Monthly Archives: October 2016

Non-Fiction Writing Ideas

Today’s lecture was our second so far about non-fiction texts and delivering lessons around them in the classroom. After going through the different types of non-fiction texts we will be teaching about we were all given a book and asked to create our own lesson from this. The group I was working with was given was “Beware of the Storybook Wolves” by Lauren Child. blog-picture

It was a lovely little book about a little boy who’s mother always read him a bedtime story and the wolves start to escape from the books. One part of the story was about the boy saving himself involving jelly and this is what we decided we could base our non-fiction lessons around. We thought about the time it would take and finalized that a week would be perfect for these activities and thought that the non-fiction text we would be teaching the children would be instructions in the form of a recipe for the jelly. We also wanted to incorporate other forms of media other than cookbooks into our lessons, thinking about cookery programmes on TV like Saturday Kitchen, Magazines like BBC Good Food and contemporary online websites like BBC Food and Deliciously Ella. The rough template of the lessons throughout the week is as follows.

Monday – Read the story and talk about the main parts of the book – especially the Jelly part. Start a discussion with the children on what they already know about layout of recipes, making jelly, accessing recipes and what recipes are used for.

Tuesday – Recap with the children about the discussion from yesterday and explain that they will be looking at some of the different kinds of recipes out there and how to access them. Show them a cookbook and ask them to find a recipe for jelly. Show them the BBC Food website and show them how to navigate it. Watch a video similar to this one or a clip from The Great British Bake Off? Find some food magazines and ask the children to compare them to the cookbook recipes – are there any differences? Would they appeal to them more because you can get a new magazine every week etc? Are the recipes all the same style of food like in the cookery book? All of these would be done as a whole class or in groups going around tables. Also if you have time it might be good to look at the back of packets of jelly and look at the instructions and how they are written. What kind of an audience are they tailored to, could anyone understand them?

Wednesday – Discuss different roles in groups i.e. head chef, team leader, photographer, writer etc depending on the the number of children in each group. Once the groups have been divided hold a lucky dip with each group writing/filming a recipe in the style of a website, cookery book, TV show or jelly packet. Give the children enough time to design the non-fiction text, create it and look over it. You may want to give them “deadlines” to keep them on task in the time you have and also have 2 minute interval’s for whole class reflection if some groups go off task.

Thursday – Each group will be given a different recipe to the one they have written and then make their own jelly by following the instructions. Leave jelly to set overnight. Not every child get the chance to cook at home themselves and by giving them this opportunity in the classroom you are broadening their experiences and connecting the literacy outcomes with health and well-being.

Friday – Try each jelly and discuss as a whole class which recipe was the easiest to use. At this time the whole class could look over the different recipes created on the Wednesday and reflect on their work in the group, did they all have the right jobs? This could also be done on the Thursday if there wasn’t enough time on Friday and the jelly had set.

So that was our plan. Not only would this connect in with literacy outcomes but health and well -being (wash hands/general hygiene when making jelly and written into recipe, will the children add fruit to their recipes), technology (those designing a website and filming a TV style recipe) and maths (measurements for jelly making/in the recipe and the time it takes to set) too! I personally really enjoyed planning this because I realized that you can make literacy lessons fun and interlink them with other curricular areas. Plus it involved food. Who knew you could get so much learning done through jelly?

My Peer Education Story

img_3056As an avid Girlguider I was delighted to get a place on the Peer Education training course last weekend. Peer Education is Girlguiding UK’s innovative programme that trains members of The Senior Section (14-25 year olds) to empower themselves and others to make a difference in the lives of girls throughout the UK through different “training sessions”. During the course of the weekend, we were trained to run fun, safe and challenging sessions on many different topics which are tailored to an age range of 7-25 year olds, and which have the right activities and content to make a difference in young people’s lives. We can deliver sessions on Think Resilient – mental well-being, Free Being Me – growing girls’ body confidence and self-esteem, Healthy Relationships – being good and safe friends and being able to tell whether a romantic relationship is healthy and lastly Youth Health – being aware of the effects of alcohol, smoking and drugs. The weekend was truly so much fun and the ladies training us were the most enthusiastic, funny people around – really adding to the atmosphere and learning. And the food was great which was a huge bonus.

I signed up for the Peer Education course initially to make a difference to young people who have been bullied after my own experiences, feeling a strong will to do something to help young people in a way I was never lucky enough to have in my school. This will to help children who have been bullied almost expanded my will to become a teacher far stronger to stop children having the same treatment from teachers I had. Although I feel really let down by the way the school I went to dismissed the way I was bullied I was lucky enough to have a weekly guides group with amazing leaders I am now lucky enough to call friends. Girlguiding has been there for me on two occasions in my life where I felt I had nowhere else to go and got me through, so naturally I feel heavily in debt to the charity and Peer Education seemed like the way for me to repay this at this stage in my life. However, on the course I found that Peer Educators have a far bigger job than just helping young Girl Guides understand365-2 the effects of bullying but that they help children to find coping mechanisms with this mental health and their body. In 2013 7,800 girls had been seen by a Peer Educator and there were over 500 peer educations in the UK.

 

Some of the techniques and activities I learned linked in heavily with many of the subjects I will be teaching in the future as a part of Health and Wellbeing. As exciting and fun as the weekend was it really hit home to me that some of the topics we were discussing would actually be happening to some of the children in my classroom. Although we see children smoking at an early age in the news and hear children say they think they looked fat in those pair of jeans in primark as we walk past them in the shopping center, we soon forget that we ever saw it and do nothing about it. But what kind of a society have we become that this is the norm? What kind of example are we setting for our children in the future if we do nothing about it? This was when it clicked that actually – teachers might have a far harder job in terms of pastoral care than I initially thought…
peer-educatorNow I’m trained up with these techniques I feel a lot more confident to go out into a classroom and talk to children about all sorts of these things. Activities that I learnt on my course like breathing techniques/emotions bucket to show children that even though your emotions overflow sometimes, you can always share feelings with someone/people mind map to show the people the children can go to if they are feeling down to talk are extremely versatile and can be run with children in many different settings – not just at Guides. I honestly cannot wait to start my peer education sessions though and am already taking bookings to run sessions so it looks like I’ve got a busy year ahead of me. Although I’ll be extremely busy it keeps me going to think about the good I will be doing for children across Dundee and the Highlands and just wish there was a way of expanding it to help more children in need of these techniques. But in the mean time I suppose I have to settle with the fact I’m a university student and taking Peer Education all over the world my just be a little too much for my tiny little brain to manage.

Part of a Peer Educators job is to inform the public of the amazing things we do in Girlguiding and spread the word about the sessions we teach so, after reading this if you feel inspired to find out more about the sessions we run and what we do please contact me by commenting below or go to www.girlguiding.org.uk and share this post so more people can know!!

This years newly trained Scottish Peer Educators - a very proud bunch!!

This years newly trained Scottish Peer Educators – a very proud bunch!!