ICT – 2. input and TDT 2

We started the second input for ICT by watching a video to really understand how professional animations are made. It was incredible and mind-blowing to see how many pictures are needed for each second of the video.

Our task was to create an animation in a program called “Zu3D” using a camera, a microphone for adding music, background and characters made from plasticine. We were working in groups of 5.  For every movement of the character(s) we took 5 photos. When we wanted the characters to move quicker, we took less photo. I really enjoyed this activity and believe that children would enjoy it very much. Every child would have their own role – someone would be a director, someone would be working with a camera, someone playing the characters. As teachers, we need to make sure every child has a role and that we give step-by-step instructions for children to know what to do.

We came up with the story as we were working. However, a great way to link more lessons together would be to give children a task to create a story in a Literacy lesson, the background, the scenes and the characters in Arts and then the animation itself in an ICT lesson.

 

Maths – 3. input – TDT

After the third input, which focused on mental maths, our task was to investigate some mental maths materials. As a group, we found most of them very practical, useful and beneficial. I will use a lot of them in the classroom to enhance and promote understanding and problem-solving skills.

  • The “counters” is a great way to start learning counting – addition, subtraction and easier multiplication and division calculations. They can be easily used as a tool for a pair or group work to improve discussion and talk in Maths as well as a part of whole-class teaching. In early years stages, they can be used for better conceptual understanding of numbers when we first start with concrete objects to represent numbers and simple calculations and move on to illustrations after that. This is called the “concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach”.

 

  • Number fan is a great tool for calculations as well but especially for showing answers. It can be used during whole-class teaching or group work when for example two children give the calculation and the other two solve it and then show the answer with the number fan.

 

However, I find the Digit flips more effective for showing answers.

 

These mathematical tools are great for the demonstration and understanding of fractions, quarters and percentages. I would probably let children think (group work) first what these tools represent and and how we can use them in Maths lessons.

 

I really enjoy this tool illustrated on the left-hand side. They are great for introduction of more complicated calculations dealing with fractions and percentages. They can be used during the whole-class lesson as well as the group work. I would always encourage children to start with the mathematical process by writing everything down. When they become more used to such questions, they might be able to solve them mentally.

The tool on the right-hand side could be used as a warm up for the lesson during the introduction.

 

 

This tool is an effective way for chidren to practise their understanding of place value – units, tens and hundreds. I believe, this would be great for a pair work.

 

I believe that this tool might be used for understanding of place value as well, however, as a group, we agreed that this one might be very confusing for children.

 

Maths – 1. input and 1. TDT – Reflection

The first Maths input was very valuable in terms of discussing and thinking about the perception of Maths in the society and what teachers can do to promote and develop children´s understanding and application of Maths.

There are signs of the “Maths anxiety” in the society. Many people do not like Maths and did not enjoy it at school. A child´s parents often justify the child´s innumeracy by saying that they themselves were not good at Maths either. However, we should make innumeracy as unacceptable as illiteracy and as teachers we need to promote the understanding of Maths by providing children with opportunities to practise and enhance thinking, problem-solving skills and the application of knowledge gained in Maths lessons in various life situations.

We were introduced to many different kinds of tools we can use in Maths lessons such as show-me boards and games to reinforce the topic. We need to give children opportunities to talk, dicuss and explain the mathematical processes they use to get to the right anwer. When children have the option of discussing this with their peers, they listen to different methods of reaching a correct answer and it helps them understand the mathematical ideas more. We need to make it clear that often there are more ways how to get to the correct answer. As it is proven that discussing Maths helps us make sense of it, we need to incorporate more opportunities for children to discuss Maths in classroom e.g. questioning, pair/group work, interactive teaching. We also need to establish the kind of environment for children to be able to see that Maths is all around us – Maths wall and table, a problem of the week, to link mathematics into other curricular areas. As teachers, we should also create a positive learning environment for children to be able to explore, take risks, be creative, feel safe and supported and to know they can make mistakes and learn from them.

I really like this Chinese proverb as I very much believe in its message:

I hear, I forget.
I see, I remember.
I do, I understand.  

 

Health and Wellbeing 1 – Reflection on Dr Zeedyk´s video about Brain Development

The talk given by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk was extremely interesting – to learn that thanks to evolution, babies are being born much earlier than they used to be and that it is one of the reasons why our brain is so flexible and we can learn new skills such as a new language. This flexibility also helps us to cope with a variety of situations and survive in different environments.

As primary practitioners, we might be teaching children who come from wealthy as well as poor families and as such, we should also be aware of how children, who have been brought up in an environment, where there is for example domestic violence, might react to various situations in the classroom and why. As Dr Zeedyk says, in this case the child´s brain always monitors for threat and as such, they cannot concentrate on something else. That is the reason why these children cannot sit quietly. Such children, who were raised in this kind of environment, will always think that a world is a threating place. And as such, it is very important for us, teachers, to build positive relationships with these children and provide them with a safe place outside their home, where they can experience world in a different way. It is also harder for these children to connect with other people. Therefore, teachers should create a balance between individual, group and whole-class work when planning lessons. When children are working in groups, we make sure they stay on task while building relationships via various activities and discussions.

Health and Wellbeing 1 – Reflection on a documentary “Sugar Crash”

The documentary called the “Sugar Crash” that focused especially on the health issues in Ireland was eye-opening. It is unbelievable how much sugar not only children but adults eat in a day. According to the WHO, adults should eat maximum of 16 teaspoons per day. And 3-year-old children should not consume any sugar at all. The study shows that people in Ireland eat 4 times more than they should. The consequences it has on our health are countless e.g. on our teeth. There was a case when a child needed to have more than ten teeth exctracted because of the damage the sugar did to their teeth.

It is extremely worrying to see how much the number of obese children has risen. The documentary says that before 1980, Irish people were the thinnest in Europe. However, now, they are 4th in terms of the sugar consumption.

It is important for parents, in particular, who need to become role models for their children, to start paying attention to what they give to their children. When preparing food, we should always refer to the “Food Pyramid” as it will help us prepare the right meals and portions. People often make the mistake by assuming that zero fat-product is a better option overall. However, it usually means that extra sugar has been added.

According to what I have seen, especially in the UK and in Ireland, people often buy soft drinks and crisps and allow children to eat it as a normal snack. However, how children are brought up affects their future lifestyle including what food they will buy and eat. What people ate as children has a great impact on what they will eat as adults. Therefore, the best and most effective way is to give children healthy food from the start (give children water instead of soft drinks and give them fruit and vegetables and natural dairy products) because later in life they are more likely not to experience issues with sugar and avoid temptation of products with high amount of sugar.

From my point of view, there should be a greater emphasis on healthy lifestyle and eating fresh food in the UK, Ireland and in other countries. Teachers have the power to change it by introducing such topics to children at an early stage of their learning to help them establish understanding of the importance of healthy eating. Through various activities and class discussions, we can talk to children about a negative impact unhealthy eating can have on their health.

Some schools that are located in deprived areas have started to apply a very effective approach, in my opinion, by giving children fruit for free during the day.

To link it with the Scottish Curriculum, the topic is related to the Experience and Outcome:  “I am developing my understanding of the human body and can use this knowledge to maintain and improve my wellbeing and health.” HWB 0-15a / HWB 1-15a / HWB 2-15a / HWB 3-15a / HWB 4-15a

 

ICT – 1.input and TDT 1

The first input on ICT focused on the combination of music and creation of an animation. I found it really interesting to link the ICT to another subject of the curriculum. I believe that children would find it very exciting and enjoyable to create an animation based on a piece of music. It allows them to express their feelings and emotions and promote their art skills and creativity.

We created an animation in a program called the “Bush Ninja”.  I believe that this activity can be easily applied provided children have access to tablets or computers.

We also learnt how to work with a program called “Uz3D” which can be used to combine music with animation created in the classroom (we also need a camera). For this animation, we used small pieces of plastic blocks cut in various shapes to express the music piece. In my opinion, very clear and step-by-step instructions and guidance should be given to children during this task so that everyone knows what to do. However, I believe that children would have a great fun creating this animation. They would learn about sounds and how to express what they hear.

Dance – 1. input and TDT 1

During the first input, we were given many tips on how to teach dance in primary schools. However, these tips can be applied not only when teaching dancing.

A teacher can play some music in the background (music videos) while children are entering the classroom. This will set the mood and it might get children more excited and curious about what is going to happen on that day. I really like this approach and will definitely use it in the classroom. I experienced this method a few times and it certainly helped set the positive atmosphere in the classroom. While letting music play, I would be standing in front of the classroom and welcoming the children. I believe that this would help build the positive learning environment and make children feel welcome and and more excited for the learning.

It is very important to have discussions with children about various kinds of music and dances to promote their communication and listening skills. The teacher can play a music video and then let children discuss it in pairs – the performers and performance, style, moves, effects, light, etc. The whole class discussion will follow. This activity is great for children as it makes them think and explore the dance and music from a different point of view. In my opinion, discussions can greatly promote children´s understanding and thanks to sharing their ideas and opinions with peers, they all broaden their perspectives. The teacher can also suggest to try some of the moves they have seen in the music video. I believe it can be very exciting and enjoyable for children.

When teaching Dance, I would start with simple activities – playing music in background while giving instructions to move forward/backward, right/left, jumping on one/both legs, ..  I will definitely do the “Travelling moves“ activity with children. They would not only have fun but also enhance their communication skills, listening skills, problems-solving skills and creativity skills while trying to come up with as many travelling moves as possible in pairs. Later, when they need to choose one, they promote their decision-making skills. There are many options regarding activites based on these “ travelling moves“. I really liked when we created a circle, every pair was given a number and while listening to music, we “performed“ our travelling move, meeting each other in the centre of the circle and changing places. It was very dynamic. We then also joined another pair and created a mini performace based on the two moves of ours. This activity is also hugely linked with the The Expressive Arts – Experiences and Outcomes which place a great emphasis on exploring and choosing movements to create and and perform dance. (https://education.gov.scot/Documents/expressive-arts-eo.pdf) It also stresses the importance of expressing ideas, thoughts and feelings through creative work in dance.

Physical activity is hugely important for children to have enough energy to learn and develop and keep their body in shape as well. Dance is not only about the moves and expressions but also about getting to know different cultures. It is also one of the Experiences and Outcomes (https://education.gov.scot/Documents/expressive-arts-eo.pdf) to experience dance from a range of styles and cultures to become aware of the various dance features.

Thoughts on Racism and Patriarchy

Even though we are all familiar with the existence of racism, especially in the past (still takes place to some extent today), it was an eye-opening lecture – hearing all the stories, what people with colour had to go through and how people with white skin treated them. Hearing about what was happening just because people had different skin colour .. horrific. And how some people were actually smiling on some photos .. there are just no words. But there have to be words so that we can take actions and stop this from happening. Fortunately, racism is not taking place to this extent nowadays but on some occasions we can spot the signs of racism – in conversations, discussions, articles .. We should all ask ourselves: is it justified to treat people differently just because they have a different skin colour? Would we want to be treated like that?

It is also very sad that in today´s society, where everybody points out there should be a greater focus on equality, we still distinguish between being a man and a woman, especially when it comes to professions and salaries. We can see that even children have these stereotypes. When they are supposed to paint a fire fighter figure or a surgeon, most of them will paint a male character – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3Aweo-74kY

We all know that men and women cannot be the same when it comes to physical appearance and as such, it is justified that there are not as many women as men working for the police for instance. However, when it comes to intellectul thinking, it always depends on the people themselves – knowledge, experiences, skills and character. Gender does not define us.

Regardless the skin colour, gender, age, etc, we all have the right to live a beautiful life, we all should treat each other well and with respect. We should all behave in a way that we can look at ourselves in the mirror and do not regret anything we have done.

Reflection on Values Workhop 18.9. – Inequalities

The structure of the whole workshop was really good. We were divided into 4 groups and given a pack with different resources. Our task was to plan and then create something for a new student, what they would appreciate and what would help them during the first week at the University of Dundee

We were really excited what we came up with and when we were presenting it, the teacher was not really interested, which was a bit disappointing. When we heard our score, which was 3/10, nobody knew what to think about it. We all were confused and a bit upset, I would say. The thing is that we did not even know the criteria for the task. One girl in our group, however, had the courage to ask the teacher about it, which I was really happy about.

After the task, we were told about the real meaning and purpose behind it. Two groups, including ours, were given fewer resources than the other two. The teacher was also supporting and encouraging the two groups with more resources without paying too much attention to the other groups. It was a very clever approach in a sense that it helped us realise what it was like to be a part of a minority group, not only in the classroom, but globally. When people are treated inequally, it might have serious negative impacts on their lives and their way of thinking. They might feel that they are not that important as others and that their voices cannot be heard. Thanks to these negative experiences such people have encoutered, they are more likely to lose enthusiasm and ambition to reach their goals and dreams because they were once “told“ they were not good enough. That is why it is very important, in any profession, not only in education, to treat people equally and provide them with same opportunities.

In the classrooms, teachers should also start building positive relationships with pupils in order to establish welcoming atmosphere where children do not have to be afraid of sharing their own ideas and opinions but are encouraged to do so. The feeling of being a part of something bigger, for example a community, plays such a great role as integrity is highly important, especially in today´s world when it is necessary for us to be working together and sharing experiences and knowledge in order for us to come up with new ideas and solutions.

While building positive relationships with each other, trust and being trustworthy is a great part of it and is built naturally based on our experiences with a particular person. It comes from the within that we need to share our feelings of happiness and sadness with somebody who we can trust.

Another very important aspect not only in the school setting is respect for other people, their lives and opinions. We all should be open-minded and respectful to each other and do not treat people with different religion, race, or with different background in another way.

Throughout our whole life, we should place great importance on lifelong learning and broadening our perspectives and  knowledge in all areas. We need to be open, treat people with respect and establish welcoming environment for people around us.

What is so Wonderful about Teaching?

When I look back, I have always had this passion to discuss various topics with children and pass knowledge onto other people. With all the technology and accessability to various resources, it has never been easier to reach out for information. However, we still need to learn how to differentiate the reliable sources from the other ones. It is hugely important to show children how to find the right information and look for resources.

With regard to the environmental, social and economic issues the world faces nowadays, we need creative people with innovative ideas who can come up with solutions to problems in the society and the world as a whole. Therefore, it is very important to prepare enjoyable and engaging lessons through which children can enhance their creative thinking, problem-solving skills and collaboration. And as such, I can not wait to provide children with great activities they will like and from which they can benefit. I am so excited to help children develop and find their own pathway in life.

Having had some experiences, I believe I have strengthened my passion for teaching. Seeing a smile on a child´s face when they are having fun learning and when they realise they have conquered something they thought was impossible, is unforgettable.

One of the greatest things about teaching profession is making a difference in the world and having a positive impact on future generations and their mindset. I will always remember what one of my teachers once said: “If in the future, you will have a positive impact on at least one child in the classroom, it has been all worth it“.