Keeeeeep Dancing!

This time of year is my favourite for a few reasons, one being that Strictly Come Dancing is back to grace our TV screens every Saturday night. I have been an avid follower for the last few years and will put my hands up and say I probably get far too into it. This year, like always, there is a wide range of dancing abilities within the group of celebrities participating and, for the first time, there is a para-athlete in the line up and I am so excited. Jonnie Peacock is a double Paralympic gold medallist who and was five when he contacted meningitis, which left him needing to have his right leg amputated from below the knee.

This Saturday, the celebrities showcased their second dances, which ranged from Charleston to the Viennese Waltz. When it was announced that Jonnie Peacock would dance the Jive I was eager to see how his partner Oti would choreograph his dance. As he can get little to no spring from his right foot, he wore a blade.

What an inspiration. This man wowed a nation on Saturday and was absolutely incredible. I was in complete awe and felt the tears streaming down my face, despite the jive being a happy and energetic dance. Growth Mindset right there – defying all odds and dancing his heart out. I can’t wait to see what he does next!

 

Nostalgia

I have dedicated a blog to this previously, which I will link at the end, but when talking about a memorable classroom experience there is no other than my MIE (Moving Image Education) lessons in primary seven that stick with me so prominently, so apologies if you have read that previously as I may repeat myself but it was one of the best, if not THE best thing I did during my time at school.

Our teacher was one of the only tech savvy teachers in the school at the time, and was always the teacher to be testing out the latest gadgets. Part of our learning in primary 7 was MIE and we spent a few weeks learning the basics of it all, exploring various videos and stories. I think our teacher could see how into it we were, and so proposed his idea that we made a music video to raise money for charity. Typing these words out genuinely excites me still, 9 years later! It kind of felt a bit like we were in the film School of Rock, because it was to be a secret for the rest of the school so we couldn’t tell anybody. I cannot explain how hard it was not to talk about something that we were THAT excited about because I remember it being all we thought about and we longed for the part of the day when we only focussed on our video, not maths or language!

The make shift green screen that matched our school jumpers was hung in the classroom and we each took our turn at miming the lyrics along with the song, which was played over and over again until we got it right! When the time finally came around, the staff and pupils could donate and every class took their turn to come up to our makeshift cinema and experience our pride and joy! I still have a copy of this music video and I’m not going to lie, it makes me cringe, but 11 year old me, and my classmates, were proud as punch and our teacher had let us experience that genuine love and excitement to learn. It is a lot easier to create projects like this nowadays, we didn’t have phones with amazing cameras when we were younger so I feel that added to the excitement.

I am still in touch with my primary seven teacher. He provides a lot of support for me, and he has told me how strange it is for him to see me walking down the school corridor as a teacher or helper rather than in a green jumper as a pupil. I’m not sure that he is fully aware of how much of an impact his teaching had on me, but whenever I see him, I always think of those amazing MIE lessons and how happy and excited it made me. I really hope that at some point, I can make the pupils in my class excited to come to school like I was 9 years ago.

 

We are getting to make a music video? Blog post 2016. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/uodedueportfolioejm/2016/01/22/mie-was-the-best-lesson-i-ever-had/

 

…but he was STILL hungry!

During our current Mathematics module we were introduced to the idea of using early years picture books to explore mathematical language and the basic concepts in maths. Although I used cross curricular learning when on placement last year, I had never really thought about using this platform to reinforce mathematical ideas, but now that my attention has been brought to it, it makes so much sense!

The best part about using a story is the characters can help guide the children through concepts that a basic textbook maybe could not do. I have chosen to explore a picture book that is close to my heart; one which my mum and dad read to me probably a hundred times when I was younger, one which I have used as a stimulus for children I teach at work and one which I hope to one day read to my own kids – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. It is so engaging with bright colours, lots of tasty food and themes that everybody can relate to and Carle’s use of repetition is great to allow children to join in. There is an animation on Youtube too which are suitable to use with narration and music playing throughout.

The story covers the basic concept of time, using both day and night as well as mentioning the days of the week. This could be spoken about with young children to help them grasp that every time they wake up it is a new day and there are seven in a week. The story takes the children through each day of the week and what the caterpillar eats and so they could count how many days are in the week. Once they have done this, they may be able to work out how many days the caterpillar was in the cocoon for (however this may be better for slightly more able children).

Counting as mentioned above is heavily involved in the plot of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and each day the caterpillar grows another piece of food is added on. The illustration helps the children visualise this, and allowing the children to draw their own pictures might aid them also. As we discovered last week in a maths input, some children find it difficult to count things that are not identical, so on the Saturday counting the various foods may pose difficult for some, but that is a good challenge if it was done in a class. For a more advanced counting exercise, children could add up all of the pieces of food the caterpillar has eaten throughout the entire week.

The final maths concept I noticed embedded in the story was very brief, but you could talk about the symmetry of the butterfly. I always remember butterflies playing a big part in creating symmetry and it is aesthetically pleasing.

Basic props that I would use would be a caterpillar, because I feel like the children will learn to love the character and if it is physically there it may help them to engage fully. I would also use either laminated pieces of food to put up on the board or actually have the foods – however I feel it would make more sense to use the same pictures of the food as those in the story for younger children as it may confuse them.

Music For All!

Tonight, Wednesday 23rd March, was the first time since starting university that I have truly felt inspired by children.

I have just spent my evening at the Caird Hall seeing Dundee Schools Orchestra and Bands Spring Concert. Thirty minutes after leaving, I’m still full of adrenaline and I am smiling from cheek to cheek.

Music is the heart and soul of my family. My dad is a trained music teacher. My mum and dad own and run three musical theatre companies, which I have gained a lot of my teaching experience from. I play both the piano and cello at grade 8, and spent several of my lunch times at school at orchestras and choir practice.

As a training teacher and someone with a love of music, it was so enjoyable to see so many children taking part in music tuition in a range of instruments to SUCH a high quality!

Primary 7 pupils from across Dundee took part in the Aspire Dundee Samba performance and it was absolutely FANTASTIC, transporting the audience to Africa! They were all so enthusiastic throughout the whole piece, executing choreography and difficult rhythm and timing, as well as displaying amazing cooperation and team work.

After reading so many books and articles about the importance of music, it was amazing to see the impact it truly has on young people. Hundreds of pupils stood on that stage tonight, with even more people packed into the audience, all beaming with pride.

Music really does play such an important part in a child’s life and the work that Dundee City Council have done to encourage and inspire youngsters into music is absolutely fantastic. And best of all, it is free! The Aspire programme that has been set up is groundbreaking, and I really hope that other local authorities across Scotland follow in their footsteaps.

If anybody is at a loose end tomorrow night then PLEASE go to the Caird Hall to support this fantastic talent.

Well done and thank you to the young people of Dundee, you made my week and showed everybody what music really is about!



 

Scientific Literacy

Adele Herron, Chloe Connor, Erin McGlynn and Megan Shearer

Although the term ‘scientific literacy’ may seem quite simple, it has become evident through research and discussion that it much more than just having knowledge of a lot of science. Scientific literacy is the capacity to use scientific knowledge to identify questions and to draw evidence based conclusions.

John Durant believes there are three separate definitions for scientific literacy, however they each have the similar opinion that all non-scientists surrounded by some form of science or technology, which we all are today, should know something about science. Each of the three definitions emphasise important aspects of science – the first includes your scientific knowledge; the second highlights the importance of the scientific method or procedures, whether it be mental or physical procedures; and his final definition focusses on scientific culture. According to Miller (1996), we as people of a majority modern society live in this technological and scientific culture that was also mentioned by Durant and are therefore science significantly impacts us daily.

Hurd (1998) however bases his definition on seven different dimensions.

(1) Understand the nature of scientific knowledge;

(2) Apply appropriate science concepts, principles, laws, and theories in interacting

with his universe;

(3) Use the process of science in solving problems, making decisions, and furthering

his own understanding of the universe;

(4) Interact with values that underlie science;

(5) Understand and appreciate the joint enterprises of science and technology and the

interrelationship of these with each and with other aspects of society;

(6) Extend science education throughout his or her life;

(7) Develop numerous manipulative skills associated with science and technology.”

As demonstrated, there is no clear definition of the term scientific literacy, and has been and will continue to be interpreted in different ways.

However, what happens when there is a lack of scientific literacy? Take, for example, the controversy surrounding the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination in 1998. Dr Andrew Wakefield – a renowned gastroenterologist – released findings from his research that suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism and problems with the bowels (Smith, 2010). Despite the fact his research involved only 12 children, his findings made front page news. This resulted in a decline in the uptake of the vaccine – dropping to under 80% nationally and in some areas dropping to 60% uptake (BBC, no date; Smith, 2010). Due to this, cases of Measles increased – Britain having its first death from measles in 14 years – and Mumps grew to epidemic level in 2005 (Smith, 2010). In June 2006, it was announced that Wakefield was under investigation from the General Medical Council for alleged misconduct (Smith, 2010). The Sunday Times, in 2009, revealed that Wakefield had been paid by lawyers to create findings which would go against the 3 in 1 vaccination and had changed some of the results of his tests (Deer, 2009; Deer, 2011). Wakefield had used his knowledge and scientific literacy in an unethical way and had caused many children in our population to become seriously unwell, because of his incorrect findings. In 2015, it had been reported that there was no link between the vaccination and autism in children, after a study on 95,000 children which discredited Wakefield’s research (Boseley, 2015).

 

How is teaching fair testing in school science linked to scientific literacy?

When carrying out an experiment in a science lesson it is important that it is a fair test. This has to be done to ensure that the experiment is reliable and therefore, has the ability to have conclusions drawn from it.  In order to conduct a fair test it is important that only one factor (variable) is changed and that all other factors and conditions are kept the same and as identical as possible.  An example of a test could be measuring the speed of toy cars when moving down a hill.  In order for this to be considered a fair test all variables including the gradient of the hill, the time they cars are let go and the way in which they are let go should all remain the same, the only factor which should change should be the car itself.  This ensures that your test is fair and reliable.

The topic of fair testing when teaching science is very important as, children must ensure that each experiment they carry out is fair. Fair testing is a basic area of knowledge within science that children must know about in order to continue and progress onto more challenging things within the curricular subject.

Scientific literacy is all about using scientific knowledge to draw evidence-based conclusions. Therefore, fair testing is very much a part of this process as it is a necessary procedure used when gathering information and evidence from experiments.  Also the ability to carry out a fair test is very much a scientific skill in its self which is fundamental, in order to progress in the subject of science.

 

 

References

BBC. (No date) Does the MMR Jab Cause Autism? Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/mmr_prog_summary.shtml (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Boseley, S. (2015) No link between MMR and autism, major study concludes. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/21/no-link-between-mmr-and-autism-major-study-concludes (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Deer, B. (2009) MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism. Available at: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/public/news/article148992.ece (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Deer, B. (2011) The medical establishment shielded Andrew Wakefield from fraud claims. Available at:  https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2011/jan/12/andrew-wakefield-fraud-mmr-autism (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Durant, J (1994). What is scientificc literacy?. European Review, 2, pp 83-89 doi:10.1017/S1062798700000922

IJESE, 2009 Scientific Literacy and Thailand Science Education http://www.acarindex.com/dosyalar/makale/acarindex-1423903863.pdf (Accessed 13th February 2016)

Smith, R. (2010) Andrew Wakefield – the man behind the MMR controversy. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/7091767/Andrew-Wakefield-the-man-behind-the-MMR-controversy.html (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

 

It’s just over that hill…

Having spent a lot of my Sunday’s a child out exploring rock pools at Scurdie Ness Lighthouse, or trying to find Geo-Cache’s with my family, I’ve always enjoyed being outside. I don’t recall doing any Geography whatsoever when I was at primary school, apart from the water cycle maybe. We did topics on countries like Brazil and Canada, but I honestly don’t remember a single thing that we did so it can’t of been that prevalent. So when naive little me headed to secondary school and saw ‘Geography’ on my timetable, I just assumed I’d be learning about countries and that was it. Honestly. And what a shock I got.

One thing that has stuck with me for 6 years is when we studied Volcanoes. My teacher was great and tried to find fun and engaging ways to meet our learning. She showed us this song and the whole class erupted in laugher – pardon the pun – and I still find myself lying in bed at night with it stuck in my head. The geography department at my school was probably one of the best in the school. They all worked so so hard and knew their stuff.

So, I took Standard Grade Geography, and had a great class with the same teacher. We studied river erosion, and so we visited Edzell and did various experiments and tasks whilst we were there. That trip was both hilarious and miserable – it was absolutely pouring rain and the majority of us fell into the river. Ah well, good memories!

Geography Trip 17   My friends and I on the bus coming home after getting soaked in the river!

Fifth year came and with it came Higher Geography, and a new teacher. There is literally no time to waste with this course and my teacher liked to talk for Britain – she literally had that much knowledge and passion about her subject that she could talk and talk and talk. Thursday mornings became a time of dread because we would sit for a double period listening to her talk about ‘Marvellous’ Marram Grass or how the glacier eroded the land into a U-shaped valley. I knew it was important but sometimes it got a bit boring and I felt myself daydreaming and losing concentration. But March came, and with it came a trip. But not just a day trip, it was a trip that we were away for three nights!

Our first stop was to the Lake District. We visited Ambleside and Grasmere, completing surveys on tourism in the town. The next day, we got up early and had a big walk through the countryside to visit a corrie, which was absolutely fantastic. I had learnt about this since 3rd year, so to finally see it for real was facinating! To say the views were breathtaking really is the truth.

My friends and I standing in front of a waterfall

Geography Trip 1

A corrie with a lochan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst all of this learning was going on, so did some socialising. The year below us also came on the trip and we made a lot of new friends and instead of just sitting in our rooms on our phones, we sat up playing old fashioned cards and twister and just had the best fun! The next day it was time to move on and travel further south to the Yorkshire Dales. I was SO excited for this because Malham Cove, a hotspot for tourism, is featured in one of the Harry Potter films and I’m a big fan.

 

Sunday began with a visit to Ingleborough Cave. It was amazing to see all of the stalactites and stalagmites. I didn’t appreciate how delicate they really were. The caves were so low though, and a lot of us kept bashing our heads against the roof – luckily we wore helmets!

Geography Trip 12

Ingleborough Cave

Here comes the point of the trip where I thought I was going to collapse. We climbed Ingleborough Hill, and en route saw many geographical features. It really was the longest walk of my life and seemed to never end. Our teachers said ‘It’s just over that hill’….6 hours later we made it. I was proud of myself though, the views really were incredible and I felt like I was on top of the world.

Geography Trip 6

On the final day, we visited Malham Cove on a glorious day. It made the trip and I remember feeling really sad as I got on the bus home. I honestly had the time of my life, and it was so good to actually see the features up close and in real life. I fully appreciated the amazing formations and sights I was learning about and it benefitted me so much when sitting in the exam and being able to picture standing on Malham Cove instead of just another picture in an old book.

Geography Trip 9 Geography Trip 8

                                                   Malham Cove

This reflection has made me realise just how important it is to get the children outside and actually see things in real life form. Until then, you do not appreciate the importance and value of it. It has to be interactive, engaging and capture them.

Thinking and Reflecting

Last week, we were given some inspiration to revitalise our blogs, and it was definitely needed. It becomes difficult at times to prioritise time to dedicate writing our blog when there are so many other things going on, assignments, reading for placement, extra dance competition rehearsals, work and a social life. But I’ve come to realise there should be no excuses. No matter how busy my life is, I should be able to dedicate 30 minutes every week to sit and reflect on something – this is just as important as everything else in my life. Reflecting should not be a task.

Every blog post that was featured in our workshop last week was relatable and thought-provoking, and, most importantly, had a good message to reflect on. These posts are everything a blog should be, and my peers have inspired me to make more of an effort.

One of my closest friends here at uni wrote a blog post about ‘Fear of Feedback’. She nailed the concept on the head and really took the words out of my mouth. All my life I have been nervous to get something wrong, but not incase I disappoint myself, more so incase I disappoint someone else. I don’t like the idea of letting anybody down.

But where would we be in life without feedback? In order to develop in life and become successful, it is important to receive it – whether it is constructive or just sheer positive.

Our ePortfolio is the perfect place to share our thoughts, feelings and findings and receive comments from our peers, as well as reading or commenting on their posts. Every single of one of us on this MA Education programme have the same focus and aim – to be the best teacher we can be. I like receiving feedback, and I know it is difficult to challenge somebody you don’t know. I like to be told what people think of what I’m doing, writing or even, less education related I’ll admit, what I’m wearing! I think we constantly need to be finding ways to improve.

The ePortfolio has also been a place for me to just sort of de-stress. I, unfortunately, get stressed and anxious over anything. Once I write it down, I feel better! So I have decided to embrace the ePortfolio and make an effort to post at least once a week. I will comment on my peer learning group’s posts, and any of my other peers posts on Edushare that I enjoy! That’s my New Years Resolution, and it’s here in writing, so I better stick to it!