All entries for Saturday 12 February 2011

February 12, 2011

Story–telling day

School had a story-telling day today!! It was SO much fun!!! They had called in local year 6 pupils, mixed them with the year 7s and asked 5 immense artists to come in and work with groups for the whole day. At the start of the day, each group were told a folk story and each group worked on the story in some kind of creative way.

One did African music and dancing, one did painting of massive mural, some were acting, and some were using body language, it was so great! At the end of the day the pupils presented it to everyone and they had a good time.

I got to go round to each group and work with each of them so that was really good. Mixed with a lot of pupils and did some painting and dancing – does beat maths sometimes =D haha good day =D

Last week of uni… =( w/c 7th Feb

It is so weird going from uni to school to uni again. But after this week Block starts and then it is all systems go! I’m really looking forward to it =D

This week flew by really. We had our last day at uni and it was so nice that everybody brought in food and drinks and we all had a big lunch.

Played a lot of games the last day as RwP gave us more interactive ideas. They do require a lot of equipment generally! I’ll try out some of the games as long as it works in my school. Careful planning is what I intend on doing first. 

Behaviour 4 Learning Workshops

An interesting day.

I had an interesting chat with Chris Gittins after one of the sessions today. I’ve had a session with him every one of these days and I’m always talking so I’m sure he recognises me. Or not. Ha. Anyway I was talking to him about how I found the ideals at university slightly different to that of school and how his sessions were actually helping. He said it was good we got experience before learning how to control the behaviour as we would know in what situations certain techniques would work and when they wouldn’t. The one thing he said to me that I found very useful was

“There are so many people in this field and everyone will tell you how to do things. You just need to remember that there are some things you should definitely take on board, and some things you should definitely not.”

Interesting hey…

QTS Skills tests

Passed all my QTS tests now!!!

Week 31st Jan – Serial Placement at my PP2 School

Started my serial placement this week. I was quite nervous. Having looked up the school it didn’t sound easy.

Got there and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The kids are really friendly! I mean there were some serious behaviour and attainment concerns but they were reasonably nice. =) Always a good thing as far as im concerned. Nice school. The mentors made me feel incredibly welcome. We’re using this serial time to get a complete induction to the school. That includes pupil tracking, meeting the SENCO people, the child protection officer, the EAL department, time in department, a session on the use of ICT in the school, everything. This is such a good thing as I get time to get used to the school before starting the manic lesson-planning thing. Just gets everything out of the way doesn’t it. It is going very well for now. Hope this continues!


I do wonder why this kind of session wasn’t offered to us earlier. If not earlier then in more doses.

To me this was an ideal session. Ideas of a very good way to approach the teaching of a topic, discussion of the good and bad parts and general developing of ideas as well as subject knowledge.

I have to admit I was terrified when the questions were given out. Sitting next to some highly talented mathematicians I was sure I would falter. Much to my surprise, I definitely didn’t =D the subject practice I’m doing must be working. One must have more confidence in ones ability!

Also I need to find the perfect definition of a function. Task for the weekend I believe.

Enrichment Project – the project

Warwick Blogs won't let me upload it as yet....

I shall do it from another computer at some point....unless Adam wants to do it =D 

Enrichment Project –the Presentation




Enrichment Project

The project that caused much controversy did not fail in causing more controversy today. Everybody was under the impression that we were all to do presentations to the class, so everyone had prepared presentations, worked as a group to practice and printed off resources for the group. Of course this was not what actually happened.

We, instead, had someone in the group act as a teacher to smaller groups while the rest of us wondered around and learnt from other groups.

It was highly annoying as we had worked hard to prepare proper presentations with each member of the group talking and teaching at some point; the highlighted key aim of the project. It meant one person was left to defend the project at any one time. I didn’t think that was very fair.

The argument was that we all get to learn more from spending more time with only 4 groups as to just spending 3 hours listening to presentations. This makes sense. But we could have been told. I spent hours putting the PowerPoint together. Blah. As much as I would have liked to have heard everyone else’s presentations, I did get to learn a lot from the four groups I worked with so that is the benefit =)

I ended up learning about Logarithms and exponentials, Circle Theorems, Autograph related line work and Mechanics – Motion. I found all very useful. It is always beneficial to hear other people’s explanations of key concepts to broaden my vocabulary and understanding.

I still would like to maintain my initial view, however, that this was far too much work, for too short a deadline, with much of the effort going to waste. I would have liked to have spoken about the topic I had worked on, but did not get the opportunity to. This would have been a much better SCT when compared to making a display.

Also I don’t feel that the work we produced is worthy enough of being sent to other schools and being made available in the library as a resource. Im not happy about my name being associated with work that I don’t feel is my optimal. And its not my optimal as I wasn’t given enough time to perfect it.

Session on further maths with RwP

I learnt how to make a 3d origami cubes today. A plenary to the idea of matrices. Was so much fun. I remember how hard I used to find matrices and now I’m thinking I cannot believe how easy they are. I have no idea why on earth it didn’t make sense to me so many years ago. Blah. Least I know it now. Am thinking at some point I should try and do my further maths A Level….passing thought.

The idea emphasised today was that we should try to approach maths in a different way. Finding clues, solving puzzles, improving general knowledge…

Was a lot of fun however I think some may have misinterpreted the motive behind it? I’m thinking that actually it won’t be as easy as it was made out today. If I were going to plan an activity where pupils are looking for answers or solving things, they would have to be working on questions that really enhance their understanding of a topic or concept. It seems to me that is where the in depth planning should be. So that the topic can be applied to real life and pupils can actually take something from it. It could so easily go wrong, but if it went right, the benefits would be immense =D looking forward to trying this in some of my lessons.

Actually I’m quite liking this level of creativity that is being encouraged. I do hope schools accept this and aren’t solely results focused (which I kind of think they are). Once all my admin work is done, for PP2, I’m going to make sure I plan some seriously fun things. And even if they go wrong I will not be phased but I will learn from it and keep trying until I get it right! 

Exhall Grange Day

What an amazing day!!!!!

I took so much from today that I am still buzzing!

It was informative on a practical level – such a lot of real information. Not theory or ideals, just as it is and some of it was harsh but that is reality. We were given the right scientific info about why and how and then how to deal with it on a daily basis in our classrooms.

I absolutely appreciated seeing how hard it is to manoeuvre a wheelchair up a ramp and on to pavements. Being blindfolded and walking with a guide dog was so hard! You just can’t see anything and the dog is leading you…you have no idea where you could end up! My gosh. I hadn’t realised. We were put in a classroom where everything that was said sounded distorted so we could get an idea of the difficulties deaf children have. I learnt a lot more about physical disabilities – how they come about and what they lead to.

There are such simple things that need to be done in a classroom to make the lives of children who have difficulties easier. A big display, extra print-outs, clear instructions – written if necessary- and just a little more attention.

It was a highly eye-opening day. 


Sex education

Emotional Intelligence

Alcohol and Drugs Education

Some pupils really struggle don’t they…it is so sad as a lot of things aren’t even their fault. So so sad.

Had a debate about teaching in private schools today with some friends. Some people are so ethically against it and some like the idea of the lifestyle and pressure. I don’t think I have ever been so undecided on an issue.

Peer Assessment of ICT resources

Oh peer assessment. Some really good ICT resources, some kind of bland. Im pretty sure mine was bland. To be fair, my task was exactly what was asked for. It was interactive, it build upon prior knowledge and had a lot of room for enrichment. But I didn’t have any teachers’ notes or anything! The task didn’t need it really…it was all self explanatory…all nicely explained with screen shots and everything. Hm. I think it was good. Built everything up slowly and allowed the pupils to use Autograph nicely. Let’s hope others like it…

Special Project

“when have you seen maths being used outside the maths classroom?” “in French….un, deux, trios”

My goodness finding Exhall Grange was HARD! I walked for MILES! Eventually got there and found my group. They were great to work with.

Initially we struggled a lot with this concept. We were going to be working with 6 pupils whom all had severe learning difficulties and one of whom was in a wheelchair. (It turned out there were 2 in wheelchairs, one of whom had a muscular disability). All pupils were in year 8 and were attaining Level 1’s.

Firstly we didn’t know what Level 1 really involved. Then we didn’t know how to overcome the mobility issue. We also had a pupil with vision impairment. We then didn’t really know where to pitch the maths. We also didn’t know if they would have a problem with bright colours. We decided Patterns was a good topic to go with.

Our first steps were to find games. We found some big dice, some place cards and some board things. But we didn’t really have a mathematical subject that we wanted them to learn.

Eventually we realised that we couldn’t possibly teach a new topic effectively and so we should work on enhancing their mathematical skills. That is why a lot of our three-hour lesson focused on the real life application of mathematics.

I led a session that involved them looking through the Metro newspaper looking for anything that they considered to be mathematical. With this they looked at the importance of the date, phone numbers, prices, sums of money, page numbers and I was able to give them random general knowledge about each as well as encouraging them to talk about times when they have seen maths used outside in the real world. It was fantastic!! The girl, who was in a wheelchair, and struggled with talking, said she saw it in French – when they counted the numbers in another language!!!!!!!

They all talked about what their parents did and managed to find some use of maths in all their jobs. They loved it. Was great.

Ian led his session on multiplication using the big number placards. It was a way to multiply using big displays for numbers. More practice for them. Can’t be a bad thing. They liked getting the questions right. And when Ian introduced the cubes for a competition, they really enjoyed using them to count and roll the dice and compete with each other. We played dominos as an introduction to the pattern work and they seemed to take that on very well.

Rachel then talked about patterns in the world and gave the example of the clothes and plants. The pupils were so interested it was great. I don’t think they had thought about these things before. Was lovely to see.

She then got them making their own patterns using the cubes and this led to jewellery making! They absolutely loved making necklaces! We put the condition down that there had to be some sort of pattern to the necklace which they had to explain and all were able to do this.

I am so glad I got to teach like this, but it is very difficult. I don’t know if it is something I could do everyday. It must be so hard to actually make an improvement to these kids and prove it. I have a lot of admiration for the teachers who do and I hope their work can be made easier somehow. 

English as an Additional Language Day

Visited a school with a high population of EAL students today. Got some general information on EAL and spent the day shadowing pupils.

Having spoken to others on this course they seem to have had the same experience, my EAL pupils spoke better English than the non-EAL pupils! When I asked about this I was told that it is because their parents don’t speak English and so need extra support. When I enquired further, it turned out that there were so many instances where EAL pupils outperformed the non-EAL pupils academically.

Maybe there’s two extremes….those who really cannot speak any English and those who can. There are tricks a teacher can use to cater for pupils who cant speak English in class – simple things really and they would go a long way.

I also realised that I may have been an EAL student! The kids I was following definitely didn’t know they were EAL. I learnt Gujarati as my first language and couldn’t really speak English until year 1. I had a group of 3 other Guajarati girls and we’d only speak to each other in our own language. It is written on my Reception report. I had not even noticed! Interesting.

Inclusion workshops

Counselling Skills

Autistic Disorder Spectrums


The importance of making sure that every pupil gets something from all parts of a lesson. This does require some concentrated efforts from the teacher and some well directed planning but it is what is needed. There are those pupils who do struggle and this can be for such a broad range of reasons that everything must be catered for. It is made a lot easier when you know the pupils and you know some things about their background and characters as you have the basics and can then provide individual help.

It is also important to be careful. We have to make sure we don’t cross any lines and say or do anything that can be misunderstood.

The one big rule is that if there is something a pupil wants to tell you, you have to tell them that you may need to pass the information on to somebody else. And if they decide not to tell you then you must also refer this on too. Have to be careful and make sure you don’t get yourself into situations even if you have the best intentions. 

SCT4 – wall display

For Group 7's informative, engaging wall display please see Joanne's blog!


For Group 7 SCT3 please refer to Laura Holden's page!!

SCT 3 and 4 Maths trail and Classroom display

I like our display. The maths trail is also good! I thought ours was to the point, colourful, easy to read and catered for a range of mathematical topics. Great teamwork with a nice day out; a good group effort. Well done everyone!

Connected Curriculum Days

This is a thought provoking topic isn’t it really!

We had two days working on the idea of a connected curriculum. The best way I can think of to describe this is that everything is taught through topics and not subjects.

We had to do a project where we worked with 4 other PGCE people from other subjects and come up with a day of learning about a topic using each of our disciplines. Eh! This is hard! That was all we were told! So my group spent about 3 hours planning a whole day of activities for the topic of The World.

We decided we would create a competitive environment with the idea of a film company wanting to make a movie in a location and all the continents of the world having to bid for it. There would be groups of 6 pupils and each would represent a continent. Through this they had to provide all the vital information of their continent

-      Geographical features e.g. The weather, rivers? Volcanoes?

-      Economical factors e.g. Currency, Exchange rates? Distance from coast?

-      Historical background e.g. any wars?

-      Culture e.g. food, languages spoken (with examples), clothes

-      The written work e.g. any famous poets or stories?

This all had to be presented in an interesting manner such as a video or a poster and give a bid to the rest of the class.

A panel would then choose the winners.

Whilst we thought this brought in a lot of areas, we did think this kind of curriculum, or lesson, would be feasible to teach. As a maths teacher I couldn’t teach my group of pupils French.

If the technical issues could be worked through this form of curriculum might convince me. Right now I am not sure. But then again the video I posed up a few months back made such fantastic points. In theory I like it. Not sure how it would work in practice.

Dead White Guys

Did you know that most people only know famous mathematicians who are dead, white and male.

Poor Arab, Indian, Chinese, etc, mathematicians…..

We looked at some other cultural maths and came across some nicely developed techniques. I especially liked the idea of a quipu. 


We’re backkkkk. New year. New term. New goals to meet!!! Need a new hair style too but we shall get there at some other point. 

Reflection on AP1

So finally I have my completed placement 1 and have got my AP1 form.

I’m pleased that my mentor saw some good things and reflected this on my form. There were a few I thought I had achieved, like the one about acting in a team, but he gave me his reasons and I’m happy with his view.

Overall I am pleased with the experience I received. I worked with a range of year groups, a range of abilities and got a taste of a lot of environments. I would have liked to have done more EAL and SEN work directly, specifically within the departments and so I shall make sure I do this next time.

With all the feedback I think I will be able to make a much brisker start with my next placement. And at least I know what will be expected. I’m going to try and just stick to it and follow what has been pointed out to me.

Professional Attributes

I was given a good report on the Professional Attributes; missing only one standard. My relationship with the pupils was discussed. I really liked that my mentor said that I “has high expectations and implements school policy.” I did feel that I developed really strong relationships with the pupils. That was the one thing that I will not let anybody take away from me. I have tickets to the Drake concert and the year 10’s loved it when I told them about it, there was a boy in my year 8 class whom many, many, teachers could not get along with and he was perfectly behaved for me, even telling other pupils to behave (this was because in my induction phase I had sat with him one lesson and explained everything about enlargements to him and when he could get all the questions correct, he really appreciated me for it). Every single one of my year 7 class got along with me and took on everything I said to them. I would give them day to day updates on my wrist and often they would ask me straight away if I needed help writing anything on the board or just how I was feeling. Lovely children. =D It does make you happy. They’re like little lovely people. Haha. Sweet.

I need to work on being innovative and adapting what I do based on the feedback I get. This is a fair point. I was scared of breaking away from the initial routine that worked so well! I thought I had barely perfected that before I was being asked to try group work and pair work and I.T. based lessons. Then when I did try it – and it went wrong – I got even more terrified and went right back to the standard lesson style.

I think I shall make changes to my lessons straight away with my next mentor if any suggestions are made so that I do include them and carry on making a decent enough progression.

Professional Knowledge and Understanding

I need to be slightly clearer on the provision made for those who have a learning difficulty. Cater better for differentiation and EAL and make sure I use a variety of strategies to ensure I can get a range of techniques going. The general thing is that I have to try and cater better for everyone. This will be helped most importantly by using the background of the pupils a lot better.

Assessment has generally gone well as the process started with an exam paper analysis for a year 10 mock GCSE exam. I tried other forms of formative assessment and whilst there were some flaws that needed ironing out, it generally worked well. It would have been nice to have done some sort of final summative assessment to see if I had made any sort of a difference to the pupils but I don’t think there was enough time.

I liked that I had regular access to computers; it meant I was able to do quite a few computer based lessons. Overall, Professional knowledge and Understanding has gone well. It is the one category where I made progress.

Professional Skills

I would like to maintain and develop the way I established a good working environment in a classroom. I want to be a lot more regular on the setting of homework and make sure I stay on top of marking.

I need to work on establishing what prior knowledge there is and share more openly what I intend on doing in a lesson with Teaching Assistants.

Otherwise I am pleased that I was able to plan for progression and use literacy and ICT.

Professional Skills is something that you can always improve upon anyway so I look forward to building up from the trials I have already undertaken.

I got an overall grade of Satisfactory and I think this reflects the placement. There are some real key points which I would like to improve on and I do believe this will improve my practice greatly.

It is nice to know that others think that I have made a good start to my teaching career and I also think that I have. I tried out quite a lot of lessons and games which I was initially quite sceptical about and I like that they worked – and if they didn’t I was able to discuss why not with a lot of people and gain ideas for improvement. It has made me a lot more open to trying different things and I hope that when I do try things in PP2, even if it doesn’t work, I don’t get discredited for it!

Bring on PP2!

Last Day…and my many thanks….

I don’t believe six weeks have gone by already. I was only just getting into it as well.

It was a lovely last day. The department are so lovely. They got Sarah and I champagne and a card with all the teachers writing little messages. They all said some lovely things to us and gave us tips and really strong words of encouragement. Made me smile after the past few weeks. =) It was lovely to meet them and I’m glad I got to learn from them. They shall be missed. Many thanks to the department and the school for all their hard work and support.

Observed Lesson

Well this day was a total barrel of laughs.

I’m not sure I can write what I truly feel because it will not come across well. I will just say that I had my observation today and my mentor and tutor were both there.

I will take on some of the very good points made and use the advice my mentor gave me in my future practice. I will also make an active effort to ensure my folder is better next time. 

The last week…. beginning 13/December/2010

It is the last week at my first school. I have a lot to get done this week before I can end so I’m not really feeling that there is only a week left.

My observation is on Wednesday with my year 7s and I know it will go well, the lesson planned is really quite different and quite fun.

I am still sleeping only about 4 hours a night. Been working damn hard to get all the paperwork done. On top of that I couldn’t tell you where the time goes. The worst part is that I am always working! I think I have just fallen so behind and now anything I do takes twice as long and I can’t seem to increase my productivity rate. I have spent the past week (and will spend the next few days) trying to get my paperwork sorted. It is incredibly difficult when I don’t have a printer and school has told me not to outdo my quota. I need to add more detail to my evaluations and topic plans (apparently I have to do some sort of mind map as well?!).

It is also absolutely freezing these days and pitch black all the time. I go to school and it is dark…by the time I leave to come home, it is dark. Not really sure how long I can go on like this. My room is a disgusting mess. I haven’t eaten more than one meal a day in about 3 weeks. I miss home terribly.

I can’t keep this up. This may not be for me.

A game is a game….

I tried a game with year 8, boys vs girls and questions on polygons. My intentions were good – after they gave an answer I talked through it on the board and even suggested they write it out in their books.

But obviously this meant the game consisted of about 4 questions and wasn’t really a game. Great. Some of the boys got quite annoyed as nobody appeared to be winning. Haha. In future better leave a game as a game.

Monday P5….

My observation has been scheduled for next week. So now just have to work on sorting out everything for it. Need to start eating and sleeping properly.

I wonder if it happens to everybody that on a Monday you get terrified of teaching? I don’t like taking a break from it…get all nervous!

So this week I have been focusing on trying out different teaching techniques like group work and paired work. Managed to have some success in some classes but I have found that in order for some things to work, it really depends on the class and the time of day. Doing class presentations on a Monday P5 was not the best idea.

It is just I feel that there is always pressure to perform outstandingly in every single lesson and sometimes you just can’t. It is weird because I kind of have been seeing lessons as individual entities and this is kind of what I have got from Warwick. That in every lesson you have to get somewhere and that is just how it goes, regardless of time of day or even the weather. But in school it is so different. It is nice because the teachers are supportive with that Monday P5 lesson. I should have just planned that I wasn’t going to get much done in that lesson and made it quite a mild lesson.

Next time, next time….

Tutor Group and Parents Consultation Day

Week 4

Planning is a killer isn’t it. I am so out of ideas!! There are so many lessons that I wonder how I am meant to do different things in all of them! Gosh.

I’ve been in my tutor group for a while now and it is sort of weird. Vertical tutoring is odd. I don’t want to completely say I don’t like it because I do see the potential. But it has only just started at the school and I haven’t yet seen it working brilliantly. They have a seating plan so that all the year groups do mix but I don’t see anybody talking! Maybe it is just the group I am with….

Had a Parents Consultation Day. It is so odd being on the other side! You get to see some interesting situations…some parents who are interested, some who aren’t…it is also quite funny to see pupils cower in front of their parents. They really lose their nerve. I can see that good relationships with the parents do often bring the pupil around to you if behaviour is a problem.

Week 3 – Crimewatch – “he is carrying a hexi–gun!” =D


Tried something interesting this week. Did the same lesson with a year 7 and a year 8. It was the activity where they pretend they are on Crimewatch and have to present about polygons. It was nice as both classes had been working on similar topics and I knew they would be able to do it.

It worked SO well with the year 7 and went SO bad with the year 8!!!

The work the year 7s produced was fantastic and some could even be used as displays. They came up with some fantastic jokes and all presented to each other, whilst the rest of the class guessed which polygon was being discussed. Worked so well and they really enjoyed it.

The year 8’s did nothing. It was the same lesson and I got nothing. They wouldn’t write properly, they wouldn’t make use of key vocabulary – which I ended up writing on the board to boost them. When presenting to one another they weren’t thinking through what they were saying and it just didn’t work.

All I can put it down to is that they aren’t used to doing something like that. For that class it seems as though they are quite happy doing questions from a book. They get that kind of work done. But the minute they are given any freedom, their behaviour goes out the window. What do I do in that situation? They probably need more practice in that kind of activity….

The first few weeks of PP1

The first few weeks…..

Were so interesting. I started taking on class after class and have now officially started teaching. It is not too bad. Actually it is going very well. I’m doing different things in each lesson, using ICT when I can. Planning is not too bad as I have got quite a lot of ideas but am worried about what will happen when all of these have been exhausted! So far I’m doing ->

Have an attachment to a Vertical Tutor group made up of years 8, 9 and 10.

Attend College meetings every morning

Department meetings twice a week

And my classes are good =D

February 2011

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