Category Archives: edushare

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.



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.






I want to be part of it. New York, New York.

Of course after I’d done my work for the day in the office I had to do some sightseeing. This is me in Times Square.

Today I have been lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to go to New York City and visit the Tracy Locke office there on Madison Avenue (as previously stated this is known as TLNY).

This have given me a good opportunity to, yet again, to meet more new people and tell them a bit about me and why I am here. A lot of people have been really intrigued that I am actually training to be a primary school teacher and they believe that this placement is a fantastic idea.

I did some work in Wilton this morning where I listened to some conference calls with Mary regarding one of their Chicago clients and arrived in New York at about 2pm.

This afternoon I attended meetings with Stephen regarding finance and accounting, and in particular, for Sony about a few projects that they want TL to do over the next year. Again, this was a good learning experience for myself as it meant I saw the “more boring” side of advertising (according to Stephen!) but also one of the most important parts as without money advertising just wouldn’t exist.

Something I’ve noticed while being in the three offices is the different lay outs. The Dallas office has a huge variety of cubed off areas for teams of people to sit in and also has two floors. When I went into the Wilton office yesterday the different lay out was the first thing I noticed. The office is just one floor but it is like a maze. It is huge. The desks here are in longer, more open areas with a lot more open space. Finally, the New York office also has the long tables but the separate offices and conference rooms all have glass walls meaning that anyone can see in them. I like this as it allows the office to feel more open and have an “open door” kind of vibe.

Madison Avenue is the home of advertising in America and where the TLNY office is based

I think this is an important aspect to have in the classroom too. I truly believe that the layout
of my classroom is going to have a huge influence on how the pupils learn and how they enjoy their learning. And the way it is laid out should be inclusive for each pupil. This is the same with Tracy Locke. As this is a sociable company all the layouts allow people to talk and ask questions (asking questions is something I have been doing a lot since I got here!)

Samsung’s advert in Grand Central Station advertising their new galaxy phone.

Tracy Locke has a variety of clients and their work is everywhere. When walking around  New York I saw work for Samsung and T-Mobile. It was really good to be able to see these advertisements and know that it was actually done by people I know and have met over the past few weeks.



T-Mobile’s spot in Times Square.

I am, again, so thankful for all the opportunities this placement is giving me and I am continuing to learn more than I ever thought I could.




We’re half way there! (Weekly Reflection 3)

Happy Friday! It’s pretty scary to think that I have just finished my third week with Tracy Locke for my Learning from Life placement. I continually say it but I am so happy I chose to undertake my placement here and in an industry which three weeks ago I was completely clueless on.

This week has been quieter in comparison to the other two, but that does not mean I have not learnt anything new. This week has been beneficial as I have worked with more new people, one of which is not on the Pizza Hut team (Mary). My previous post contains information on the work I did and Mary’s job in the company. This was beneficial for me as it allowed me to see that the work done by Mary was very different to any on the PH team, but it allowed me to understand that someone saying they work in “marketing and advertising” is like an umbrella term as there are so many different types of job opportunities.

Additionally, I have finished putting together my presentation about Scotland and showed it to Lauren and Stephen (The two people in charge of the PH team) who belive it is ready to show to the people at Tracy Locke. They really enjoyed the work I had put together and thought it was very informative.

This week has allowed me to develop my computing skills which I had previously rated at a 2. The work I have done for Mary required a lot of internet searching and developing documents on Microsoft Word which can now be presented to her team. This work has definitely improved my confidence in computing and digital skills and I believe that the work I have done for her has been beneficial.

This week has allowed me to look a lot into two of the SPRs. The first one being integrity. Both teachers and student teachers should “demonstrate honesty, courage and wisdom”. This week I have gone out of my way to work with new people in another area of the advertising and marketing industry that is even newer to me than the work I have been doing with Pizza Hut which I feel demonstrates courage. Not many people would choose to do this type of placement and this work if it was not something they knew much about it. I have previously highlighted my self confidence and I feel that this work with even more new people has developed it greatly and shown my courage and wisdom.

The other one being professional commitment. Although this week has been quite quiet I have still manged to engage with many parts of professional practice. I have continued t o act in a professional manner at all times through my language and dress code. Additionally, I have been committed to lifelong enquiry and professional development through, again, choosing to work in a different area of advertising to continue to learn so many new skills and . I have continued to go out of my way to ask questions which allow me to learn something new everyday which is making it clear why this placement has been so beneficial so far.

Next week is going to be very busy with travel which I am so excited about. I am going to be going to Wilton, CT, with Mary to visit the TL office there and meet some of the clients that she works with on Tuesday. After this I am going to New York (!!!!!) to meet Stephen Miller from our office in Dallas to go to the NYC office to meet with the team who advertise for Heineken and Budweiser and, of course, see the sights of the city.





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.



How is Advertising Affecting Our Children?

One of my main aims from this placement was to see how advertising affects us in our everyday lives and, more importantly, how this advertising affects school pupils. Since starting on the Pizza Hut team over a week ago I’ve been been shown a variety of ways many companies choose to advertise their goods and products and I can see very easily how the courage us to buy more than we planned.

There are small things such as being able to sing along to the jingle of an advert or  knowing the company’s tagline. But, advertising definitely leads to “Mum, can I get that?” to which my mum would normally reply “sure, if you have the money,” which I never normally did.

Advertising is not a new phenomenon. It is argued that advertising goes back as far as times in Ancient Rome to advertise things such as property to rent. This then moved forward to the medieval times where the way of something being advertised was done through a town crier shouting in city squares (American Psychological Society, 2017).

Kunkel (2001) argues that children under the age of eight are “cognitively and psychologically defenseless from advertising.” Research has found that the majority of US children have a television in their room. In addition to televisions, children have access to the internet when their parents are not supervising them. From this, there has been a huge increase in adverts directly aimed at children. It has been estimated that $12 billion is spent each year by companies to reach children (Wilcox, B et al, 2004) who are estimated to watch over 40,000 adverts each year (AAP News and Journals, 2007). This is a very important point to consider when looking at the effects of advertising as it really proves that adverts are surrounding children and it something that they cannot get away from. It proves that it will be subconsciously affecting their decisions and what they will ask (some might say nag..) their caregivers for. These statistics are from 2004 and we can only guess that this will have risen.

It has been argued that this kind of advertising often leads to child obesity (I find it ironic that I am writing about this aspect of advertising when the type of advertising I am working on is pizza based…). The food system in America is the second largest advertiser in the American economy who advertise through the use of television, radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards (Story and French, 2004). McNeal (1999) states that brands aim to have a preference with both children and their parents. So marketers are trying extremely hard to develop “brand relationships” with children when they are just toddlers (Zollo, 1999). Companies know that children of a young age have a large purchase influence and can successfully negotiate purchases through what advertisers call the “nag factor” or “pester power” (McNeal, 1999). From this, children will continue to ask, want and get foods that they see on television and around them in supermarkets and, therefore, this will contribute to childhood obesity if parents choose to “give in”.

Therefore, from doing some reading I have found that advertising really does influence and affect children today and has done in the past. I feel as though I have given quite a negative response to advertising in this sense. However, I do believe that advertising is needed and is something which allows companies to prosper and increase sales of their products which will positively impact peoples’ everyday lives.



American Psychological Association (2017)  Report of the APA Task Force on Advertising and Children. Available at: (Accessed: 21/3/17)

Kunkel D (2001) “Children and television advertising”  Singer DG, Singer JL, eds. Handbook of Children and the Media. 13(4) pp. 375–393

McNeal J (1999) The Kids Market: Myth and Realities. Ithaca: Paramount Market Publishing

Story and French (2004) Food Advertising and Marketing Directed at Children and Adolescents in the US. Available at: (Accessed: 21/3/17)

Wilcox, B et al (2004) Report of the APA Task Force on Advertising and Children. Washington DC: American Psychological Association

Zollo P (1999) Wise Up To Teens: Insight into Marketing and Advertising to Teenagers. 2nd edition. Ithaca: New Strategist Publications, Inc.

Reflecting on my first week…

My first week at Tracy Locke has been an absolute whirlwind of new knowledge and meeting so many new people who have made me feel extremely welcome. This has made working in an unfamiliar setting a lot easier. I have taken part in so many things that have been extremely beneficial in contributing to my knowledge and understanding of what the world of marketing and advertising is really like.

I have learnt a lot about how companies choose to advertise their products through looking at assignment briefings and decks. From this, it allowed me to realise that advertising is everywhere around us. There were obvious thing like offers at till points and signs above the road (maybe more of an American thing than something we’d see at home). But companies try and reach you through digital aspects such as emails and texts very early in the day to influence your food decisions in the next few hours.

Additionally, this week has shown me how other workplaces use professionalism in their jobs. The dress code here is different to what we would normally wear in the classroom. Most workers wear denim jeans with a blouse/shirt but also a blazer to “smarten” up the look. Professionalism is also used during meetings and phone calls with clients and other colleagues through the use of language addressing the needs of the phone call straight away.

I believe I have met the SPR of integrity this week through the aspect of demonstrating honesty. As previously stated I did not have much knowledge of advertising and marketing and this week I have not been worried to admit this to people and ask questions. Everyone has been so nice anyway so I haven’t been worried when I’ve not known how to do something.

Furthermore, I believe I have addressed the trust and respect section well. The standard states that a teacher should act and behave in ways that develop a culture

of trust and respect. I believe that I have done this as I can tell I am a respected member of the Pizza Hut team. I feel as though this is recognised through little things
such as being invited to go and get lunch or coffee with people. This has also made me feel extremely welcome.

Also, I feel as though I am in the process of meeting the standard of professional commitment as I am committing myself to lifelong learning and adding to my own professional development through working in a different industry where I am choosing to learn new things everyday.

From everything I’ve learnt about advertising this week it has prompted me to look at the CfE Experiences and Outcomes document. Under the Health and Wellbeing (HWB) section there are two Es and Os in the primary section, one in the First level and one in the Second level, which relate to advertising under HWB. HWB 1-37a states: “I am discovering the different ways that advertising and the media can affect my choices”, while HWB 2-37a states: “I can understand how advertising and the media are used to influence consumers”. Progression from the First to Second level is highlighted through the words “discovering” to “understand”. This, therefore, allows me to differentiate lessons between stages and know how much depth to go into in my advertising lessons.

From being at Tracy Locke this past week I can very easily see how advertising is used to influence our everyday choices and I am looking forward to what the next few weeks entail to expand my knowledge of marketing and advertising.

Can We Bring Virtual Reality Into the Classroom?

This was my view yesterday of downtown Dallas (featuring my reflection. Photography isn’t exactly my strong point). It’s so strange being in a city where almost every building is at least 30 floors up.

As stated in previous posts Tracy Locke has a huge variety of clients who always need things advertised for them but one of the main aspects of this advertising is design. 

Today, I was shown Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. I had heard of these before and I always just assumed that they were used for games and even rollercoasters. I’ve only ever used one at Alton Towers on the Galactica ride. You put on the headset and everything around you was like you were in space. So really, I just assumed VR headsets were for “fun”. But today I was shown that they are also used for creative purposes.

One of the client’s is an Hewlett-Packard (HP) computers. The company met with TL and discussed what they wanted the space to look like. From this, TL designed the store on computers. When it was complete the client would come back in and use the VR headset to look at it. This was the part that amazed me: whenever I moved my head it was as if i was in the room. They had designed a 360 degree setting and using a remote control I could walk myself around the store and continue to move my head to see everything around me. This, therefore, allowed the client to see what their flagship store would look like and could suggest any changes if needed.

Tracy Locke also run an initiative called TLC which stands for Tracy Locke in the Community. This is when staff members volunteer for a day in places that mean something to them. Mark was telling me that for this someone visited a children’s hospital where there was a helipad on the roof. The children would hear this but never be able to see it so people at TL took a variety of photos of the helicopter and helipad and put it on the VR headset. The children would then use the headset and it would allow them to feel as though they were on the roof and actually be able to see the helicopter.

If money was no issue: I think these would be a fantastic asset in the classroom. I think they would be great in topic work. In my MA1 placement our topic was the Caribbean. Obviously, we could not have a trip there (As much as we all would have loved to!) But I feel that the use of VR headsets would allow children to have a feel of what the islands looked like and allow them to have a better understanding of what they were learning about. Additionally, it could be used for topics like space and allow the children’s imagination to almost become reality.

However, after doing some research there are cheaper options. Google Cardboard is a good one. They come in at around $70 but do not have the same effect as the one I used yesterday.

Therefore, after being introduced to VR yesterday I am intrigued to learn more about it and when I am a teacher this is most definitely something I want to include in my lessons to allow the pupils’ imagination to become reality. 





Day Two: 28 Floors Up

This morning I sat in on a a phone conference with members of the Franchisor/Equity team: Michael (account director), Pam (account supervisor) and Kim (account coordinator). The conference was with Cleveland Menus who print Pizza Hut’s counter menus and handheld menus. All staff members maintained a professional manner during the phone call. Afterwards, it was discussed what would be done during the day today to help meet the needs of Pizza Hut.

I was then shown a Campaign Request Form (CRF) for HutLovers (those who are signed up to PH’s mailing and SMS list). This really showed me the power of advertising. I found out that an email is sent at 8AM with two seperate subject lines. An email with subject line A is sent to 600,000 members and an email with subject line B is sent to another 600,000 members. At 12 o’clock it is reviewed which subject line had the most opened emails then the one with the most is sent to the remaining 5 million members to ensure the most sales are made that day.

Before this, all emails are checked by Quality Assurance (QA) at both Tracy Locke and Pizza Hut. This is done to be able to see how the email will appear on a variety of devices such as mobile phones, iPads, laptops and how different email providers (such as apple and office) will display the message.


I also helped Kayla with some of her work for

HutLovers. I looked through all the email promotions from the year so far and put each banner onto a KeyNote presentation which she will use for her future work.

I was given a tour of the 29th floor in the office from Mark Van Dinuen (director of studio services). This floor includes clients such as Samsung and Audi and have a variety of products which remain top secret between the client and Tracy Locke until the release day. I was shown how the pictures that are taken re edited in great depth and nothing will be published until it is perfect for the client to use to advertise their product(s). This highlighted the importance of staying professional both in and out of the office as the information about new products is almost “confidential”. I feel that being trustworthy is a key aspect in professionalism which is obviously something I must consider when I am in the classroom when it comes to things such as child protection.

I feel that so far I have gone into this placement with a positive attitude and mindset which has helped me enjoy my time here so much.

I am only 3 days into my placement and I can already see that I am learning more than I possibly thought I could at such a fast pace. I am looking forward to be able to apply all these new skills to my studies and work in the near future.

So Much Jargon!

(Written on 13/3/17)

Placement officially started today, but because I arrived in Texas on Wednesday I was able to have a soft start kind of day on Friday. (Thursday was a recovery day but I still don’t think I’m over the jet lag yet!)

On Friday I got to meet everyone on the team I will be working with over the next six weeks. Everyone is so nice and made me feel very welcome. I have been given my own desk with my own laptop, phone and computer to be able to assist with current projects that the team are undertaking.

The team I am working with are advertising for Pizza Hut. On Friday I got to sit in on an “internal”. This is when the digital and creative team meet to discuss final designs before sending them to the client for them to use and distribute to the public.

I was shown the “assignment deck”. This booklet showed me a huge variety of ways that Pizza Hut choose to adervtise their products and specific briefs that Tracy Locke are to follow for the client’s needs.

Today I read over the Pizza Hut account team overview. This allowed me to gain an understanding in what the team are working towards. This morning everyone form the team met to go over what people would be doing throughout the week.

Also today I went to an IR (internal review), one of the many commonly used acronyms, with Kayla (assistant account executive) and the creative team who deals with emails and SMS messages on behalf of Pizza Hut for “Hut Lovers”. An IR happens a week after the email briefing where it is decided what will be included in the email to send out to Pizza Hut customers.

The one big thing I have noticed since coming here is the use of jargon. Because this is an industry I don’t know much about the language they use is all Greek to me. There are many words which are used daily and repeatedly when talking to colleagues and clients which I wouldn’t normally use. However, I am learning and it is definitely not as daunting as it previously was.

In addition to this, there are so many acronyms used between colleagues and Pizza Hut to make communication quicker and easier. However, I know that I will be able to learn the common ones quickly. I’m beginning to feel sorry for those who don’t work in education because we talk to them using our acronyms and just expect them to understand!

So far I am able to see how this placement will help me in my own professional development. I am having to maintain my professionalism as I am working with a number of important people each day. Additionally, I am already reflecting on what I have learnt and I am thinking of ways I can apply this knowledge to my own classroom and teach a variety of lessons for my future classes.

I have had a very good start here at Tracy Locke and I am very much looking forward to see what the next few weeks will teach me.



The Beginning of Learning from Life

As I write this post I am currently sitting in Edinburgh airport waiting for my first flight to Heathrow before connecting onto a flight to Dallas, Texas to undertake my Learning from Life Placement. I have chosen to work with Tracy Locke. They’re a marketing and advertising company whose head offices are located in Dallas. The reason I have chosen to undertake this placement is because I do not know much about this industry, but, I do know that it is something which influences every one of us everyday. This includes primary school children, and from this I will be able to teach my pupils about the importance  influence of advertising in our lives.

My initial feelings:

Right now, I am extremely nervous. This placement is going to be something that is completely out of my comfort zone as it is most definitely not an area of expertise! But that is the reason that I have chosen it. I love learning about new things.

However, I am excited. This is going to be the opportunity of a lifetime and without the encouragement of lecturers to go abroad I don’t think I would have done this.

My portfolio will be displayed as Blog Posts through Glow and you can follow my twitter for everyday updates! @carys_UoD

Thanks for reading and here’s hoping this placement will be something I’ll remember for the rest if my life.




Has Maths Ruined The Election?

trump__clintonOn Tuesday Americans over the age of 18 had the opportunity to vote for who they would like to see as their next president. They had the choice between a variety of candidates but the real competition was between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton. This election has dominated the media over the past two years and many people are devastated by the result and I feel that this is due to the mathematics that was used.

This election had a terrible turnout. 230 million people in the US are entitled to vote but only 131 million actually did (Levine, 2016). This saddens me as so many people fought for the right to vote in the past and now people are not appreciating it.

The voting system used in America is called the Electoral College and is a system that could be made a lot simpler due to the confusion it causes for people like me who have never used this way of voting before. The system uses a lot of numbers and mathematics and shows which candidate will be in charge of the country for four or more years.

The Electoral College entitles each state to a certain number of votes dependent on its size. For example, California is entitled to 55 votes while North Dakota only has three. This is due to its population. California has a population of 38.8 million people and North Dakota has 739,482.

The Electoral College has 538 electors who choose the president and Americans go to polling stations and choose who they want their electoral points for their state to go to.  The winner needs to receive at least 270 of these electoral votes to win the majority.  The candidate who mapreceives a majority of electoral votes (270) becomes president. The number 538 represents the country’s 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 3 electors given to the District of Columbia (The Huffington Post, 2012). Trump received 306 of the votes, so won by clear majority.

However, Trump did not actually receive the most votes from the American public, Clinton did. This is called the popular vote. 60.3 million voted for Clinton while only 59.9 million (Telegraph, 2016) and this is why I believe maths ruined the election.  The population of America chose Clinton. They didn’t choose Trump. But, due to their system with the number of Electoral Votes and the numbers for each state Trump won.

Therefore, this clearly highlights the importance of maths in every day life. It influences how a country will be run and could even possibly change the world over the next four years.


  • The Huffington Post (2016) What is the Electoral College and why it matters. Available at: (Accessed 11/11/16)
  • Levine, D. (2016) Over 90 Million Eligible Voters Didn’t Vote in the 2016 Presidential Election. Available at: (Accessed: 11/11/16)
  • The Telegraph (2016)  US election results: The maps and analysis that explain Donald Trump’s shock victory to become President. Available at: (Accessed: 11/11/16)



The Sound of Maths

musicalOur most recent workshop with Anna was all about music. Music is a subject which I did not really enjoy in school but I would love in my free time. I have a burning passion for musical theatre and the art of performance is something that I love. The picture above shows me playing Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray in 2012 which I enjoyed so much.

We learnt a lot in Anna’s workshop which I did not know about as my knowledge of music is fairly limited. However, what we were shown was that music and maths walk hand in hand to make the music enjoyable.

The link between maths and music is so important and in this workshop we were shown many different ways where we use maths in this creative subject. One activity we did was clapping to a beat. One person in the group clapped a basic beat while the rest of the group were split into musicfour groups. We were to listen to the beat that the student was clapping while looking at a line on the board and clapping when it was yellow. For this we really had to concentrate and listen to the beat to ensure we did not ruin the sound. But, most importantly, we had to count up to 8 which was not difficult for us but this could be a tricky challenge for young children.

I feel like this is a very good activity to do with school pupils and I will definitely use it when teaching music to my classes. It will be good for pupils of any age in primary school as it allows them to understand the importance of keeping a rhythm. In the early stages of school this will help pupils with their counting as it can be done out loud and also allow them to understand basic rhythm, while the older pupils can use this is a warm up activity to remind them of the importance of keeping a beat and rhythm.

We also had fun in this workshop by getting to use the xylophones and glockenspiels and I feel that having a practical element to the lesson was essential as some of the things we were taught were confusing but being able to apply what we were taught to a fun activity made it a lot more understandable and fun.

Music is a good point to look at to see Ma’s idea of longitudinal coherence in practice. This is when the teacher knows that their pupils have a good understanding of the current subject that they’re learning about. I think this links in well with applying mathematics to music lessons as music-and-mathsthe teacher can ask the children to count or use their timetables when making a beat.

Therefore, I think that music and maths work perfectly together and the use of maths in this context allows us to have a much sounder of music and the theory behind it.

The Only One Who Wins at the Bookies is the Bookmaker

tumblr_static_chanceOur most recent workshop was about probability and chance. This is most definitely something which we see every single day and affects people in both positive and negative ways.

So, what is probability? Probability is defined as “the study of chance” in one of our key texts: “Alex’s adventure in Numberland.”

Gambling is strongly connected to maths and is all about chance and luck and helps us see that Ma’s idea of “interconnectedness” is always apparent and important. There are so many aspects of maths in gambling such as money, probability and percentages (in particular; the amount actually paid out in comparison to what was paid in).

Here, in gambling and chance, all three topics that I previously stated need each other to allow people to win (or more than likely lose!) Think of it this way:

“How much cash should I put in to this game? How likely am I to actually win with this amount of money? What percentage of that have I won?”

There are also aspects in gambling which are linked to “multiple perspectives”. This is about having different ways to reach an answer. In the workshop we were shown an example of a made up restaurant. It had 2 choices of starter, 3 choices of main, 2 choices for dessert and we had to figure out how many different possible combinations we were. I managed to see multiple perspectives put into life here. The way I would have done it was long and confusing: I just wrote out a letter for each option and kept writing and writing until I had run out. But, another student used a “branch” type system and reached the answer a lot quicker than I did. Therefore, showed me that even as student teachers we are on our way to achieving a PUFM.

Unfortunately (in my opinion), gambling is something which affects many people’s lives on a slot_machine_cartoondaily basis and it, more often than not, involves money. Let’s look at fruit machines. These are something which are seen in almost every pub and casino that people go into and the aesthetic appeal of most of these machines encourage people to waste their money and use them. The first fruit machine was invented by Charles Fey from California in 1887. (Slot Machine History, 2010) and since then their popularity has continued to grow.

However, it’s not all fun and games. If you were to win on a slot machine there is only a 70% pay-out rate. (If you could win £10 you would actually only win £7).

This leads me on to talking about probability. For example, imagine we had a slot machine with three reels (the “screens” to see the symbols) and 15 symbols. To find the number of combinations we have to multiply the symbols by the number of symbols on the remaining reels. So, for a three reel machine that has 15 symbols per reel we have to do 15x15x15 which equals 3375 combinations of slot symbols.

If a jackpot offered on this machine pays on 7 7 7 and only one 7 symbol is on each reel, then the probability of hitting this jackpot is 1/15 x 1/15 x 1/15 or one in 3375.

When it comes to teaching probability there is much simpler way to do this: flip a coin. There is 50% or one in two chance of guessing heads of tails.

With regards to my professional development probability and chance will be taught. But, this workshop has also made me realise the importance and seriousness of gambling and that it is fun but can lead to debts and problems in later life.


  • Bellos, A. (2010). Alex’s Adventures in Numberland (Chapter nine). London: Bloomsbury.
  • Slot Machine History. 2010. Available at on: 28th October 2016)





Maths and Play

We recently had a workshop with Wendee which was all about learning about mathematics through play. It was great as it let us pretend that we were children again!

Play has an extremely important part in a child’s development. It allows them to learn new skills, such as socialising with their peers. But, it also allows them to revise and revisit the abilities they have already learnt through previous education and interaction.


Thinking back to my own primary school experience with maths and play I always remember the little plastic blocks like the ones shown. It makes me feel quite nostalgic and no one can deny that they all smelt the same!

These blocks would be used to help us to learn how to count one by one, then move onto addition and subtraction and in later stages they could be used to understand volume and cubic centimetres.

I feel that using these blocks for play links in with Liping Ma’s theory of basic ideas. Counting is simple, to us, but this understanding of basic ideas will allow children to learn to count then move onto addition and continue to work up to more complex mathematical situations confidently.

The importance of these blocks was that children could use their senses. They could physically see addition and subtraction taking place and this would allow them to apply these skills to mathematics in the future.

But, in my opinion, play now is very different to what it was when I was at primary school. Children are so advanced with technology so using things such as iPads and computers can benefit them with their mathematical knowledge through the use of  apps and websites.

I think that technology is a fantastic way for children to learn as the majority of the time they do child-with-ipadnot even realise they are applying their knowledge because they are having fun.

Here is a website with a variety of apps that children can use to apply their mathematical knowledge to games:

A study from Davies (1995) found a huge variety if reasons why games are beneficial in a child’s learning and understanding of maths. The one which stood out most for me here was motivation. From my experience on placement trying to motivate pupils to learn and engage with my maths lessons proved to be quite difficult. But using games in maths allowed children to totally engage because they wanted to win. I feel this was due to the very competitive nature of the pupils in my class.

Additionally, he stated that games were beneficial because it allowed children to have a bit of independence from the teacher. I agree that this is beneficial because children do like to occasionally work on something themselves or in a group in order to meet a goal or, in this case, to win a game.

Therefore, I believe that play is vital for pupils. It is important for their social development but it also allows them to realise that maths is fun.






The Art of Mathematics


So far in this elective I have seen that maths is used in everything we do every single day. From looking at the clock when we wake up and how much flour we should put in that cake we really shouldn’t be having. But, in a recent workshop with Wendee we have seen that maths is extremely important in art. Throughout this post I will prove that maths is used in different types of art and is in a lot of things we see everyday. Art is a subject which is about creativity and expression and, possibly, has no correct “answer” as such. So how can a subject like this be related to maths?

Throughout this elective we have been told to read the work of Liping Ma. She explains there are four fundamental properties within mathematics. She refers to one of these properties as “interconnectedness” which is how topics within maths depend on each other and work together.

Islamic art is a great aspect to look at when studying the relationship between maths and art, but also exploring the property of interconnectedness. Islamic art uses 4 main geometric shapes: circles, squares, equilateral triangles and hexagons. Richard (2015) tells us that each shape represents something islamic-artwhich is important in Islamic religion, for example, the circle represents unity and something which is never ending. Additionally Hussain (2009) states that these complex and beautiful geometric designs create the idea of continuous repetition, and this allows a person to understand the idea of the infinite nature of Allah. 

During our lecture the “Golden Ratio” was mentioned and I think this is a vital concept which is key in understanding the strong bond between mathematics and art and also maths in everyday life. To give a bit of background; the Golden Ratio is a number which is approximately equal to 1.618 and also known as “Phi” in the Greek alphabet. This is how the ratio looks visually:


The Golden Ratio is used in geometry in mathematics and it is how symmetry is used to make a balance look in pictures. You start with a basic rectangle which is drawn using the ratio of 1.618…. If you were to draw a line in your rectangle to make a perfect square the rest of the rectangle will have the ratio of 1.618: the same as the original rectangle. You can carry on doing this on the rectangle and that is why it is so special. (Sincere apologies if that has bored you!)

The spiral is the main part to focus on here:


It starts at the bottom left then hits the opposite corner of each square within the rectangle. spiral4-sThis spiral is extremely pleasing to the eye and is found in a huge variety of things we look at every day such as plants and even the human face.




It has been found that the Golden Ratio is found in art work such as the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” by Leonardo DaVinci. By following the spiral round our eyes are drawn into the main focus of this picture. monalisa

I really enjoyed this lecture. Throughout my time at school I always loved art and I think it is fascinating how so many different aspects of maths can be used in a variety of different pieces and seen in objects we use every day.




  • Henry, R. (2015) Geometry- The Language of Symmetry in Islamic Art. Available at: (Accessed 4th October 2016.)
  • Hussain, Z. (2009) Introduction to Islamic Art. Available at: (Accessed 4th October 2016.)

Discovering the ‘M’ word…

2ndyearOn Monday I started my second year at the University of Dundee (time is going too quickly!) which means I am now one step closer to achieving my dream and goal of becoming a primary school teacher.

This year I have chosen the elective titled “Discovering Mathematics”. I have taken a piece of my previous blog post about maths and will write about why I think I will enjoy this elective so much.

“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. Istressalways 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 officially 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.”

This was definitely one of my greatest achievements during school. I never thought I could say that I had an A in maths and I couldn’t have done that without the support of my teacher and when I am a teacher I want to be as understanding as her when it comes to dealing with pupils’ anxieties in maths and all other aspects of the curriculum.

From my previous experiences with maths I think that choosing the Discovering Mathematics elective will greatly benefit me. The course will continually show us maths in aspects of everyday life and we will discover how to include maths in daily activities.

The elective aims to make us, enquiring practitioners and student teachers, reflect on and be able to examine a variety of topics within mathematics. And, maybe even make maths enjoyable?!

Therefore, I am excited to start this elective and I hope you will enjoy reading my blog posts and watch me progress with my understanding and hopefully see me say that I love maths!




Boyle, C. (2016) ‘The ‘M’ Word’, My ePortfolio- Carys Boyle, 17 January 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 13 September 2016)



What is Scientific Literacy?

For our recent science workshop we were studying a concept known as Scientific Literacy. We Scientific litwere put into groups to try and get a good understanding of the term. So, Hannah Gibson, Kathleen Mullen, Michelle Mackie and I have written a report on our findings.

According to the Programme for International Student Assessment, scientific literacy is defined as “the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions” It then goes on to tell us that “Clearly this does not mean turning everyone into a scientific expert, but enabling them to fulfil an enlightened role in making choices” This definition helps us to understand that science is something which should involve research of a specific area of science, ask relevant questions and find a suitable outcome. It also explains that science is a subject which should be enjoyed by pupils and teachers.

Without noticing, we use science every day of our lives and a lot of our decision making comes from science. From choosing what to eat to considering how our decisions will impact the surrounding environment. So, an understanding of scientific literacy is extremely important in having a sound understanding of all types of science in everyone’s daily lives.

Some may say that not all aspects of primary science need to involve fair testing. For example one of the primary school science experiences and outcomes states: I can identify and classify examples of living things, past and present, to help me appreciate their diversity. I can relate physical and behavioural characteristics to their survival or extinction. SCN 2-01a (Scottish Government, 2009) Fair testing may not need to be used for this particular outcome, however it will contribute to the child’s level of scientific literacy. (Jane Turner et al, 2012). Overall this Chemistry_in_Everyday_Lifesupports the idea that fair testing does contribute to becoming science literate although it is not always vital. It is possible to become science literate without always using fair testing. Jane Turner et al (2012)

Within scientific experiments, a fair test is one which the variables are controlled and bias is avoided. The aim of this it to provide reliable results that allow the experimenter to observe and identify the impact of one factor.

While exploring the concept of fair testing in the classroom, children should be encouraged to think about all of the factors that could influence the results of the experiment and which of these can be controlled. In this way, children are learning to become critical and the appreciate that absolute reliability may not be possible (Linfield, 2009. p3)

It is vital that children are taught the principles of fair testing within schools, because this allows them to recognise the wide variety of factors which can influence of the results of a test or experiment. This knowledge allows children to be objective and to feel more confident to challenge or question information, rather than accepting it on face value.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

In September 2014 I visited the largest concentration camps from the Holocaust: Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz Birkenau where at least 1.1 million people were murdered. I took part in the experience through the Holocaust Educational Trust in a project called “Lessons from Auschwitz” where two people from my Advanced Higher History class were chosen through an Auschwitz bapplication process. This experience was one which was wanted by so many, so I was honoured to be one of the two chosen and I am now a Holocaust Ambassador for the Trust. I feel that writing this post today is very important as I want to inform people what I saw and how I felt. My main aim with this is to ensure that people never forget about the Holocaust and we must try our best to learn and teach about the events to ensure something like it will not happen again.

The experience consisted of three stages- an orientation seminar, the day trip to Poland and a follow up seminar.

During the first seminar we heard a testimony from Holocaust survivor Eva Clarke. Eva was born in Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria in April 1945, so though she would not be able to remember the events herself, she was able to tell the story of her mother’s time in the camps and her survival of the genocide. Teva_clarke_220_1he thing that struck me most in Eva’s testimony was the fact that no one noticed that Eva’s mother was pregnant until she began to actually give birth. This helps highlight the sheer strength and bravery of her mother. In Eva’s story, all her mother’s family were separated from one another, like many others who lost their lives and loved ones, yet Eva’s testimony helps to highlight that each person involved in the Holocaust was a human being with their own extremely different experience and her story stuck in my mind while we were in the camps. On this day each year I think of Eva as 15 members of her family were murdered in Auschwitz Birkenau.

Visiting the actual camps was one of the most horrifying and moving experiences of my entire life and it is something that I will never EVER forget.

The quote we heard in the first seminar “seeing is not like hearing” described how I felt perfectly. I saw for myself the infamous Auschwitz 1 gate which reads “Arbeit Macht Frei” and I arbeit-macht-freifound this chilling because so many prisoners of the camp would have believed this. Making our way through Auschwitz 1, we saw 2000 pairs of shoes, pots and pans, hairbrushes and suitcases with the prisoners’ home addresses on them really brought the propaganda and horrors of the Holocaust into a larger perspective as it showed that the victim’s really believed they would be using such belongings and their lives were going to change for the better, only for their life to be stripped away from them. For some, their lives were taken in a matter of minutes. I feel the part which moved me the most was being in Block 4 and seeing 140,000 people’s hair. This upset and me so much as this is someone’s DNA and by shaving their hair it completely dehumanised them and to the suitacaseNazis, it made all prisoners seem the same. Though I have given statistics for a lot of the belongings we saw, it is extremely impersonal and through seeing them for myself I know that each prisoner in Auschwitz was their own individual with their own families, friends, homes and backgrounds.

The trip to Auschwitz itself taught me so much that I could ever imagine. It brought everything I had learnt during the first seminar and everything I learnt about the Holocaust in History lessons to life and it felt so surreal. While in Auschwitz, we were taught that everyone in the Holocaust were individual human beings. Of course there was the millions of victims, but we were taught the terms ‘perpetrators’, ‘bystanders’ and ‘collaborators’. The perpetrator is the person who committed an evil act, such as a Nazi murdering victims. I also know bystanders were important in understanding the Holocaust as they were often people who would witness things such as families being taken away from their homes and not telling anyone about it. Though some of these people committed terrible crimes, we must always remember that each and every single person who is related to the Holocaust in some way is a human being and will have been affected by the genocide in so many different ways.

The most important part of the project is your Next Steps. This is where you have to teach your school and community about the horrors of the Holocaust to ensure that it is never forgotten. Sydney (the other student taking part in LFA) and I gave lessons to all 7 second year history hetclasses. We taught them a little bit about the Holocaust and what the LFA project consisted of. They then asked us questions about Auschwitz which we could confidently answer due to being taught so much valuable information at the seminars.

However, for our second part of the Next Steps we were lucky enough to have a Holocaust survivor come and speak at our school. His name is Harry Bibring and he was born in Austria in 1925. Sydney and I got to spend the whole day with him and go out for a meal at night with our history teachers. He is such an interesting and kind hearted man. Harry’s story was about his childhood and how he was put on the Kindertransport to Great Britain with his sister. Harry enjoyed things such a speed skating and going to the cinema, but when the Nazis took charge in Austria Harry could not take part in these hobbies.  His father owned his own business which was destroyed in LFAthe Kristallnacht. Harry’s family’s plan was to join him and his sister in Britain, however, his father died of a heart attack and his mother was taken to Sobibor, a death camp in Germany. Harry’s story was so moving, but so very different to Eva’s which I feel is extremely important in understanding my previous point about how every person involved in the Holocaust had a different experience and story to tell.

On this day, the 27th January 2016, I feel that  that the Holocaust is still very relevant in this day and age. It is the 21st century and yet there is still anti-Semitist attacks and sheer racism happening,  not just in the UK, but all around the world. I feel that we should learn from the Holocaust and never ever allow anything like it to happen again and as a teacher I WILL be teaching about the Holocaust and how we must learn from it to ensure something like this NEVER happens again.


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. 

Second ICT Workshop

treeoctoToday we had our second ICT workshop where we learnt about searching safely on the internet and ensuring that the websites that our pupils will be using are safe and, more importantly, accurate.

Sharon put links in the PowerPoint to websites that are filled with ‘made up’ facts, but the websites are surprisingly believable.

One of which is a website about an ‘endangered’ animal called “The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.” The website can be found here: The website has a lot of different tabs, one of which is about how to help make people aware of this ‘endangered species’ where it tells you to add their logo to your social media sites and join and donate to the organisation. This is quite a scary concept as there are people who could be conned into such a silly idea.

The point in showing us this website is to make us aware that not everything posted on the internet is true and it is possible that many people could fall for these ideas- in particular young children.

We were then told that we should teach children about internet safety before we ask them to carry out searching tasks on the internet. One good one is “Zip it. Block it. Flag it.” This will make children in the classroom aware of which websites they should be using and which ones they google-logoshould choose to avoid for their own safety.

Therefore, I feel internet safety is something which should be taught in the classroom because it is something which is continuing to concern more and more children and it is something which we should be making more people aware of.


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.

Attachment Theory

Looking back on my lecture notes I know that I have really enjoyed learning so many different aspects of child development within psychology. One which I seemed to have enjoyed a lot is attachment theory. It has been found that attachment occurs in the first twelve to twenty four hours of life and that the social behaviour children bring into the classroom is related to attachment.  This is sAttachmento important as a teacher to know as I must be able to relate to pupils and their past.



Psychologist John Bowlby carried out an experiment in 1944. He wanted to find out the long-term effects of maternal deprivation on people in order to see whether delinquents have suffered deprivation. Bowlby interviewed 44 teenagers who were in a child prison program for stealing. He then selected 44 children who had emotional issues and were in the program. But, they had not committed any offences. Bowlby had meetings with parents from both groups to state whether their children had experienced separation during the critical period of a child’s life and for how long. It was found that 70% of the thieves had maternal deprivation and that a big number of the young thieves (32%) showe06-thief-color_2203014d ‘affectionless psychopathy.’  Highlighting that attachment is so serious in the development of a child for the issues that will occur in the rest of their life.

Therefore, this experiment by Bowlby lets us understand the importance of attachment. It can be such a huge influence on the future of a child- academically and socially.



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.

What it means to be an Enquiring Practitioner

Being an enquiring practitioner is extremely important when being a teacher. It means being open to so many new ideas and being willing to change teaching and learning styles which is so important as during your career you will meet so many different types of pupils who may choose to learn in a different style to other pupils. A benefit to it is that it will make us as student teachers, and professional teachers in four years time, question our own educational beliefs which will allow us to think outside of the box and be  a positive influence on our pupils because we will want to challenge and help change education.

However, a challenge of this may be that teachers who have been in the profession may not be willing to continually change their ideas whenever the curriculum changes.

Being an enquiring practitioner is so important when being a student. We need to understand that there are so many different learning styles and learn how we can adapt the one we feel most comformtable with. It will also allow us to also increase our knowledge of learning too.

Therefore, being an enquiring practitioner means to be open to new ideas and willing to continue to learn which is extremely beneficial in the role of being a teacher.

Managing My Learning- Critical Reading Activity

The author is trying to tell us about her experience of being in a primary school and how she thought the children were being taught.

What the writer could do differently to improve the register of the prose:

  • Instead of using the word ‘kids’ use ‘children’
  • When using words such as ‘don’t’ use the full word (do not.)
  • Try to use professional language rather than colloquial language

Three points of advise to the writer in exemplar A:

  • Say what you saw and learnt, not what you do not remember or did not see.
  • Prove how this made you want to be a teacher and how the experience enhanced your understanding of the job.

Tell us more about the experience the children had through play.

Exemplar B:

This writer refers straight to the current curriculum which helps us understand the use of play and children in primary schools. They also use references, this is helpful as it successfully backs up the point the writer is saying. This person uses professional language, which allows their piece to be put across very easily and gives a very good impression of the writer. Finally, the word count of this piece is a lot higher than the first piece, which helps show a deeper understanding of the subject.

Therefore, exemplar B is a more acceptable piece due to its language, the use of references and a larger word count. The writer in part A should take note from this piece in order for their piece to be accepted as piece of academic, critically analytical writing.

The Virtues of Teaching

I feel that the five most important virtues of teaching are:

  • Fairness
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Respect


Fairness is extremely important in a primary school. I feel that no pupils should be singled out and certain ones given advantages, so they should not be treated any differently


Empathy is also important. As a teacher you should get on the same level as the pupils and help them understand the issue they’re having, no matter how big or small.


As a teacher, I understand that patience is a huge attribute to have. You have to understand that every pupil is different, so each will take longer to grasp certain things than others. But, having this patience will allow the ‘eureka’ moment to feel incredible when the pupil grasps what they are doing.


Teachers must be kind in order for them to be approachable for the pupils. Children should not feel anxious when coming to me when they need help with something, so kindness is very important.


Pupils should have respect for me, but I should also respect them. I should also have respect for anyone who is in my classroom: from the cleaner to the head teacher. Anyone who is in my classroom are there to help me, so I will give them all my respect.

Social Media- Personal vs Professional

  • What challenges/opportunities you may be faced with when marrying the personal vs the professional presence on social media?

I feel that the challenges I will face as a teacher, and a keen user of social media, on sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be very varied. I feel that I will have to be careful in not only what I post, but in what others tag me in. What I share about my social and personal life will have to be kept closer to myself. I will make my accounts as private as possible in order for my social life to be shared with only those I have as friends so I can keep my personal and professional life separate.

However, the use of social media in the marrying of personal vs professional practice does not have to be filled with so much negativity the media often make out to be. The use of twitter is a wonderful way to connect with all things education globally. But, it is a very successful way for people to keep up with notices in a primary school. For example, I am from a town called Arbroath and two of the primary schools, Hayshead and Inverbrothock, have Twitter accounts. These accounts allow parents and those interested in the goings-on of the school to be kept updated as often as possible. I feel this highlights the positive aspects of social media within education. Therefore, it shows that it is possible to have a personal twitter account, on private settings, but a professional one too.

  • How are the challenges/opportunities afforded by social media framed? How will you frame things – positive or deficit viewpoint?

The media will highlight the negative aspects of social media a lot more than they will highlight the benefits. I want to frame social media in a positive viewpoint as I know how beneficial it is, not only in education, but in a way of gaining information quickly.

Therefore, I feel that social media plays a huge part in personal and professional life. As professionals, we must be careful in what we post, but this does not mean that we have to delete these accounts all together. There are many ways in which we can make them private. Social media is so helpful in professional aspects, so we should use this opportunity and put it to good use.

Why Teaching?

From being in primary school, my teachers were always so important to me and I see them as role models I will always remember. I’ve had teachers who have inspired me. I love history and I had a teacher who would show his clear passion for the subject, which made me as a pupil love the subject too. But teachers who did not engage in my learning and understanding of their subject did not allow me to have the same enjoyment of learning as I did in other classes. From having so many different types of teachers, in both primary and high school, it has made me want to follow that profession and be able to make a positive difference to a child’s education.

I’ve wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. One of the main reasons being that I want to make a difference in a child’s life and for them to remember that I taught them a specific fact or something which they will use in their day to lives. I also want to be able to see that ‘light bulb’ or that ‘eureka’ moment in which a child understands something that you’ve been teaching them. I would like to vary my teaching styles in order for each pupil to get something different out of what I’ve been teaching. I’ve always enjoyed school and I want my pupils in the future to feel the same way as I do about education, and share the passion I have for learning.

Being a teacher means being a role-model. I would love for my pupils to look up to me and admire my devotion to the subject and career.

In my 4th year at high school I was given a week’s work experience in a small school in Arbroath. The school had composite classes so I was able to spend time with each year group throughout the week. This showed me what each year group was like, but it also taught me each teacher had their own way of teaching and how differently they came across to their pupils. I remember one in particular, she was very friendly and engaging with her pupils, but also in a way that the children would listen to her and she was in clear control of her classroom. I knew for a fact after this one week that teaching was definitely the path I wanted to follow and I would do everything I could to get onto this degree and in four years’ time, have a class of my own.

I spent a week in 5th year and every Tuesday morning in a different school with a teacher I had in Primary 1. I noticed her teaching styles were very different from the other teachers’ in the smaller school. She had a stricter way of controlling her class, but still in a way that she would allow the children to enjoy what they were learning. But, this allowed me to understand how teachers differentiate, but still manage to do a wonderful job.

These separate occasions of work experience highlighted to me even more that teaching was the career and life that I wanted. I was able to understand a teacher’s workload for the week, but also the rewarding aspect of the job.

The teacher I’d like to become is one who will be remembered. I want to be a teacher that pupils will look back on and remember little thing I’d taught them and for them to be excited and eager to learn, just like I was at school and now at university. For me, teaching is not about the money or the time off, that so many people seem to think it is, but it is about making a difference in so many children’s lives and being in a vocation you enjoy and everyday being different.