All entries for February 2011

February 12, 2011

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!!

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