surprised how many links I found there were.

The Rules for hockey are as follows:

  1. 1. It’s an eleven-sided game, meaning you are allowed to have a maximum of eleven players on each team playing on the pitch. Each team will have one goalkeeper and ten field players. Although only eleven players are allowed on the pitch, normally a hockey team will consist of fifteen players as subs will be needed.
  2.  In hockey the ball is not allowed to hit your feet unless you are the goalkeeper. If the ball is kicked then it’s a foul and the opposition gets the ball.
  3. To score you must be in the attacking “d”. This is a semi-circle around the goal.
  4. Raised balls are not allowed above knee height as this is classed as a ‘dangerous ball’ and will be a foul. However, a raised ball called an Ariel is allowed. This is a very high ball which is above head height.
  5. Stick tackles are not allowed in the game of hockey. If there’s a slap to a stick and a loud noise is made when a tackle is made, then that is a stick tackle. This will be a foul and the ball will be given to the opposition to take from where the stick tackle occurred.


I then used my own knowledge of the game in finding strategies for playing hockey effectively. In field hockey they are different strategies and tactics both defensively and attacking to result in success.
The main strategies for hockey are formations. With a goalie in the goal defending at the back, there are ten outfield players. This means you have ten players to create formations with. Below are two common different starting formations. Obviously, these will change depending on what team you’re playing and where their strong players are on the pitch. The way the opposition presses against your team’s hit out can also be dependent on your team’s formation. It also depends on where your area of strength is in the players you have on the pitch within your own team as well.







Hockey in relation to Maths

After doing research I realised the many connections field hockey has to maths. The design of the pitch is in the shape of rectangle which is separated into four sections. There are 3 lines marked across the pitch marking the 25m line, the 50m line (half pitch) and the 75m line. A hockey pitch also consists of two semi circles that make out 180 degrees which is called the “d”.
After our lecture on chance and probability, it made me think of this topic in relation to the game of hockey. It made me question what’s the probability of a successful attacking 3v2 situation? Or what’s the probability of 5 average attacking hockey players beating 3 very strong defenders? Or what are the chances for a goal in a 1v1 situation with a striker and a goal keeper?

After reading articles online of maths in hockey it made me realise how the smallest of things in the sport are related to maths! For example, the different shapes we form when passing, eg. triangle passing. As a defender it made me think how far away the defensive line should be from one another when we are talking a defensive hit out for it to be successful. For the hit out to be successful then it must eliminate some of the attacking line in the opposition. This topic has made me want to investigate this further and in more technical terms by measuring out the distance of how far away we should be standing from each other.

More math related aspects to field hockey

  1. The make of the ball, for example whether it’s a kukri or Slazenger ball. Each make of ball feels different to play with.
  2. The surface of the ball – some balls have a smooth surface all around the ball, whereas some have little circular dips around it.
  3. The speed of the ball when it is passed. The speed changes depending on if the ball was sent as a slap, a push pass, a sweep, a hit, a small raised ball or an aerial.
  4. Position of hands on the stick, finger positions.
  5. Angle and position of the stick when the ball is received and passed.
  6. Angle and position of body and stick in a tackle.
  7. Eye level behind the ball when passed/hit.
  8. Body weight distributed between both feet whilst hitting the ball.
  9. Motion of swing when hitting the ball.
  10. The strength behind each pass.
  11. The pressure of how tight you hold the hockey stick.

Do animals understand numbers or numerosity?


Today in class I was proposed to the question, “Can animals count?”. If I’m honest, this is something I have never really thought about. I’ve never had a pet before so have never been heavily interested in animals, so this is something which had never crossed my mind. At first, I was 100% sure that animals were not able to count, then we were introduced to the story of the horse, Clever Hans. This made me think carefully about   In the 1900s, it was announced that this special horse was able to add, multiply, subtract and divide, ‘Berlin’s wonderful horse; He can do almost everything but talk – how he was taught’ (Heyn, E. T., 1904). Hans would tap his hoof the amount of times he thought the answer was. However, while it might’ve seemed to the public that he was able to count I wasn’t convinced and as video continued it explained that after investigation, it was proven that Hans wasn’t performing these intelligent tasks, but was watching his owners’ movement to tell him how many times to tap his hoof.


We were then introduced to the case study of the chimpanzee, Ayumu. I found this very interesting at how fast Ayumu could process and remember the correct number order and where each number was placed on the screen. As a class we then tried to see if we were able to beat Ayumu. Personally, after many attempts I wasn’t successful at beating him! I found this very fascinating at how fast the chimpanzee and was extremely impressed how he was able to process what was going on at such an extreme speed. It makes me wonder what will be happening in several years to come, will animals be interacting more with humans? Will animals be used more with technology?


Heyn, E. T., (1904) ‘Berlin’s wonderful horse; He can do almost everything but talk – how he was taught’ The New York Times [Online]. 31 October. Available at:


What is Mathematics? Why teach it?

According to Galileo (1564-1642), “the language with which God has written the universe”. A fact that I loved learning in today’s class is that Mathematics is a universal language. Knowing that it’s the same in every country across the world fascinates me. Something which I didn’t realise was that maths isn’t just in the classroom, it is all around us! For example, mathematics relates to everyday situations, such as, bills, cooking, weather, stock markets, travelling and baking.

An important factor in teaching maths is the attitude of the students learning it. How people feel about maths has an impact on their ability to do and interest in learning maths. Something which needs to be addressed is maths anxiety.

Here are examples of both physical and psychological anxiety symptoms related to mathematics:

As a teacher, my aim is to to spark the student’s enthusiasm towards the subject of maths by teaching the subject in a motivating and interesting way.