Category Archives: Curriculum resources

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.

Week 4 – Reflection

Image from Google – the Year 8 boys have started studying this classic

Most people moan about Monday mornings and having to get up at quarter to 7 to get to school on time, but I am having such a fantastic time that when my alarm goes off I seem to get straight up! Monday of my week 4 was great with me attending an English lesson with the Year 8’s who have just begun the Sherlock Holmes tale “The Sign of Four”. Once again, I observed some fantastic teaching practice where the teacher was getting the children really involved by reading allowed and explaining to them why he wanted them to read certain points. For example, reading one sentence at a time going around the room with all the boys taking a turn, means that the reader is able to see the punctuation and sentence structure a little clearer in certain situations. This is really good practice for me to see and I was especially impressed when the teacher showed some of the film to help the boys imagine the setting etc. When I was at primary school the teachers only brought out films for end of term treats or if they weren’t feeling well, but I can absolutely see the benefits to analyzing films in the classroom with the pupils for English purposes. To continue this, I then went on to a drama lesson with the Year 8’s again. The boys were definitely testing the teachers patience and this is the first instance of anything you could remotely call bad behaviour that I have seen, and compared to what I have seen in other schools or guide meetings, it simply didn’t compare. Not once did the teacher raise their voice throughout the whole lesson, but they used a lot of eye contact with the pupils to make them aware that the teacher was not pleased and when this didn’t work with certain pupils, talking to them individually about their behaviour did. These techniques are things I have read about in many teaching books and is a way I can see me being able to save my voice as a teacher when I graduate where I won’t be shouting to gain attention as much (Hayes, 2009, Chapter 5). The drama lesson content was really active and had elements incorporated that I remember from my own drama school days. Every element of the lesson was explained to the pupils and they were also encouraged to be respectful when watching performances and constructive when giving feedback to peers – all elements which may help them in later life. My day ended with a science lesson which is one of the only lesson the Year 4’s will get before I am teaching them science. I picked up on the children who need some extra support in the lesson, especially as this is the last lesson of a very long day for these boys, and I will factor them into my planning, ensuring that they have the support they need from myself and the teacher. My Monday fully ended with a trip to Tesco to by irn bru and Scottish shortbread for my talk to the boarders the next day.

Image from Google

On Tuesday, I was at the school for in total 14 hours. It was a very long day but I was so excited to be finally seeing the boarders and what boarding life was like at Moulsford. However, I couldn’t do any of that until I had spent a day observing lessons and preparing my own. Although my day began with a history lesson, it was science I was looking forward to the most as I wanted to see how the boys got on recapping what they had learnt the previous lesson the day before. Most of them fared well, needing very little help from me on the whole, but it was still interesting going around the room and observing the way that the boys solve their questions, especially seen as I will be working with this class a lot more, teaching the science and maths in the coming weeks. Tuesday’s school day ended with a trip to forest school when the forest was “alive with faeries” and “a kitchen for wood cookies!”. I love how imaginative the boys are when it comes to forest school, with the forest being something completely different every signal week. Rich (2012, preface) states that spending lessons like forest school outside is not only great for the school because it’s free, but also educational for the children because it enriches their environmental knowledge base. My Tuesday then continued with a fantastic evening with the lovely boarders which I wrote about it Boarding Life at Moulsford. As this was one of my many goals, I was glad to be completing it and answering all those questions I had about whether or not boarding life is just like it was in all those school stories I read as a child. Feel free to read it to find out more.

My Wednesday was tiring, naturally after such a long day previously. I was really pleased in the morning when the teacher for ICT and me had a discussion that in my last two weeks at Moulsford I may be able to teach that class some ICT. The were working with Google Sketch Up which I hadn’t seen before, let alone used, so I may need some practice before I teach a lesson in it. My English lesson was great, with me working with the same child I have mentioned in previous reflections, who I am helping in English lessons for added support. I started to adopt a “you write a sentence, I write a sentence” strategy with them to save time, so they could get more written down, so I was delighted when they expressed their love for writing and how happy they were with me allowing them to write half of the work themselves. I feel this is important to allow the child to take control over their own work and to show the class teacher that all of the work is their own and even though I am there to aid the student, I am only enhancing his education. My day ended with my first lesson at Moulsford and needless to say I was really worried! I don’t know why because I am usually an really confident person when working with children, especially when it comes to social studies subjects, however maybe it was the fact I had all day to worry about it and maybe it was the status of the school, because I was extremely nervous. But, there was no need to be as the lesson went really well with some extremely helpful feedback. You can read about what I did and an evaluation of the lesson here. I was also keen to write the post about history teaching in private schools in England in comparison to those in Scotland. I published this on Sunday night for everyone to read and as it is one of my goals to work with a different curriculum and learn about private schools. Both of these goals, I consider to be completed in terms of history education in this post.

Image taken from Google – I have really enjoyed looking at history education at Moulsford

Thursday was the day of my second lesson at Moulsford, slightly different working with Year 4’s. I wasn’t as nervous as Wednesday, possibly because I had already done a lesson the day before which went well too. The lesson plan and evaluation for the Mathematics Lesson – Year 4 – Week 4 is there if you click on the link. My day continued by attending another Latin lesson were I was a lot more active (yes me, the girl who speaks no Latin, active in a lesson, stop laughing). The children where deciphering a piece of text from Latin into English and this was my opportunity to go around the class talking to the boys about what they had done and how they had done it. The boys were extremely confident in explaining what they were doing and most boys were able to explain to me about the 7 different tenses that Latin has as well as reading out pieces of the text. I feel that the Year 7 boys were able to work with me quite confidently because they trust and respect me which is one of the main sections of the Standards for Registration (GTCS, 2012, p. 5) that we must achieve on this student placement. Furthermore, I would even be as bold as to say that the boys

Image taken from Google – I am thrilled that I am gaining pupils trust and respect when it comes to my lessons and observing lessons. This model shows how trust and respect can be acheived.

throughout the school trust and respect my position as a student teacher from the way they stand up when I enter the room, listen to me when I am teaching a lesson and do not display any challenging behaviour when I am teaching. I have worked hard to get to this level with the boys after I read that trust and respect can come from children on placement when you know their routines and behaviors (Medwell and Simpson, 2008, chaper 3). I did pick up on the trust and respect that the teachers and boys had, as the teachers mostly left the boys to do their work on their own. He was there and walking around the room but he trusted the boys enough to work together and get the work done in the time given, which they did. Trust and respect is a huge thing in this school where the staff members do trust and respect each other massively. There is a huge amount of trust and respect between the staff and parents too at Moulsford, with the parents “paying for a service” which they trust the school with provide. However, on the same point the staff trust the parents to back them up and enforce the schools rules in the home environment as well if a child was displaying challenging behaviour. Thursday ended with another history lesson about the Magna Carta. Some of the boys were extremely off task during the lesson so I was glad to be able to wander around the room and keep the boys on task where I could.

Friday was another lesson day for me where I was teaching science. More specifically, I was teaching about how plants grow and what uses roots have on plants. The children stayed really engaged throughout the lesson and on task which I was delighted with and overall I feel it was a really good lesson. You can read my lesson plan and my evaluation here. After my lesson I attended an English lesson with the Year 8’s where they had a spelling test and continued on with “Sign of Four”. It was clear that very few of the boys had revised for their spelling test and as they are a class full of pupils with places sorted when it comes to private high schools and no more exams to take, it is frustrating for the staff who are trying to teach them when they are

Image taken from Google

not interested in learning. The teacher in this class spoke to the pupils as though they were adults which really impressed me and is something that I see often at Moulsford. Even though the children are from 4-13, they are all spoken to in the same manner rather than being spoken down to because they are children which you see at some schools. Moreover, by modelling this type of behaviour as teachers, it can develop the way that students talk to one another in typical conversation (Cremin and Arthur, 2014, chapter 12). The GTCS (2012) also state in their professional commitment section how vital it is that a teacher demonstrates commitment to their role through collaborative practice, which I feel the staff do here by treating the children like adults, so this could be considered collaborating with them. Furthermore, my afternoon was spent conducting culture interviews for my social justice section of my folio where we need to demonstrate an understanding of the values, role and culture of the placement. I will write a separate blog post on the culture of Moulsford early next week. Next week will also bring a Harry Potter Studios tour with Year 4, more teaching and another bank holiday! I cannot believe there is only 2 weeks left on placement, I am having the time of my life and want to stay forever!

 

References

Cremin, T, and Arthur, J (2014) Learning to Teach in the Primary School. Routledge:

GTCS (2012) The Standards for Registration. [Online]. Available at: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/about-gtcs/standards-for-registration-draft-august-2012.pdf (Accessed on 17th March 2017).

Hayes, D (2009) Learning and teaching in primary schools. Exeter: Learning Matters

Medwell, J and Simpson, F (2008) Successful Teaching Placement in Scotland: Primary and Early Years. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Rich, S (2012) Bringing Outdoor Science in : Thrifty Classroom Lessons. Vancouver: Arlington.

Mathematics Lesson – Year 4 – Week 4

Image taken from google – I decided to use Mount Everest to tell a story to the boys to work out it height to make the lesson more active and get them engaged.

Today’s lesson for me was a maths lesson with Year 4. Overall, I am really pleased with how the lesson went and how much the children took away from this lesson. The children are learning about subtraction from decomposition and I chose to teach this in a way of telling a story and then doing a worksheet. I was concerned about the children not being active do also added in a short activity including the children answering the questions and getting into a line at the end. I have marked their written work which will be included in my placement folder for confidentiality purposes as well as a very positive evaluation sheet from the class teacher about my lesson.

Individual Lesson Plan Format (Primary)

Class/Group: Year 4                         Lesson: Mathematics                       Date: 27.04.17

  Previous Experience

Children have done previous work on mental and written subtraction in previous terms

 
  Working towards outcomes of a National Curriculum

Pupils should be taught to: subtract numbers with up to 4 digits using the formal written methods of columnar subtraction where appropriate

 
  Literacy/Numeracy/ICT/HWB (where appropriate):  
  Learning Intentions Success Criteria  
To use compact decomposition to subtract 3 and 4 digit numbers from 4 digit numbers I can use compact decomposition to subtract 3 and 4 digit numbers from 4 digit numbers  
  Resources Whiteboards, smartboard, pens, worksheets, pencils, rubbers, post it notes, question cards  
  Timing   Assessment methods  
   6 mins

 

5 mins

 

5 mins

20 mins

 

3 mins

 

20 mins

5 mins

Total

70 mins

 

Setting the context/Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

Give the children a question on the board (6273-4528) and give them each a post it note and some time to answer question. Answer at the end

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

Explain the Everest “story” using the class whiteboard to draw on.

Have the children with individual whiteboards in pair answer the question 8848-453m using compact decomposition. Write the answer on the board as the children answer the questions given.

Continue with the whiteboards for subtracting 8848-985m if the balcony was lower down. Discuss this.

Children will then do the Everest camp worksheet in pairs putting names at the top. Timer on board. Another similar worksheet available if children finish early.

Tidy up from this and get out whiteboards

Play the silent game where the children have to answer questions and get into a number line – game must be silent and they must help each other

 

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

Answer the question set at the start on a ‘post it’ note.  Stick on board and review – did class agree

 

Question and Answer

Question and Answer

 

 

Teacher Marking

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observation

 

 

 

Question and Answer

 
Success Criteria Results Next steps for the children
The children all responded well to the compact decomposition strategy with most getting all of the answers correct for each activity. Children 1, 7 and 13 were unable to complete the first activity and were allowed to continue it during the second activity. Even when getting the extra time, the same children got answers wrong, which could be down to the questions or them not being confident in using this technique. Children 1, 7 and 13 need to continue to work with the compact decomposition strategy, possibly even with easier questions of only 2/3 digits.

I am confident for all other children to move on to harder subtraction questions, possibly even with 5 digits.

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 and active.

Most children engaged well with the story which I think is possibly down to me telling the story in a fun way, allowing the children to come up to the board and draw things on themselves.

I had planned this lesson well so knew exactly when I should do things and how to start it off. )

Areas for development (what didn’t work and why?I sent all the children to go up to get their books at once, which was a mistake as it caused a lot of chaos at the desks. I should have allowed them to go up one at a time or for one child from each table to go up to hand out the books.
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 remember to send children up one at a time or one from each table to get books etc.

 

Humanities Lesson Year 3

Image taken from google

Todays lesson was my first proper lesson here at Moulsford so I was a little nervous to say the least! The boys are lovely and I am getting to know them really well as I am with this class often and the class teacher is really supportive. My lesson was on rivers, the planning is first and then official evaluation of the lesson below. The class teacher did observe me which did not worry me and they also gave me some really positive feedback. This will be included in my placement folder.

Individual Lesson Plan Format (Primary)

Class/Group: Year 3                                   Lesson: Humanities                                               Date: 28.04.17
Previous Experience

Children will have identified major capital cities in Britain, rivers and landmarks and completed a worksheet on flags and saints.

Working towards outcomes of a National Curriculum

Name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and

their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features

(including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand

how some of these aspects have changed over time.

Literacy/Numeracy/ICT/HWB (where appropriate):

Literacy – writing on and reading the worksheets, ICT – Looking Oxon and Berks on google earth

Learning Intentions
Success Criteria
To know where Oxon and Berks are in Britain

To know their addresses

To know where the river Thames is in Britain

I know where Oxon and Berks are in Britain

I am able to write out my address

I know where the river Thames is in Britain

Resources
Pencils, Pens/pencils, Computer, Smartboard, Worksheets, Internet, maps, humanities books, glue, projector, online timer
Timing
Assessment Methods
 

 

 

 

6 mins

 

 

 

 

 

15 mins

 

 

3 mins

 

 

4 mins

 

 

2 mins

 

6 mins

 

 

 

 

 

4 mins

Total

50 mins

Setting the context/ Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

 

Open lesson by discussing with the children about where they live, what their home county is called and zooming in to Oxon and Berks on google maps

 

 

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

 

After opener, hand out the worksheets and humanities books to the children to complete and then glue into their books. Put a timer on the board. I and teacher will help any children who do not know their addresses.

 

Hand out the Thames worksheets. As a class, look at the map of the major rivers of England and discuss which the children have visited or heard of.

 

Have the children each read out a fact about the river Thames.

 

Children to glue sheets into their humanities books.

 

Children to complete Thames missing word worksheet and any other uncompleted work from their other worksheet.

 

 

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

 

In the children’s jotters write down 3 stars and a wish underneath worksheets – 3 things the children understood and 1 thing they need to improve from today’s lesson

 

 

 

 

Question and Answer

 

 

Observation and Teacher Marking

Question and Answer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher Marking

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher Marking

Success Criteria Results Next steps for the children
After questioning the children at the end of the lesson it was clear to see that the children are confident in their knowledge that they know where Oxon and Berks are in Britain. Very few of the children knew their addresses and needed a lot of help during the lesson. Child 3,5,7,8 and 9 didn’t know any of their address whilst children 6,10,11,12 and 16 knew confidently part of their address (e.g. house/street name or village) but nothing else. All other children were unable to write any part of their address and expressed this as a wish in the plenary. The children know where the river Thames is in Britain after discussions with them and looking at their plenaries. The children will continue to learn about rivers with a closer look at how they are formed and why they are important. The year group will also go on a school trip to a rivers museum.

Children 3,5,6,7,8,9,10,12 and 16 would benefit from a lot more work on learning their addresses and this could be done in language lessons when looking at letter writing.

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

The children overall really enjoyed the work they did on Google earth and I was able to gauge their attention throughout the whole part of this lesson. There were no behaviour issues throughout the lesson which was a definite positive for me and I believe this is due to my planning where because I knew what I was doing and when, I was keeping the lesson fast paced and snappy.

The boys also expressed the fact that they liked the plenary and they filled this out very well and I have some excellent assessments due to this.

My timing was good and I was able to start and finish at the times I had set out.

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

I found that the children at one stage were finding some of the questions I was giving them too difficult and they were starting to get fidgety because they didn’t know their address and there was only 1 sheet of paper with their addresses on. In future I would possibly put all of the addresses on the smartboard to save myself going round all the boys giving them their addresses.

I am from Scotland and there for my go to knowledge is not usually about Oxon and Berks so some words I was pronouncing wrong where the teacher had to correct me. I think I would in future revise the topic more, or maybe ask the class teacher about pronunciations just to be certain.

Next Steps for Me

I will absolutely be doing two stars and a wish again after the excellent reception it got as it is a quick plenary that the children enjoyed.

Next time I will be more careful about where in the classroom I position myself, because I should have all of the children in my line of view which I didn’t at points today. Although this was not an issue today, I am very aware that in the future it could be with a different class in terms of behaviour.

The children I work with in this Year are young and therefore work better in pairs. In my next lesson I will try to incorporate more peer assessment and team work.

Inset Day – Purple Pens and Labelling Lads

Yesterday’s inset day was a lovely relaxing first day back for the teachers before the madness of the children arriving! Moulsford had booked a local teacher to talk to us from a private school in Oxford who are changing their curriculum, like Moulsford, to a more skills based curriculum. As he started I already liked the idea of what he would be talking about and he ended up keeping me engaged throughout his whole talk and giving me fantastic ideas to come away with to put into practice.

Image taken from google – is this really how we want children to feel when we label them?

The first thing which the gentleman discussed was ensuring as teachers we have high expectations of all our students. One of the problems in teaching at the moment can be the way we label our pupils from “low ability” and “lazy” to “gifted” and “clever”. I had never actually sat and thought about how my own thoughts and discussions with colleagues could have such an effect on the child themselves but I am really glad I have because I have realized now that it can really influence a child and their own expectations for their learning. Even the parents start to pick up on children who are in top sets or low sets and it reminded me of the episode of desperate housewives (I know sorry, but it was a good example) where two of the main characters go crazy trying to figure out which one of their children were in the higher maths class by stealing homework to look at from other children.

Image taken from google – what does this image really say about us as teachers putting children into sets?

Now although that is going to the extremes and is from a made up show, there is definitely something there to think about, because labeling our children as teachers clearly has an effect on our pupils. Granted, this can often be positive with children thriving from the praise of being a “star pupil” or an “A-grade student” but those labelled as “weak” or “unable” are, in my opinion far less likely to try to get better grades. The RSA have an interesting article on a system where at the start of the year every child is given an A grade and they have to continually show good academic work to keep the grade. Their research shows in fact that children are likely to try to hold on to the A they have been given rather than being given a C and to then have to try and bring it up to an A.

Growth mindset is everywhere at the moment and is something which was also discussed about in the talk. I can honestly say I didn’t really understand it fully until yesterday, it was just words that professionals kept using and I was reading in academic books and journals. However, now having done the activities in the talk I can say that I understand more of what growth mindset is and how important showing children that they can change is. Intelligence shouldn’t be seen as a fixed point, it should be seen as something which can be developed. Moreover, failure was discussed at the talk as well and how giving the children an opportunity to fail and learn from it, is just as important as giving children an opportunity to learn. This was then continued as the main focus for today’s morning assembly for the first day back. The head master made the point interactive by having children up at the front and re-iterated the fact that failure is something which should be seen as positive as we are able to learn from it. The following video was also shown, in order to prove to the boys that failure can happen to anyone, not just them.

Image taken from google here is an example of the pit

The last 2 points of the talk were challenging children and giving children informed feedback. I always try to challenge my pupils no matter their age or stage, but I dont challenge them to the extremes where children go into the “panic zone”. The teacher leading the talk discussed “the pit” with us and what using this tool could do for our teaching and the childrens learning. When discussing feedback, we looked at many different ways in which feedback can inform the children of ways they can improve on their work. Many different marking strategies including two stars and

Image taken from google – here is an example of the purple pen of progress in action!

a wish, peer assessment, question and answer were discussed in groups, but overall the main marking strategy I will be taking away from this is the “progress pen”. The idea behind this is that the children will be able to write in comments in their books around the teachers comments about how they will progress in their learning and more specifically they use it to answer their next step targets that the teacher has given them. To be picky, the amount of time this may take students to create a target for each piece of work could be lengthy until they get the hang of it, however the idea behind it is something I like and I feel it is a great way of teaching children that they should be in charge of their own learning!

To conclude, I feel that labeling children can be dangerous and the the RSA have come up with something very different with their ideas of starting off every pupil with an A grade. I personally don’t like to label children, however sometimes when discussing the child’s progress and ability in certain subjects I do see how these terms can creep into conversation, even if they are positive! Furthermore, I definitely think the learning pit and the purple progress pen are teaching tools which I like and would  use in lessons, even as just a student myself to make children in my class feel better about their learning and feedback. It is our job as teachers to ensure that all children feel that they are in a safe space to fail and by teaching them these techniques we can get one step closer to making them feel that they are in a safe space.

Image taken from goolge

 

First Time at Phonics

Image taken from google

Phonics at Moulsford has become part of the curriculum from pre-prep up to Year 5 over the past couple of years. For those of you reading this who are unsure of what phonics are, they are the first strategy that children should be taught to help them learn to read by using words that are made up from small sounds called phonemes. Before Moulsford, my own experience of phonics was limited and I was never completely sure of what they were, how they were taught or if they worked. Although I have not been at Moulsford all that long, already I have been in many classes who are using phonics regularly and putting this strategy at the forefront of the children’s learning. Moulsford also follow the national curriculum for England for teaching phonics which means that more resources are often readily available online. Each class I have observed during their phonics lessons have had around 16-18 boys in and have used a range of activities to develop knowledge and understanding. Lessons at pre-prep level are taught every morning for half an hour and the older years mix phonics in with reading time and English lessons.

Image taken from google of a good example of a resource teachers may like to use in their classrooms

Euan Mclelland for the Daily Mail, mentions the benefits of teaching phonics, saying that phonics is a cost-effective way to help raise literacy levels across Britain and that teaching phonics closes attainment gap while not asking more from pupils than what they are used to or capable of. Also, the London School of Economics (LSE) have found teaching children to read using sounds rather than individual letters, far more effective and that this can be of greater benefit to children with English as an additional language. Furthermore, Rhona Johnston and Joyce Watson at the University of Hull have studied the implementation of phonics in classrooms from 1992 to 2004 and found that the teaching of 3.5 hours of phonics per week can bring children’s spelling, reading and vocabulary up considerably, concluding that there is considerably less time wasting in the classroom with phonics teaching and that the scores were generally better.

Andrew Davis has argued in the guardian that phonics doesn’t work and there shouldn’t be so much concentration put into phonics at a young age. Moreover, he states that English is a hard language to learn with words having many different spellings all with different meanings. He also says that there is no consideration in phonics for children who need braille and sign language and is therefore not an inclusive method to bring into the classroom. This point is strengthened by Abigail Marshall arguing that teaching phonics is an arduous process for many dyslexic students and that phonics-based teaching won’t help children with dyslexia because their reading barriers lie elsewhere.

Image taken from google images of a twinkl resource for phonics

Some of the resources that Moulsford have been using include books and websites from Lego superhero books to phonicsplay.com and twinkl. From what I had heard about the what phonics was I wasn’t expecting it to be taught in such an active way, with the children being so engaged. Games like the one here, from twinkle, include throwing a dice and then choosing a word from that to read and put into a sentence. Additionally, writing out words on whiteboards, possibly a more traditional way of teaching reading and writing, are still included in the daily lessons and the children also have a phonics book which will go home with them. This is where the boys can find the correct words in the home environment to match the sound for that week, which in turn with also get parents involved in their child’s learning. The children also make use of technology playing games on their smart boards in small groups or individually trying to find the correct spelling for the words on an ipad app.

To conclude this short post, every activity I have experienced are all key points which I will try to take away and put into my own future practice as a teacher, especially with phonics becoming more prominent in the Scottish Curriculum. My experience at Moulsford is certainly teaching me a lot about education in England, especially early years English in this case and this means I am hitting my goals for this placement already! I am hoping that after easter I may be able to try my hand at teaching my own phonics lesson and sifting through the wide world of resources out there at educators fingertips…

Image taken from google of some good outdoor phonics ideas

Image taken from google of resources which can be used

Image taken from google of resources which can be used

Cognita De Vita

Learning From Life…

The title of this post is written in Latin as I am writing today about my first ever experience going into a Latin lesson. It was extremely interesting going into a classroom being totally unaware of what the children were learning about and saying. The teacher was extremely helpful by asking the children to explain what constituted a verb and giving the English before the Latin. Also, the teacher kindly handed me a sheet of the present passives so I wouldn’t be in the dark in what they were saying. I found the experience gave me a slight insight into how it must be for children coming to Britain with English as an additional language or with no English at all. I have had similar experiences going into French and Spanish lessons in previous placements as I have been fluent in Gaelic from a young age but have never had a wish to learn another language as my interests lie in social studies. At Moulsford, the boys learn Latin from Year 5 onwards, however this may change with the new timetable where they may start at Year 6. Latin not only consists of the learning of the language but also about its history as this could be a scholarship opportunity for some boys in the future.

Picture taken from google images

I have said myself that I have never been given the opportunity to learn Latin and that is purely down to the fact I went through state school. Yes, I was lucky in the sense that my parents lived in an area where the Gaelic curriculum was offered and decided that I would go into the Gaelic medium at 3 however, I am aware of the fact that this is not the case in the majority of schools in Scotland, let alone the rest of Britain. Private schooling is certainly one of the only options available if you want your child to learn certain languages including Latin unless you are willing to move, however according to The Independent Latin is said to have made a surprising comeback within state secondary schools over the past few years. I had a look on website for The Association for Latin Teaching where they have a list of all of the schools which offer Latin as a subject and state schools are certainly in the minority. It is clear that if you wish for your child to have any form of teaching instruction of the classics then private or independent schools are the way forward. 

Picture taken from google images

Professor Dennis Hayes believes that Latin should be taught in every primary school (no matter whether they are private or state) and be taught throughout school, not limited to the middle and upper years. He suggests that it would transform education in English schools and that subjects should become more accessible to children in state schools. Furthermore, I agree with Hayes that children should have the opportunity in all schools to access classic languages, but that I feel this only a dream. The current state education system in Britain is underfunded and the Financial Times recently produced an article stating that English schools will face a 6.5% cut in funding and expect it to happen by 2020. Therefore, the likelihood of the government spending a drastic amount on Latin teachers and a new curriculum for Latin is low when they are taking away money from other departments.

Some readers may ask why Latin, but I ask why any Language? Surely there is a benefit to children learning a language no matter what. I have had people say to me that Gaelic is a dying language and should be left to die instead of pouring money into it when there are more important things to be spending money on.  However, my argument to this is that I have used Gaelic throughout my life to converse with friends, as an extra exam on my University applications and most importantly in my job when I worked as an early years practitioner in a Gaelic Nursery. Furthermore, the same could be said with Latin with other students. Half of our English vocabulary is made up of Latin words and roots, it is argued that Latin is the most efficient way to learn English grammar and it is a part of our history as a country. Each language has its positives and negatives but I feel that Latin is a good language to teach children and should be taught in all schools. I look forward to observing more Latin lessons at Moulsford and hopefully learning a few Latin words myself. Today’s lesson certainly gave me something interesting to think about.

Gratias ago vos pro lectio!