IT’S HALF TERM!

It’s finally half term! Happy half term everybody!

After a busy 2 weeks of teaching, I’m really looking forward to a week off and having a  break back at home. The last 2 weeks have been a mixture of really positive experiences, as well as a few challenging ones!

On Monday 1st February I went on a trip with two children in my class to a maths day for ‘more able’ pupils. It was a great day as I got to know the children even better and got to witness some really good maths teaching – some of the problem solving activities I saw I’ll definitely be using with my class. The children we took were Year 1; however, the rest of the children there were Year 2. The children did really well and I felt so proud of them!

One of the big challenges over the last couple of weeks has been managing the behaviour in my class. Although there’s only 21 children, they’re quite a challenging bunch! It’s quite natural for children to try and push the boundaries or test the water when they get a new teacher. There was a moment on Tuesday where I began to really doubt myself as the children’s behaviour just seemed to be getting worse and worse. However, I knew that it wasn’t only me the children were playing up for and on Wednesday, the deputy head, class teacher and I, had a serious chat with the children. Since then we’ve been trying really hard to keep on top of behaviour by following the schools behaviour policy – and let’s just say there have been a lot of missed break-times! But, I’m happy to say that there has been a change in behaviour (for the better) overall and I’m looking forward to seeing all the children again after half term and giving them a fresh start when we start our new topic called ‘marvellous medics’!

A

Focus Groups

I have got to know the pupils in class 3 (mixed year 3’s and 4’s) rather well already, I have got to know the different personalities and I was looking forward to beginning my week of focus group activities.

Following a meeting with my class teacher, I was given two weeks of maths objectives for the whole class, however for the first week I would be applying these to a group of 10 children who are the lower maths abilities within the class.  We would be learning all about fractions. Having taught a reception class in my first placement, the concept of teaching fractions seemed a little daunting. I decided to sign up for a ‘Twinkl’ account, this site is full of bright, well designed and engaging resources – I would definitely recommend investing some of that student loan into a Twinkl account if you haven’t already, – it will provide you with lots of good ideas and interesting resources.

I read through the list of the weeks objectives and made a draft plan of what each lesson would involve. It’s a good idea to share draft plans with your class teacher as soon as possible so they can recommend any changes. I have now developed a routine with my class teacher where I email my plans over the evening before and she will reply with any advice/adaptations which I can then apply before teaching the lesson the following day.

Today is Thursday, I have Thursday afternoon’s off for PPA time. This is a great opportunity to get ahead with planning and start producing resources ready for my lessons. Our teaching timetable increases to 40% next week, I am carrying on fractions and teaching myths and legends in English, exciting!!

I best get back to planning!

Z

 

First school trip!

seaSo 1st February, first day of placement and I am off on a school trip! Wahoo! My school is a two form entry school so there are two year four classes and both classes are off to the sea life centre and the Birmingham museum. It can be a little scary at first as I was given a group of 6 children to look after and I felt a bit like a nervous wreck thinking I hope they behave and don’t run off – but they really were as good as gold. Before getting on the coach there were around 5 children who suffered with travel sickness, so sick bags at the ready – luckily they had all took their tablets and we was good to go, no sick this time!

It was such a good day overall, you really get to spend time with the children outside the classroom and it is such a lovely feeling when a member of the public comment on how well behaved the children are, it really makes you feel proud! I had a great day, the sea life centre was amazing and the children was able to relate what they learnt to The Great Barrier Reef which they have been learning about during are January topic ‘Australia’. We had a tour and some lunch and then went over to the Birmingham museum to learn about Anglo Saxons! Fun fun fun!

E

I found a great phonics resource!

It states in your SBT booklet that during your preliminary visits you need to do some small group or intervention work. Having a phonics group is great for this because, in my experience, sessions tend to be 20 minutes max. My placement last year was in a Reception class so I taught quite a lot of phonics. I couldn’t recommend enough how important it is to try and teach phonics in your first year (if you’re in Key Stage 2, ask if you can get some phonics experience lower down the school)! Phonics can seem really scary if you don’t have any experience of it – so the sooner you get experience, the better!

During my preliminary visits I’m teaching two phonics groups a day. In the morning I have a group that’s a mixture of Reception and Year 1 children and in the afternoon I do a 10 minute phonics intervention with some Year 1s.

Whilst shopping the other day I came across this great resource for phonics. It was only from a pound shop, so it didn’t break the bank – a tiny wheelie bin!

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Part of phonics teaching includes reading and writing alien (or nonsense) words. I thought this bin would be perfect for children to sort alien words into. I may even give the bin ears, mouth and a tail to make it look like an alien itself! Go and get yourself one of these tiny wheelie bins!

A

 

 

MY FIRST WEEK

During my first week, I’ve made getting to know my school and my class a priority.

My placement is in a mixed Year 1 and 2 class with 21 pupils. I was quite excited about being in a small class as I thought this would make getting to know the children a lot easier. By the second day I knew all the children’s names – they were so impressed! A few ways I made getting to know the children easier for myself were:

  • Talking to the class teacher about the class
  • Asking for a class list
  • Offering to hand out books/letters/etc
  • Speaking to children individually during lessons
  • Going onto the playground (a lot of children will come up to you and introduce themselves!)

Being placed in a small school has made finding my way around a lot easier I was given a tour and introduced to all the staff – some of their names seemed to go in one ear and out the other! To get to know the staff better I’ve planned some observations for next week. From my previous placement, I know that making time to observe and talk to different teachers can be really helpful for my own practice.

This week, the school celebrated “Three Kings’ Day” – a Latin American and Spanish holiday. One afternoon, the whole school had a fiesta in the hall with pinatas, nachos, music and dancing. It was a really fun (but noisy) afternoon and I feel like it’s broken me into placement gently!

All in all, it’s been a great first week!

A

Round 2!

I have just got home from my first day at my second placement school. I’m so glad I did a trial drive over to the school during the Christmas holidays – it is a tiny village school which is really tucked away! – I would definitely recommend a trail run to your school if you are unfamiliar with the area, you will probably have enough nerves on your first day without the stress of trying to find the school!

I had my folders at the ready and walked over to the front desk with a nervous but positive attitude. Having introduced myself to my class teacher and the headteacher over the phone just before Christmas , I knew I was going to be in good hands. The headteacher greeted me and gave me a tour of the school, with only 88 pupils it’s rather small – at least I didn’t have the fear of getting lost! Eventually, I was shown to the classroom I will be working in (a mixed year 3/4 class) and met the teacher, she was just as lovely as I remembered from our phone call. She showed me around the classroom and informed me of the daily routines. I felt at ease already.

Following our introduction, I met the office staff who gave me a full induction, it was so nice to be treated as a proper member of staff. I signed all the relevant documents and got back to my class.

24 intrigued faces looked over at me as I walked back into the classroom, my teacher introduced me and explained that I would be working with them over the next few months.

Throughout the day I offered to help with photocopying, marking, pencil sharpening and any other jobs I felt would ease the job of the class teacher. By doing this, you are already building a good relationship with them and they are always so appreciative of the help.

Lets see what the next few weeks bring!

Z

Pre placement nerves!

So Christmas is over and it is January, New Year new placement! As excited as I am to be starting my second placement in February I still get those pre placement nerves! The paperwork, school folder, PDP, wondering who my teacher will be, whether the children will be well behaved, what I will be teaching etc. Yes the questions and nerves still appear second time round! However I am excited and cannot wait to start my pre visits.

Pre visits are great – they really are a nice way to ease into the school, get to know the class, your teacher, the children, school policies, teaching time table etc, so enjoy them and make them useful, observe different teachers, make note of strategies you like, get to know the staff and keep on top of your school booklet – it really helps!

So… first day I arrive and I waited in the office, the secretary was really nice and gave me forms to fill out and policies to read around safeguarding, health and safety etc. Then the deputy came to get me, she introduced herself and showed me round the school. I met my class teacher and school mentor (your school mentor carries out your reviews and does the majority of your observations) I was in year 4 and have two class teachers who are both part time and my school mentor is the year 6 teacher. First day is always quite scary but the school day literally flies and the children are so lovely and friendly and want to know everything about you! I was nervous at first walking into the staff room and sitting there not knowing anyone, but just make yourself a cup of tea and relax everyone is really friendly and keen to know how you are getting on – you will soon fit in! Good luck year ones!

E