The End of One Placement

Sadly, my time at Claypotts Castle Nursery is already over. However, it has been a truly fantastic learning experience. I have been able to have a hands on experience of working with early years children which I have not yet been able to do for more than a day. This has definitely made me feel a lot more confident now that I have my two schools for my third year placement. A few of my friends who have not been on the transition programme are slightly worried at what they are to do in the nursery and now having been into one for 8 afternoons, I feel a lot more confident and at ease at what I am expected to do in the nursery when the time comes.

Over the last two weeks, I have began to see the planning in the nursery and how lessons are taught in a play environment. After seeing the plans, the group lessons that the children have at the start and end of the afternoon all link back to the experiences and outcomes. This outcome is chosen by the group leader and they meet this in the same way a teacher would in the classroom – developing an idea that they feel would allow the children to develop to meet the criteria. There are also opportunities for the children to choose to engage in an informal lesson with one of the group leaders. This was so informal as it was through the children’s choice if they engaged in the activity that I was unaware of this happening until the second last and the last week.  On the second last week, one of the practitioners had taken children to make pictures simply using felt which was to meet the experience and outcome EXA 0-02a (Scottish Government, 2009, p.3). The children created their pictures on their felt square with pieces of felt before covering them in water and fairy liquid and rubbing this in to make the pieces stick together. I assisted the practitioner to make notes and take pictures for the children’s observation for the learning journey folders. This was a very interesting opportunity as I was able to see the different abilities that were already prevalent in the children with the language development and ability to take turns and think about others. There was huge difference in the abilities and this is something I am definitely going to keep in the back of my mind for my third year placement.

On my final week, I was asked by a practitioner to work with a group of children to create an experiment. The practitioner had read that if you inflate a balloon indoors then put the balloon outdoors due to the cold weather, it should deflate overnight and if you then take it back inside to the warmth, then the balloon should inflate again. The children and myself worked on blowing up the balloons, only one of about seven children could blow up a balloon, which i thought was pretty impressive for a 4 year old. Before taking them outside and tying them to a tree. The children all had their names on their balloons and were excited to come back tomorrow to see if the experiment had worked. Although, there is not significant learning in this I believe, developing language skills in the children such as using the word experiment and asking them what they thought would happen through closed question ‘do you think the balloon will go down outdoors or do you think the balloon will stay the same?’ is developing their hypothesising skills for science which they will return to develop further in primary school.

Overall, the whole project has been so insightful. I have learnt a lot about how the nursery works. I have been able to see what children are like from a young age and how they can learn through play. I am truly thankful to Claypotts Castle Nursery for having me every Wednesday and my three lectures running the project for this opportunity. This has given me a big boost of confidence and taking away a lot of questions and nerves for returning to a school in February for my third year placement. I would definitely recommend if the opportunity is available to the upcoming years to take it!



Scottish Government (2009) Expressive Arts: Experiences and Outcomes Available at: (Accessed: 09/12/16)

Maths but not as we know it…

What I have realised recently in my Discovering Maths module is that maths is subconsciously all around us in society especially in areas I was totally unaware of. I would never have realised that art and maths had so many links. There is obviously examples such as the ratio for mixing paints, however this module has opened me up to realise that maths is in the art and day to day life around us. I have already blogged about tessellation and how maths links to Islamic art previously. This alone made me think that maths at school was never creative. However, there is more links to maths and creativity!

A pineapple – has a link to maths through the Fibonacci sequence. The Fibonacci sequence begins with 0,1 and then adds the two previous numbers together so 0,1 then adds 1 onto the sequence, 0,1,1 then adds on 2 to the sequence and 0,1,1,2 then adds on 3, then 5 and so on and so forth. What has this got to do with a pineapple though? A pineapples spiral is linked topineapple the Fibonacci sequence. The layers of spirals increases by two each time, linking to the Fibonacci sequence, which provides the more aesthetically pleasing look of the spiral.

The Fibonacci sequence appears in a lot of nature around of such as spirals in waves, in pinecones, in sunflowers, the list is endless. None of these things I would have begun to interpret into maths before. However, I could see myself using these as intriguing maths ideas in my classroom getting children to look more closely at the Fibonacci number sequence. I would allow the children to have a look at Maths, Art,  a pineapple to see if they could figure out the hidden mathematics trying to figure out the pattern before explaining Fibonacci’s sequences and then looking at ideas like the pineapple, to see how it fits into the Fibonacci sequence now they are aware of it.

Some of the ideas that Anna taught us in the lecture I would definitely use in my classroom. Before I tell you which one was the Fibonacci sequence of these two drawing I will allow you to look and decide which you think is more appealing.



The one on the left is before we learnt about maths, art and the link with the Fibonacci sequence and the right is after. The left is just drawing random squares in a square and the right is squares just using numbers from the Fibonacci sequence (for example 1 by 8 or 3 by 3) which is supposed to give it a more exquisite look.

After following the Fibonacci sequence I believe that the Fibonacci sequence may sometimes be hidden into art or subconsciously produced by artists and nature around us but it definitely does, when you are specifically following it, make art seem more attractive. Although, it also took me a lot longer to count the squares to draw it. I feel this would be a more engaging task within maths activity that I could easily use with my middle to upper stage primary school than simply doing number patterns and sequences as well as a great cross curricular link to art.

This has also drawn my interest more into art, as normally I am quite a numerical person and prefer to be surrounded by figures over pictures but the link is something I feel I could delve deeper into to develop my knowledge in art, which is currently quite limited, but still be interested in how the picture came to be and how the Fibonacci numeral system influences it.

Learning to Unlearn

When I first heard the phrase “learning to unlearn” I was immediately thinking what on earth. Why would we want to unlearn? Where can the benefit on unlearning things? However, it turns out there are lots of benefits. Driving is an easy one – we learn bad habits, become lazy, stop checking mirrors not long after passing our tests and it only takes one accident to make people think I need to go back to my standard of driving when I passed my test. This is unlearning. It is unlearning bad habits.

Something crucial that I took away from one of our lectures from Professor John Baldacchino on “Learning, Education and schooling” today was that we constantly drill many things into children that they are losing their individual personality and their ability to interpret things differently or as Professor John put it – we are teaching children to think to a standardised model. I began to question why we teach children to be this way. Professor John compare this to art and when we go into an art gallery as a child we are told what to see in a painting. We are told what the painting must be. Why can’t we allow children to use their imagination of what a picture may be?

My former flat mate and fantastic artist drew a picture for one of her briefing which I have included underneath. I will not immediately include the briefing or title of the picture and allow you to imagine what this picture might represent.


I am sure there are many ideas of what this picture could mean or represent. This picture is a self- portrait. Although when I think of the word self-portrait I assume it means a picture of the artists face and what they look like. To me (and I also assume many other people would think this as well), that is also standardised thinking, it is what I have been taught or told the word self-portrait means. On the other hand, Claire has done exactly what we spoke about in our lecture today. Claire has unlearnt what she has been told a self-portrait is. She has not gone away and spent hours perfecting a drawing of her face. She has taken a new meaning to self-portrait. The drawing itself and Claire’s thought process behind the drawing has inspired me to stop being so conformist and thinking everything for face value.

Claire has taken her briefing to do a self-portrait and instead taking into account the factor in her life that make Claire, Claire as an individual. Claire (who I am not going to attach a picture of yet – I will let you imagine and take as much as you can from her drawing just now) believes that the thing that make her an individual and what she has convey in the drawing is her ginger hair and her love of tea. She has incorporated two big things her life and used this to show herself in a self-portrait. This to me shows Claire as a person and not just by the way she looks.

On my first year professional practice I had done an art lesson on portraits. The art lesson wasn’t just to get the children to draw pictures of their peers. There was a message behind the lesson after getting to know my class. When I was planning for my lesson – I shared it on facebook for others on the course which I captioned “In an attempt to inspire my class that art can be for everyone and there is no wrong answer in art, my wonderful flat mates” (yes one being Claire) “and I (one art student, one English student and one teaching student) have drawn portraits… to show them there is always a range in abilities in art like any subject so we shouldn’t be disheartened. I have a range of abilities in my portraits to show them… and a range of abilities in acrostics… to try and show them we all have our own talents but we should always at least give it a shot, like my very willing flat mates have” who have also agreed to let me put them into my blog!

portrait 1 portrait 2 portrait 3

All of the portraits that were drawn by my flat mates, my class and myself were of course from the standardisation of thinking a portrait had to be of another person’s looks. In fact so standardised that the portrait only included their face not even a portrait of what the person looks like from head to toe.

If I were to do this lesson again, after reflecting on what I have learnt about standardised thinking and learning to unlearn. I would more than likely do a series of lessons: firstly getting them to do the same exercise again with the “standard portrait”; then have a brain storm of what else we think portrait could mean; and then have them create a portrait without anything to do with the person or their own face/look and see how differently we can show a portrait of someone.


(Big thank you once again to my willing flat mates for letting me including their personal art into my blog and lessons!)

Cross-Curricular Maths

After the Tessellation and Islamic Art maths lecture with Tara, I thought I would reach to the blog again.

Before starting this lecture, I thought shape in general for maths was quite boring. There was nothing interesting or mesmerising about shape when I was learning about it in primary school. However, tessellation was taking shape and doing something completely different.

Tessellation dIMG_6575oes not only involve shape but angles as well. I never realised that only shapes that when the points touch the external angles make 360 degrees would tile. For example four square edges would join together, each square internal angle is 90 degrees so four touching square angles equal 360 degree and they fit together perfectly therefore they have the ability to tile/tessellate. This also works for triangles (shown to the left), hexagons (shown below) and any quadrilateral shapes. However, it does not work for octagons and pentagons.

This is mathematics that is used by any tiler probably subconsciously. If I ever need to tile a room, I now know which shapes to use and which shapes to avoid! Although I do doubt if I will ever been tiling anything…

Using shape to make Islamic Art was fascinating. I have never thought of usiIMG_6586ng shape to create art before in this way and it will definitely be a cross curricular activity I use when I go back into the class room. The nipple and paste idea to create new picture of tessellation is also another maths and art activity I will definitely consider using within the classroom.

This is the kind of art that inspire myself to get the children involved in rather than just another drawing or painting, it is something different for maths, art and religion that I would hope I engage children in all curriculum areas.

These are a few more examples of a shape that tessellate and a shape that doesn’t tessellate.IMG_6576IMG_6579



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