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September 1, 2016
by Catriona Oates

Sustainable development and mobile phones

I’ve been reading Derek’s Brown’s book about Shaping our Global Future and it has really made me think about how much of what we do in our everyday lives has an impact on sustainability in a global sense. The chapter that made most impact on me was the one about mobile phones, not about how we use them, but about what has to happen to the land and to people in under-developed countries in order to manufacture them. I had no idea…..

August 23, 2016
by Catriona Oates

Target: 2.1.3 Employ a range of teaching strategies and justify their approach

Target: 2.1.3 Employ a range of teaching strategies and justify their approach

2.1 Teaching and Learning

2.1.3 Employ a range of teaching strategies and justify their approach.

Rationale: I have selected this target for this placement as I feel it is very important to implement a good range of teaching strategies to ensure that all children are motivated and engaged in their learning. Current curricular guidelines highlight the importance of active learning, outdoor learning and I.C.T in the facilitation of learning. I, therefore, find it appropriate to focus on this target in order to provide valuable learning experiences for the children I am teaching.

Professional Actions
Demonstrate the ability to select creative and imaginative strategies for teaching and learning appropriate to the subject, topic and pupils’ needs.
Demonstrate the ability to use a range of teaching approaches and homework to reinforce and extend work in class.
Demonstrate the ability to select and use a wide variety of resources, including ICT and, where appropriate, the outdoor environment, in a considered way and in a number of different learning and teaching situations.
Demonstrate the ability to teach individuals, groups and classes.
Demonstrate the ability to evaluate and justify the approaches taken to learning and teaching and their impact on pupils.

Prior to placement, I intend to explore a variety of resources on GLOW which I could potentially use within the class room. I will also research potential ideas for outdoor learning (if possible and appropriate).
Week 1
I will become familiar with the main resources used within the class. I will read through sections 3.2 (Approaching short-term planning), 3.5 (Organising effective classroom talk) and 3.6 (Learning outside the classroom) in ‘Learning to Teach in the Primary School’ by James Arthur and Teresa Cremin (2010). I will also read through chapter 5 (Information and communication technology) in ‘A Guide to Teaching Practice’ by Louis Cohen et al (2004).
Week 2
I will plan lessons which include a variety of teaching approaches and continue to make use of I.C.T to make my lessons more interesting. I will seek advice from the CT. Where possible and appropriate I aim to plan learning to be carried out in the outdoor environment. At the end of each week, I will evaluate the strategies used to inform my future planning.
Week 3
I will continue to plan and implement lessons which employ a range of teaching strategies. Having done this throughout the first two weeks I will incorporate approaches which were successful and those which the children enjoyed.
Week 4
I will identify and utilise other approaches which have come to my attention through my wider reading. I will focus on meeting the needs of individuals.
Weeks 5
I will continue to implement lessons which incorporate effective teaching strategies. I will reflect on the strategies used throughout the placement and evaluate their effectiveness.
Evaluation /Reflection
Week 1 (23.10.15 – 26.10.15)
This week I got the children to discuss ideas in groups during one of my lessons. The class teacher had previously told me that co-operative learning is promoted throughout the school and the children sit in co-operative learning groups. For most groups this worked well and the children stayed on task. However, I did notice that one particular group required to be reminded of what they were discussing quite frequently. Dawes (2008, as cited in Arthur and Cremin 2010) suggests that hidden ‘ground rules’ of talking in groups should be discussed and made clear, such as listen, include everyone, stay on task and so on. I will use this to inform my future planning where group discussion is present.
I feel that, although the lesson did not take place outdoors, I was able to let the children go around the school to explore angles. This worked well and allowed me to see how the children got on out with the classroom setting. I also tried to make use of ICT using the IWB.
Week 2 (29.10.15 – 02.11.15)
Feedback from the class teacher this week is that I have used ICT effectively within my lessons to engage the children and promote learning. I will continue to do this as I also recognise the impact it has on the children. Cohen et al (2004) suggest that ICT raises pupils’ motivation and performance. However, it is also highlighted that some forms of ICT (games etc) must be used carefully in the classroom, making sure that dialogue and interaction is not hindered (Cohen et al, 2004). I, therefore, must ensure that ICT is used as an effective learning tool at all times.
I have planned learning experiences for groups (spelling) and the whole class and have supported individuals during lessons. I feel that in the next few weeks it is important to work more on managing groups within whole class lessons. I have also tried to make my lessons as active as possible allowing the children to work co-operatively with each other.

Week 3 (05.11.15 – 09.11.15)
At the beginning of this week, the IWB in the classroom broke down which has meant I have not been able to make use of this resource. However, I was able to use the set of laptops in the school to incorporate ICT effectively into two of my lessons. In both lessons, the children used the laptops to research particular areas and I feel that this worked well.
Last week I identified the need to work on my ability to manage groups within whole class lessons. I did fairly well with this during the week, but I have identified further areas for development in relation to this. Feedback from the class teacher was that I planned differentiated, engaging activities for each group well. However, when reflecting on my practice, I feel that I need to ensure that I spend a fair amount of time working with and explaining activities to each group. Having discussed this with the class teacher, I am going to plan for group starter activities which they can do as a group (without teacher support) whilst I explain the tasks to each group. This will allow the groups to work co-operatively with each other, which is a skill which the class teacher and school aim to promote. Vygotsky advocated that learning is done best through social interaction. It is stated that “young people’s learning is best served when they have opportunities to learn with and from each other” (Scottish Government, n.d). Therefore, I feel that these activities will be effective in developing co-operative skills as well as allowing me to spread my time more effectively.
Week 4 (12.11.12 – 16.11.12)
Throughout the week I have tried to include a variety of activities which were engaging for the children and addressed their specific needs. Feedback from the class teacher was positive this week with regards to different activities and games which I have planned. Current curricular guidelines suggest that “Children learn by doing, thinking, exploring, through quality interaction, intervention and relationships, founded on children’s interests and abilities across a variety of contexts” (Scottish Government, n.d).
I feel that, on the whole, I have worked well to ensure that equal time is spent with each group. However, I recognise that I still need to work on this to ensure that the needs of all of the children are met.
The IWB was fixed during the week which meant that this valuable resource was back in use. I used this for various games which effectively extended learning and was enjoyable for the children.
During the coming week, I intend to plan, with the class teacher, a homework grid for the children to complete. This will be a valuable experience as I have not issued homework before.
One aspect of this target which I have not addressed yet is making use of the outdoor environment for learning. I intend to speak to the class teacher about this to plan this where possible. Arthur and Cremin (2010) highlight the importance of knowing why you are organising learning experiences in the outdoor environment and stress that it must be of value to the learning.

Week 5 (19.11.15 – 23.11.15)
This week I have worked with the class teacher to create a homework grid for the children to complete at home. I have tried to include a range of activities which will effectively extend and reinforce learning from work which has been included within the class. The Scottish Government (2007) explain the importance of homework by stating that it enables children to manage their time out with efficiently, gives them responsibility for their learning and extends learning. The format which I used for the homework has been implemented by the school and aims to develop the children’s time management skills.
As well as extending learning and giving children responsibility, it also gives them a chance to share their learning with a parent/guardian. Desforges and Abouchaar (2003) emphasise the important role that a supportive home environment play in children’s education.
Throughout the week, I feel I have also managed to plan and implement varied activities for the children which have aided their learning.

August 23, 2016
by Catriona Oates
1 Comment

Personal Assessment of Mathematics

In my first attempt at the personal mathematics assessment in September, I achieved a score of 9 out of 16. It became evident here that there was progress to be made in certain areas such as information handling, percentages and significant figures. My strongest areas of the test appeared to be multiplication and division. These are areas which I have always felt confident in. My personal best score after repeated attempts at different questions the online test was 13 out of 16. This result came after I studied the area of Information Handling in the Haylock (2010) workbook and I also used the BBC Bitesize website to refresh my knowledge on areas such as speed, distance, time and significant figures. Although there has been an improvement in my result, it is evident that I still have areas to develop over my time at university.

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