Author Archives: Katie Rebecca Whitham

Katie Rebecca Whitham

About Katie Rebecca Whitham

I am a first year student at the University of Dundee studying Education and this is my journey to full registration. Happy reading..!

The Impact of Moulsford

The past 6 weeks have been the most incredible, humbling and educational weeks of my life. Throughout the 6 weeks of this placement I set out to complete my goals to the best of my ability. Here is what I think about how I have done;

I want to work with a different curriculum.

I have been really sucessful with this goal and can prove it with the many lessons I have taught. By teaching lessons, I have not only gained valuable teaching with the national curriculum but also have gained a great amount of experience as a student.

I want to learn about private boarding schools and government run schools and the difference between them (if there is one).

By being at Moulsford I have been lucky enough to have the full support from the school of going into a huge range of new expriences for like forest school and school trips (STOMP!, Harry Potter Studios and The Twelfth Night). Including this, I have also been lucky to have spent a huge amount of time with the boarding staff and children and written up about these experiences in my blog in section 2. I have really enjoyed it and as I have said already, this is an area I would like to work in, in the future. As for the private aspect, I think there are similarities but there are mainly differences, especially when it comes to sport, curriculum, working day and fees. A private school is able to give more opportunities to the boys thanks to the money the parents pay and also because of the length of the school day, the boys are able to learn more.

I want to learn about schools from all aspects from the kitchen to the classroom.

I have spoken to many different members of staff including teachers, heads of department, the matron, groundsmen and learning support. I can absoloutley say that this has been the part that has humbled me the most and also taught me to respect all areas of the school and respect the people that do these jobs, because they are difficult jjobs to do. Furthermore, I have spoken to the boys themsleves about being at a private school as a pupil and each time they expressed a lot of positivity. The boys enjoy being at Moulsford and I think this is down to the trust and respect everyone has for each other.

 

Before I arrived at Moulsford, although I was nervous, I was pretty confident in my teaching abilities and knew that I was a kind teacher who won’t take any messing. However, this placement has taught me that from a professional angle, in teaching you never stop learning. Additionally, Year 3 teachers have taught me that you can never be too organised and showed me many ways of organising my lessons in an easy quick way to save time in the future so that teaching doesn’t take over my life. They’ve also taught me that being crazy and fun in a lesson is ok! Additionally, Year 4 have taught me that sometimes the best thing that you can do for a child with additional support needs is to just sit with them, scribe and let their ideas flow. Children are so creative and just because they can’t write, doesn’t mean they can’t take part! The culture of Moulsford is incredible. The family feel is something I will never forget and constantly be searching for when I am in schools in the future. In regards to my professionalism, this has grown from strength to strength from talking to other members of staff to dressing appropriately.

Overall, for me personally the experience has been life-changing. It has made me consider where in education I would like to be and private education is absolutely the way forward from now. Furhtermore, this experience has taught me to be confident in my own teaching and that making friends in the staff room can make your job a whole lot easier! Moreover, I have gained once in a lifetime experiences, visiting Harry Potter Studios, meeting people I never in my life thought I would, going to the theatre and teaching in an outdoor classroom overlooking boys rowing on The River Thames. But most of all I will never forget the kindess of the staff (and pupils) in the school and the teaching teqniques they have taught me. I think one day I will definitely be back at Moulsford applying for a job… THANK YOU MOULSFORD!!

 

Word Count – 747

Mathematics – Year 3 – Week 6

Image taken from Google – The money dominoes from the lesson

Unfortunately, this was my last ever lesson with Year 3N and it was devastating to say my goodbyes to them. I was genuinely nearly in tears when they all started clapping and shouting “3 cheers for Miss Whitham, Hip Hip Horray”. I could sob here and now writing this but I won’t I’ll just talk about the lesson. It did go really well and the activities were all my own ideas. I wanted to do a table rotation style lesson were the boys could practice different activities and do it in a really fun way. They did really well, especially with the games but unfortunately the money dominoes were not as successfull because they didn’t have enough time to complete the full game. However, each game gave me a full insight into how the boys were getting on in each area of the curriculum before their exams and topics that they may need to revisit, even in only 5 minutes an activity! So theis is absoloutely something that I would do again as a teacher, and a teaching method that I think the boys enjoyed because they expressed that they would like to do it again, which I was delighted with.

Class/Group: Year 3N                            Lesson: Mathematics                                        Date:10.05.17

 

Previous Experience

Experience in division, money, multiplication, word problems and shapes.

Working towards outcomes of a National Curriculum

Solve problems, including missing number problems, involving division.

Add and subtract amounts of money using both £ and p.

Recall and use multiplication and division facts for the 3, 4 and 8 multiplication tables.

Measure, compare, add and subtract: lengths (m/cm/mm).

Literacy/Numeracy/ICT/HWB (where appropriate):  Literacy – For games and extension exercises children will be reading the questions and the instructions on the games.
Learning Intentions Success Criteria
Table 1

To know how to divide

Table 2

We are learning to count coins to make a whole number.

Table 3

We are learning about measurement

Table 4

We are learning about different mathematical operations

Table 1

I am able to divide numbers

Table 2

I am able to count coins to make a whole number.

Table 3

I am able to measure objects in cm using a ruler

Table 4

I am able use different mathematical operations

Resources

 

Worksheets, games, dice, projector, online timer, pencils, whiteboards, whiteboard pens, whiteboard rubbers, Smartboard, computer, post it notes, internet access, counters for games, polypockets, toy coins, lego.
Timing   Assessment Methods
 

 

5 mins

2 mins

5 mins

 

 

 

5 mins

 

 

 

 

5 mins

 

 

 

5 mins

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 mins

 

 

5 mins

 

 

 

Total

35 mins

 

Setting the context/ Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

 

 

Discuss the LI for the lesson with the children and explain all of the activities for each table and that each pair will be going to a new activity after 15 minutes until all activities are complete

Separate each table into pairs.

 

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

 

Table 1

Play the board game. Help with any problems they may have and reinforce the division they do not understand by using Lego and working together in their pairs.

Table 2

Play the dominoes game, each pair using a different set of cards and use the real toy coins with any children/pairs who are having difficulties with the money pictures on the cards.

 

Table 3

Children will go around the room/school measuring objects with rulers in cm and write answers down on worksheets.

 

 

Table 4

Noggle (number boggle). Glue sheet into maths book and by using any mathematical operation (add, subtract, multiply, divide) the solution must make 20 and 36. Write answers into book.

 

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

 

End the lesson by tidying everything away back into their polypockets. Ask the children to sit at their desks.

Go over learning intentions. Write on a post it note about something 3-7 words about something you learnt today. Hand over to class teacher.

Throughout 35 minute lesson class teacher will be working with Child 1 as a TA for differentiation purposes where Child 1 will taking part using Numicon through games etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peer Assessment and Teacher Marking

 

 

 

Observation and Peer Assessment

 

 

 

Observation and Teacher Marking

 

 

 

Teacher Marking

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher Marking the worksheets.

 

 

 

 

 

Observation

 

Success Criteria Results Next steps for the children
From the first game at the first table, I now know that the boys can divide using real life examples

From the second game where the children were learning to count coins to make a whole number, I observed that this was going well for most groups but they would have benefitted from more time.

The scientific measurement game was successful, with correct answers on the sheet after me and the class teacher discussing width with the majority of the class.

The Noggle game was really successful with the boys showing through their sums that they knew their different mathematical operations well enough to create their own sums.

 

Children 1, 7 and 13 need to continue to work with the money dominoes because I was not convinced that they were able to count the coins well enough to play the game.

I am confident for all children to move on to harder division questions except for Child 1 who would benefit from using Numicon further.

 

 

 

EVALUATING MY PRACTICE

Going well (what worked and why?)

The lesson overall went really well with children listening well and there were no behavioural issues. This was most likely down to the amount of activities going on in this fast paced lesson, which allowed the children to be constantly busy, moving around the tables and active.

Most children engaged well with the activities which I think is possibly down to them playing games and not quite realising they’re learning.

Areas for development (what didn’t work and why?)

 

I would in future only do a lesson like this if I had more time. Some of the boys just didn’t have enough time to finish their activities and this was a shame as they could have benefitted with the practice before their exams.

 

Next Steps for Me

In future I will be more aware of what the children have already learned in maths lessons and the way they describe certain methods in mathematics.

I will also try to plan more time into the activities and choose and hour and 10 minutes lesson as opposed to a 35 minute lesson.

The Culture of Moulsford. The Teachers Perspective.

As our placement is completely up to us as students, we do have some structure as to what we have to include in our folios. One of these is a piece on the culture of our placement and how we do this piece is completely up to us. I have decided to conduct interviews and questionaires from various members of staff from accross the school and collate the answers in a blog post on here for confidentiality and fairness. I am aware that I wanted to do these interviews but not name any names as so many member of the school look on my blog frequently, so this is the best way I could think to do it. So what did I ask, and what were the answers?

What would you tell a friend about Moulsford?

The Moulsford sports hall is massive and just shows how serious they are about sports

Most people were really positive saying things like “you do something different everyday” and that the school is amazing for sport/socialising. From my observations, that school is amazing when it comes to sport with the boys doing games/p.e. nearly every day though classes or activities. Sport is something that the school highly values and feels that the children should have regular access too. Additionally, someone told me that the one thing they would tell a friend about Moulsford is how passionate the staff are. From experience in my time here, I was instantly shown just how friendly an environment this is to work in. Everyone is so friendly as well, they are all willing to help and want me to do my best and even with this here, staff that I hadn’t even come into contact with were willing to talk to me and answer my questions. There is such a family feel here and for the time I have been here I have been delighted to feel a part of it. However, with any job there are highs and lows. Some of the staff were not quite as positive, mentioning the fact that the school can become political, feeling that if you’re not in the crowd you’re clearly left out. I have not personally seen anyone being left out, in the staff room everyone is always very chatty and happy to talk to anyone, however I am only seeing a snapshot of life here for 6 weeks.

What would you like to change about Moulsford?

I asked the staff this question, because I feel that there are always ways of improving everything. The staff all said that they would like to see a more diverse range of students i.e. class, disabilities etc. Although you can walk around and in each class there is nearly always a child with a form of disability e.g. dyslexia, I fully see why they brought up class in this questionairre. At least 95% of the boys at Moulsford are English white middle/upper class but this is most likely due to the catchment area and the fact that it is only people earning a certain wage bracket that can afford a private school for their children. Moreover, other things mentioned were the astro facilities, the elitism and the fact that whole school decisions should not be parent led. Some staff members even said that there was genuinely nothing they wanted to see change. Additionally, there was a lot of talk about the amount of support for the pastoral side of the school. With a designated head of pastoral care and also a boarding house, I am seeing a tremendous amount of pastoral care being given to the boys compared to what I see in Scottish state schools. However, I do also feel that sometimes there is a culture in the school of “man up” as an all boys school. If a child falls over I am used to the rush over give him a plaster and ensure he is feeling well. Although here all of the staff are exceedingly caring and kind, there is a man up attitude from most teachers which could be considered harsh for boys of such a young age. Lastly, one member of staff wrote that they would like to see less of the “if your face fits” culture especially in terms of favouritism. Unfortunately, some staff said that they would not be willing to say if there was anything, which did not really help me, however I do understand that some staff would like to keep their ideas private and respect this fully.

Who is the hero around here and why?

There was a huge response to this question, with everyone having different answers, but I couldn’t write everyones names because of confidentiality and the fact this is a public blog. So I am going to write their job title insted.

  • The staff on their Gap Year, because they always goes the extra mile.
  • One of the sports teachers Mr O, because he’s great at teaching sport.
  • Headboy and scholars, “A” team sportsman.
  • Anyone putting their trust in us when we do things differently.
  • Mrs R because she is very calm, takes her time to get to know everyone and always gets involved.
  • Head of pre-prep because they lay the groundwork for future educational sucess.
  • All the staff who come in everyday
  • The sports teachers

What is your favourite characteristic of the school?

Naturally, every single answer to this question mentioned the setting. Just look at it though! There is a beautiful riverside which the school utilise, especially in the summer and not only that it is only an hours drive away from London so the boys can go on loads of school trips to the theatre, museums and art galleries. I wrote about learning support and the amount of work they do throughout the school, so I was glad when a member of staff told me that they felt there was a lot of support for students with dyslexia. Moreover, I have mentioned the family feel before and the homelieness of Moulsford which is down to the friendly staff and the fact that staff bring their pets at school. The pets go on outdoors learning trips like forest school, I have mentioned Bosun the dog before in my posts. Moreover, some teachers felt that the oportunities for academics, sport and other for the students and the staff were their favourite parts to the school.

What kinds of people fail in your organisation? (Students/staff)

Staff felt that it is quite hard for students to fail. This is most likely down to the fact that there is so much support for the boys and everyone will happily rally together to help any child in need. Some said that if anyone was to fail, it would be the less able/academic or non sporty boys who could become overwhelmed by workload and fail at their exams. However, we must think about failure as something with isn’t always academic, and someone can be a sucessful classmate as apposed to a successuful scholar.

Staff wise, those who may fail in this environment would possibly be those with a lack of confidence or anyone that fails but doesn’t try again. Unfortunately, some staff members said that some staff are not given the individual attention they need, so if they were to fail, they didn’t feel supported. This is absoloutley the opposite of anything I have seen here, with the amount of heads of department and a real heirarchy of staff, I think if staff members really felt that they needed support, all they would have to do is ask for it. However, everyone is fully entitled to their opinion and obvioulsy as I have said before, I am only seeing a snapshot of life at Moulsford as a teacher.

What question would you ask a candidate for a job?

Questions were varied and are as follows;

  • What would you bring to the school/staff room?
  • What evidence do you have of team playing?
  • Outside of learning what skills/talents do you have that will enhance the staff body?
  • Describe an aspect of your personality that you feel would benefit the school?
  • Are you flexible?
  • Tell me something unusual about yourself?
  • What do you condider makes a successful teacher?

I think it is extremely interesting to in fact see that the questions here are mostly based around the staff body. This is clearly something that the school feels is important when choosing a candidate for a job, mainly to consider what kind of person this particular school is looking to employ. This will help me in the future also, when I am looking for jobs in this field.

Science Lesson – Year 4 – Week 6

Image taken from Google – The boys really like the Twinkl resources

Monday’s lesson was my second science lesson within the school and I am really confident that it went well and know that the boys enjoyed it. Unfortunately there was no real opportunity for the teacher to observe me but did give me some informal feedback that was really positive. I think something that I can take away from this lesson is that I need to work on my assessment skills throughout lessons and that although there are many ways of assessing children it is best to ensure that you are taking it on board as you are teaching, not after you have taught. Furthermore, the boys have been working with twinkl and I continued this in my lesson by workiing with twinkl resources and teaching them what twinkl feel they should know with the added tweak to make it my own lesson. I really like the twinkl resources and think that when I am a teacher this is a website I would like to use more often.

Individual Lesson Plan Format (Primary)

 

Class/Group: Year 4GS                    Lesson: Science                                Date: 8.5.17

 

  Previous Experience

In previous lesson, children have sorted animals into a variety of groups in lesson 1 using different keys.

 
  Working towards outcomes of a National Curriculum

Pupils should be taught to explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment

 
  Literacy/Numeracy/ICT/HWB (where appropriate): ICT – to work on Ipads for extension, Literacy – for reading work off board and on worksheets, Numeracy – working with classifications keys and tables.  
  Learning Intentions Success Criteria  
  To be able to generate questions about animals.

To be able to use questions to sort animals in a key.

To see similarities and differences between vertebrates.

I can generate questions about animals.

I can use questions to sort animals in a key.

I can see similarities and differences between vertebrates.

 
  Resources Photo cards, worksheets, science books, smartboard, pencils, rubbers, glue sticks,  
  Timing Assessment methods
10 mins

 

 

 

 

5 mins

 

5 mins

 

10 mins

 

 

4 mins

20 mins

 

 

 

 

10 mins

 

Total

64 mins

 

Setting the context/Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

Read the information on the Power Point Presentation to introduce children to the concept of classification and ask questions about it.

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

Introduce the classifications of vertebrate and invertebrate, asking children to give examples of each. Explain that vertebrates can be further split into five groups: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles.

 

Explain the broad characteristics of each, asking children to note their similarities and differences. Explain that we will be focussing on vertebrates only today

 

Hand out Vertebrates Photo Sorting cards one per pair. In pairs, sort the cards into animal groups.

Tidy away cards.

Hand out worksheets, glue into science books, answer, ‘yes or no’ questions to sort the vertebrates into animal groups. When children finish they can do the key questions classification sheet.

 

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

Play “20 questions” game from maths but instead of guess a number its guess the vertebrates.

Question and Answer

 

 

 

 

 

Peer Assessment

 

 

 

 

Teacher Marking

 
Success Criteria Results Next steps for the children
I could see that the boys were able to successfully generate questions about animals after marking their classification keys.

From observation and the boys shouting out answers to questions I can see than the boys can all use questions to sort animals in a classification key.

After going over as a class the photo sorting activity game I am confident that the boys can see similarities and differences between vertebrates as each pair got them correct.

Child 5, 8 and 9 did get at least 1 question wrong in the classification keys and would benefit going over this through revision before the Year 4 exams.

It think as a class as a whole the next steps for the boys would be to create their own classification keys from the beginning by going outside and doing some outdoor learning by exploring the outdoor wildlife.

EVALUATING MY PRACTICE
Going well (what worked and why?)

I am pleased at how well this lesson went considering how unfamiliar I am with this topic. It worked well to use twinkle resources as the boys are familiar with these and the resources are bright, colourful and engaging.

The boys were really engaged throughout the lesson, answering questions when asked and volunteering to read off the board.

The boys all, except 3 successfully reached their success criteria and I would feel confident in them moving on to the next stage which I think is great as I feel that I taught them what they needed to know.

Areas for development (what didn’t work and why?)

The boys were quite chatty throughout the lesson and I did have to stop the lesson to tell the boys they were being too noisy and to quieten down. I think this was mainly due to the lesson being at the very end of the day, however this is no excuse and the boys should be listening from the beginning.

I don’t think the boys really needed to do the first classification key as a practice as it was slightly easy for their level and they already knew what to do. On the other hand, 3-4 boys did find this rather tricky let alone the sheets after but for the bulk of the class in was unnecessary.

Next Steps for Me

In future, I will try to assess the children as I am teaching a lesson, as some children already have a good idea about what I intend to teach them and there is no sense in wasting valuable class time teaching them what they already know.

I will continue to use engaging activities in my lessons as the boys are far more engaged in the lesson.

 

Learning from Life Placement Proposal Form

In the box below please write a short placement proposal statement explaining:

  • What the placement is
  • Why you have chosen this setting
  • What you think the benefits of the placement will be
  • What you think you would be able to bring to the placement

(500 words maximum)

 

For my Learning from Life placement I have chosen to attend a private prep boys school called Moulsford in Oxfordshire. I have chosen this setting as it is privately run and also boards its students from Monday to Friday. The school is situated in a beautiful part of the country and near the river Thames which means the school do a lot of sports which I will enjoy helping to run.

The difference between private boarding schools and government run schools is something I have always been interested in learning more about. This is why I feel that going to Moulsford for my Learning from Life placement is something that will be useful to my professional development. I know the area very well having family close by and following Richards Holmes comparative inputs for Educational Studies, I want to see the English curriculum being taught. Private schools often have a negative stigma attached to them and I am looking forward to seeing that this stigma is not a reality.

I will learn to work with a whole new curriculum, with it being an English school and I will also see the boarding side to the school. I am also looking forward to seeing how this affects the children who attend. The school has a great family feel to it and encourages sports and music which will be of good benefit to my learning. I will also see a lot of one to one teaching which is something I have not seen a lot of in practice and am sure this will benefit my own professional practice.

Being a keen musician and also enjoying craft work I hope I will be able to bring my talents to the school and teach the children something different. My professionalism and willingness to succeed in everything that I do is something which I believe the school will find refreshing. I have a strong background working with early years and although during my time at Moulsford I would prefer to shadow and teach the older classes, I will be able to share a lot of ideas within the early years section of the school. I am a very positive and happy person which in a school with so many values is key. I am good at working in teams, which at Moulsford you need to be as well as good at talking to parents, which I hope I get the opportunity to do.

This placement will be a wonderful experience for me. I am very excited and feel extremely lucky to be attending Moulsford Prep school for my Learning from Life placement.

 

437 words.

 

Placement Provider Overview

This blog post is going to be about the nature and culture of education in Moulsford Boys Prep School, Oxford-shire, England.

To start with, Moulsford is a private school, therefore independent and completely separate to the British government. On the other hand, the school follows the national curriculum up to Year 6 and thereafter from Year 6-8 the Common Entrance curriculum. The entire school is run by the Headmaster (chief role), and he is supported excellently by the staff who he has employed and the governors who help him.  Because of this I have created a small diagram of the structure around here including the curriculum’s, as the schools choose to follow them.

 

In terms of the curriculum, my findings of the differences between the English and private curriculum’s have been written in daily blog posts and weekly reflections. I feel there are some differences in the subjects we teach i.e. private schools in England teach classics and Scottish state schools don’t, but the way we teach and the techniques used are all the the same. The roles of the staff in private schools are the same as in state schools in Scotland, with the added additions of bursars, groundsmen, matrons and boarding staff. The other roles are basically the same as each position would be in a Scottish School.

There following list are of the many stakeholders to Moulsford. There will be many more stakeholders to Moulsford, however, I feel that this list includes the vast majority of the main stakeholders I have been in contact with. The stakeholders in Moulsford that I will spent most of my time at are:

  • School staff (Learning support, matron, kitchen, office, bursor, groundsmen, gap year students etc)
  • Boarding Staff
  • Visiting Staff (i.e. music and sport staff)
  • Pupils
  • Pupil’s Parents
  • Management i.e. Headmaster, deputies, heads of departments
  • Local community – business and residents of Moulsford, many of which are staff at the school
  • Wider community on school trips
  • Governors (Trustees of the Moulsford Preparatory School Trust – assist the School in its management, operations and development.)
  • Private education schools i.e. at sports matches and when other staff from these schools visit
  • National Government and Common Entrance – Curriculum’s