And so starts my last week of placement in my first school! It feels very strange, and a little sad; just as we are getting used to the routine, and the children, and the teachers, we will be going back to lectures!
I began my morning by sticking back up a huge poster which had fallen down over the weekend; easier said than done, because it was rather high up, and very long! And we had small chairs to stand on… I also began to talk to parents about choosing books with their children in the morning when they dropped them off. Hopefully this will make them feel more involved, and give them something useful to do in the morning also! my third job of the day was to make up home/school books for the children who either a) hadn’t been given one or b) had lost them. I managed to give myself a huge papercut, and not notice till I had bled all over the first few pages in one of the books. It is a deceivingly painful injury; how can something so small hurt so much???? My Angry Birds plaster was very popular with the children, as were my cottage earrings. I do have to remind the children not to pull on them; not had any accidents as of yet, but I dread to think what could happen…
Anywho. The class’ first activity was English, and they were split into different ability groups, and I was sat at the higher ability group’s table (at the same time as my incident as a matter of fact!). They were having a spelling test; I, he, our, no, go, is etc, but I think the teacher was going very quickly through the words, and many children were left behind. The number of correct answers ranged from 23 out of 23, to 11 out of 23, but quite a few of the words were hard to decode, for example ‘was’ and ‘the’ and ‘our’. The teacher used a nice strategy though, of asking the children to spell the words while doing the corrections. I have seen this before when I helped out in a year 7 English class in my sixth form school, and it works quite well (providing the child has spelt it right in the first place!) After this, I joined in for the handwriting and I noticed that the child next to me held her pen veryvery strangely, and I was talking with the class teacher, who had said that she had noticed it too, and spent time working on it, but as the child is in year 2, it is unlikely she will be able to change this. I feel like this is a slightly strange thing to say as a teacher, but she has been teaching for a long time, so maybe it is personal experience. I was trying to help improve the grip, but very quickly she got teary and refused to write, so I can understand that it may be a difficult task, but it is equally important to get her to hold her pen correctly. As I am writing this, I am just questioning myself as to why it is important to hold a writing implement in the same manner as everyone else. Does it make writing easier? Is it comfier? Is it just so that everyone conforms? Or another reason? I may look that up at a later date (….)
The next activity was back in the ginger bread groups, which has gone a lot better than I expected. I took the girls and my partner took the boys (there were 2 of them, but they were the ones misbehaving, so I thought it might be best to separate the groups so we could focus more attention on the boys so they would be less likely to act up..whether it worked or not, remains to be seen!) and they were all brilliant! My group knew the actions and the words, and even took turns being the teacher (i.e. me) and leading each other, prompting! The class teacher went around taking photos and so I am immortalised looking ridiculous between actions in my group of children’s learning journey books. (long sentence alert!) I am supposed to have a copy of this photo, so fingers crossed! It will look fab in my uni folder (and was also a pretty fun exercise!) I have done so much photocopying, I swear the poor receptionist was sick of my face by the end of the day! Anyway, the entire class came together to tell the story, and then each group went up and told their parts. I may be biased, but I am so proud of our group, we were definitely the best! They were loud, and remembered the actions and words, and only needed prompting for the very end, whereas the other groups needed support the whole way through ( I also only had year 2s in my group, which may have helped, but still! Proud person typing here!)
Still during literacy, we did an exercise called ‘boxing’ the story. This is basically summarising the story into boxes, and in this case, four of them. I sat with my group, and they did pretty well, I even did one too! After having spent most of the after school care sticking work into books, I appreciate even more the importance of naming work! Can I invest now in name labels? It might not be such a bad idea if I’m going to be honest!
Today I also did lunch duty, and it was absolutely freezing; so so cold! I had to reconcile a couple of children, help someone find the remains of her necklace, and the ‘french tower’ that was in it (I had to confront a child about this, and he blatantly lied to my face about not having it, even though I asked him to search his pockets for it – I knew he had it anyway, but I was giving him the chance to ‘find it’- so he is missing some play tomorrow!). I was also very confused about two children as they were talking – i assumed to me- and I just couldn’t make out what they were saying, until one of them said ‘we’re talking in Polish Miss’. I think it is nice that they have someone to talk to in their native languages; I love their accents when they speak in English also! There are quite a few Polish children, I hadn’t really paid much attention to the numbers of Polish people, but I shall keep an eye out from now.
Painting, and maps of me were next. I had to shape makeshift aprons when the bin bags ran out; I got the children to put their arms through the handles of plastic bags and just smoothed them down into half aprons. They did the job, so I am pleased! The children could do sewing, painting and drawing to make maps of them, which described things they liked doing, for example a book mountain or candy land. Quite a lovely idea, they could even do non fiction writing exercises for example a tourist brochure for the island. I am going to ask what they are planning to do with the maps, and if they have any follow up ideas.
Another behaviour management technique was used (I wasn’t even aware there were so many!), talking using a soft voice, which forces the children to be quiet as else they cannot hear anything (only works if the class are interested in the first place really!) I have a couple more points to discuss; one being how farmer-ish the children speak! Nothing negative, it just makes me laugh to hear them speaking like this, after coming from an area where the children will either speak extremely properly, or terribly. It makes the difference from back home a lot more, and does add a little of colour to the day!
The other point, is that I noticed yesterday that one of the teachers has tattoos on his arms, and I have no problem with this, but one of my lecturers was telling us in a lecture that if we have tattoos on our arms, we are basically resigning ourselves to wearing long sleeves for our entire career. Which is a bit harsh in the summer I feel! I’m not sure why this is the case, I suppose it depends on the actual tattoo, and perhaps the meaning behind it. Teachers are supposed to remain impartial and not have any strong, apparent beliefs, so perhaps tattoos fall under this category? I wonder whether is is just because of the school, or maybe because of the personal choice and feeling of the head teacher? It would be interesting to find out why, but I am not sure when I could broach this subject; it might be a sore one! The same point applies to another teacher who had a nose ring in today! I feel that I am coming across as quite judgemental, it is just surprising to be seeing body art and piercings, after being told that anything like this could restrict job opportunities. Maybe it changes with the times, but we shall see!
I now have to plan a maths lesson on making 20; being observed tomorrow at 11! fingers crossed everything goes according to plan…….
oh also, finished my elephant pet!