PVA Overload

Morning,

So firstly I apologise for the lack of teaching/PGCE related posts recently. Of course, it is summer, and therefor it’s difficult to write such posts as I’m no longer working in a school. The only thing I could write is how excited and nervous I am…but that would get old very quickly. I have been working in summer club for the last 2 weeks, but I decided to save you the details as it was just me and 4 other members of staff, entertaining children in the school hall, for 9 hours a day. There really was nothing to report, other then that I really miss the classroom!

It was fun though, and definitely a fantastic opportunity to earn some much needed money. It was also a chance to get a bit crafty, and wipe the cobwebs off my paints. As you may know, if you can so much as draw a cartoon cat you will be known as the arty one in a primary school, and assigned arty jobs. This is something that I relish, and summer club was no exception. The club leader is a senior member of staff at the school and had a few pieces in mind for RE displays. The staff seemed happy with them and the kids loved getting involved in these large scale, quite intricate artworks, so I thought I’d share them with you!

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The first was a ‘stained glass window'(primary school style) of St Joseph and Jesus…so of course it was made of tissue and sugar paper. This was definitely the trickiest of the two, as I soon discovered it was very delicate work and the children struggled to get involved as much as we had hoped. I ended up with only a few helpers who were upper KS2 and had very steady hands. I thought cutting it out with a blunt stanley knife would be the tricky part, but when gluing in the tissue paper we found it VERY easily stuck to the table and tore. Cue hours of me and one child constantly lifting the piece gingerly to wipe the table clean from any glue residue. None the less it was great fun to do, and it turned out better then I expected. The children seemed to enjoy seeing the piece evolve from a sketch, to a big spiderweb, and finally to the above.

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The second piece was a large portrait of the Holy family. This was a breeze compared to the window and so much more fun for the younger children to help with. I sketched the piece and added the halos first using gold paper. Then myself and two helpers created the gold mosaic background. It was then agreed that I would paint the faces myself to ensure the piece was recognisable, and also to make it fair (we can’t have 30 children painting the faces) Once this was out of the way we let the children go wild with collage materials to create the bodies. Colour is important in many religions, and to bring each figures iconic outfit to life we encouraged the children to use a variety of textures and materials in each colour (i.e. blue for Mary). Then finally we added some ‘gems’ to catch the light. This piece was definitely my favourite. Seeing the children make their mark on the piece was fantastic, and the outfits definitely look very eye catching. Great job summer club!

Once I start my course I am very excited to write more teaching orientated posts, but until then I hope you’re enjoying these. Let me know what you think of our artworks, and if you’ve ever tackled a large art piece with your students I would certainly love to see it!

Have a lovely day

Katie aka the arty one

 

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An Emotional Rollercoaster

All week I have been desperate to blog and share my end of term emotions, but I have put it off until today…the final day. It is now officially summer, and I’m sure there are many teachers out there looking forward to a well deserved rest. Good for you, teachers of the world! I salute you.

After today, I feel like an emotional wreck. I’m not sure how teachers do it every year to be honest. Especially year 6 teachers that are saying goodbye to their class, as they embark on the adventure that is secondary school. This week for me has been particularly emotional as I have now left my school. Today was my last day, hopefully ever, as a teaching assistant. Saying goodbye to so many amazing children, all of which I would love to continue working with was incredibly hard. However one thing is for sure, this has been one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life. I cannot sum up my thanks and appreciation for the opportunities I have been given at my school. Everyday has been fantastic, and the team were always so kind, helpful and patient.

I was completely spoilt by the school, something I did not expect. I received so many cards and lovely presents, and couldn’t help but wonder how I can deserve so much for doing a job that already feels like a gift. What was particularly amazing though was all of the sentimental gifts I received from the children. Nursery and year 2 both put together beautiful scrapbooks (obviously with lots of help from very lovely teachers), filled with notes and handprints, for me to remember all of the children by. I am so excited to have such wonderful mementos from each of the little individuals in the classes!

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I won’t bore you with a play by play of the day. I’m sure you can all imagine how it went. But I feel that today has been so monumental for me, that I wanted to share it with you all. I now feel even more ready to start my PGCE, and a little bit closer to having my own class. I am absolutely raring to go, and cannot wait for the day when I meet my future flock! It’s a long way off, but it now feels much more real.

This feels like a terribly rambly post, so I apologise! Its been a hectic day, so rambles are all I can muster.

My closing thought is that life is a funny thing. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was working in a completely different industry, worrying about what people expect of me and feeling absolutely miserable. A leap of faith has led me to a career that I truly love and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful. If you’re worrying whether to take a chance and follow a passion of yours, please do it. Give yourself the chance to live the life you deserve. Nothing ventured, nothing gained eh?

Well that’s me signing off for today. I hope that you all had a lovely week!

Miss H

This is a drawing of me, obviously. Could you not tell?

This is a drawing of me, obviously. Could you not tell?

Baking Bread and Uni Work

Hello guys,

I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely Sunday. I’ve spent today being surprisingly productive, and I’m actually feeling quite pleased with myself. I did however indulge in my guiltiest pleasure…baking! I find baking so relaxing and enjoyable, and recently purchased a new baking book. So armed with my scales and my hand mixer, I spend today whipping up some banana bread and a wholemeal loaf.

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I’ve never made bread before, and I’m not ashamed to say how proud I am of this mighty loaf!

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I would definitely recommend this book if you or someone you know is looking to learn to make bread. Lovely design, easy to follow instructions and more recipes then a beginner will ever need!

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Banana bread using The Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe.

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So aside from making and photographing baked goods, I have been making some progress with my university prep work. One thing I have learnt about myself is that I am very unknowledgeable when it comes to grammar terms. Subordinate clauses, prepositions, fronted adverbials, and determiners are making my head spin! It’s often difficult to admit that you’re not very good at something, especially something you thought you were generally ok at! So I’m trying to embrace this discovery as a huge positive, as I can now improve my grammar knowledge. Improving this will definitely be my target for next week or so. Watch this space! If you happen to be reading this, and can recommend a website or textbook that would be useful for improving my grammar terminology, please let me know!

For the rest of the afternoon I’m going to watch The Lorax, and yes it does count as PGCE prep work 🙂 ! Part of our recommended reading was to read a children’s text and watch a recent film adaptation of it. It has taken me a while to find a book/film that felt right for me, but I’m happy with my choice and interested to watch the film and compare it to the book. The book has a wonderful message that I can see being translated into lessons easily so I’m hoping the film is just as inspiring.

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So that’s this Miss over and out for today! Next week is the last week of term and my final ever (hopefully) week as a teaching assistant. It’s a scary but exciting prospect, and this calming Sunday will hopefully prepare me for the emotional ups and downs that I have to come throughout the week. I feel so lucky to have worked at my school, and beyond excited for the year ahead, but I am sad to leave not only the team, but every little person I have had the pleasure of working with!

What do you do to make your day relaxing?

Katie

 

Flying the Nest

*Prepare for rambles*

Today in my county it was transition day, where essentially all primary students go and try out their new teacher and classroom for the morning. As I am usually based in Nursery, our little ones were off to Reception for an hour. Some were excited, many were nervous, and I think the vast majority were a little clueless. We didn’t have the new nursery class joining us, not that it would matter much if I met them, as I won’t be returning in September. Because of this, I followed my flock into their new class, where some serious heart melting moments ensued.

We began by sitting in a circle, and introducing ourselves. Each of us (both pupils and teachers) said our name, and what activity we liked best in school. The personalities of each of the students couldn’t have been clearer during that small introduction. Some spoke clearly and confidently, others muttered, one chewed her t-shirt so we couldn’t make much sense of what she was saying, while another shouting excitedly over everyone else. We had a real mixture of answers to the “what do you like doing in school” question. The answers started off pretty average. We had “lego” “reading” and “drawing”, but after a third of the group had spoken we began getting “I love my paddling pool” and one child even answered “I love eating bread” I beamed with pride for the uniqueness of each of their little personalities. I love that they don’t all follow the crowd, and each has their own little quirks.

After that they went off and explored their new classroom. The excitement over the new toys, and never before seen dressing up clothes was immense. I stole a few minutes to talk the teacher through anyone she should look out for. I pointed out our more challenging individuals, the ones who are silly when sitting next to each other, the worriers and those who need a little extra care now and then. I was surprised and how well I knew each of those little people, and felt like I was suddenly handing over my class. Of course they aren’t my class at all, I’m just a TA, and not even a TA hoping to work in early years! It’s funny how quickly you can build a strong relationship with any child, regardless of their age.

The hour was over as quickly as it began, and we returned to the carpet to share our favourite thing we had done during our transition morning. Again the answers started pouring in, all fairly standard. But, before long, one or two began answering “I loved Miss H” I’m not sure they realise myself and their new class aren’t a package deal, but luckily 4 year olds move on pretty quick. As heart melting as it was to hear their fondness for me, I’m sure I’ll have been forgotten by September.

I’ve since then even had an invitation to go round to one little boys house to play. I politely declined, explaining I was a teacher friend that they just saw in school. He cleverly replied “Ok, well when your not at school…” I can’t help but let these little moments really make my day. This was followed by a little girl inspecting my bare but usually painted finger nails, and requesting they be blue tomorrow. Of course I’m typing this with a pastel blue manicure…when a 4 year old gives you beauty advice, it’s probably wise to go with it 🙂

Miss H

4 year olds and Castles

Hello internet friends!

This week has been a whirlwind of end of term activities, trips and assemblies. However we are slowly but surely getting through everything with our sanity intact. This week nursery had a very successful trip to a Norman castle and village, and by successful I mean no one was lost, no accidents happened and there were minimal tears 🙂 I thought I would share a few photos of our lovely day with you.

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Quote of the day: Teacher “Children we are going to be visiting a castle today!”
Child “Will it be bouncy?”


 

I hope your week is going well. Anyone that says the last few weeks of the school year are a breeze is definitely lying!

As the days go by I am getting more and more excited about September and starting my PGCE. In fact only…

…not that I’m counting!

Katie

A Teacher Must Have?

This is just a quick one from me, but I couldn’t help sharing this amazing mug I have stumbled upon. I think this is a must for my teaching career, and by putting it on here I am secretly hoping I may receive it for my birthday (I’m sure I’ll end up buying it myself however) Without further ado…

It’s available from http://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com along with other grammar grumbling mugs. I am definitely obsessed. Is this the point in my life where I realise I’m a bit of a loser? Who cares! I’m happy 🙂

Let me know if you’ll be buying this mug for anyone special if your life.

Katie

Knowledge and Understanding | Education News

One of my biggest weaknesses currently, is my lack of knowledge about what is going on in education. What changes are happening? How do they affect us, and what should I be aware of? I’m well aware that there are amazing websites like tes.co.uk that are constantly being updated with education news, so why do I feel so uninformed? Especially when all of this information is at my fingertips. Well, I think it’s all a bit daunting for me, if I am perfectly honest. In my previous career in Advertising I was confident in my knowledge, and found it easy to breeze through articles every morning, keeping me up to date with key news. I was used to it being easy. I’m new to teaching so of course this will be difficult at first, and as much as I try to learn quickly there are lots of politicians, people, and key words that I just haven’t heard of…but this won’t stop be from being an informed PGCE student!

With that in mind, I want to try and create a new segment on my blog where I share my thoughts on any education news I have read that has interested me (wow that sounds boring! It won’t be I promise) This may not be your cup of tea, and I’m sure my opinions will be poorly constructed at first, but this will really help me progress. I’m excited and hopeful that one day I will feel confident in my understanding of the Education system in the UK, but I have to start somewhere! I hope you will support these posts and even share your thoughts on the subject in the comments 🙂


So I have been having a read of this article, all about online safety in primary and secondary schools. Recently Ofsted reports reveal that schools may not be providing adequate online safety lessons, with a quarter of secondary pupils being unable to recall whether or not they have been taught about online safety at all.

This is a topic I feel very strongly about. Most of us are fully aware of the long list of dangers online, including bullying, abuse, and even grooming from predators. This is certainly something that needs to be taken seriously in schools. From my own experience in different primary schools, I agree that although training has been provided to staff, I am not confident that the pupils would demonstrate a solid knowledge and understanding of the dangers, if questioned. In fact, some have let slip that they have Instagram accounts, and on one occasion I remember trying in vain to explain the dangers of apps like snapchat to a child. Because children are innocent minded, they are not able to preempt dangers that may be obvious to an adult.

I believe that something as important as internet safety should be introduced into the classroom on multiple occasions. It should be made a part of everyday life (as much as possible) to open up conversation. As, of course, social media has now become part of our everyday life. It’s here to stay, and we as educators need to adapt our practice to meet the needs of this generation.

The article mentioned internet safety often only being taught during ICT lessons, which does make sense. However I do not think this is often enough, and should instead be discussed in depth during different lessons. Internet safety could be taught in sections to break down different dangers, and scenarios pupils might encounter. This would be especially appropriate for older children. I also think that getting children as involved as possible with the schools safety policy would help them retain what they had been taught. They could, for example make posters or leaflets on internet safety to help other pupils/children. I also think (as with most things) teaching would be more effective if linked to a book (Jacqueline Wilson “The Worry Website” possibly, or for a clearer link between the text and the book “Clicking and Snipping with Chicken and Kittie” by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross ). This would open up the opportunities for making the teaching of online safety part of a literacy lesson, not just ICT! 

I also thought this blog post featuring key objects to represent different parts of internet safety was interesting and inventive. Give it a read here if you’re curious.

I do understand that this is easier said then done, but I think the benefits of incorporating internet safety lessons into other parts of the curriculum would be great. There is a serious danger online for young people today, and therefor teaching them how to deal with this danger, should be a priority. Being creative with lessons would mean that this teaching can be incorporated into other subjects, and therefor immersed into the daily routine more easily.


If you got this far, thank you for reading my ramblings. And as I said previously I am an education novice, so I’m sure the depth of my understanding and opinions leaves a lot to be desired…but it’s a start and we must all start somewhere 🙂

I hope you are all having a good week.

Digital Miss