TGIF

Wow. This week went well but it was far from easy. It’s not that didn’t enjoy it, it was just tough going. 

My laminator broke at the start of the week. As the placement is with the early years, the laminator is a vital resource. I shouted such a stream of abuse at that laminator. I’ve been using the laminator in the school so it hasn’t been a crisis here but it was a nuisance. My phone broke aswell. Naturally, the only way to fix the phone was to wipe everything off it. That was far from ideal. Oh ya, I also lost my memory stick at the start of the week too. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Some kind soul sellotaped the memory stick to the wall on Wednesday so I got that back!

On the teaching front, it was a very difficult week but I feel as though I am learning from the challenges but these challenges do come thick and fast. Teaching on St Patrick’s Day was weird. I’d never experienced a school day on St Patrick’s Day and my sister living in a different part of Scotland text me admitting she too felt weird working on St Patrick’s Day. 

On St Patrick’s Day I taught a spelling lesson and a gym lesson. The spelling lesson went well but my timing was a bit off. Not everyone got a chance to try each activity. One of the activities was a noughts & crosses style game with the new spelling words which was a cool idea. It wasn’t mine. The person who came up with that idea I know reads this so I’d like to thank them for that idea! The gym lesson…oh my… The activities, my observing teacher told me, were perfect for a gym lesson. The class’ behaviour was all over the place and the class teacher’s suggestion was to use a whistle next time round. I’ll have to! 

Tuesday I was looking at number bonds and then Victorian schools. The number bond lesson could certainly have gone better. It was planned that I’d do the lesson outside but it rained. Thankfully I had planned for that possibility. Obviously, I am on placement to learn but it is remarkable how many little things you learn and realise during a lesson. You wouldn’t believe how often during the course of the day I say to myself “Jesus, how did I not think of that?”. I write things down on my lesson plans to remind myself and then a child runs up to tell me that their working partner won’t share the eraser and these little things slip my mind. The lesson on Victorian schools was a disaster. I just couldn’t get them to focus. I felt terrible after. I’ve had lows on placement but Tuesday was a new feeling of low. My class teacher spent a while trying to cheer me up and gave me loads of tips to help with the problems I had. I left the school, bought a packet of Skittles, returned to the house and just started planning for Wednesday. I’ve mentioned it before but it sometimes surprises me how well I switch off from school. 

Wednesday went pretty well. I had a writing lesson – we were writing about pirates – yaaaaaaar! I used positive praise very effectively on a class I had struggled with the day before and it worked a treat. The standard of the writing was good and it was particularly difficult to select star writers for the day. I felt elated after going from such a bad day on the Tuesday to the writing lesson going very smoothly. I also took a number bond lesson after and that went well aswell. It was one of the children’s birthdays so I had a cake and candles display to learn about the number bonds of 6. The area where I fell down was I had not considered the different ways they could record what they were learning. I had a worksheet from the day previous but the children were mostly finished those but the teacher told me a few ways to record the learning and consolidate the learning and I appreciated that feedback. 

On Thursday I took the class for a drama lesson and a follow up lesson on Victorian schools. The Victorian schools lesson went well according to my class teacher but oddly, I felt it could have gone better. I think if I was to identify one area of my planning that needs particular development – it’s judging how much activities are needed and how long they take. That will only come with experience though so I just have to keep plugging away. The drama lesson was an interesting one, and one I learned a lot from. I wrote a short story about a Pirate called Pete. It went like this – 

Pirate Pete sailed on the sea. His boots were filled with sand.

When he looked through his telescope, he was looking for the land.

He wanted to stop and fix his ship. It needed a coat of paint.

Pirate Pete felt so tired, he thought that he would faint!

When Pirate Pete stopped on land, he found a treasure map.

He got his ship ready to sail, and put on his pirate cap.

Pirate Pete needed help. His helper’s name was Casper.

They found a treasure chest full of gold, and lived happily ever after. 

I had come up with a drama lesson in which we would do actions for some of the story. I thought it would be helpful to scaffold the lesson a little by coming up with some actions to go with the drama but I focused too much on that. The class teacher pointed this out to me and when they said it – I was bitterly disappointed. I had worked hard on coming up with an enjoyable story and I ruined the lesson by structuring it too much. I was proud of the story I had written and I will look to write more short stories for lessons but I will certainly be taking care not to make the same mistake with regards the drama lesson. It’s only after dawning on me now that I know someone who teaches drama to young kids on Saturdays so I really should contact them to bounce ideas off them for drama! How have I only thought of that now?

Today went well. I forgot one or two things with a lesson on patterns, but again, it’s an experience I will learn from. When I make these mistakes, and I normally recognise it myself when I do, it’s always a little kick in the teeth but I do feel wiser from these. The teacher told me that I did well today and this week and I’m moving in the right direction so that is encouraging! 

I’ll leave ye there lads. I won’t lie, I’m going to return to a Criminal Minds binge. Unconfirmed reports of apple crumble and raspberry ice cream in the vicinity but as I said, unconfirmed reports. 

 

G’luck, g’luck, g’luck!

Busy Weekend

This week’s post is a bit earlier. Thanks to Niall for reminding me that I wouldn’t get a chance to write a blog post during the weekend.

Today, the university Gaelic Football team sets off for the British University Championships which will take place in Manchester and Birmingham. We’re setting off fairly soon so I have the iPod library updated, movies and another James Rollins book put on the tablet. Hopefully that will be enough to keep me entertained! 

This week in university, all the talk has been either related to this weekend’s championships or to the fact that we are starting placement on Monday! 

Monday’s lecture was notable for it’s bluntness. The lecturer spoke about the potential shark infested water that is otherwise known as a staff room and that if we still had doubts about teaching that now was a good time to call it quits. We then had a workshop to finalise our essay topic for the next assessment. I believe my topic is good to go so I will hopefully be getting the research and reading done over the next few weeks! 

On Tuesday, there was no lectures so I took the opportunity to call back to the last school I was in placement for. I had to collect a Shrek DVD I had left there from previously but I also called in to the classroom in which I had been based. It was nice to see that when I knocked on the door and the pupils looked up, they all sprinted across the room and jumped over tables to come over to say hello. It was reassuring to know that I left a positive mark on the class. With regards a positive mark, do you remember me mentioning previously that I showed the head teacher that photo with the times tables stickers on the stairs? It was done. Here is the proof – 

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On Wednesday I met my tutor for placement. They were most encouraging and told us what areas they will focus on especially, so that was appreciated. With Wednesday afternoon free, I decided to visit the school I am starting in on Monday. Thankfully it’s only about 15 minutes away on the bus so I can’t complain about distance to travel. The teachers I met were all very welcoming and again, I am looking forward to working with them. 

Yesterday (Thursday), we had two workshops with music being particularly funny and using songs is something I will try over the next few weeks, even if I sound like a seagull when I sing. I got a puppet to be my assistant for the next few weeks so I will just tell the kids that it’s the puppet who is a terrible singer and I will use the old excuses of “I’ve a tickle in my throat. The acoustics aren’t right, blah blah blah”.

I’ll have to leave ye there. There is a need to take the aul Shake N Vac to my sports bag and hoover it out. 

Mind yourselves.

G’luck, g’luck, g’luck. 

Back To Work I Go

Hello everyone! I know it has been a while since I’ve posted. I decided not to post anything over the Christmas period. I hope everyone enjoyed the Christmas and New Years. Here below you’ll find what I spent the majority of the last two weeks reading and watching – 

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I’ve sat down here at the laptop and I’ll soon be starting my planning for next week. I’ve been informed that there are a few new pupils and that we’ll be looking at area and perimeter next week. When I received the email from the class teacher – visions of finding the area of the school car park when I was in 4th year in secondary school came flooding back (using Simpson’s Rule). That was eight years ago. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s a mixture of surprise that so much time has passed since 4th year AND the fact that I can remember something from 8 years ago when sometimes I’d struggle to tell you what happened 8 minutes ago! 

My Christmas was very relaxing. I think I’m in denial about the work that is ahead of me over the next few weeks. We have an essay to do aswell but I think that will be put firmly on the back burner while I navigate my way through 4 more weeks of placement (and two full weeks of continuous).

Another topic I need to prepare for is Great Scots. I must admit I know next to nothing about Scottish history so I will have a lot to learn on this. I have a few ideas on how to cover this. I’m guessing there are a stock list of great Scots that we are expected to research – famous Scottish sports people (obvious ones – Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Alex Ferguson, Andy Murray, Jock Stein), scientists (Alexander Fleming, Sir James Dewar, Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird), musicians, actors, writers, etc. We can use our literacy skills to research, read, write and perhaps record (visual or audio) our findings on these people. 

As I haven’t been back to lectures or school yet, I’ll leave it here and next week I’m sure there will be LOADS to talk about. I may be looking for a few ideas over the next few weeks and for anyone in a similar position to myself – if you use Twitter – try #edchat #edchatie #edchatuk for great (regular) discussions and tips on how to improve lessons or excellent lesson ideas. Starting the blog has helped me a lot with regards reflection on what I’m doing but getting involved in the Twitter education discussions – you can’t help but find great ideas. If you have interest in education at all – ‘where it’s at’ or the new directions it’s taking, or even just tips to help your teaching (whether that be at home or in classroom), Twitter is an excellent resource! 

Anywho, it’s time for me to get these area and perimeter lessons ready. I’ve been procrastinating for long enough. I’ll start this lesson planning right now…but maybe after one more episode of Cheers 😉

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