Category Archives: 3.1 Teaching & Learning

A Diary Entry from Grace Darling

Choose a character from the past (it doesn’t have to be a famous person). Research that character and the time that they lived. Use the drama convention Visualisation to explore what it would be like to be that character. What would they hear? What would they see? Smell? Experience? Write a diary entry in role as your character.

My post is about a historic person rather than a character. Her name is Grace Darling. She saved 18 people’s lives at sea off the coast of Bamburgh, Northumberland on one of the Farne Islands at just 22 years old. She was the first woman to be awarded for bravery by the RNLI. She is a heroine of her time.

Today is the 7th September 1838. The weather is calm after the storm this morning.

Maybe some day someone will read my diary and read about what I have done on this day. Maybe I’ll be remembered for what I have achieved. 

The day started as it normally did for a 22 year old 5 foot 2 woman who is the daughter of a lighthouse keeper in a family household. I helped mother with the laundry after deciding what dress to wear. We are the same height and build. I then helped my father with cleaning the lighthouse. Our lighthouse is on the land but beside a lot of the Farne Islands which can be often covered by the strong waves of the North Sea, so a lighthouse is essential to help save the lives of those out on their boats. After the day was done we went to sleep, but being waking up early the next day to strong winds and rain battering against by window is something I will never forget.

It was 6am. I was unable to sleep so did what I normally do, admire the view of the sea. It was extremely choppy. In the distance I could see a ship on the Harcar Rock and I woke Father uo straight away. We found our telescope to see if we could see any life on the rock. It wasn’t until 7am that there was enough light and we could both see movement in the distance.  The lifeboat had been called for already from Sunderland, but I knew it would take at least three hours for it to arrive. It was at that moment I knew we needed to get our 20 foot rowing boat and rescue the survivors, Father was clearly nervous but he knew the water and he knew the rocks. We rowed for a mile, tackling the wind and spray from the sea. But we made it to the SS Forfarshire.

While Father helped those onto the boat I had to try and keep it balanced. It was so windy and the water was so rough. I had to comfort Mrs Dawson. Both of her children were lost this morning. There were still two men on the rock but father went back for them and the remaining bodies of those who did not survive. But we did it. We saved 18 lives.

The ship was built in Dundee by Thomas Adamson in 1834. The ship was on a voyage from Hull back up to Dundee when it hit the rock. It saddens me that this ship was only a few years old and never made it back to its home city.

This is a day I will never forget. I hope people will be proud of me.

Goodbye for now,


The reason I chose the character for this post was because I visited the Grace Darling museum in Bamburgh this weekend and was utterly amazed at the bravery of this woman. She was only a couple of years older than me at the time of the rescue and is also the same height as me. When I was there and saw the size of the boat she rowed I was utterly amazed. I want to be able to teach pupils about Grace when I have my own class and be able to adapt her story to drama lessons. Pupils will be able to show so many emotions through this story: fear, sadness, hope and happiness.

As the ship was also made in Dundee it will allow pupils to learn about the shipbuilding industry Dundee was known for and be able to add more characters into their dramatisation.



Children, Architecture and the Urban Environment

Explore your local environment or house and street, or the university campus, or other environment, taking notes, taking photographs and/or making sketches.  Consider one building and all the planning that goes into its creation and construction. What does the external appearance of the building “say” about it? Does the form of the building suit its function (is it fit for purpose?) How well does it fit with its surroundings? What materials have been used, and why? Are there decorative elements to the building?

I have a window seat in my living room in my flat here in Dundee where I usually like to sit and
do my university work. As I was sitting today I noticed a building across from mine. It is a tenement block with its date from when it was built at the top (1902). I have always loved history so the date of this being built really let me think about its previous purpose and how different it is to now.

In the past, ovrcrowding in tenements was a huge issue. In 1900, 45% of Scottish people had at least 2 people living in one room (which was their whole “house”) while Dundee was significantly higher than the Scottish average with 72% of people having 2 people in one room. (Knox, no date, pp.2). This allows us to think about the buildings purpose in the past: people wanted to squeeze as many people as possible into one place.

In addition to this, overcrowding then caused a lot of significant health issues. This SCRAN article tells us that 44% of school children in Dundee had impaired hearing while 48% had poor eyesight. (Knox, no date, pp. 3). This is something that tells us how different these buildings are to now. Due to overcrowding it clearly led to extreme health issues.

The 1931 census showed that 50% of homes in Dundee had shared toilet facilities (Shelter Scotland, 2015). This shows, again, at the time how different the building will be to now as each flat will most definitely have its own toilet.

The materials used here could be rendered brick or concrete blocks (Dundee Civic Trust, 2016, pp.1). This article also states that flats made just after the war just 250 yards away on Glenagnes Road the tenements do have some local value as they are made from stone which was a different and new material to use in Dundee at the time.

From this research it allowed me to see that the purpose of this block of flats was slightly different to now. It shares the similarity that it provides a home for people. But previously, it was to provide housing for a large number of people in one building and the social and health issues this way of living caused.

The building fits in very well with its surroundings. The West End area of Dundee that I live in is mainly all of these 20th Century tenements so it blends in well.

I believe that looking at this building and finding some history on this building type is something I could definitely bring into an art lesson in the classroom and bring in some interdisciplinary learning through history and even drama. Many pupils in my class will live in these types of building and may not know much about its history or appreciate its architecture. It will allow some outdoor learning opportunities by allowing pupils to walk around and see the buildings and from this, an art lesson could be taught and let the pupils depict what they saw.

In my opinion this building fits in with its surroundings and is still fit for its purpose by providing a home for people. With Dundee being so up and coming, more modern architecture will be seen in the city but these historic homes will not be lost.



Dundee Civic Trust (2016) The Stone Tenements of Dundee Corporation. Available at: (Accessed on 17th September 2017).

Knox, W. (no date) A History of the Scottish People. Urban Housing in Scotland 1840-1940. Available at: (Accessed 17th September 2017).

Shelter Scotland (2015) Scotland’s Housing Crisis. Available at: (Accessed: 17th September 2017).


Some Light Reading

As previously stated I have wanted to do some research into how advertising is affecting children and young people. I have been doing work for this industry for 5 weeks so I know that the point in advertising is to make people want to buy the product and do it in a way that will make them really want to buy the item or buy it on whim because the offer is in front of them at the time.

We are affected by advertising every single day. From the moment we wake up and turn on the television to the magazine we read before going to bed (Lusted, 2009) and this is why I have done some research on how it can affect children and how food advertising has an effect on them.

Jordan and Romer state that the issue we face now is not whether food advertising causes harm to children but it is how to safeguard children and young people from its “negative influence”.

Additionally, they state that to solve the issue of advertising negatively influencing children ranges from educating young people about media literacy and the positive impact healthy eating will have on  their bodies to protect them from exposure to unhealthy advertising; to promoting healthy diets and physical activity through advertising and social media.  This allows me to understand that as a teacher I should be ensuring that children know the importance of healthy eating and the effects that an unhealthy lifestyle can have.

Calvert and Wilson (2011) state that “children’s food habits are acquired in early life (Birch 2009) and the structure of what children watch in advertising is not written onto a blank slate in terms of reception by the child; rather it is assimilated into an already set of established set of preferences and choices.”

Calvert and Wilson also suggests that children go for the unhealthy food options as it more often than not will contain a free toy. This is an important marketing ploy from companies that will encourage children to eat their food for the toy and keep coming back so they can have the whole collection.

I feel like this post from the reading I’ve done has quite a negative outlook on advertising. Without advertising companies would not be able to make their money and encourage consumers to shop with them.

However, there are arguments that advertising can have a positive effect on children too. Adverts with children playing sports and having fun will encourage children to exercise and keep fit and healthy (Nurmi, 2013).

Positive adverts do not just affect children. Positive outcomes can also include public service advertisements. Many public service announcements talk about about health, safety and national security which allow people to remain safe and healthy in life (Morely, 2017).


Calvert and Wilson (2011) The Handbook of Children, Media and Development. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing

Lusted (2009) Advertising to Children. Edina: ABDO Publishing Company

Jordan and Romer (2014) Media and the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents. New York: Oxford University Press

Morely (2017) The Positive Effects of Advertising. Available at: (Accessed on: 18th April 2017)

Numri (2013) The Many Angles to Advertisements. Available at: (Accessed on 18th April 2017)

Bringing Scotland to Dallas

It’s Monday again… but it’s my last Monday with Tracy Locke! I seriously cannot believe I only have a matter of days left here.

Today I did a presentation about my life in Scotland which it seemed like everyone really enjoyed! It was so good to be able to tell them about my life in Scotland and at university and teach them about a variety of things such as education, politics and Scottish culture. I also answered questions that they had. It was so funny seeing their reactions to the fact that we have free health care and university tuition in Scotland as that has never been a thing here and something that they are very envious of!

I really enjoyed doing this and it has helped me professionally. I have been involved in public speaking opportunities since I was quite young throughout high school and a number of opportunities with church but it is something I haven’t done for while. This is something I will have to when I am a teacher at things such as CPD events and staff meetings so this was a very good learning opportunity for me.

From making the presentation I have enhanced my computing skills and from delivering it I have improved my self confidence which I had put at a 2 on my self audit. I have always enjoyed public speaking so I’m glad I was given this opportunity.

I then sat in on a group meeting with the PH team called “status” where the group find out how the work of the previous week has come along and what needs more development. This allowed me to see how many different areas of marketing and advertising there is for just one team in the company and how much work gets done in one week.

This afternoon I am going to be doing a bit of research for some healthcare brands that the company has and then some more work with the Pizza Hut team.






Back to Work!

This weekend I went down to Austin, TX with my Uncle Hugh and Auntie Mary to celebrate their friends’ son’s first birthday. Austin is 217 miles away and it took us 3 and a half hours to get there and a little longer to get back. I’d heard the saying “100 years is not long in Scotland and 100 miles is not far in America, but the other way round for the other country”. To Americans, this journey would be small. So, I am feeling pretty tired today after driving 434 miles in one day! However, the birthday party was lovely and it was great to see more of Texas (even if I am a bit sun burnt!)

But it’s back to the normal Monday here and I’m back at placement. Today I looked at menus with Ashley (Account Supervisor) and helped make her work a little easier by finding all the fonts used for each different type of menu that will be published in the coming weeks and putting them into an email for her future use. I hadn’t worked with Ashley before so this was a good opportunity to develop my own communication skills and allow me to see what her job entails. One of the SPRs that comes under professional commitment states that we should be “engaging with all aspects of professional practice and all members of our educational communities with enthusiasm, adaptability andconstructive criticality.” I feel that this is an SPR which relates closely to the work I have done today. Although it is not an educational community, I undertook the work in a professional manner with good enthusiasm that allowed me to complete the task in a productive way while working with someone new.

I have also done quite a bit of reading about advertising and more on how this affects children and young people which I will reflect on in a later post.

While I was in an Uber recently the driver noticed my accent and complimented it (Being in Dallas with this accent is great. So many people love it!) We were just talking about Scotland and he asked me the question, which I think is quite funny: “Was William Wallace real?” He then

went on to tell me that his favourite film is “Braveheart”. I told him that this film was actually quite historically inaccurate, but a good film nonetheless. This question then prompted me to ask if I could do a presentation about Scotland for the company which I have been working on a lot today. A lot of people are looking forward to this. I am extremely passionate and proud of where I’m from so this is a presentation I am very much looking forward to showing.

I’ve looked back at my audit of skills in section 1 of my folio and I’ve rated my self confidence at a 2. I do have confidence in myself but it is something that I want to build up on this placement. I believe by doing this presentation it will definitely improve my self confidence and allow people from other teams to get to know me a bit better. And most importantly, it will educate the people at Tracy Locke about a fantastic country and hopefully encourage them to come over and visit.




We recently had a workshop on dance and it was something which I thoroughly enjoyed. Between the ages of eight and 15 I took part in a couple of different dance groups. I started off as a highland dancer which was something I loved taking part in and is something I would really like to start doing again at some point. I then danced at a local dance school with a ‘street dance’ kind of style. However, I did not enjoy this as much and stopped dancing.

I then started musidance-dreamingcal theatre which is still a huge love of mine. I feel as though I’m a much stronger singer than I am a dancer so I think this is why is preferred this kind of performance and expressive art.

So, when I saw that we had a workshop on dance I had mixed emotions. I just mainly did not know what to expect from it. However, I loved every second of it. We mainly explored different aspects of contemporary dance which was slightly out of my comfort zone and this was something which I really liked. We were shown different techniques of dance and shown the importance of using levels of height.

After this workshop I realised how much I actually enjoyed expressing myself through dance and it is something I cannot wait to teach when I’m on placement and when I have my own danceclass. I want the children to understand that if they’re not feeling so confident that it is okay and I want them to enjoy themselves.

For placement I have been given a primary 6/7 class and with my knowledge of the CfE Experiences and Outcomes for Dance as a subject I feel that I could make an enjoyable lesson for the pupils to take part in.

CfE Outcomes : “Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express my ideas, thoughts and feelings through creative work in dance” EXA 0-09a / EXA 1-09a / EXA 2-09a and ” 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 have worked with my group to create a short dance sequence to express our ideas and thoughts on a specific topic using different movements and levels.

Success Criteria: To create a short routine, with or without music, using different forms of travel, rhythm and levels and highlighting the theme of the lesson. 

Assessment: To assess if the pupils have achieved the success criteria I will ask each group to perform their routine and make use of peer evaluation.

How I will achieve this: I will include activities within the lesson that involve the exploration of different forms of travel across the room and activities which allow the pupils to understand the use of different levels and how important this is in the presentation of their routine. Finally, I will include an activity that makes the children use different parts of their body to make a beating noise (e.g. stamping their feet and clapping their hands at a certain speed and a certain beat) 

Therefore, I want my dance lessons to be an enjoyable experience for all my pupils. I want them to feel they have the confidence to express themselves through this art anddancer to keep dancing. 

The ‘M’ Word

Yes, the M word… Maths. Maths is a subject which I have never had huge confidence in so knowing that on Wednesday I had to sit in a workshop all about my most dreaded subject was something that I was really not looking forward to. I was actually very nervous. I had this image in my head of being sat in groups and working out maths problems in a scary kind of silence. But, that was not the case at all.

Throughout my time at primary school I hugely lacked in confidence when it came to maths. I stressalways remember being that child who was sat beside a pupil, who I always thought, was smarter than me and felt I needed to look at their answers just so I didn’t get in trouble for not completing the work or having too many wrong answers. Of course this was not the case. The teacher I had would always give me the support I needed- it was just a fear of being embarrassed that I always seemed to have.



Moving on to secondary school- maths was still the subject I dreaded. And this time, it was worse in my mind because ‘high school maths is much worse and harder than primary school maths.’ Even just the little thing of having to buy a scientific calculator rather than just a normal one seemed daunting enough. However, in first year I was put into the middle set which was almost a confidence boost. Although I wasn’t in the top group, I wasn’t in the bottom one either.

I had a teacher called Miss McCutcheon and she managed to entirely change my view on maths. She made me, and my whole class, understand that maths is not something that you should be scared of and always made lessons enjoyable. She was a teacher who believed in every single one of her pupils and knew that they would succeed. In third and fourth year I was put into the middle set again aiming for an Intermediate 2 in maths. I feel this is when my maths anxiety returned because I knew I was going to be offically assessed on my mathematical knowledge. I had a different teacher whose teaching style was different from Miss McCutcheon’s, but she maths is funntook a maths revision class after school on a Thursday. This was great as I could still rely on her for support and that positive push I needed. When teaching maths, I want to be as motivational and encouraging as she was for me throughout my whole time at high school. In fourth year I obtained a C in maths. The fact I’d passed was an absolute miracle in my eyes, but I knew I needed at least a B to get into university. So, I did Intermediate 2 maths again in 5th year, but this time I managed to get an A.

So, although I have an A at Int 2 maths, the thought of this maths workshop was something which scared me a lot. I had no idea what we would be doing. But, we sat in groups and the workshop was taken by Tara Harper whose enthusiasm for maths shines through. She has made me understand, again, that maths should not be something to be nervous about or scared of. We started the workshop with making a scale with 0 to 10 and putting a dot on the point of the line on how confident we are with maths. I rated myself at a 2. Throughout the workshop we spoke about maths in the primary school. From different types of maths to myths about maths. Originally I was scared to think that I would be teaching a subject I have such little confidence in, but it has made me realise that when one of my pupils are struggling with something in maths I will be able to give them the support they need because I know exactly what it is like to be scared and nervous. And when they have that ‘lightbulb’ moment of understanding or getting the right answer I will know that I have done my job correctly and I will feel extremely proud of my pupil.

By the end of the lesson I felt so much more confident with maths and, thanks to Tara, I am now really looking forward to next workshop on Wednesday. i love maths




ICT Workshop- Pivot

I started back at university on Monday for my second semester of my Primary Education degree. The first lesson we had was in the ICT suite with Sharon Tonner where we learnt how to make animations and her passion and enthusiasm made it such an enjoyable lesson.

The lesson started with us using a programme called Pivot. This application consists of a basic stick figure with each ‘joint’ being able to move in any direction. You can move the character and press ‘new frame’ to make the figure move. After clicking next frame, Sharon taught us the term ‘onion skin’ in which you could see where you previously had the stick figure on the screen. We then added another figure and made a full animation to the song ‘Let it Go’ from the Disney film ‘Frozen’ which made the animation really fun to create.pivot

This was very simple and enjoyable to use. I feel that it is something that primary school children will enjoy as they can make the animation about anything they want and base it on things like their favourite films. I plan on using this programme while on placement if I am told to do an ICT lesson as I now feel very confident in using Pivot and know it is something which the children will enjoy using.


According to google, the term ‘feedback’  is information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.

The use of feedback in University is necessary, but it is as equally important in the teaching profession and there are positive and negative aspects to feedback.

In university we are given feedback on where we can improve, but recently in my Politics essay I was told that the structure of my essay was very good and I was able to use the referencing system well. This boosted my self esteem for the next essay I wrote for feedbackthe subject. I felt a sense of confidence I do not usually have when writing an academic piece. I feel that this highlights the positive aspect of feedback. But there was obviously negative feedback too. However, it was helpful and I knew what I needed to do for next time.

While on placement it is vital that we receive feedback. We must be told where we can improve or possibly change our teaching styles. But, also told if we dealt with a certain situation in the correct manner.

As teachers: we must feedback to our pupils in order for them to understand how to improve, but more importantly, also how well they have done in certain aspects of the task. I feel it is so important to tell children where they have done well as it can allow their self esteem to grow and allow them to keep working hard towards specific goals.

Therefore, I feel that feedback is essential and so important in the role of a student teacher and as a qualified teacher.