All entries for December 2011

December 11, 2011

Promoting Reading

My teacher didn't strike as a particularly enthusiastic reader, aside from finding books to study in class. In this regard, they knew an awful lot of the classic works such as 'Charlotte's Web' and 'The Railway Children'. They didn't know a lot about more recent children's literature, like the Alex Rider series - which were hugely popular in the year six class I was working in!
Having said this, whilst the class were studying 'The Railway Children' as a tie-in between literacy and the Victorian topic work they were doing, the teacher did inspire the children. Almost every one of them ended up loving the book, despite some reservations to begin with. Reading in general in the class though was only present when cihldren had completed their mental maths warm up. It was almost presented as a time filler rather than a pleasurable activity. The importance of being a good reader was present, as they were all told that they would not achieve level 5s in SATs unless they read a lot of the time.
At school level, a similar message was presented. Although children produced some wonderful work using books as a stimulus, it never seemed as though the school suggested reading could be an activity outside learning! Although some of the children independently loved reading, the school ethos was not one that focused on how brilliant reading can be. The most reading-focused person I met in the school was a TA who ran guided reading. They really enthused the children with the idea of books being something amazing that can take you out of this world. Of course, it helped that they were reading Roald Dahl, who is still one of the children's favourite authors.
What really stood out for me was the difference between what boys and girls read. One of the boys told me that he 'only reads things about war and guns and stuff', and it struck me that he is missing out on so much wonderful literature! During one PE lesson when he had forgotten his kit, I took him into the library and showed him some books he hadn't considered. One particular series I introduced him to was the 'Artemis fowl' series, which is a good crossover book that both boys and girls seem to love.
My other favourite moment was when I accompanied Key Stage 1 and Foundation Stage on a trip to see 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea' at Warwick Arts Centre. It was absolutely brilliant! The children all got really engaged with the text through the play, and were joining in at all the right moments. They were enthralled by some of the special effects that were used to have the tiger eating all the buns and sandwiches from tea. It was a really good way to bring the children into the text in a more imaginative way.

December 04, 2011

Science e–learning review

I had to look at Emma Young's e-learning task for this review, and here are my thoughts on it!

First of all, excellent choice of books. Almost all the boys in the year 6 class I had on PP2 were reading one of the Alex Rider series, and demand for them from the library was high! So this is my first positive: this task would really engage the boys in their learning. (Girls too, I was a massive fan of the series when I was younger. I don't mind admitting that I own them all, even the latest one!)

My second positive is the range of possible ideas presented to the children. Giving several different areas which could be investigated gives the children some clue as to the direction their experiment could go whilst still allowing them some independence. Year six is all about transition between Primary and Secondary education, and giving them this sort of sounding board to develop their own scientific experiments properly helps ease them into the changing scenario.

I have to say, it was hard to choose which two positives to write about as there were quite a few! The science behind it is well thought out and clear, and targets several areas of the curriculum too which is a bonus!

December 2011

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