Social Studies

How does engagement with Social Studies contribute to the development of children’s understanding of the world?

Criteria:

  • Drawing on your understanding developed through the module, demonstrate a broad knowledge and a critical understanding of the importance of Social Studies education;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how this theory might be translated into appropriate practice with examples of teaching and learning;
  • Provide clear evidence of critical analysis and ability to reach reasoned conclusions based upon an evaluation of a range literature, events and artefacts;
  • Professional reflection on one piece of evidence to be drawn from the Social Studies Portfolio. Reflection should be framed around your engagement in the process as a learner, and as a teacher.

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Mathematical Concepts in Childrens Books

Big Bear, Little Brother by Carl Norac.

Big Bear, Little Brother is a children’s book aimed at children ages 3-5. At a first glance, it seems to be a beautiful story about a child who has lost his way and Big Bear looks after him until he finds his Dad. However, when reading the book again with fresh eyes – there are many mathematical concepts throughout this book.

Here is a list of words that I found throughout the book that can be linked to maths:

  • above
  • quickly
  • huge
  • behind
  • side by side
  • slowly
  • “to make sure the ice was thick enough” – this is a good one, evaluating the ice bridge and deciding if it is thick enough to cross, a lot of mathematics in this!
  • different
  • down
  • edge
  • much taller
  • copy
  • “mound of snow”
  • faster
  • same
  • twice
  • stopped
  • distance

This is 18 different words that can be explored and worked upon – however, every time I read the book I keep changing how many ‘math words’ there are! I started this blog with ten, I am now on eighteen! The story itself can also have mathematical concepts and activities can be planned.

For example, some activities that can be planned could include:

  1. Making footprints in the snow, and counting the number of footprints, exploring different sizes and shapes, and seeing if patterns or symmetry can be explored
  2. Compare and contrast all the different words and bring this into the classroom (for example Big (bear) and little (brother). What else is big and little? Faster, slower, quickly, stopped. Look at all these and see if we can compare and contrast.
  3. In the last few pages of the book – it is dark and windy and the headlights shine on Big Bear and Little Brother. Maybe having a cross curricular lesson that involves lights, shadows, size, symmetry etc.
  4. Simple tasks such as counting how many pages there are in the book, how many times a word is said in the book, how many footprints are on each page etc.

These are just some little examples that can be explored through this book – however, there are probably 100 more different ways to implement this book in the classroom and link it to other subjects. For example Minik (little brother) falls of the cliff at the start of the book, and big bear catches him – this could be linked to science and could look at speed and force (eg drop things from a height and measure how fast they fall). It could also be linked with maths and languages – how many footprints are there? Tres! (Three!).

I have only read this book a few times, and only studied it in depth about 30 minutes ago. But in that time, I have noticed how mathematical concepts are featured in this book, and how important it is that when we are reading childrens books there can be different mathematical concepts in all of them.

Early years and Language

I haven’t wrote a blog in a while, so I thought I would get back into writing regularly by starting with something small.
Currently, we have been studying talk with children, and how it is so important when we are teaching. I had never thought about talk in any great depth before, and even from the handful of inputs we have had already, I feel like I have learned so much!

Background
In the early stages, we know that children start to read and write. I always thought this started in Primary 1, and as teachers we were responsible for exposing them to books and to letters/words/etc. However, what I have found out is that this can start right from pre-birth. Children can hear what is going on around them in the womb, and they actually develop an accent AND a familiarity with those around them before they are even born. Children can hear Mummy, Daddy, brothers and sisters talking and from this the child hears these voices all the time. From birth, they are exposed to language constantly, and this can be in many different variations: signs, books, drains, art, videos and television are just to name a few (out of 35, 36 if you include art), and not only are they seeing this, they are engaging with it. Children are constantly learning, and they are discovering the beautiful world of language.

Which witch is which?
Language with early years is not learned through a workbook or being forced to read. Language is learned best through play. Children, if they are exposed to rich, supportive literacy play will be swimming in vocabulary and they will become immersed in language. One of the things I have learned from these lectures is that children are keen to learn, and that we shouldn’t discourage or dishearten them when they read a word wrong, we should praise them and support them for making the attempt in the first place. The English language, after all, is the hardest language on the planet. We have their, there and they’re, which and witch, dear and dear, and the list goes on. If that wasn’t complicated enough we also have words which are spelled the same, but depending on the sentence are read completely differently. For example, “I need to read this book” and “I have just read a book”. For children, it is understandable that this can make no sense, and when we knock them for attempting to read, we chip away at their confidence with language. There are plenty more complications with the English language, and the Wug Test is the perfect example.

The Wug Test is a perfect example. If we have one sheep, we call it a sheep, if we have two, we say we have two sheep. If we have one cow, we call it a cow, if we have two, we say we have two cows. If we have one fish, we call it a fish, if we have two, we say we have two fish (which, according to google can vary as well!) The Wug test shows the complications in the English language, and how this can be many different answers; Wug, Wugs, Wuges, or Wugilions (I know it’s silly, but so is the English language). So when we tell children they have it wrong, it discourages them. Instead, praise the attempt and tell them that it should be that answer, but in this case it’s not.  A supportive adult shares the child’s wonder and reassures the child that they are ‘nearly’ right so as to develop a positive risk taking attitude towards reading. All attempts need that support and positive feedback.

Teaching and me
We know that children learn from play, they learn from any environmental prints, books, hearing stories, and being challenged. When I am on my next placement, I hope to make sure that the children I teach have a rich, stimulating and fun environment to learn in, and that the remain curious and engage in their learning.

 

 

I am an atheist

img_1226I am a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. I never got brought up this way, I have always been told to have an open mind and that I should never say never. I have many reasons for disbelieving in a God or gods, and until I started University I thought religion was pointless and a waste of time. A few of my reasons very briefly would be something along the lines of:

  1. Where is the evidence for God
  2. I don’t like the argument of design (the argument that says the world is so beautiful ONLY God could have created it)
  3. Since the entire universe and all of creating can be explained by evolution and scientific cosmology, we don’t need the existence of another entity titled God.

However, this post wasn’t about why I don’t believe in God or about how stubborn I was when it came to the argument about God. This post was to say that just having a better RME (religious and moral education) knowledge has let me open my eyes and become obsessed wbhnf52251ith now trying to learn about as many different religions as possible.

My RME knowledge before University was that I watched Avatar in RME in High School, I learned something about the 5 Ks in Sikhism and that Jesus was the reason for Christmas and Easter. Now, since beginning my University journey I have learned that all of these religions are so beautiful and interesting.  They have stories to tell, they are the reason people push forward in life and even if something bad is happening – their religion gives them hope. Now, for me, that is extremely important. Hope is what the world needs in a world filled with hate and abuse and Trump. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen, it is a feeling of trust and can make people in the darkest of places feel better because they have something to believe in.

img_1236

Taking away the fear of just teaching in general, I felt reasonably confident in all other areas of the curriculum in terms of how I felt about the subject. However, only a few subjects (P.E and the expressive arts being the others) made me worry about becoming a teacher and being able to teach without hating what I was teaching. I didn’t want to learn about other religions and I had no interest in learning. However, since I have researched on my own about certain religions (Hindu being my ‘religion of the moment’) I have learned a great deal – and not just about what others believe in but about other important areas. Such as our values, our family, our home, how we feel, how we are to others, kindness and again, hope. When I thought of RME before I though about boring lessons, now I look with new eyes and I am excited to go on placement and teach about the Holi festival, about why Hindus celebrate this and how it is important. I’m excited to incorporate art into this, I am actually looking forward to being out of my comfort zone teaching children about Religion, and with this I have opened my eyes to the Expressive Arts (however, I am still working on how positive I actually feel about this) and to other religions also.

To the people who know me really well. They know how I feel about religion. They know that my views are so strong against the belief in a God etc. However, since looking into not even a handful of religions my mind has been opened. It turns out RME is completely me. It is about kindness(which, by the way – Random Acts of Kindness Day is on Friday 17th Feb), it is about love, trust, respect, believing and hope.

The Drama Contract

Task 1. Prepare a draft ‘drama contract’ to discuss with your pupils on placement

Task 2. Reflect on the video about structuring a drama lesson, how is it structured, what are benefits of doing it this way and what conventions are used? What CfE Es & Os are being addressed here?

Task 1

For the Drama Contract, I thought about discussing before hand rules we have in the classroom and rules we have in the P.E hall and merging the two. For example in the classroom when in discussion only one person speaks at a time and everyone listens, and in the P.E hall, we all stop when a certain action has happened (e.g. a whistle blown, hand in air, clap of hands, countdown).

The Drama Contract would be something along these lines:

DRAMA CONTRACT

We all agree as a class to follow the drama contract. We must follow these rules at all times for everyone to enjoy drama and have a productive lesson.

  1. I agree to stop and listen when the whistle is blown
  2. I will listen to ‘Miss Klos’ when the she blows the whistle
  3. When in Drama, I must understand that it is a safe space where everyone’s ideas are important

If everyone agrees, then we can all participate in Drama.

 

Task 2

The video we were to watch about Drama and how a Drama lesson is structured was very interesting! It was very similar to the lesson we had had with Nikki, especially with the structure. First of all, the lesson in the video begins with an agreement between the ‘pupils’ and the teacher. The Drama teacher involved said that there were the 3 main C’s, which were:

  1. Communication
  2. Cooperation
  3. Concentration

From these 3 C’s, we can identify that if there are any issues within the classroom, the reason is probably caused by one of these.

Secondly, the drama lesson had a warm up. The warm up was so that the students could differentiate between a play and a warm up. This was good because even though it may take up a bit of time at first, it will be worth it in the upcoming drama lessons.

The lesson structure then moved onto the main task. This was to find a focus within the lesson, in the video the task was to specifically to look at photos and build upon the ideas from the photos.

Development followed and this was done by developing upon the main ideas that the ‘focus’ part of the task had gathered. In this part, they spoke through the imaginative journey to build upon the final ‘performance’.

Visualisation was an important part of the structure here as this could relate to anything. The drama teacher asked everyone to close their eyes, and imagine the surrounding areas – what they could see. Examples including the sun rising. Soundscape was important during this as this developed futher upon what everyone could see. Create any sounds that can be heard. Everyone has their eyes closed at this stage and when they are tapped on the shoulder they are to share what they can see and hear.

Bodyscape is building up further and developing on what they have learned further. By using a little sheet, they are to act out what they see on the sheet using still image. This is important as it builds on the sounds, sights and ideas they already have about this place. They can try and be a gate, chimney smoke, house, table etc.

The performance can be seen as very essential. They have done the main bulk of the work and they need to show there classmates what they have achieved as a group. This helps thought tracking and the teacher at this stage can also assess what they have learned and gathered from this.

Evaluating on this with the class brings the lesson to light, they can decide on what they would like to achieve for next time and they can see the purpose of the lesson.

drama-2

This lesson structure can be used with anything related to classroom studies, for example if studying fairytales – they can act out the certain tales they know about or the ones that are their favourite. If they are studying Scotland they can try and be famous Scottish bridges, Scottish people etc.

 

I think the Experiences and Outcomes that are being addressed here are:

  • EXA 0-01a / EXA 1-01a / EXA 2-01a
    • I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and being part of an audience for other people’s presentations/performances.
  • EXA 0-13a / EXA 1-13a / EXA 2-13a
    • Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through drama.