A Memorable Learning Experience

Throughout primary school, one thing that I remember from all the good memories and learning experiences I had, was IDL, which I knew as Topic. In particular, in primary 5 my class topic was the Rainforest. I can vividly remember my teacher, who was extremely enthusiastic  introducing the topic, where at first I was unsure what relevance and interest that would be to me, as a 9 year old, living in the very North of Scotland. However, by the end of the topic not only me, but the whole class and school were immersed in learning about the Rainforest and topic became a lesson which was looked forward to and was *nearly* as exciting as break or lunch time.

I remember firstly learning about the different animals and environment of the Rainforest, and discussing the different climates and animals compared to Scotland’s. As a class, a massive wall display was constructed, which included native animals and each layer of the Rainforest. Furthermore, my class teacher asked the class if we would like to do an enterprise project at the school’s Christmas fair to raise money to sponsor a tiger, which would be found in the Rainforest,  as a class. We made Christmas decorations and had to organise money, allocate roles, make the decorations and source our materials to do so, as well as using our initiative and explain to people what we were fundraising for and why. I remember this being so exciting, and something that involved the whole school and community. This incentive of ‘adopting’ a tiger created a real buzz and immersion of all children into the enterprise task, which at the end of the project, we were able to adopt the tiger. We wrote letters to the tiger, and started learning about the conservation of animals and the Rainforest, and what we can do to help.

Additionally, the topic of FairTrade and how to look after the environment was tied into the Rainforest topic, which involved a class trip to the local Co-op, to explore the FairTrade products, as well as going to the local landfill site to discuss the importance of recycling and looking after the environment – which I can remember the smell of more than anything.

When thinking back to primary school, this is a memory that always comes into my head and something which I really enjoyed learning about in school. Reflecting back, I do think this was because of the teacher’s enthusiasm and willingness to go above and beyond the prescriptive outcomes of that topic, and deliver the learning in an engaging and relevant way which was tailored to our interests. Now that I am learning about IDL and making cross-curricular links effectively, I feel this was a fantastic example of IDL which was active, engaging and was embodied across many areas of the curriculum. It didn’t feel like learning as it was done in such as fun way, and I always remember going home and telling my parents all sorts of knowledge and understanding of what I had been learning –  some which I still remember 11 years later.

I think this is an experience I will always remember, and one which I will reflect upon for inspiration, and as an experience that I would love to replicate to have as big an impact on, in my practice as this teacher and topic had on me.

Classroom Organisation and Management

Classroom Organisation and Management

I would have group tables of 4 to 6 children of mixed abilities and skills, so the pupils have a chance to work together with each other and they can help each other. I would ensure that the children I sat together got along but would regularly mix up the seating plan to let children interact with other children in the class, and if it becomes to chatty I would alter my seating arrangements so that the children are focussed and can help and support each other.
I would also have one or two single tables around my room, in case a child or a pair want to work independently without distraction or require some quiet time to concentrate on their work.
Room Organisation
I would have a whiteboard exclusively for writing up the daily plan so that I and all the children can see it clearly in the classroom, so that every child knows what we are doing each day. I will discuss the daily plan with the children at registration and update the children of any alterations or changes to the daily plan. This should create a sense of security and routines for the children.
I will also display the Learning Intention and Success Criteria on whiteboards/ the interactive whiteboard and ensure it is in a good position, so the children can refer back to it when working. I will additionally write up any key instructions after I explain the task that I want the children to do, so they can refer back to my expectations when self and peer assessing their work.
I will place resources such as paper, pencils, rubbers, scissors etc in an accessible place for the children, so they can access it easily and when they need it. Having these resources accessible and in easy reach will mean the children won’t have to constantly ask the teacher for resources as they can help themselves.
Jotters and finished work will be kept in the same place to avoid confusion over where things are kept and any child in the class will be able to hand out/collect in work.
Allocating Roles in the Class
By giving pupils allocated roles in the classroom, not only will this take the strain off the teacher, but this will enforce a sense of responsibility and importance to the children as they will have to carry out their allocated role to work as part of a team and represent themselves. I will reshuffle the roles each week so that every child has a chance to take on the responsibility of each classroom job.
Class Rules
At the start of the year, I will have a discussion with the children to establish a set of class rules and expectations, so that everyone in the class has the responsibility of setting and keeping to the rules, which is more likely that they will follow them as they would have felt part of the process by including them. I will tell the children what I expect of them as the teacher, but also ask the children what they expect of me as their teacher, which I feel is very important. I will also discuss and negotiate with the children what they feel would be acceptable sanctions for unacceptable behaviour and what they feel would be a worth reward for good behaviour, so that the children feel they have some say in what goes on in their classroom.
I will display the class rules and the school’s behaviour management policy around the classroom so that everyone in the class can see them at all times.
Pupils will be expected to walk around the classroom and school in a sensible manner and with respect for everyone in the school.

Again, at the start of the year, I will enforce routines for my classroom which will give the children positive structure and sense of security. Pupils will know what the acceptable way is to enter and leave the classroom, how the classroom should be left in the same state as it was when the children entered the classroom, and the routine for tidying up.
There will be the routine of asking before they leave the classroom so that the teacher knows where everyone is at all times and no time wasting is going on.
I will create a routine for grabbing their attention, such as developing sayings such as ‘1, 2, 3….eyes on me’ where everyone in the class will know to stop and listen. I will ensure the children know what noise level I expect when starting the lesson/task and ensure that they know that everyone has to listen when someone is talking and respect what they are saying.
By having these routines, this will give children consistency in their lives and make my classroom run a lot smoother.

Classroom Displays
I will effectively use the wall space around my classroom to display topics and artwork. I will display topics that that my class are currently doing or just recently finished, so that they can display all the knowledge they have gained and so that they can reflect back. It is also nice for parents/guardians to come in to school and see what their child has been learning.
I will also dedicate a wall to celebrate and display the children’s achievements, outside and inside of school. This would mean that children can feel a sense of achievement and recognition and promote a good classroom ethos.

Classroom organisation and management is crucial for day to day classroom use and overall ethos of the classroom and school. By making effective and efficient use of classroom routines, rules and resources, this means that the teacher will have a lot less stress and the classroom will have a good foundation of structure, which is very important to ensure that children feel safe and secure coming to school.

Science TDT

Scientific Literacy and Education

Joint Project: Lara Simpson, Amy Stephen, Sarah Wilson and Cara Melton

According to Blake (2017), Scientific literacy is the understanding of key scientific concepts and the knowledge of processes needed to make individual and personal decisions. The National Science Education Standards (1996) explains that the concept of scientific literacy highlights that an individual can ask and discover answers to questions resulting from general curiosity about everyday life experiences. Scientific literacy involves the ability to read and understand scientific articles in to engage in social conversation about the strength and validity of the conclusions. Therefore, Scientific literacy suggests that individuals are able to recognise scientific issues which lie beneath local and national decisions and express opinions that are scientifically informed. Thus, individuals can express their scientific literacy in many ways, for example by using technical terms or applying scientific concepts and processes.

Scientific illiteracy can result in inaccurate media reporting which can be believed and interpreted within our society. For example, for many years there has been a conspiracy that the flu vaccination gave people the cold or flu after they received the vaccination. The NHS (2016) have stated that the flu vaccine is the best protection we have against a virus that can cause unpleasant illness. Studies have shown that the flu jab will help prevent you getting the flu. It is not 100% guaranteed that you will be flu free, but if you do get the flu it will be milder and for a shorter period of time. It was reported by the Express Newspaper (2017) that people were hesitant to get the flu jab or didn’t get it at all due to fears of falling ill with the flu after being vaccinated, due to media headlines suggesting there was a link between the jab and the flu. However, the flu jab cannot give you the flu as it contains an ‘inactive’ form of flu which cannot give you the illness. It takes 10-14 days for the immune system to build up fully after the jab and the flu is much more than a heavy cold and patients need the vaccine every year in order to be protected. This is a recent but also ongoing example where lack of scientific literacy has led to inaccurate media reports.

Fair testing in primary school science links to scientific literacy because it means they are able to assess false or ‘adapted’ scientific facts from true scientific facts in the media and online. As said in (Introducing the National Science Education Standards, 1997) you need to have an awareness of science in the wider society. Therefore, teaching children the need for fair testing is so vital as it shows that you cannot just try something once and give up. You must try multiple times and reflect on the different outcomes. However according to (Maintaining curiosity A survey into science education in schools, 2013) it can be quite difficult to execute a very good science lesson in primary schools, so while some pupils might grasp the understanding of fair testing and how it relates to real life, not all pupils will. Although in conclusion fair testing in primary schools is a good way of getting children as young as four thinking about scientific concepts and finding ways of answering their own questions about the world using science.


Blake, C. (2017) Understanding Scientific Literacy. Available at: http://www.literacynet.org/science/scientificliteracy.html (Accessed: 08.02.18).

National Research Council. (1996) National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC. National Academy Press. https://study.com/academy/lesson/scientific-literacy-definition-examples.html

NHS. (2016) The flu jab. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/fluinfluenza-vaccine/ (Accessed: 7th February 2018).

Express Newspaper. (2017) Flu jab 2017: Can the vaccine give you cold or flu like symptoms? Available at: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/892284/flu-jab-2017-vaccine-sideeffects-symptoms-cold (Accessed: 7th February 2018

Introducing the National Science Education Standards (1997). Washington, DC: Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, National Research Council, p. 22.

Maintaining curiosity A survey into science education in schools (2013). Manchester: Ofsted, pp. 12-16. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/maintaining-curiosity-a-survey-into-science-education-in-schools (Accessed: 11 February 2018).

RME Reflection – What is Special to Me?

Ever since I was little, I LOVED birthdays. Not just my birthday, but all of my friends and families birthdays too. All the presents, balloons and cake was the most exciting thing ever, and I started to get excited for birthdays weeks before the actual day.

However, ever since last year when I moved to university, I grew to dislike birthdays. Not the fact that we are all getting older, or the cake, or the presents, it was the fact that the people I loved were celebrating without me. Now that may sound selfish, but I came to realise that it wasn’t all of the materialistic stuff that birthdays brought with them that I missed, it was the person who’s birthday it was I was missing. Seeing tradition being with those I loved not happening as I was apart from them was heart breaking.

To me , it is much more important to be with that person on their birthday, and the whole purpose of a birthday became much more prominent to me. Although I still find it upsetting, I realised that I can still celebrate their birthday without being there physically and I appreciate those at home much more.

After our RME inputs, I considered what other days are special to me and other people and why. Although birthdays are special to me, so is Christmas and Easter. Everyone in the world celebrate, or don’t celebrate, different events and days for personal reasons, which I feel it is my duty as a teacher to find out what is special to the pupils in my class and why. I think its important to respect, appreciate and celebrate every child’s beliefs and special days.

Even though birthdays aren’t the same, I have realised that I can still have special days and celebrate in my own way. I will explain to children that they can celebrate what they want to and discuss and explore their special days.


Semester 1 Reflection

Throughout Semester 1 and starting my journey into becoming a teacher, one aspect that I have begun to develop in my professional career and additionally in my personal life is my confidence in believing in my own capabilities and judgment. I recognise that it is a pivotal attribute and requirement of a teacher to be able to think for themselves and have the ability to have confidence in what they are teaching and in speaking to people.

Writing this post, I started to reflect upon why before I came to university I lacked confidence, especially in speaking in a group situations and doing things independently, as I felt like I needed constant reassurance that I was doing things correctly. From reflecting, I think that this lack of confidence came from lack of experience, as I tended to avoid speaking in large groups and being part of a very small community. I was too comfortable within my school and community, which hasn’t done me any favours as I became hesitant to speaking to new people. Additionally, I only left school four months before coming to university, where in school I was very much guided and supported on a one to one personal level as my school was so small, which coming to university I had to adapt to trusting my own instinct much more, which I feel I have definitely progressed in. This is evident especially when writing the values essay, as I began to trust my own ability and start to believe in myself, as I didn’t have the immediate option of having personal assistance, when in fact I could manage well on my own.

Reflecting back on my first semester, I recognized that the Working Together module was a key development factor in boosting my confidence, as the other students from Education, Social Work and CLD in my group encouraged me to be able to share my thoughts and opinions, which normally in a group situation with people I am not familiar with I tend to shy away from having an active part in conversation. However, using Schon’s (1987) theory of reflection in action and in reflection on action, I reflected on action as I knew I was holding back from contributing to discussions, which I then made sure that every week I contributed more and more to my group, which led to me being so much more confident by the end of the module, a skill which I never believed I had before and that I can transfer into my professional and personal life.

From moving into a new city where I was forced to connect and converse with new people as I didn’t initially know anyone, I have definitely become more confident in being more independent and sociable. I pushed myself to approach and have a conversation with people and join various clubs, which I have met lots of new people. I think this is really important, as a teacher it is a key part of the role to be able to speak confidently to pupils, staff, parents and other relevant people, as well as being an essential life skill. I will further develop this skill through my years to come in university and during my time on placement and continue to reflect on my progress.

Resource Allocation Workshop Reflection

Walking into the Values workshop hosted by Derek, I didn’t know what to expect. When Derek announced that we were going to make ‘Student Starter Packs’, initially I was a bit confused as to what relevance this would have in relation to the values module.

We were split into five groups and each group was given an envelope of resources we could use to make our student starter packs. I was in Group 1, and we found our pack was full of materials (such as coloured pens, paper, pencils and other stationary items) which would allow us to construct our pack easily with lots of choice.

My group could easily put together our starter pack, reflecting on the difficulties we have had a new students (for example, finding our way around the Dalhousie Building proved to be a difficulty that many of us faced, and admittedly still 5 weeks in) and we constructed  information on: A map of Dalhousie, a personalised timetable, a guide to DUSA, simple recipies and general tips and information.

As my group got stuck in to making our started pack, overwhelmed by our extensive choice of resources, we were constantly encouraged  praised by Derek, as he commented on our team work, effort and good ideas when we were presenting our starter pack to the other groups. Group 2 then presented their creation, which again was showered with encouragement by Derek, and too had an extensive range of stationary to use.

I was so absorbed on my groups task and working with the people in my team, it only became apparent when the rest of the groups started presenting that they had much less resources than my group and Group 2, as they highlighted when presenting that it was a lot harder to complete the task. Some of the groups had as little as three items to work with, and although had made a good effort, they were not given the same praise or encouragement my group had received and Derek took very little interest in what they had to offer.

After all groups had presented ( and some groups feeling much more accomplished than others), it became clear that Derek was demonstrating to us first hand the inequalities in society that can come up when we enter the teaching profession.

I found this workshop extremely worthwhile, and it is one that I will remember for a long time. I felt this workshop was very important in emphasising that as going into the teaching profession, the children (and even staff and colluegues) will all come from different backgrounds, and require different needs. It showed me that teachers have to adapt to every childs learning style and pace, and offer extra support to those that need it. We need to ensure as teachers, that each child is included, treated equally and their is a strong level of equity is practiced to tailor every childs needs.

After the workshop, I fully understood the relevance to the values module, and really enjoyed the workshop and took away an important lesson on equality and equity to tackle the inequalities in our society, and will not question Derek on his workshops again.


Values: As Embodied and Culturally Specific

Prior to Tuesday’s input and engaging with the materials on MyDundee, I had a rough idea of race, ethnicity, prejudice and discrimination, with my main understanding including the idea of people belonging to some sort of group, or being confined to some sort of group.

I perceived initially that race was something to do with a person or groups origin and heritage, ethnicity is something to do with culture, and prejudice and discrimination as a single person or group of peoples pre-conceived and strong opinion which singles out a certain grouping of people, making a distinction between people.

I understand that there has always been racism and discrimination towards certain groups in society, and through knowledge gained through school and media, that it was still a problem today.

However, it soon became apparent to me that racism today is just as big a problem, that has been carried through history. I thought it was interesting and thought provoking that to learn about how racism and the perceptions people have has changed throughout history, and how even though certain landmarks in history (such as Emmet Till) made me disgusted and feel relieved I wasn’t ailve at that time, it became apparent that discrimination and racism is still just as relevant today.

It was interesting to see how racism and discrimination happens today, and that even though it may not be as brutal as some events in history, it is still as much as an issue, possibly even still as prominent because of the significance of social media. Especially the section on the recent events in the USA and the many recent articles on Padlet, made me consider the extent in which racism is still happening today, and it is not a thing of the past.

After the input, reading and watching the content on MyDundee and engaging with Derek’s Padlet, it became apparent to me how large the issue of racism is and made me consider, going into the teaching profession, how I can create awareness and discussion about racism in the classroom, emphasising how someones race and ethnicity doesn’t change the person they are and highlighting how people shouldn’t be confined to the group society puts them in, which unfortunately happens as a result of discrimination, prejudice and racism.