Busy Busy Busy

After nearly two months away from a classroom, returning on Monday morning was weird.

I had a fairly restless night’s sleep on the Sunday night and I awoke early Monday morning being very nervous. I noticed a tense feeling in my chest and it was something I would have for the majority of the week. Stepping back in to the classroom and I immediately remembered the table names – Red, Blue and Yellow. The names sprung to mind quickly as it reminded me of the first three Pokemon games (although I sincerely doubt that was the logic behind choosing the names).

I had been in contact with the teachers for the class about what lessons I was to teach for Monday – a PE lesson. I went in Monday with a plan in hand for the PE lesson and observed the teacher in action. They took the time then to ask me about what I had observed and what I’d take from that and if there was anything I’d do a little differently. It was a very helpful conversation and helped calm me somewhat. The PE lesson, rather surprisingly went off without a hitch. I had set out five activities all related to throwing and aiming and had each station numbered to avoid confusion when moving groups from activity to activity. I also had a chat with the other teacher about targets for the placement, organising a visit from a university tutor, and what the areas of focus are for the term. All in all, Monday was busy but a nice start to the first week back. 

Tuesday did not go as well. I taught a writing lesson which I thought I had prepared sufficiently for but I had underestimated the length of time and the amount of instruction that was needed and suffice to say, I was very disappointed with it. I left the school on Tuesday rather annoyed with myself but went in to the university to use the IT facilities to prepare for what I wanted to be a great lesson on subtraction. I prepared a game on Powerpoint using hyperlinks with subtraction questions, making an effort to use some of the different words for subtraction – take away, minus, subtract, less. I was, in a sense, cautious of relying too much on a memory stick for  what I thought was a good method of teaching subtraction and so I made sure to save the Powerpoint on my memory stick, Google Drive and printed out the slides – just in case.

I was hoping the lesson on subtraction would go well on Wednesday and beforehand, that now familiar tense feeling was present. Thankfully, the Powerpoint game worked perfectly. It opened from my memory stick with no problems and the children loved the smiley face that popped up if they selected the right answer. Smiles all around and as a result – the tension dissipated for the day. The teacher told me they were very impressed with the use of the different words for subtraction as it was important that the children become familiar with them early on. 

Thursday I used a similar game as the subtraction lesson for a lesson on ‘br’, ‘cr’, and ‘dr’ words. I thought it had worked well but there appeared to be a little confusion on mixing up the ‘br’ and ‘dr’ words so I spoke to the teacher about this afterwards and they assured me that the lesson went well and that the confusion didn’t mean the lesson was the cause of confusion but just a sign that more work was needed in that area. I also took a mental maths lesson in which the focus was on counting backwards from 20. I used a large number line to count backwards with them first time round and then blocked the number line from view. We then played a number game show in which I would hold up a card with a number and they had to tell me the number before the one displayed. They loved it and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the class’ quieter characters put their hand up to join in on the game show. To finish off, we sang Ten Green Bottles. I won’t lie, I found that terrifying! Obviously, I can give a virtuoso performance of Blame It On The Boogie and other similar classics when I’m singing into the shower head but I felt terrified by singing in front of an early years class. What made it even scarier for me was the class teacher returned in to the classroom when there was 8 of the bottles still on the wall! ‘Oh sweet Jesus’ I thought when I saw the teacher walk in. Thankfully, after hearing that another green bottle had accidentally fallen, they joined in with the class singing the story of the final seven bottles. The children loved singing the song and I think I’ll be more ready to sing in a class again. 

Friday I was taking another writing lesson and another PE lesson. Both lessons went very well and when the class teacher and I were discussing them afterwards, they told me that they thought the lessons had went well but gave me an area for improvement. They told me that they felt the class sometimes gets too noisy. We agreed that a noise-ometer would be an appropriate way to lower the volume in the classroom. All in all, I thought the week had gone well and so I relaxed sufficiently to allow myself a game of pool or two with a friend from work on the Friday evening and an episode or two of Scandal when I got home. 

I have a nice bit of work to do now for today, including a noise-ometer to make! One of the lessons i’m currently planning involved using A Bug’s Life (as gardens and mini-beasts is the topic for the term) to inspire us to write our own story for Flik. Admittedly, I’m looking forward to that lesson particularly. 

Anywho. That’s all my news I think for this week. so I’ll post this and close the tab, maybe share the post on Twitter and then return to planning for the week ahead. Busy busy busy. 

G’luck!

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Late post

This post is coming far later than normal but I have had a very busy day! 

Our university’s Gaelic Football team had a game today (which we won) and there was a soccer tournament between competitor companies so I represented my employers in that tournament today aswell. I was exhausted by the end. Thankfully we got food afterwards so that was much needed and went down well. I’m just after seeing in the last few minutes that I passed the resubmission of that essay I had failed previously so I’m relieved about that! Back to lectures tomorrow but no complaints on how I spent the weekend!

The last week was aimed at getting us prepared for our next placement (which starts tomorrow week) and our next assessment. On Monday we had lectures and workshops aimed at preparing our essays. The group I will be working with shared email addresses and we are each researching individually and then pooling everything together which will be very helpful. We had assistance from a tutor who was fantastic help. He really seemed to enjoy our conversations about our topics and helped us fine tune our questions so that it was focused and ready to start. Everyone left that particular workshop praising this tutor very highly. 

There was no lectures on Tuesday and while I got some research done, I spent a large portion of the time reading another James Rollins book – The Blood Gospel. Honestly, Rollins doesn’t know how to write a boring book. As I said, I was doing research but it was rather annoying when after I ventured in to the library and took out some relevant literature, I wasn’t five minutes back at the flat when I got a recall notice from the Library for the books. Others had requested them so I couldn’t hold on to them for half enough time for this essay. 

On Wednesday we had a lecture about storytelling and the usefulness for building literary skills in children. It was an interesting lecture and I can certainly see how it would be useful with early stages. I will be looking to incorporate that in to my lesson planning for the next few week. 

Thursday we had PE and dance and drama and those classes are always good for a laugh. We learn and try useful activities for each of those subjects and it’s especially useful when it will be so fresh in our minds for the impending return to placement.

Friday in ICT we were playing with Beebots but the workshop was meant to be two hours long when a half an hour would have sufficed. The Science workshop was about friction so it was a throwback to my childhood when we were making ramps for Matchbox cars to zip down. It came at a perfect time because the night before I was talking with a friend about watching the Power Rangers as a kid and how my poor mother had to get up at 7am to record them on the video recorder so we could watch them at 8am with breakfast before school. (Thanks Mammy!) Playing with those Matchbox cars solidified my desire to get my hands on a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Megazord again. I had one as a kid and I lost it. I don’t think I ever got over that loss. 

Again, I feel as though I don’t have a whole lot to say this week. I can’t put in to words how excited I am for placement to start. That has to be a good sign, right? I was initially quite worried about working with early stages. I feared it wouldn’t suit me. While that might prove to be true, I’m no longer worried about that. I’m looking forward to teaching again. If my love of the Power Rangers is anything to go by, I should be well able to relate to the younger kids. 

Tomorrow night is the #edchatie debate so hopefully I remember to keep an eye out for it on Twitter this week. I forgot about it last week and I was quite annoyed with myself. 

Apologies about the briefness of this post. As I’ve said before, there is a vast difference between lectures and placement in terms of how much I can/want to write about. When I’m back on placement, I will have lots to say. 

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend and enjoy the week ahead.

 

Bye bye, bye. Bye. Bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye! 

Counting down

Another week done and one week closer to probationary year! A fellow student teacher told me this week that there was just over 5 weeks left of lectures and the rest of the time on the course is either holidays or placement. That sounds good to me!

I’d like to thank the Degree Source website for listing me as one of the top 10 influential student bloggers. It was a pleasant surprise and once again, I feel honoured that people read this and think it is worth reading. That was certainly a highlight of the week.

http://www.degreesource.com/top-10-influential-student-bloggers/

This week flew by pretty quickly. 

Monday’s focus was the next assessment. Another 5,000 words. This time it’s a topic of your choosing (well kind of, you choose a topic and then you have to get the university’s permission to research it) so my approved topic is collaborative learning and it’s effect on engagement with numeracy in the early stages. If any kind soul happens to have related literature or feel as though they can send me a few nuggets of wisdom/info on such a topic, or one closely related, please feel free to email me at spellingitoutblog@gmail.com.

Tuesday we had our second of two language workshops. Those two workshops were probably the best organised and most engaging we’ve had thus far. While the tutor was focusing on French in the classroom with the early stages – they passed on truly practical skills, materials and suggestions. We used an application called Sock Puppets to create funny videos of sock puppets with cartoon voices speaking in French. Everyone left with a smile on their face and everyone also recognised that what we had learned over the last hour or so was not only a fantastic way to teach French but also, you could utilise this in your classroom in any subject area.

Wednesday seemed to fly particularly quickly. We had a lecture at 9am in which we sang nursery rhymes and then had a two hour workshop on the usefulness of those nursery rhymes for building literacy skills. It was interesting to see how the nursery rhymes you sang along to as a child can be looked at through the lens of a teacher and see the benefits for building literacy skills.

On Thursday, we were brought up to a building far away from the rest of the buildings and then left there to engage with materials on computers with no sound. There was an instruction to bring headphones but we didn’t see the instructions until we got there! Thursday I also found out who my placement tutor is for next placement so that was a relief to find that out. I was one of very few who didn’t know. The tutor is very highly regarded by the students for being polite, approachable and helpful so I am looking forward to meeting them and getting an idea of what they are looking for from us on placement.

I knew in advance that there was no lectures on Friday so I offered to do a few hours for my employer. I thoroughly enjoyed working Friday. It was a nice change of pace before the weekend and meant I did not have a million emails to look at when I went in to work Saturday! Grand job.

Today I am supposed to be Skype-calling my good friend who returned home to India a few weeks ago. He swears in an Irish accent but that has nothing to do with me! 

I mentioned being listed as one of the most influential bloggers was a highlight this week. Another highlight was the #edchatie debate last Monday night. I’ve mentioned it before but Twitter is an incredible tool for student teachers and qualified teachers (or anyone with an interest in education). The #edchatie debate was on the use of the Irish language in schools. I ended up writing/typing/speaking Irish for the first time in six or seven years and while my grammar was slack, it was remarkable how much of the vocabulary comes back to you. I miss speaking Irish. I really miss it. I didn’t think I’d ever say that as a gasúr doing the Junior Cert but here we are!

 

Good luck lads. G’luck, g’luck, g’luck!