Community Project

For my community project  I volunteered at a foodbank. I found this to be an eye opening experience and I did not know what to expect. In high school I had been part of organising and collecting donations for a foodbank but I did not realise how much work goes into running a foodbank.  A foodbank is a place where people can go when they are in desperate need of food and other essentials, they  go when they are in a crisis and there can be various reasons of why people need to utilise a foodbank. It is a non-profitable, charitable organisation and there is a lot of information on on the Trussel Trust website on ways to donate and help out.

I was firstly shown around the foodbank and was pleasantly surprised at how much food and other necessities they had and were able to give to the people who need it the most. I signed a form to say I would only enclose information if it was necessary.  I felt this made a link to teaching as when I am a teacher I will have the responsibility to pass on any information to a specific person who can give me advice if I was worried about a pupil for example. This requires confidence and is a very important skill to have as a teacher, especially in difficult situations. I did not realise how much information was out there surrounding foodbanks and also how integral the volunteers are. There are three main roles that contribute to helping the foodbank run smoothly and efficiently. The first role is a support worker, this involves meeting and greeting people when they come into the foodbank and being ready to talk and encourage people. The second role is hospitality, this involves making people tea and coffee and providing biscuits whilst they are talking to the support worker and this makes the environment feel safe and welcome. The third role is distribution, this involves preparing the bags of food for the people whilst they talk to the support worker. All of these roles are essential and shows the importance of working together as a team and this relates to the UWS graduate attribute of being collaborative. This skill is necessary at this foodbank and will also be a skill necessary for me to have as a a teacher as I will work with many different people.  During my time at the foodbank I did a bit of food distribution and and was also trained how to do the IT part of the role as information needs to be put onto the system. I enjoyed doing this as everyone worked together to get the bags together with the necessary items that were on the list. It was a very rewarding experience as everyone was so thankful for your help and it felt like I was  making a small contribution to make a difference.

I feel within the primary school pupils could, if they were able to, bring in essentials for a foodbank and also learn about why it maybe necessary for people to utilise them. However, this could be a very sensitive subject depending on the pupils that are in the classroom and I would consider this before discussing foodbanks in the classroom. Pupils could even make up boxes of food at Christmas time and deliver them in the community. An experience and outcome that I felt related to this was “I can consider ways to look after my school community and can encourage others to care for their environment”. Although this mentions the environment, it doesn’t always have to concern nature, which I learned in a lecture on this module, it is everything around you, like the community and pupils going out into the community and looking after people could be a very positive experience for them.

I feel that reflecting on an experience like this is very important as it made me realise how lucky I am and it also gave me ideas of ways that I am able to help the people who need it the most. Brookfield talks a lot about critical reflection. He says ” it grounds not only our actions but also our sense of who we are as teachers in an examined reality; we know why we believe what we believe.”  (Brookfield, S, 2017, P81). I feel that this is an important skill to have as a teacher as I will always be reflecting on my lessons for example, and looking for ways to improve these if necessary. Being able to reflect on experiences like this will be useful for me in the future when I become a teacher.

 

References

Scottish Government, Education Scotland, 2017, Curriculum for Excellence: Social Studies experiences and outcomes. (online). Avaliable at:  https://education.gov.scot/Documents/social-studies-eo.pdf

What We Do

UWS Graduate Attributes 2018. Avaliable at:  https://www.uws.ac.uk/current-students/your-graduate-attributes/

Brookfield, S, (April 2017). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. Second edition. Publisher: Jossey Bass. P81.

 

Energy

Energy is all around us and it cannot be destroyed. We depend greatly on fossil fuels but one day this source of energy will run out so we need to ensure that we have alternative ways to find energy sources. Examples of this could be wind power and solar power. I found a short YouTube clip that explains energy in a  simple way and also discusses the different types of renewable energy and gives examples of the use of energy in everyday life which would be a good video to show the lower to middle primary’s when discussing this topic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyVF6R9e6xE.  An Experience and Outcome that would link in well when teaching energy could be: “I am aware of different types of energy around me and can show their importance to everyday life and survival” SCN1-04a.

In the energy workshop we did a debate which would link to political literacy within the classroom integrating different parts of the curriculum together. Debate can be adapted to any area of the curriculum and can also be used in any environment. In this workshop we were split in half. One group was arguing for wind turbines and the other group was arguing against wind turbines. We all started off by looking at articles and information on the topic separately then came together as a group to to form the arguments which our group was looking at against wind turbines and this approach could be used in the classroom. We then nominated five people from our group to give our arguments against the other half of the group which was for wind turbines. I found this workshop very useful as we were all able to work together and share ideas to form our arguments to use in the debate. During the debate there was an expectation to listen to everyone that was speaking and this is an integral skill not only for me as a teacher to have but also for the pupils to learn and work on. This means that the pupils gain respect for the people who are talking and presenting their arguments to the group. This type of activity also allows confidence to be gained and developed.

In another workshop we looked at electricity and practical ways to teach and demonstrate this within the classroom safely. We did a quiz working in pairs which is a good way for collaborative skills to be developed as I will need this skill as a teacher and can also teach the pupils in my class to work collaboratively when working on different aspects of their learning. Working collaboratively is also  UWS Graduate Attribute. There was then various experiments to carry out like a circuit series which entails learning what parts connect together correctly to make the light bulbs turn on. Once the pupils had learned how to make the lights work they could create something using the circuit like an ornament or even a game. I found an experience and outcome that links well with the circuit making which was – “I can describe an electrical circuit as a continuous loop of conducting materials. I can combine simple components in a series circuit to make a game or model.” SCN1-09a We also looked at static electricity and using solar power to make a Lego car move.  All of these experiments are fun ways to show how electricity works and also allows the pupils to be interactive in their learning.

In the following week of the energy topic we looked at a structured approach versus a tinkering approach to learning. When we went into the workshop we had no idea what we were doing, our group was tinkering.  We were told to make a vehicle out of the many materials that had been left at the front of the room. We could use whatever materials to create the vehicle as we had been left with no instructions. I worked in a group of three and we made a royal mail van as the hard plastic that we used was red. I  enjoyed this workshop as we had the freedom to make whatever we wanted and we also had to experiment with the materials to see what would work to ensure that the vehicle would be able to move on it’s own. This allowed me to be creative which is one of the UWS Graduate Attributes and I find that this is a valuable skill to have as for example when planning lessons I will be able to be creative to ensure my approach to teaching the pupils is engaging. The other half of our year had looked at a structured approach and had been given a set of materials and instructions to follow to make their vehicle. A structured approach ensures no mistakes are made, everyone’s end result is the same however a tinkering approach allows more freedom. I would definitely use both approaches within my classroom when teaching various topics.

References

UWS Graduate Attributes (online). Available at:

https://www.uws.ac.uk/current-students/your-graduate-attributes/

Scottish Government, Education Scotland, 2017, Curriculum for excellence: Science experiences and outcomes. (Online) Avaliable at:

https://education.gov.scot/Documents/sciences-eo.pdf

Natural Disasters

In the lecture we looked at the main information surrounding a natural disaster. A natural disaster is an event that happens which seriously disrupts how a community functions and causes loses in economic, environmental and human material. A natural disaster is most likely caused by nature, there are various types of natural disasters which are: Geophysical (an earthquake,) hydro-logical (floods), climatological -(drought) and biological  (disease epidemic).

In the first workshop we looked at how to develop research skills, collaborative skills and critical skills. We took part in various different experiments and tasks that we would be able to do with the pupils in the classroom when teaching about natural disasters. I found this input very useful as teaching this subject could be challenging because it is quite a sensitive topic and can also depend on the maturity level of the class which means I would have to be aware of this when I teach it. There were four experiments that we did in this workshop which were using a bunsen burner to make a volcano, making fossils, making a volcano and smashing rocks. Making fossils would be a fun and engaging lesson to do with the class as the pupils would be involved in the whole process of this.  The Volcano would also be a good experiment to carry out with the class, all you need is vinegar and baking soda for it to work. This would allow the pupils to be imaginative and think of what a real volcano would look like without it being too graphic. Imaginative is one of the UWS Graduate Attributes and it is also important for me to use this skill when thinking of engaging but fun ways to teach the pupils about certain topics. The last experiment I did was smashing rocks to show what an earthquake looks like. I found an informative video about Earthquakes on Newsround which would be appropriate for the pupils to watch as it does not contain graphic content and is also interesting.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/45991910

 

In the second workshop we looked at political and economic considerations on natural disasters. We were given an image to look at and discuss.  We decided it looked as if it may have been a hurricane that had affected this building as infrastructure of some building would be able to remain unharmed if a hurricane occurred but others would not. Economics relates to this as a richer community would be able to rebuild their community faster whereas a poorer community would take a lot longer to get back on its feet and this is something that pupils could look further into to see the countries preparation, response and the recovery and how all of this has an effect after a natural disaster occurs. We then did a fruit tree relating to the global poverty gap. This could be a task that a class in the upper school could complete when talking about certain topics.

In the second week of this topic we carried out a Microteaching task and our group was looking at volcanoes. This allowed me to use my group work skills as we all looked at a different piece of information and then linked it all back together. A research task on Volcanoes, or any other natural disaster, would be very useful in the classroom as it allows the pupils to expand their knowledge but also each have a role to contribute to the group allowing them to work together and collaborate. Collaborating is a UWS Graduate Attribute and is an important skill to have as a teacher, I will have to work with a wide variety of people and need to be confident when doing so therefore this task allowed me to use and develop this skill.  There were six groups that did a Microteaching task on a different disaster. When watching each group I developed my listening skills further as each group had a different way of presenting which was very interesting and engaging. I found this task advantageous as it showed me how I would teach my class about natural disasters and the various tasks the pupils could carry out in order to become more knowledgeable about each topic.

An experience and outcome that I would look at when discussing this topic would be – I can describe the physical processes of a natural disaster and discuss its impact on people and the landscape. SOC 2-07b. I could link this into an art lesson on drawing a volcano, a science lesson by doing the volcano experiment that I previously mentioned and I could also link this into media reports such as Newsround which the pupils would find engaging whilst also finding out important information.

References

Scottish Government, Education Scotland, 2017, Curriculum for Excellence: Social Studies experiences and outcome. (online) Avaliable at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/social-studies-eo.pdf

Volcanoes Powerpoint from microteaching: Volcanoes-PP

https://www.uws.ac.uk/current-students/your-graduate-attributes/

Interdependence

The following blog is going to look at interdependence.

Interdependence is when two or more living things depend on each other in order to grow and stay healthy. There are three main components of interdependence and these are economic, social and environmental. I found the WWF living planet report, 2014, contained a lot of facts about our planet. I found out that forest ecosystems provide shelter, livelihoods, water, fuel and food security for  more than two billion people. This shows the importance of interdependence as it demonstrates how each one of those components link together to create a positive outcome for so many people as there is strength from all of those components linking together in an ecosystem. Another fact that I found from this report was that fisheries supply 15% of the animal protein in our diets, rising to more than 50% in many of the least developed countries in Africa and Asia. This again demonstrates the importance of interdependence as we rely on fishermen to catch fish for us to purchase in order for us to have a healthy and nutritious diet. This links to the group task that I completed as fishing was discussed within this. In our group of four we were to create an infograph on interdependence. The key topics that we discussed were fishing, endangered species and farming. By doing this we were using our ability to work together to find out information on the topic which demonstrates group work skills. This is an important skill to have as this is useful for me as a teacher as I will have to work with other members of staff within the primary school in order to achieve positive outcomes within the school. A UWS attribute that can be related to this group work task is research minded as within our group we chose one topic each to research and then came back together as a group and shared our findings in order to create our infograph. This allowed me to be able to become more knowledgeable on each topic, which is also another UWS graduate attribute, but it also allowed me to work individually which I will have to do when I am a teacher when organising work for my class, for example. From this group task, interdependence can be portrayed as we all relied on each other to find out the information for each topic and if one person did not contribute we would not have been able to complete this task efficiently. Group work is also beneficial within in the classroom as it allows pupils to work collaboratively and share ideas with each other thus expanding each others knowledge on the topic that they are discussing. This allows pupils to be effective contributors, which is one of the four capacties, as they are working together and it also allows them to be successful learners as they feel motivated to learn. Another aspect of this is I was able to work individually which is also a useful skill for pupils to complete their work independently as they become a confident individual as they are able to work alone and still be successful without consistently relying on other people.

Farming is another example of interdependence. There are two different farms that I am going to briefly discuss. The first farm is a technology assisting farm. A lot of money is spent on these types of farms, there are less staff working on these farms which means that the farm could be running more efficiently as the cows are trained to  go and milk themselves. The cows are kept inside and made by embryo implantation, they are breed to produce milk however the calves are seperated from their mothers. The second farm is an organic farm whos aim is to educate the consumers of tomorrow. This type of farm organise food and farmers days. Their cows are grass fed and are allowed to go outside but are brought in at night. The customer is able to see where their milk came from. RHET’s , the Royal Highland Education Trust, links into farming. They work with teachers to enable real-life learning opportunites linked to the CFE. This would be useful if I was doing a topic on farming in the classroom as I could take the class on a visit to a farm to expand their learning. RHET’s also give in school talks about farming which would also be a valuable learning experience for the pupils.

Linking to theory and practice, an experince and outcome that could link to interdenpendence is “I can describe how the interdependence of countries affects levels of development considering the effects on peoples lives”. (SOC3-19a). The world beneath our feet by the Scottish government is about soils and demonstrates how to incorporate learning about soils into the CFE. For example, in maths you could measure the yields from different types of soils which links to outdoor learning.

References:

Piktograph: https://create.piktochart.com/output/41754797-untitled-infographic

RHET website: https://www.rhet.org.uk/teachers/

McLellann, R. (Ed) (2014), Living Planet Report 2014, World Wildlife Fund (online) Available at:  http://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/all_publications/living_planet_report_2018/

Scottish Government, (2016), The world beneath our feet, connecting soils and the curriculum. (online). Available at: https://www.owlscotland.org//images/uploads/resources/files/world.beneath_June_16.web.pdf

Scottish Government, Education Scotland, (2017), Curriculum for excellence: social studies experiences and outcomes. (online). Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/social-studies-eo.pdf

Climate Change

Our climate is continually changing. If the climate does not remain constant, this is called climate change. The following blog will look at the various aspects of climate change.

Climate is described as the average weather at a given point and time of year over a long period of time. Climate change has many effects on society as a whole. One of these is agriculture. Through the process of desertification, significant amounts of the deserts agricultural land is unusable. In addition to this low lying areas can suffer from flooding and this means that crops could be wiped out which results in farmers losing their crops thus a major part of their business. Another massive effect of climate change is the rising in sea levels. Costal land is at risk and sea defences are under more stress.  I found a useful clip on Youtube which explains climate change from a child’s point of view and thought that this would be a useful resource for the classroom as children could engage with the clip when learning about climate change.

I watched the Antarctica on the edge documentary which was very interesting.

I learned that parts of Antarctica are warming faster than any other areas on the planet and and that carbon dioxide levels have risen and also contribute to climate change. I also became more knowledgeable about the air in Antarctica. Being knowledgeable about this area will be useful for me to use when teaching this topic but it is also one of the Graduate Attributes. Aerosol particles are very important for the water cycle and form clouds.  These particles are very vital as without them it would not rain which would lead to many disadvantages. This could link into a science lesson within the classroom when learning about the water cycle which could then lead to the pupils being creative and drawing out how the water cycle works allowing the pupils to learn about the environment whilst enjoying the lesson. I found a short clip that links climate change and the water cycle together that could be shown when learning about this topic.

Another issue within climate change is Greenhouse gases. Some scientists believe that the build up of gases in the atmosphere act like a blanket around the planet. Heat is therefore trapped inside the earths atmosphere and this is called the greenhouse effect. The increase in these temperatures is called global warming. From reading parts of the climate change for Scotland act 2009, I learned that Scottish ministers must ensure that the reductions in net Scottish emissions of greenhouses gases account for at least 80% of the reduction in the net Scottish emissions account in any target year. This shows that the Government is making a conscience effort to try and tackle things that are effecting us and our planet. This links to the workshop that we had on politics and global warming as the Government ensures that society can adapt to changes like these.

I used the WWF carbon footprint calculator to calculate my households carbon footprint which I have added a link to here:

https://moodle.uws.ac.uk/mod/url/view.php?id=27803

The first set of questions surrounded diet, how much you spend on food and how much food you waste. The next set of questions were about what kind of transport that I use and how often that I travel. The following set of questions were about the type of house that I live in, the use of heat/electricity and what types of energy efficiency improvements are installed in my home. The last set of questions were about spending habits, including spending money on pets but also what type of recycling and compost my household does. The result of the test showed that my carbon footprint was 136%. As part of the UWS graduate attributes I feel that I am socially responsible to make a difference and try to decrease my carbon footprint. I could do this by using public transport to reduce how often I drive places and I could also ensure that I buy food that is in season so that there are less air miles used when transporting this to our shops thus making a small effort towards reducing my carbon footprint. I feel motivated when it comes to this topic as I already recycle every type of waste in my household in specific bins. This could be linked into my teaching as I could encourage the pupils in my classroom to recycle their waste and also help them towards being an Eco school.

Diversity

Diversity is very important in today’s society especially within a primary school setting. The world we live in today is significantly diverse and people have to try and have an understanding of it.

On the first week of this module we had a talk on WOSDEC who’s aim is to promote social justice through education. Their learning is focused on encouraging and demonstrating to people what a global citizen is and also helping people to gain an understanding of social justice and equity. I feel that being able to understand social justice and equity is a skill necessary for me to develop throughout my journey of becoming a primary school teacher. After today’s workshop I felt that I had gained more knowledge upon this topic as I realised that there were a lot more components involved. For example, looking at a diagram on learning for sustainability showed me that there are so many parts that link together and contribute to children’s learning around this topic.  

I learned the skills that surround this topic I feel I possess some of these skills already and the ones I do not I can develop to ensure I have a strong skill set around this topic. For example, empathy is a skill that is very useful within this topic as it helps you to understand how the world works and feel empathetic towards things that could be harming the planet for example. This then means that I could make small changes like reducing my use of plastic to contribute to helping the improvement of sustainable development. This links to how I can carry the skill of empathy and use it positively within the classroom.

In the science workshop we looked at outdoor learning. We went outside and took rubbings of leaves and trees. Using outdoor learning within the school is useful as it allows the pupils freedom of being able to walk about and explore the environment around them. When we came back inside we were looking at how snails reacted being placed upon different surfaces. I quite enjoyed this as I felt as if I had a personal responsibility to look after the snail and make sure it moved once it was placed carefully upon a new surface with a different texture. This type of lesson could be used in a classroom as the pupils in the class can see what is in the environment around them and also take care of the snail when handling the snail which could then lead onto them being interested in looking into different components of the environment and how diverse it is when it comes down to the animals that live within it. Another skill that can be shown through this is problem solving as you would need to try the snails out on different surfaces to see what one it likes best and this links back to the diagram on learning for sustainability as problem solving is included within this.

We also had a workshop on cultural diversity, social equity and controversy. Diversity is so prominent in everyday life. Everyone is unique in their own way and it is okay to be different to others as if everyone looked the same and had the exact same skill set then nothing in society would be achieved. It is important that people are able to respect other peoples views even if their opinion on the topic is different on the topic at hand. The TEDx video about why cultural diversity matters was very informative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48RoRi0ddRU.  He discussed the importance that history, language and tradition have in the preservation of culture. This could be looked at within the classroom as pupils will most likely have family from different countries or speak a different language and this could show them how they are involved in diversity biologically. Cultural diversity shows many ways of seeing the world and our place within it and that we all have unique sets of knowledge about various topics that we are able to build upon.  Before today’s workshop I had never really properly thought about how largely stereotypes influence diversity from religion, to people’s living arrangements and people’s sexuality. I now feel I have deepened my understanding of this which will help me when discussing diversity in the classroom as I will have the knowledge I need to address the topic. I also found a pupil friendly video which looks at diversity and explains it for pupils. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpSLtVXF0Mc. I could purchase this book and read it to my class when discussing the diversity topic.

Reference – learning for sustainability picture from; https://www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-standards/learning-for-sustainability.aspx

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