It’s nearing the end of our first three weeks as PGCE students. Someone told me yesterday that this year we only have 12 weeks at university, so we have already completed a quarter of this time! This fact is terrifying... I can only hope that during my placements I start to feel like I know what I’m doing, because I’m not sure 12 weeks of lectures will do the trick.
Our life is currently jam packed with curriculum studies, where we essentially learn about subjects. How we teach them, why we teach them and how to link them. It has been incredibly insightful so far and I am starting to feel very excited for when I can put some of this knowledge to good use.
This was a fantastic concept we discussed in English. Our lecturer (or rather the technicians) had put together a number of beautifully decorated shoeboxes, filled with objects relating to stories. This abled us to get very hands on with the story and retell it using the props (whilst elaborating and adding a little creativity of course) This is a fantastic way of getting children thinking and using their imagination. I can imagine this being an excellent tool for KS1 when asking children to retell a story, or remembering what order the events go in. Much better then cutting out little paper rectangles with a small depiction of a scene on, and then sticking them into the correct order. You could even develop this by exploring what happened if you took one prop/character away. What would happen if the story wasn’t set in their homely forest box, but in an arctic tundra box? How would the story change?
Another aspect to story boxes is that you can just go wild and make up your own. We were given a blue shoe box filled with various under the sea props, and asked to make up our own story in groups. I think this would be an excellent way to inspire children before starting a creative writing piece. This would help children generate ideas, and inspired. It also ties with drama and performance.
So now I just need to get my hands on a dozen shoeboxes and I’m set. I’d say it was a good opportunity to buy more shoes if I wasn’t on a student’s budget (all unwanted shoeboxes send them my way!)
Addition and Subtraction
In case you’d wondered Maths is still blowing my mind. This week we have looked at addition and learnt about the different types (aggregation and augmentation). Although this knowledge isn’t useful for children, it will help me as a teacher to break down addition and find out what language the children are comfortable with. For example if one seems to be struggling, it may be questions phrased in an augmentation style that are tripping them up.
See below 24 +35 using arrow cards and the partitioning method.
On that note it is shocking how many different ways we adults can phrase 6+4=. Add, make, and, sum, together. All of these words can be used to mean the same thing, and that is very confusing!
Another revelation I’ve had is that Maths isn’t a series of different processes we have to learn it’s more like a big picture. Every part of Maths is linked to the others, and therefor everything needs to be taught in a systematic, conceptual way. Without the base knowledge required before moving on, children can very easily get left behind, through no fault of their own.
For example subtraction and addition have always seemed quite separate to me. Of course I understand the link between the two, but as a child there was less cross over…“today class, we are learning to subtract!” It was all very categorised and compartmented. But if we start to introduce the notion of subtracting being the inverse of addition as we go along, then when children reach that stage in their learning, it isn’t an alien concept. They should understand the link much more clearly and therefor be able to visualise the problem.
Next week I am on my first (mini) placement. Technically it’s school based training, but either way I’m spending a week in a local special school. I’ve never before spent much time in a special school, so I am so excited to see what I can learn and how I can relate that to mainstream primary education. I do have a nephew who is on the autistic spectrum and attends a similar school, but as much as I’ve always been aware of his schooling and how it works for him, I’ve only ever seen it from a parental perspective.
It is also a chance to break out my teacher trousers and smart looking jumpers, and that is exciting in itself (I think I need to get out more)
I hope you’ve all had a good week!