Monthly Archives: January 2019

Lesson Ideas – Food and Health 2nd Level

After our health and wellbeing workshop, we looked at food and health and how important it is to explore with children – as it affects everyone’s lives. After watching the ‘Sugarcrash’ documentary, I was shocked at the amount of hidden sugar in the foods I am eating. I try to be as healthy as possible, but sweet treats always sneak in. I can now say I am no longer putting low fat yogurts in my trolley when shopping!
As professionals, we need to give our children an understanding of what a healthy and balanced diet is. What we eat affects our future, in both positive and negative ways, and we want each child to have the best future possible.


Class of primary 6/7

By applying my knowledge and understanding of current healthy eating advice, I can contribute to a healthy eating plan. HWB 2-30a
By investigating food labelling systems I can begin to understand to use them to make healthy food choices. HWB 2-36a

Lesson 1

L.I. – We are learning to understand the 5 nutrient groups and what foods come underneath these groups.
We are gaining an understanding of what food is healthy and what food should be eaten in moderation.

S.C. – I can list some food items which come under certain nutrient groups – e.g. carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins/minerals, calcium and fats.
I am beginning to understand what foods are healthy for me and what I should not eat all of the time.
I am able to create an eye-catching and informational poster about a certain food group.

Resources: Print outs for each table of a blank eat well plate, cut outs of different foods. A eat well plate (full) to show after the first task. Computer for video.

Starter – 10 minutes.
Youtube clip explaining each section of the groups.
After video – Can you name any foods that would be classed under fats? Carbohydrates? Vitamins/minerals? Calcium? Proteins?
What groups do you think are good for you and why? What groups should we eat less of? Why? Where does water come under this? Discuss these questions with a partner, then discuss with class.

Main body – Match game. 10 minutes
A blank get well plate on each table with a bundle of different pictures of foods. The children are to place the foods in the different sections of the plate – discussing with the table why a certain food shall go where. A full plate will be handed out once finished to compare. Discuss with class certain foods in groups – why did you put that in that group?

Poster in tables – 30 minutes to create.

A specific food group for each of the 5 tables. An informational poster that is eye-catching and colourful. Success criteria for poster – I can work collaboratively in a group to create an information poster. It includes colourful pictures, facts about certain foods and a food group and what effect this food group has on your body.
If no time to present – after lunch? Next day? Next Food and health lesson at start?

End of lesson – Class discussion. What foods are good for us? Can you give examples? What types of food should we have in moderation? Why can we not eat them all of the time? Examples of your favourite foods in the vitamins/mineral’s category, etc.


Lesson 2

L.I – We are learning to understand the contents of our food.
We are beginning to understand what the different contents on the labels mean for our diet and our health.
We are going to construct a pie chart, and divide each content of the food. We will add up percentages to do so.

S.C – We are beginning to understand the contents of food and what the percentages mean.
We can distinguish what are healthy foods and what are not.
We can lay out the information from food nutrients in a pie chart.
We can work as a group to create a pie chart. (Cross-curricular for maths)

Resources – Food packaging, A3 paper, example of pie chart?

Starter – Recap for lesson 1 – 10 minute discussion
What we class as healthy and unhealthy foods? What did we all have for breakfast/break/lunch? Was it a healthy choice? Do we remember what carbohydrates do to our bodies, etc.

15 minute – Looking at packaging of food. What do the labels mean? Why are they red, orange, green, etc. Task to put in order of healthiest to unhealthiest. Why is this at the top?

30 minute – Pie chart task
In groups of 3/4 (able children and children who may struggle mixed) children to make 2 pie charts from packaging. One for healthier option and one unhealthy food. Divide each food part (e.g. sugar, salt, saturated fats, calories, etc.) and draw a pie chart to represent each area of food content.

6/7 min recap of lesson – Why should we look at labels of food and explore the contents? What do they mean? Discuss with shoulder partner(s).


Reflection – I Want to Better My Practice!

Personally, I find taking constructive criticism somewhat difficult. Throughout my high school years, I would tend to have the mindset to ‘give up’ if the slightest thing was wrong – a list of corrections in an essay, a failed test. The list can go on and on. It would put me off that particular area of learning, making me think I wasn’t good enough to pass or meet the grades expected of me. For the subjects I enjoyed – such as English, Music and History – those slight mistakes maybe mattered too much. The crosses on the page made me dread to even look, although they were easily fixed. For subjects I didn’t particularly like, I saw the mistakes as just me not understanding the question or the topic. Those did not bother me as much somehow. Maybe, because I realised, I wasn’t the best in that particular subject and my score wouldn’t improve drastically. However, I knew how important it was to persevere and try my best, and improve these scores – even if was only by 1%. Being reflective and asking myself ‘what can I do to better my grade? Even by a couple of marks!’, allowed me to realise that the grade was on the paper was a learning curve. It can be worked on if you can reflect on what went well and what didn’t.

I have learned throughout the Values module from last term, that it is completely normal to make mistakes. Most mistakes you can fix, you can improve on. It was made clear that this can only be done by reflecting on what had maybe gone wrong with your work. It is a human trait to make wrong decisions sometimes, and it makes us into the person we are today. But we cannot fix these mistakes without reflecting on them and asking ourselves ‘what can I do to improve this?’.
Being able to be receptive to constructive criticism and learn from it is an essential trait to have when working in the classroom. Every day is different, and this may mean that lessons do not go the way you had specifically planned them out to go – and it is important to accept that. Teaching means you are constantly developing different strategies on how to tackle certain behaviours and mishaps in the classroom. You are continuously learning about what works and what does not. By being reflective and understanding what did not go so well on that one particular day, when the moon was full and the children were noisy, we can always improve our practice and explore different strategies to enhance our methods in teaching.

I am nervous for those days that may occur when I am on placement. The truth is though, you cannot hide from these days. They will come and they may be a kick in the teeth, but it is all about learning from the errors that have happened in that lesson. I am going to accept any feedback that comes my way because I know this will help me improve for the next lesson I will take. I will reflect on what went well and what I can use again and again in the classroom. I will ask myself ‘is there any way to improve this, to take the children to the next step of learning?’. I will be able to consider different strategies if one did not go so well, and ask myself ‘why?’.
Reflection is a vital part of education – bettering your own learning, and improving your own practice will have a massive impact on the children’s education in the class.

Expressive Arts- Exploring Drama

After our first drama session we watched a short video on a lesson plan created and run through with teachers as the pupils. It was obvious that the lesson planned was very well-structured. I think that this particular lesson plan can be adapted to cover certain Experiences and Outcomes in the Curriculum for Excellence, depending on what level the children may be working towards. This particular lesson allows each child in the class to be involved, voice their opinion and take part in a performance at the end. The evaluation part is very important because this allows the children to reflect on what can be improved on for the next drama lesson. Evaluation also lets children voice what worked well in their performance, and what they may want to achieve the next time.

At the beginning of the lesson, the ‘teachers’ were able to explain what was expected of each child, and some ‘ground rules’ that were mandatory throughout. It’s explained in the video that both teacher and the children came up with the expectations. If the children know what behaviour is acceptable and what is not, it will mean for a lesson to run more smoothly.
A warm-up is key to get everybody moving. The video describes a warm up as essential, to get the ‘mind ready and the body ready’. Compared to a maths lesson, drama may have a lot more active movement, so it is important the children can recognise this. It also prepares the children for what may come throughout the lesson – expressing yourself through movement or sound, to re-enact how certain characters may feel, and to explore their own emotions.
The next area covered was visualisation. This area could relate to another topic – for example, if in Topic the class was investigating the Egyptian Era. This can then be brought into drama. They could visualise the constructing of the pyramids. The children should be able to think creatively what this scene may have looked like, sounded like and even felt like. I thought the ‘eye’s closed and tap on the shoulder to share your ideas’ was a great technique – allowing different child to express themselves in what they imagine this particular scene to be like. Not every scene would be similar and many children would have different ideas. I thought bringing in pictures for the children to look at as well would help with their imagination to flow.
The ‘teachers’ then moved onto looking at creating the image they have visualised into an actual scene, using their bodies. This makes the lesson much more active and allows the children to keep using that imagination in what this particular scene may look like. I believe this more active part of the lesson is vital in allowing the children to explore the ideas of different characters in the scene, allowing them to take on the whole personality. It gets the children working as a team also, to create a scene which will be very different from the other groups. By working collaboratively together they will be able to develop skills in confidence, listening and communication with each other.
The short clip displays how important performance is. Even if it is just to the peers in the class, it is vital that the children are able to take pride in their work and evaluate what they think worked well, and what may need some improvement. By being able to evaluate their own work, the children are able to explore what they may want to work towards the in the next drama lesson.

The lesson is structured in a way that covers each area listed in the Experiences and Outcomes, in the Curriculum for Excellence. Those taking part in the lesson were able to use a range of stimuli – visualisation and a story – to express themselves, through sounds, facial expressions, gestures and body movements. By using the bodyscaping technique, children are able top bring everyone’s imagination together and work as a team to create their own scenes. They can further develop their confidence in performing, and communication skills with their peers – deciding what works in their scene, and what can be worked upon.
The lesson seems very well structured and relates to many of the Experiences and Outcomes. The children are able to explore how they can use their voice and their movement to create certain stories, they have freedom in what they want to create and are able to use trial and error to decide what works and what may need to be reconsidered. By accessing a range of different stimuli – photos, a story being told, visualisation – children are able to explore different ideas depending on what they are seeing/hearing. It gives them a range of ideas to consider while taking on role of different characters. By having an evaluation at the end of a lesson children are able to reflect on what they felt went well in the lesson, and what they have learned throughout. It’s always vital to reflect as this helps with further -developing confidence and the skills needed in performance and in using their imagination.

I believe that you can always bring other areas of the curriculum into drama. It is an active way of bringing children’s imaginations to life. Certain subjects, such as Topic and Literacy can be further developed into drama. IF we were exploring creative writing in Literacy, we can develop our stories and pick certain parts out to create scenes. This helps develop what the character is thinking and the children can understand the emotions displayed in each other’s stories more. Drama can also be used to link with Topic studies, such as weather, countries around the world, the rain forest, under the sea, etc. If we look at the rain forest topic, there are many visualisations that can be explored. The pitter-patter of the rain falling from the sky, the thud of animal feet on the ground, the screeches of different birds soaring through the sky, the buzzing of insects hiding in the trees, etc. Many different ideas can be explored in drama through certain topics, and allows children to visualise what it may feel like to live there and how their surroundings differ to ours.

Drama is a prominent area of the curriculum that allows children to explore their thoughts and feelings, and portray these through different scenes. It lets children explore their own imagination and use their creativity to develop their skills in communication and language, allowing them to understand other’s thoughts and emotions, build confidence and gain an understanding of the world around them.
A link to the video watched :

Teaching Across the Curriculum- First Dance Workshop

I attended my first dance workshop today with Eilidh Slattery. I didn’t really know what to expect as we entered the room, because I don’t think there was a lot of dance lessons when I was in primary school. Obviously, there was Scottish country dancing (which I loved), however, I do not remember any lessons where we, as children, were able to express ourselves, create our own routines and try different genres of dance. It was explained to us how important it is for every child to be able to explore new ideas and express themselves through the arts. Throughout the session it was made clear that our group had different levels of confidence in showing our routines. Not everyone likes to present and ‘show off’ what they have created. I wasn’t the most comfortable at first, but as the lesson progressed, it was enjoyable to move around and not feel embarrassed in front of peers. Everyone was on the same boat. I will need to take this measure in to a classroom setting, as no child should be made to feel uncomfortable or forced to do something they may not want to do. However, many children love to show what skills they have developed through a dance lesson, and are happy to act silly and show their classmates their creation. Dancing, or any type of Physical Education, is a great way to have a ‘break’ between lessons in the day. Although children are still learning throughout their dance lessons, it is not like sitting and looking at worksheets and books. It allows them to explore their own thoughts and feelings through expressive arts, and to develop their skills in co-ordination and working with their classmates. Children are able to use their creativeness to choreograph their own movements. It is vital that children have choice also. Throughout our session, we were able to make our own moves up, and then watched other pairs. Eilidh allowed us to perform in front of each other, and also mentioned that if we saw a different move we liked, we were able to try it out. Having freedom within the lesson let each group express themselves, and not one move was the same. It also let us develop a move further if it maybe didn’t go right the first time.

This short session allowed me to understand that certain skills can be developed in different ways. We shouldn’t be stuck at a desk all day – it is vital to learn though being active. Children are always developing confidence and skills to be able to accept positive feedback and even ‘two stars and a wish’. It is vital that we are able to give positive feedback, but also an area or two that can be improved on, such as ‘ As a group you were really in sync and your choreography was really creative! Let’s work on our spacial awareness – and not bump into each other! Great job.’.
It is also really important that children are able to reflect on their own work, without being too harsh on one another. Being able to feel pride on the positive feedback you receive, but also developing in areas that can be improved is key.

I believe Expressive Arts in school should be accessed as much as possible because it allows every child to express themselves in a different way. Not all children are able to access these hobbies outside of the school environment. Bringing them into the curriculum is a great way of giving every child the opportunity to try something new and develop skills in that particular area.

Our session was really enjoyable and I hope I can bring a positive outlook in to the classroom setting. We can always improve on our skills and develop them further, in a positive and beneficial way. I would like children to feel comfortable in expressing themselves, whether that is through dance, creative writing, music or drama, etc. In the session, Eilidh made clear that positive feedback was key to support the children when trying something new- even if something goes wrong-  and it also gives them a sense of pride in their work. These are some main aspects I want to be able to take in to placement – to have lessons that children will enjoy and take pleasure out of doing, to allow them improve on their skills constantly – sometimes without even knowing – and to develop confidence in trying something new.