Category Archives: 3.4 Prof. Reflection & Commitment

My Story Box Experience

While on placement within a primary 4 class last year, I created a story box bWorst_witch_book1002ased on the book ‘The Worst Witch’. When I was a child, I wasn’t a big fan of reading but instead read only when I was forced too by my teacher or parents. However, ‘The Worst Witch’ was one book I never had to be persuaded to read. Although I chose books for myself from the school library, they were often never looked at or even touched until it was time to return them. ‘The Worst Witch’ was different though. I found the book to be extremely enjoyable as a child and read it from beginning too end within a few nights – not something that I was seen to do. Due to my experience of the book, I chose it to base my story box around it for the class as I believed they’d love it too.

I started off by re-reading the book in order to help inspire me with ideas for activities that I wanted to have within the box. I also focused my attention on the topics the children were studying within each subject such as maths and literacy. I then started searching the internet for worksheets or activities which were linked to magic or witches. As they were learning about coordinates in maths, I managed to find a few different witch styled activates for varied abilities images (1)based on that topic. I also managed to find a witch’s position poem along with the lyrics to the school song that the girls sing within the book. As I was finding all these worksheets on the internet, I edited them with pictures of ‘The Worst Witch’ characters and even changed the text to make them look a lot more interesting in order to engage the children. As I had read through the book once, I read through it once again and found phrases or words the children would maybe not understand and created flash cards with the meanings on the other side – the side with the words or phrases were all coloured purple as I believed this colour linked to witches. Creating the box itself was a fun task for me as I wanted the children to be able to look at it and know that the contents were related to the book. For this I found some black wrapping paper which had gold speckles on it and wrapped the box with it. I then printed and cut out photos of the characters and the name of the book in order to arrange them on the box as well.

When working through the story box with the class, I always began the lesson by reading part of the book then moved on to an activity from the box. Throughout the reading process, I would ask the children questions to make sure they’re understanding the story before moving onto the next part. I would also often recap before starting the next

Reflecting back on my experience delivering my story box, I found the creating part the most enjoyable as I’m a very creative person and enjoyed editing the worksheets to fit in with ‘The Worst Witch’ theme. I believe I need to work on my confidence when reading out loud to a class as I felt nervous doing this and occasionally stuttered and lost my place. However, I did recover well and reread from the beginning on the sentence in order to make sure the children weren’t getting confused with my mistakes.

If I was to do the story box/sack with younger children such as primary ones or twos, I would most likely chose a fairy tale picture book. I would make sure that I would be able to use props with the particular book in order to use whilst telling the story. For example, Goldie Locks and images (2)the Three Bears would be a good story to tell as I would be able to pull bowls, teddy bears etc. out of the box/sack. Another good way to tell a story would be to use finger puppets and get the children to act as the certain characters while I read through the story. This process would help with the younger children’s understanding of the story overall.

Overall, a story box or sack is a great way to get the children engaged and interested in the book or story that is being read. The different activates which link to the book are great ways to continue the children’s learning within different subject areas while constantly connecting back to the book.

Healthy Body Bits

I believe an effective and fun way for children to learn and expand theirstuffy-4 knowledge on their human body topic is to take a class trip to the Dundee Science Centre. Here the children can take part in a 45 minute session called ‘Healthy Body Bits.’ The session is recommended for first level learners where they will explore what’s inside the human body through the use of Stuffee, the centre’s giant rag doll. The children are able to operate on Stuffee and search for his organs. Whether the trip is at the beginning of the class project or nearer the end, it will be a great way for the children to learn or revise the organ names and what each of their purposes are within the human body.

The session has a maximum capacity of 33 children and lasts around 45 minutes. This would be an ideal trip for individual classes between primary 3 and 5. This is due to how ages younger than p3 may struggle to sit for the long length of time that the work shop lasts as their concentration span is shorter than the older children. Also, children older than primary 5, may find the session boring as it’s based for younger children.

For this trip, as a teacher, I would first have to contact the centre with specific information which includes:

  • The name and level of the session I wish to book i.e. ‘Healthy Body Bits’, first level.
  • A selection of dates I’d be happy to book if available.
  • An idea of the time we’d arrive and departure noting the centre is open between 10am and 5pm.
  • The number of children and an estimate number of adults that will be present.
  • If I will require a time for the children to be able to have their lunch.
  • Whether I would like to be invoiced or pay on the day of the trip.

Once the trip is booked, I will then book a coach in order to transport the class and myself to the science centre. After everything is booked, I will work out the cost overall and how much the children will have to pay each depending on the school funds. Then I will create permissions slips stating the purpose of the trip, where and when the trip will take place, the price and the fact the children would need a packed lunch on the date stated. I will also include the chance for the parents or guardians of the children to state whether they would like to come along and help. Along with having parents or guardians to assist with the trip, I will seek the help of support staff, teacher’s assistants or management who are free on the day.

On the day before the trip, based on me having the knowledge of the number of adults going to be present, I will split the children into smaller groups assigned to one or more adult. This adult will be responsible for the children while they explore the centre before or after attending the workshop. The centre offers a great opportunity for the children to learn about a wide range of science along with the human body. The class can spend a maximum of three hours within the centre exploring the different areas of science along with taking part in the booked workshop.

The day after the trip, I will then plan a lesson to find out what the children learned while in the science centre. This may include getting them to draw a picture of one important new thing they learned or even write a small story about their day.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

I enjoyed giving feedback on my peers’ posts about being an enquiring practitioner as reading other people’s thoughts helped with my own understanding. I found writing feedback for them to be a good experience, however, sometimes found it difficult to find areas that I thought they could improve on. On the other hand, I liked being able to tell the person what I thought was good about their post as it helps with confidence and feeling positive about their own work.

When I saw that my own post was gaining replies, I was eager to read what my peers thought about my own post, ‘What it means to be an enquiring practitioner’. It was great to see that people had interest in my work and took the time to write me some feedback. The feedback I received was extremely positive and allowed me to understand where I went right with my post and what they enjoyed about it when reading. It also let me see areas I could improve on which I found helpful and will take the time to amend my post based on the feedback I received.

Changing Education

While listening to a podcast titled ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ by Sir Ken Robinson, I found his views on today’s education to be very interesting and thought provoking. During his talk he expresses his opinion on the drugs children are given for ADHD. He believes that these drugs to be an anaesthetic which shuts the children’s senses off and deadens them to what is going on around them. The world is full of amazing things, i.e. computers and game consoles, and they are now being penalised for being distracted from boring subjects. Robinson believes that instead of leading children through education anaesthetised, we should be doing the complete opposite and waking the children up to what is inside them. I find this opinion very interesting as I’ve never really thought of what the drugs are truly doing to the child. Although the drugs are said to be ‘calming the child down’ they are really making the child into a zombie. Children should be encouraged to be themselves and act like children. Children are supposed to run around outside and climb things, we should not be coming to the conclusion that they have a disorder just because they have a lot of energy. If children were running around and exercising more often at school, the excess energy will burn out.

Sir Ken Robinson then goes on to compare schools to working factories. He talks about how they have bells signalling break times, separate facilities and even having areas of the school for individual subjects. I believe this a great point and is very important. Children go to school in uniforms just like workers in a factory and even have different ties to indicate what year group they belong to. The bells that ring for break time emphasise how there is designated time slots for the children to take a break from class or eat their lunch – just like in a factory they can’t take a break when they individually choose to. Robinson questions why children are educated in age groups and states that schools find a child’s manufacture date to be the most important thing about them. I believe that this is a great point that needs to be addressed. Why are children assigned to classes with their own age group? All children have different abilities and it can often be found that many work at higher or lower levels for their age group. Shouldn’t schools be assigning them into classes where the children can be working on the same level as one another? I believe this to be a good idea as it would be effective for the children because teachers often focus their attention on children who struggle rather than those who work on higher levelled work or even the other way around. However, would this cause the children who are ‘less capable’ to be left behind? I think not. As long as the system was thought about and worked with correctly.

Within the podcast, Robinson talks about divergent thinking – when people see multiple answers rather than one or different ways to interpret the question. He gives the example of asking people how many uses there are for a paper clip. A divergent thinker would question the size the paper clip could be or even the material it’s made of – It’s still a paperclip but not as we know it. He goes on to talk about how a test was given to 1500 kindergarten children and that if they scored above a certain level, they were seen as a genius at divergent thinking. Robinson revealed that 98% of the children scored genius level. However, these children were tested over the years between different age groups. The results of the test showed that the older the children were getting, their scores deteriorated. Robinson believes this to because the children have been getting educated. I can understand Sir Ken Robinson’s theory as at school, children are taught for there to be only one correct answer rather than multiple. For an example, during math lessons, you’re taught to complete an equation and that it only has one correct answer. If you don’t have the answer that’s in the back of the text book, you’re automatically told you’re wrong and must fix it.

I believe Sir Ken Robinson has some excellent views on today’s education. Is it time for a change in our education system and how we are teaching children? As Robinson states, we are no longer living in the time that the current education system was designed and structured for.