Category Archives: 1 Prof. Values & Personal Commitment

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.

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.

An Agency Visit to Downfield Primary School

Within our module, Working Together, an agency visit was set up for each group to attend. There were a range of different places each group could visit. My group visited Downfield Primary School, situated near Kirkton in Dundee. As soon as we walked through the door we could tell it was a very welcoming school – bright, colourful pictures on the walls and a very warm and friendly headteacher. Karen, the head teacher led us into one conference rooms. Our team were really well-prepared with a list of questions and some notepads to write down answers and thoughts. Our meeting was very well organised and we were able to speak to lots of different people throughout the professions – Karen (the headteacher), Stacey and Kirsten ( Family Support Workers), Monica and Kerrie (Social Workers), and many more friendly faces, who played a vital role in this multi-agency school.

I think my whole group would agree how interesting the visit was, and it was fascinating to speak to each of the professions involved in our course. They all had one mutual goal in the school; to get it right for every child (GIRFEC). From the information we received, the whole team seemed to work really well and their best interests were every child involved in the educational environment. It wasn’t for each child to come out on top, achieving 10 out of 10 on their maths test. It was for every child to feel nurtured and safe in the classroom, to reach their full potential and to have every opportunity possible in their short, but sweet, school life. Each child would have an amazing support system around them, which also was there to support parents too. Their ‘promise’ provided children with the knowledge that they were to be looked after, respected and included in the school environment and in the community. To know that both children and parents/carers were involved in creating Downfield Primary’s ‘Promise’ was wonderful. It seemed as if the staff had created a great way of including everyone into the school life.

The visit was very eye-opening and demonstrated how vital it is for each of the three professions (Education, Social Work and Community Education) to work together to achieve that one goal – getting it right for every child, young adult or family  that may use any of these services. If we do not work together, we cannot achieve this goal. There needs to be prominent communication and co-operation skills, positive partnership and collaborative working, and a similar mindset of each member of the professions.

Race – Will it ever disappear?

Yesterdays lecture was an eye opener. I did a bit of research when class was over to find out James Byrd JR. was murdered by three white supremacists – what could be classed as a ‘lynching’ . This man was dragged for three miles behind a truck, still alive, until they hit a curve, severing his arm and head. This happened in 1998. The year I was born. It sounds absolutely absurd that people are roaming the streets still, that have this mindset that black people are any different to us. The men that committed this horrendous crime proceeded to dump the body and drive off to a barbecue with friends.

We see it in the news all the time. A black man has been pulled over and shot by a white police officer. He went to grab something out his pocket. The police officer thinks he’s going for a gun. Yes, this happens mostly in America, but does this mean we shouldn’t care? Innocent people’s lives being taken, families broken up, husbands and wives now widowed. Do I think racism will disappear entirely? No. Unfortunately not. Should skin colour, where you are from, where you were brought up matter? Should it affect how you are treated in society? No.

This lecture made me realise that racism is something that has improved in some ways, but will never truly disappear. There are still people walking the streets believing that a ‘pure race’ is the way forward, and this really saddens me.

Has society really moved on?

Here is the link to the death of James Byrd JR.

Structural Inequalities

Our first session was a bit nerve-wracking yet exciting. We were put in to 4 groups with around 10 people in each. We were handed an envelope per group and told to make a resource that a new student would be able to use. We were only allowed to use what was in the envelope. I’d done something similar to this before in school, so I had an idea of what this session could be about.

We introduced ourselves and opened the envelope. A piece of Blu-Tac, three paper clips, a Post-it note and a pencil fell out. We all looked at each other in question of what in the world we would be able to make that would be a useful resource that someone would feel is helpful. It didn’t take us long to notice that the group across from us had a piece of A4 paper as well as the pencil, Blu-Tac and paperclips. Another group had multi-coloured paper, pens and pencils. The group furthest away from us had multi-coloured paper, coloured pencils and pens and even sellotape! Our group felt like this was unfair as every other group had more things to use compared to us. It was very difficult to think of a resource, and we decided to use the envelope as part of it too. We made a very average looking map and the most important places had a paperclip on top. If I was a new student, I definitely wouldn’t have used our map.

Our group were in shock when we noticed what the others had made : a survival booklet, a box with essentials for uni inside, and another map that was definitely better than ours. Lina then rated each of our groups creations. We received a score of 3 out of 10, which made us laugh as out product wasn’t the best. Lina asked us how we felt about being rated low and not receiving the exact same stationary as everyone else. Most of us agreed and said we felt it was unfair and we were disappointed in our resource. The groups who scored high felt happy and it turns out that they didn’t even notice that they had more stationary to use compared to us.

We soon realised that this was the whole point of the session. People do not have the same things as others. People may feel disadvantaged as they don’t have a fancy house, loads of clothes or toys, or the newest iPhone. There are areas in this world where children are deprived and may not have the best upbringing compared to others. Lina described this as ‘baggage’. And that baggage does not get left at the school entrance. Some children may not even realise that not everyone can afford the same things as them.
This session made me think how important it is to treat everyone equally no matter what their background or situation is. Not every child will walk into the class and feel the same. We all have different thoughts, come from different places and live differently to each other. It is important, as a teacher, to treat everyone with equal respect and to understand that not one child is the same. Others may need a bit more help, but its vital that every individual feels the same level of respect in an educational environment.
Our job as future teachers is to make sure that each pupil feels included and is being treated equally, no matter what their background is.

Finding Direction

I left school not really having a clue what I wanted to do. It was quite a lonely and daunting period as all my friends were prepared and had every detail of their plan down to a T. I have always had a great interest in working with children, but as a mere 17-year-old, I didn’t want to jump into something and not enjoy it.

I left school with slightly above average grades, but not enough to get into a teaching course. I knew deep down this is what I definitely wanted to do, but it was now trying to think of ways to get around this barrier. I knew I wanted to get more experience of the world as well as improve my grades, so I attended a night class. It was strange being back in a classroom but in a more informal way. I was glad to get back in to some kind of routine; having not been in a lesson for two years.
I travelled to Thailand – a once in a lifetime experience. I helped out in schools, both mainstream and private, and saw a completely different way of life. The resources, the classrooms, the teachers and their pupils learn and interact with each other in different ways. It was an amazing and exciting feeling, to know I’d made some sort of difference to some of the pupil’s lives – even if it was just knowing their numbers up to 20 in English.
I volunteered in a primary 1 class in 2016 and primary 6 class in 2017. I got the insight to different levels of capability, children enjoying and taking pride in their work and watching them grow as a learner and a member of the school community.

All of these aspects of my life in the past two years have contributed to my enthusiasm and passion to teach and help shape young people’s minds.

Why teaching? I want to know I have had an impact in children’s lives. I want any child to feel comfortable and confident to be able to speak up and voice their opinions. I want every child to feel included no matter what background they may come from. I want children to feel proud of what they have accomplished, whether its acing a maths quiz or shooting two goals in a football match. Knowing that I am going to have a positive effect on a child’s learning and school career is going to be a great feeling.

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Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

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