I regularly give feedback in all of my lessons, both verbally and written.
This was noted by my mentor in several lesson observations. I am always keen to give children verbal feedback, especially when questioning, as it motivates and encourages children to partake fully in their learning.
I have used the schools marking policy when giving written feedback. The school uses ‘stars and wishes’ when marking, to highlight the positives in their work and the areas on which I would like the child to try and improve in their work in the future. I also am able to reward the children for especially good work, by writing a number in a bubble, which symbolise the number of ‘good marks’ awarded to the children.
TARGET: Continue to look at other methods of giving feedback to children.
Having experienced different formats of planning, I have been able to see the different ways that teachers differentiate their planning.
On my current placement I have been introduced to the schools format of maths planning, in which teachers plan daily. The first lesson is a whole class input, with children completing the same activity. This is differentiated through teacher/TA support and resources, as well as implementing next steps for the children to attempt once completed. Through formative assessment and summative assessment of the children’s work that lesson, the teacher decides what to do in the next lesson. This may be moving on to a new area of the topic, or to revisit what the children have just done in the lesson.
When revisiting, children are grouped in to 3 different groups (working towards, expected greater depth – though children are not aware of this) and the input and activity is differentiated according to how these groups of children managed the previous lesson. Each group has their own teacher input at various times throughout the lesson and of various lengths of time depending on their needs. Whilst a group is having the teacher input, the other two groups work on an activity that reinforces or further develops that learnt previously. A TA works with these two groups to support them.
I have found that this planning approach is extremely beneficial, as teaching is adapted appropriately so progression is ensured for all children. It is extremely important to be aware of the children’s prior knowledge and to build on this, but also to guide and allow the children to reflect on the progress that they make throughout. However this approach will only be fully successful with a TA, so that the children maintain their focus and have someone to go to without interrupting the teacher input and other children’s learning.
TARGET: To continue to explore differentiated teaching methods.
I am a strong believer in hands on and practical science. I have seen for myself how it can engage and motivate children to investigate further and ask questions which help to develop their understanding.
In the final few weeks of the summer term, children planted beans as part of their science topic ‘Plants’. Children planted these themselves, cared for them and kept a diary, recording their observations of the bean as it grew over the weeks. I found that this was a great way for children to take responsibility for their work and you could see that the children had a sense of pride when their bean began to grow.
Even after the summer holidays I have received an update onthe beans (they could challenge Jack and the Beanstalk!!), showing a positive impact on the children’s attitudes towards learning and their development of understanding.
TARGET: To continue to include physical and hands on experiences and experiments with in science topics.
An area that I am always striving to develop is behaviour management. Throughout Professional Practice Phase 1a I began to feel more confident in using behaviour management within the classroom. From this I therefore decided that for Phase 1b I would focus on acquiring and implementing a range of pause/stop strategies that will gain the full class attention.
Team Stop – This was a strategy that I observed during my first week on my phase 1b practice. The teacher would say “Team Stop” and the children would respond to this by stopping everything that they were doing and listen. The use of ‘Team’ encourages the children to persuade those around them to stop also.
Team Double Stop – There were times when I did not have the class’ full attention and therefore I would then say “Team Double Stop”. Children would respond to this by stopping what they were doing and raising both hands (that were now empty) in the air. This meant that the children had no distractions and ensured their full focus was on me.
1, 2, 3. Look at me – This was a fun chant that I picked up from one of the teaching assistants within the school. The teacher/TA would chant “1, 2, 3. Look at me!” to which the children would respond “4, 5, 6. My eye’s are fixed!”. This was a fun way of encouraging the class to stop and focus.
These strategies had all been implemented in the school and therefore children knew how they should respond. In the future I would like to implement my own strategies and how out how I should go about this.
TARGET: To introduce my own behaviour management strategy to a class.
During my Phase 1b placement I produced and delivered the topic lessons that were based on The Great Fire of London. Although there were not many lessons available to spend on the topic, I believed that it was right to give the children the opportunity to explore, discover and ask many questions.
In the first lesson, I introduced children to 1600’s London by showing a picture of current day London and a drawing of 1600’s London. Children were then given the opportunity to explore the pictures, discussing the similarities and differences they could see. Children fed their ideas in to a class discussion which prompted further questions to be asked and allowed children to think critically and develop their own understanding and perspectives.
In the next lessons that followed children engaged with creating a timeline of The Great Fire of London, focusing on key events and times. They developed their understanding of how we know about events that have happened in the past and used a variety of historical terms.
I was also able to spare time for the children to create their own Great Fire of London landscape. Children painted the background and buildings and added coloured squares of paper for the windows and doors of the buildings. Although the format was given to the children, the children’s creations were all different and presented their own ideas and understanding of the Great Fire of London. Children were able to develop their skills and techniques, creating effective and colourful pieces of work for the class display.
If I was to do this topic again, I would allow for the children to partake in more independent investigative work.
TARGET: Use activities that will allow children to investigate further about the topic.
Hectic, chaotic, glitter everywhere but most importantly smiles all around! On my first year placement at Tebay Primary School I experienced the excitement and festivities that come with being in a primary school at Christmas time – what fun it was!
My first task during the Christmas period was to assist with the class’ attempt at creating the decorations for a Christmas Tree that was to be entered in to the local Chapel’s community Christmas Tree Festival. The tree was based on the book “The Ice Bear” by Jackie Morris and therefore children created icicles, felt polar bears and Eskimos to decorate the tree. I was in charge of creating the felt polar bears and taught the children the basic steps of sewing which created the decoration. This activity was enjoyed by all the children and they were extremely proud to see their sewing (for some this was their first attempt) displayed on the Christmas tree. On the Friday evening after school, prior to the Christmas Tree Festival, I took the tree to the Chapel and displayed the children’s decorations.
It was brilliant to experience the preparations involved in the school’s Christmas Play and Carol Concert. Having helped with the rehearsals, singing the songs on repeat to learn the words and hence being stuck in my head 24/7, it was brilliant to see the children exhibit their talents in two amazing performances. It certainly made the 7:30am-9pm day worth every minute! Being present at both of the performances and helping with the refreshments gave me the opportunity to communicate with parents and carers with regard to their children’s achievements and presence in school.
There were also several other opportunities that allowed me to develop professional relationships with staff, parents and governors of the school . These included an advent service at the village church; Christmas dinner at which the governors and local community attended; the school Christmas Fair; a whole school trip to watch a Pantomime at The Sands Centre, Carlisle and carol singing for the elderly in the village.
All of these experiences allowed me to develop my confidence greatly and encouraged me to take on similar opportunities in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on placement during the Christmas period and can not wait for the Christmas fun to begin again!