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This morning began much the same as the last few mornings; I sat with the children in breakfast club, and oversaw their painting (water colours this time phew!). The class teacher’s two daughters (I think) were in class today, at least one is in year 3, and they are planning on joining this school once their year group has been established here. So I  am guessing this was an opportunity for them to try out the school’s environment.

A little girl came up to me and showed off very proudly (and rightly so!) some snowmen she had made by stuffing white socks and tying an elastic in the middle to make a head and body and then sewing part of a black sock onto the top to make a hat, and then decorating it to make it look like a snowman. I am very impressed with them, and I will definitely try to make some at some point!!!

After the register was called, year 2 lined up in partners to walk up to the street dance studio. This turned out to be opposite the university, literally three minutes from my halls…….. The children adore street dance, and really get into it, especially the end, where everyone gets into a circle and claps while one by one the children go into to the middle and show off their ‘moves’. As I have said before, I was a dance assistant, so I was in my element! Well, I would have been, if I knew how to street dance! It was very bizarre to do body ripples and learn how to do the arm wave thing, and then help to teach it! I don’t think the man taking the class really knew how to teach the children, I mean he knew his stuff, but he went waaay too quickly through the moves, and a lot of the class were very behind. Obviously, they are not taking exams and so it doesn’t matter as much if they cannot follow, but it is really demoralising for them if they are struggling! It was also a bit frustrating for me, as this was one area I could have been really helpful in, but obviously…

The walk back to the university was uneventful, it is quite stressful taking a class of 30ish students across busy roads, but we made all the passers by smile with our train of 6 and 7 year olds, so not all a loss! As soon as we came back, we went out into the playground, and I taught one of the little girls two of my cheerleading cheers, which she really enjoyed, and also played with the new sports equipment; some sort of rainbow sheet with a ball. By the time we got inside it was lunchtime and I was all but ready to passout with exhaustion and hunger! I was just completely wiped out!

After having managed to feed myself, I helped to hoover the classroom and set up for class, and also make a library book register, so the children can sign in and out books, which means that we can see who has taken what book and when.

I then did an observation of the gingerbread experiment again. This time it was the teaching assistant/chef who took a small group of children to undercook, cook and over cook gingerbread. He incorporated maths into the lesson by asking the group to help him with the timer, which was good, but I feel as if he could have done a lot more questioning. That is the recurring issue during his lesson; he asked them questions but answered them himself almost straight away, or asked many closed questions, like “are these soft or crispy?”. Instead, I would have asked the children’s opinions, for example “what do you think this is?” “why?” “can you tell me what you think the biscuit will look like when it comes out of the oven?” “what will it taste like?” etc etc, and this would most probably get really interesting ideas and opinion from the children, for them to dissect themselves. I am probably rather biased, as most of our lectures have a huge emphasis on talk for learning and asking questions, children as scientists and explorers etcetc, but I do think that they hold a fair point!

As this was going on, the rest of the school were practising ‘let it be’ again, and using sign language to help remember the words. As Reception left, yet another way of gaining the children’s attention was used; counting to 10 and getting the class to repeat while clapping. Quite nice for the younger years who are just learning to count I think, but it still remains that this is yet another method of behaviour management! We then all taught the year 1 and 2s ‘Walking in a winter wonderland’, which was lovely and christmasy and awh I loved it! It is nice to be able to sing in class!

After singing, the classes were left to decide what they wanted to do, so some watched a film, others played with lego, and some did drawing, and myself and my partner started to get the children to choose books to take home. The phonics programme they have been using is mostly online and many parents have a lot of trouble adjusting to this, and as the school had not been handing out reading books, a few complaints were coming in. There has not been any  real routine set up either, so I think that this will be one for the morning, as there was really not enough time at the end of the day to change all the children’s books. I am also planning on making a poster with some children about what they do in the mornings; i.e. put bags away, hang up coats, put home school books in the tray, and now, find a new reading book, before settling down with something fun to do. Also, parents can come in and help settle down their children, and they might also be pleased to pick a new book with their child anyway!

I called the children over and asked them to find a book, and wrote it in their home school books if they had one, and then my partner signed them off into the new library checkin/checkout books. All very exciting I think!

The christmasy feel continued to the after school care, where I was sat overseeing the craft table who were making christmas cards, which then progressed into making santa and then angels. The children really enjoyed themselves (and so did I! I made a card, although one child took such a shine to it they asked to take it home, and I could not say no! – sadly-)

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I really enjoy staying for this, I have said it once, but I will say it again! And I know it doesnt really matter how late you stay, but the impact you have, but I feel like I have more evidence of the impact I make when I stay behind, because the teachers are genuinely surprised to see us here still, and it does feel nice! I left at 6 today, and I must say, I have been very shocked to realise that it is already friday! what has happened to this week! I have been so busy!

My gingerbread earrings went down a treat yesterday, the children were fascinated! And today I wore my cupcake earrings in aid of the bake sale (ha! incidentally, I spent 75p on 4 cakes/biscuits; the cheapest bake sale ever!) which is actually run by the PTFA which stands for parents teachers and friends, which I think is quite nice. That was also quite a long aside, and I think that I will leave this blog post here for now. I won’t be blogging at the weekend; I have lots of uni work to be doing; i.e. assignments, and evaluations and food shopping and laundry and catching up on strictly and then Doctor Who; I have a very busy weekend ahead of me!