Category Archives: Digital skills

Placement Jitters

Current mode: panic!

No, not really. However, I am feeling very nervous about placement which begins TOMORROW. I say placement but is, in fact, a “prac”. I arrived in Australia Friday just passed and about to undertake a placement in Somerset College, an International Baccalaureate world school in Queensland!

As well as all of the nerves I felt before my last placement, I’ve accumulated about ten zillion more. Well. Ish. This is a totally different curriculum to Scotland and I am so incredibly excited to learn more about it.  An (unexpected) tour around the school when I was

An (unexpected) tour around the school when I was fresh off the plane has really given me a feel for the place. It is nothing like any of the schools I’ve been in before. It has an Olympic-sized swimming pool (which actual Olympic teams come over to train in!), a massive gym complex, sports fields, running tracks, multiple buildings, hugely facilitated classrooms all on a campus about four times the size of the campus at Dundee Uni! A short introduction to my class and a quick chat with the teacher has given me a little insight into the class dynamics. Lots of excitable little faces that I can’t wait to teach and learn from!

Australia as a place is EXTREMELY HOT. I am boiling, but it is way better than chilly Scotland. I
am very intrigued to learn about how the sun affects the daily routines of the school. I am so excited to learn more about Somerset and Australia, which just happens to have the cutest koalas EVER.

 

 

Health and Wellbeing, the Physical Education/Activity side.

Today’s health and wellbeing input on Fitness brought quite a few things I’ve learned throughout school into practice.

physcWhy is oxygen important when exercising, and what methods of training are linked. There are also the individual fitness factors; Cardiorespiratory Endurance (CRE), muscular endurance, strength, speed, power, and flexibility; which are all tested by different means and trained in different ways.

SO… What is “aerobic” exercise?

The word aerobic means the use of oxygen. The body’s ability to work aerobically means the heart and lungs are able to work for a long period of time without tiring. Therefore “anaerobic” is where there is a lack of oxygen and the heart cannot physically supply enough to the body in order to perform.

As torturous as it sounds, anaerobic exercise actually has its benefits. Short sharp bursts of exercise done so quickly the heart cannot supply enough oxygen causes a build up of lactic acid. By training to improve your ability to work anaerobically, the muscles can then be trained to work without oxygen and with a build up of lactic acid. 

The different types of fitness training … 

Fartlek Training

  • Fartlek, which means”Speed play” in Swedish, is a method of training where continuous and interval training is combined. It is
    fartlek
    basically a long distance run where the pace is varied – so there will be periods of fast running and periods of slower running. This method of training is best used to improve CRE/aerobic endurance and improvement can be tested by using a bleep test or 12-minute cooper.

Weight Training

  • Weight training is simply when weights are used to provide resistance to the muscles. It can weightTrainingbe used to improve both muscular endurance (the ability to work a muscle/group of muscles for a long period of time without tiring) as well as power (a combination of strength and speed). Weight training can be tested by using a bent arm hang test, grip dynamometer, a number of sit ups in a minute or the maximum weight that can be lifted.

Sprint training

  • By sprinting, you should run a short distance at your maximum speed (e.g. 50m, 100m). Ansprint example of sprint training would be sprinting to the finish line, and then walking slowly back to the start before repeating. This will, in turn, improve speed. To test speed, you can time a person sprint and see how it improves.

Static stretching

  • Static stretching is a safer way to stretch the body whilst it is resting. Other forms such aswebquads_hip-flexors ballistic stretching are considered dangerous for the body. The body is lengthened into a position where a stretch is felt and held for around 20 seconds. This form of stretching will improve flexibility. Flexibility can be tested by using the sit and reach test.

I feel it is important to work on these areas from early on. I went on to high school with a limited P.E knowledge but was lucky enough to learn to love Physical Education to continue it to Higher. However, I feel a greater emphasis on it in primary would have prevented a lot of people shying away from the subject.

A lot of these things can be very complicated, and of course, you would never do weight trainingi-love-pe_design with primary children – their bodies are still growing and would never cope with this. As teachers, we, therefore, have to observe what their current capabilities are and consider their age and developmental stage to plan lessons appropriate for them, whilst still introducing them into physical activity.

Here is a link to a video by an English school pupil, Amy Shaw, about other training methods:

Drama conventions …

… So, What is a convention?

Well…. Normally a convention is a way in which something is carried out. There are agreed rules and criteria which make up the convention. A drama convention is where the actions of an actor/actress are decided by the writer or director and are done so to have dramatic, or desired effects.

dram

I want to focus in on three conventions, improvisation, mime, and soliloquy.

Improvisation is normally done with no preparation. No script or dialogue is given before the performance either.

http://quotesgram.com/improvisation-quotes/

http://quotesgram.com/improvisation-quotes/

This means everything down to who is in the scene, where the characters are, they way they react and the way they move. Everything done is made up on the spot.

Improvisation can be used to get pupils used to speaking without firstly preparing. This will fill them with the confidence when communicating outwith the classroom.

If I was to use this within a lesson, I would do the following:

Provide small groups of pupils either a –

  • First line
  • Prop
  • Setting
  • Theme
  • Time in history

(and so on…)

By working in small groups, they get the opportunity to practice and build up their confidence, before moving on and possibly trying a different prop with different or more people in their group/audience.

Mime is a creative form of drama where self-expression and gestures are normally used din place of words. It can be used in a number of ways but is best used to portray a specific movement or task – such as painting or closing a door.

http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Mime.JPG

http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Mime.JPG

I would use this within drama in the primary to develop my pupils nonverbal drama. Their body awareness expression and communication will all be improved by learning about and engaging with mime.

A simple warm up activity that could be done is an expression activity. The pupils should all say only their name, and then without speaking – show on their face through expression how they are feeling. To aid them I would give them a number of emotions to consider such as happiness, sadness, boredom and so on. I would use different expressions as discussion points to develop my lesson. If this was to be repeated over a number of drama lessons – the task can be differentiated as they improve. The pupils can then mime different actions, or even go on to acting as inanimate/animate objects.

A soliloquy is a dramatic speech made by an actor in order to reflect on their feelings. In drama performances, it is directed to the audience to give them an insight into a character’s thoughts – but it is intended that the character is actually making the speech to their self. It is great for the inner thoughts of an actor to be portrayed.

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/examples-of-soliloquy-in-literature.html

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/examples-of-soliloquy-in-literature.html

I would use this within drama to introduce different characters. It is a great resource to understand a character better by using examples of soliloquies and will help in developing dramas with a class.

I’d introduce the convention with a practical workshop, where the pupils are given a card with a “speech” (characters “soliloquy”) on it, and allow them to practice performing it to a fake audience (or a partner!). They can then swap and perhaps watch a few of their friend’s interpretations. I would then take the lesson back into the classroom and pull it apart – so they gain a solid understanding of soliloquy’s, but also on the drama we are focussing on.

“Design your own classroom…” YES!!!

As part of our Tutor Directed task for classroom organisation and management, we were asked to design our own classroom.  I was thrilled at the prospect of this. As a young child, and even way into high school, I’d always be excited when walking into a classroom and seeing the tables had been moved around. It just changed the whole environment of the classroom, and even better – you normally got to work with new people!

Here is a floorplan of how I would plan my own classroom – as a teacher.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 14.44.33

This classroom would suit a class size of 28 pupils. For this specific TDT, the class includes 22 boys and 6 girls. There would be 2 girls at each outside table in the row of 4, and one girl at each outside table in the row of 3. This will allow the girls the opportunity to learn to work with the opposite sex, enhancing both their personal and social development. I would not keep them in these seats for every lesson; I would occasionally change the seating plan in maths and language lessons based on ability.

I decided to plan my classroom in this way as it is tidy, organised and safe. There is adequate room to move around between desks and a clear route to the door in case of an emergency. –  3.2.1 Create a safe, caring and purposeful learning environment (GTCS, 2012).

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 19.50.17

Area on floor for discussion

This set up makes good use of space. There is an opportunity for whole class lessons to be taught with every child seated at their table, but also space on the floor in front of the Smartboard and whiteboard for more informal  group discussion. The smartboard perhaps for small groups and the Whiteboard for larger groups due Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 19.57.08to the arrangement of furniture. The table in the corner could be used to consolidate with groups of students who need further support before doing a task, or to send pupils off to work together.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.06.28I have included an interactive maths area in my floor plan. I saw this when out on placement and thought it was a great idea. Not only does it promote independent learning, it is a fun and engaging way to get children to go off on their own or with a partner to work on their mental maths. It is also a useful area to send pupils to when they finish their work quicker than expected/their peers.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.11.38

“L” Shaped desk – facing the class.

I have placed the teachers desk in the corner facing the class. It is an “L” shape, so she can work effectively whilst still keeping an eye on her class. There is no point working away with your back to a class of pupils – as you will not be effectively observing them working. I feel a desk at the front and centre of the classroom brings in the temptation for a teacher to sit down and teach. Which yes, may be ok on some occasions – but not all of the time.

My classroom would be very bright and open, with a large window behind the teacher’s desk on the West facing wall. This will bring in opportunities for linking to Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.21.21the pupils outdoor learning experiences when they perhaps cannot venture outside.

My classroom resources will be well organised. Down the left-hand side of my classroom, I have plotted where I would have storage facilities for jotters, pencils, paper and miscellaneous resources. This area will be labelled and kept as organised as possible, so pupils and their teacher know where to find the resources they need.

I have included a “reading corner”/library into my classroom plan. I believe by including a libraryScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.28.20 into the classroom, you are highlighting the importance of literacy and reading in their everyday lives. I really like the idea of themed libraries in classrooms. Especially when linked to entertainment. I feel young children should learn to read as a form of entertainment. There are some good examples on Pinterest – click here for my favourite.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.42.49I have incorporated digital technologies to support teaching and learning by including an interactive smartboard, and computers in the corner of the room. They are very useful in bringing all of the pupils learning needs together. Visual learners are benefitted, but so are tactful learners as they can physically interact with the smartboard to learn. They are perfect when incorporating video’s, music and powerpoints in the classroom and do not create any mess! They also have the added bonus of facilitating games, which can always be used as a Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.43.23class reward for good work or behaviour! The computers in the classroom can be used for those faster workers to type up their finished work. But they are also great for those pupils who struggle to put a pencil to paper.  In my classroom the screens are facing the rest of the class – so pupils cannot procrastinate on fun games websites – they have to do what they are supposed to do!

chairsIn regards to health and safety regulations in the classroom, I would ensure the floor is carpeted and in good condition with no corners upturned to prevent trips. All shelves and tray cabinets will be on wheels to prevent injuries linked to manual handling. I would also have non-swinging chairs as kids swinging on chairs is possibly one of the most dangerous things in a classroom!!

The standards also state that an effective use of display should be present. I will have displays of children’s work as well as informative signs. However, I do not want the displays on the wall to be up just for the sake of it; I want them to be interactive to benefit the pupils learning. This could mean incorporating books children can engage with, or add a whiteboard section to reflect on what Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 21.02.34they’ve learnt.

Finally, I will put reward systems on the door. Similarly to my class on placement, I will add a helping-hands-bg“house points” chart on the back of the door. Each child will belong to a “house” and when they get a point, it goes against their name but added to their house total. This way children can regularly keep track on how many points they’ve learnt, and see how they are helping support their house, as you would with a team. There will also be a “helping hands” display – where each hand is a different job (such as a milk monitor or door holder) which children will be matched to with jobs changing weekly.

I feel comfortable now after completing this task that I know reasons behind certain areas in the classroom. I’m more informed now of common classroom set-ups, along with their pro’s and con’s. As a student, the prospect of changing up a classroom really excites me, but I do realise it is important not to change it too often, and that certain pupils may be sat in specific seats for various reasons. This classroom is similar to the one I will be working in on placement in the respects that it has a whiteboard, library and interactive maths area. However, due to the class size on placement being considerably larger, there are no separate tables for group discussions due to an unfortunate lack of space. I am looking forward to developing an understanding of exactly why the classroom is set out in the way that it is during my professional practice.

Here is a link to some really interesting classrooms I found on Pinterest: CLICK HERE.

 

– The General Teaching Council for Scotland (2012) The standards for registration: Mandatory requirements for registration with the general teaching council for Scotland. Available at: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/the-standards/standards-for-registration-1212.pdf (Accessed: 9 February 2016).

To blog or not to blog…

In Friday’s workshop, we were encouraged to read through some of our peers blog posts. Thereto-blog-or-not-to-blog are some excellent examples of commitment, as well as an active interest in sharing thoughts, reflections and classroom ideas. I know many people have fears about sharing their thoughts and learning online, but it is such an easy and effective way, especially for us as student teachers, to develop. 

I really support the ePortfolio, as it has positively encouraged us to comment on our peer
learning groups posts. This has encouraged us to support our peers and comment their blogs; allowing us to practice giving both positive and constructive feedback. It is so rewarding when people take time out of their day to read your work and then leave lovely comments.

We were linked to good examples of our peers posts. I have read some thoroughly enjoyable and interesting posts making use of visual tools. My favourite has to be the use of images. When they relate to the blog entry it makes it so much easier to follow. Michelle Mackie uses a fantastic example of this in her post “problematic problems”. Not only do the pictures she uses relate, but she has wrapped them into her post setting it out in such a clear easy to read manner. I really like how she has included links to further reading. This shows she has read around the subject of mathematics and is willing to share her findings with others. I will definitely consider doing this in future in my posts.

I also find the use of video links to be very eye-catching. In Rachel Billes’ post  “Children are the
real teachers” she has embedded a youtube video into her post. Not only does this draw attention to her post, it is also a very effective visual aid. Beginning something with a video is a great way to grab and keep someones full attention, and she has discussed it so well in her post. 

visFrom reading these and other posts by my peers, I have gained a better understanding on how they are gathering their professional thoughts. It has enabled me to develop a better understanding of things they have discussed, as well as things to go away and research further. I have learnt that not only is it beneficial to share our professional thoughts, but it is necessary for our professional development. I will definitely consider making links to my reading in future posts, as well as continuing to include photographs and videos as I have constantly found them to be effective visual aids. The fact our e-portfolios are allowing us to begin reflecting on our practice at such an early stage is amazing, and will be so beneficial to us. So yes, I think the answer is always to blog.

5 6 7…… DANCE!

I can’t think of anything in this world I am more passionate about than dance. It is literally everything. Understandably so, when I seen dance on the timetable I was ecstatic.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 02.58.42I’ve danced since the age of 3. I’ve been through phases of loving it and hating it – but I honestly don’t know where I would be without it. The places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had through dancing are incredible, and I’d encourage anyone and everyone to give it a go.

I’ve seen all the sides of it, from different genres to the competition world, championships, shows, international performances, tattoos – you name it. Dance gave me the confidence to keep trying. If I was asked five years ago if I thought I’d be performing in the Royal Edinburgh Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 02.56.28Military Tattoo, or travelling to amazing places such as Oman, Sweden and Germany to perform – of course, my response would be “NO WAY I COULD NEVER DO THAT.” But yes, I did, and I now know that amazing things can be achieved with the right mindset and support.  How did I come to this, though? THROUGH DANCE!

Dance has more benefits than just learning correct technique. The social skills learnt are equally as important, especially to young children. They learn how to respect other dancers as well as their teacher/choreographer, and officials Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 03.00.30when in a competition setting. As a teacher with my own dance school, I thoroughly enjoy watching my students form relationships with each other and seeing their social skills strengthen along with their dancing. Not only that, but they learn to deal with success as well as failure (and how to deal with it), time management, and how to take on board corrections to practice in their own time. Nothing is more encouraging than seeing one of your pupils succeed, but at the same time just seeing them enjoying the process is amazing.

With my understanding of the Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes for Dance, I would put into place an exciting lesson for a primary 5 class, such as:

CfE Outcome: “I can explore and choose movements to create and present dance, developing my skills and techniques.” – EXA 2-08a

Learning Intentions: By the end of the lesson, I will be able to perform a short sequence I have choreographed myself using different actions, different levels and using different rhythms.

Success Criteria: To create a short sequence to music incorporating different levels, ways of travelling and different rhythms. (To develop this in the next two years, the introduction of motifs and choreographic devices such as canons, interpretation and repetition will build on the intentions of this lesson.)

Assessment: To assess if the pupils have achieved the success criteria I would have small groups present their work to their peers and make use of peer evaluation.

How will I achieve this: I will incorporate short activities aimed at introducing the three criterion for success, One activity will involve learning different ways to travel making good use of space across a room. Another will introduce how to incorporate different levels, and what can be done to make them effective. To develop an understanding of rhythm, I would use a clapping activity; simply clapping different rhythms, be it perfect rhythms, imperfect half beat rhythms – to music.

A positive experience of dance is key to enjoying it and I am extremely excited to bring it into my lessons in the primary.

Dancing is moving to the music without stepping on anyone’s toes, pretty much the same as life. ~Robert Brault

Talking and Listening

Talking and Listening in the classroom provides a great opportunity for class discussion. However, this can also cause problems – as in who’s turn it is to speak, and who should be listening.

There are a number of ways to combat this. The simplest being, a set of rules. In my classroom, I would set clear rules from the beginning, so there is no confusion with expectations. My rules would be:talk

  • We talk one at a time
  • We do not interrupt
  • We make eye contact with the speaker
  • We respect everyone’s ideas

I do feel it would be beneficial for the children to make up their own set of rules as a class. Obviously, with a little direction from the teacher to make them sensible. This gives them a sense of feeling included, and may make them more conscious of them – hopefully!

 

If I was to create a lesson plan around the following outcome *see below*, I would base it on the book Katie Morag Delivers the Mail.katie

“I can show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to literal, inferential, evaluative and other types of questions, and by asking different kinds of questions of my own.”LIT 2-07a. 

Learning Intention: To listen to a story and discuss and evaluate the storyline as a class. Also, I will come up with my own questions about the story, as well as discuss my peers’.

Success Criteria: I will be able to listen to and follow the short story. I will be able to come up with my own questions about the story, and answer my peers’.

Assessment: To assess whether ot not the pupils meet the success criteria, I will evaluate how well they listen to the story and how relevant their questions are to the story and discussion.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 04.18.23How will I achieve this? I will use emotive language to engage the children in the story. I will allow them to complete a short paired task related to the story using sequencing cards, so they can gain a better understanding of the storyline. This gives them the opportunity to listen, interact with each other and then bring their learning to a conclusion with a discussion.