I enjoyed maths at school because I like the idea of being clearly ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ as I feel that, for me, it helps me to progress and improve in a more direct way. I also love the feeling of that ‘Eureka!’ moment that you can often feel in maths when you have been confused about a certain aspect, until suddenly you realise what you have been doing incorrectly or incompletely the whole time and what you have to do now to change to the correct answer. As such, I rated myself a seven on the confidence scale of zero to ten, zero being the least confident and ten being the most, at the beginning of the workshop. I hope to pass this enjoyment and enthusiasm of maths onto my future pupils.
One of my favourite things I will take forward from this maths input is the pupil identification technique that Tara used to ask specific students questions. It involved giving each table group a name, in this case names of famous mathematicians, and then having us number ourselves within each named group. This then means that the teacher select pupils at random to answer questions, avoiding anyone being left out, without yet knowing every single child’s name. I think this will be helpful for me in the first few weeks of each new school year because it will give me time to learn all my new pupils’ names.
The lesson in the video is very clearly structured. It has an obvious beginning, middle and end for the children. This is important because it shows the pupils the purpose of the activity and helps to keep the class on task. The lesson begins with the ‘Agreement’; the confirmation of a set of rules for the class to stick to that are physically posted on the wall. I think it is interesting that a point is made about the literal poster of rules, this relates to the fact that it will be a very literal lesson, with the children presenting their ideas in a physical way. The class then take part in a ‘Warm Up’, this confirms that learning is going to occur and this is not just ‘playtime’. The ‘Focus’ of the task is then established with the children, telling them the purpose of what they are about to do, so that they can establish some context for the activities due to it’s potentially exciting and so distracting nature. Now that the starting section of the lesson is complete, the teacher moves on to the middle part. The next stage is ‘Development’, the teacher will progress with the lesson by listening to the children’s ideas and having them build upon the possibilities of what could be happening in the images they are looking at. Now they move on to ‘Visualisation’, this involves picturing the scenarios and sharing with the group what you see using the five senses. This introduces the physical element of the activity to the children. The next tests for the children are ‘Soundscape’ and ‘Bodyscape’. They will now be moving around and interacting with one another through movement and sound. Expressing both actions and emotions. The next element is crucial; ‘Performace’. This is a key outcome of teaching drama, the kids must understand how to convey their story to others, but in turn how to understand the ideas of their peers. The performances may be instructed by the teacher using ‘Frozen Scenes and Thought Tracking’. ‘Frozen Scenes’ involve the pupils using their bodies to represent objects and characters to create a story line with differing still images. ‘Thought Tracking’ simply means for the teacher to go around the scene and tap particular students on the shoulder, asking them to vocalise what they imagine their object to sound like or their character to be thinking. Possibly the most key element of this whole class is the very end portion; ‘Evaluation’. The class teacher will talk with the students about what they have learned, why they think they have learned it and what they hope to do next time. It is also important to end with this task as it is great ‘cool down’ time, the children have burned off some energy and now they need to return to a resting state appropriate for the classroom. I like this structure of separate instructions that still flow well together to create one end product, almost like a recipe for cooking. It keeps children focused and engaged, whilst maintaining that fun, energetic element too.
Nikki mentioned an activity that she did with one of her classes that involved emotions. The children had to use facial expressions to show how they felt about certain elements of life. For example; vegetables or chocolate, and maths or games. This was a very simple task, just done standing up in the classroom with no extra objects or materials. This was intriguing to me as I had never thought of drama in this way before, this is it being integrated into the everyday teachings at desks, and also children’s personal lives and what they do at home. It can be so easy to incorporate drama into English, history or even maths. I feel much more confident about teaching Drama, even just in day-to-day discussions, after participating in this first workshop and watching this video.