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It is so bitterly cold in the mornings! This is my observation for this morning’s (and every other one) walk to placement ; I have a hat, scarf and gloves on (as well as a coat) and I am still freezing! It is difficult to warm up in the classroom also, as the door is nearly always open, and for some reason, the windows too! Horrific!

This morning, I helped to make a few more home-school books and mentioned to a few more parents about choosing books with their children, and I have only had a positive response (except from one mother who was decidedly uninterested, how sad), which I am really pleased about! However, as I was trying to organise for children to swap their books, my partner tells me ‘How about we only change books Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays? I mean when we leave you know theyre not going to carry this on anyway” uh. Excuse me? All my hard work??? I understand that not all children need to change their books, so maybe doing it every other day is a good idea, but telling me that there is basically no point in setting this routine up? I feel like she hasnt been listening to the teachers, the children and the parents, who have all been talking about books, and how more need to be taken home, and how pleased everyone is with this system! It does need more work, and the teachers/parents will take over, but I do think it will last! Especially with the parents who are used to other schools for their children, who took new books home everyday. Well fingers crossed!

I helped a girl with doing some handwriting in her new home-school book to show her mum, and it was so good! She was very proud of herself, as was I!

My partner and I took a group for handwriting and spellings, which was slightly hectic; we had two tables worth and they were very fussy! I made sure everyone wrote their names on their pieces of paper (solving much hassle later on!) and my partner took the spelling test. They were tricky words, for example, ‘people’, ‘oh’, ‘looked’ and ‘asked’. We did not get round to marking them, but I think they all struggled.

Next up was maths, and we prepped our groups for the lesson, as this is the one we were being observed in! My lesson was ‘ways to 20’ again, and so I started with getting the children settled around the table, with their books and pencils, and the dates in said books. I then went on to describing 20; how was it written, what was it? We decided on ‘no units and 2 tens’, and then wrote it big on the page. I actually was unsure how much time I had before break time, and whether we were supposed to do the lesson before break, so after checking (still prep time thankfully!), we did  more activities. I have found a lovely new behaviour management technique! (I know, another one..) I get the children to put their hands on their heads, which a) means they can’t fiddle, and b) means I can tell really quickly who is listening and paying attention to me. So I used this technique while counting up to 20, and then back down to 0, and it worked really well. At one point though, a child said a different number to me and I thought ‘oh no did I really get that wrong????’ but thankfully I had not (can you imagine?) I then got them all to colour in 20 square of their maths paper in, and then it was time for break. I spent most of this setting up my table with 20 of each object; 20 pegs, 20 counters, 20 straws and 20 cubes.

My observer actually came in 10 minutes to my lesson, coming in just as I had set the children their tasks, and they were getting down to it. This meant that he did not see the main teaching aspect of my lesson. This involved going over what 20 is, and how we write it, counting to 20 with the straws and splitting them up into pairs and asking to count their objects together. I spent the rest of the class going round to the pairs and giving them help. On my right, I had a year 1 who was veryvery advanced; she was homeschooled before coming here and was absolutely fab at her number sums to 20! In comparison, some of the year 2s were struggling and so I took a lot of time with them. I had a couple of children misbehave (as is the way!) but I picked them up on it and the observer’s feedback was that I used good management techniques and basically didn’t disrupt my lesson dealing with it. I did notice right at the end that one girl hadn’t written any sums whatsoever in her book, which was a bit worrying; she was sat right in front of me, under my nose! Not sure how I did not see that! At the end of my lesson, I went round the children and asked them what their favourite number sums were (I so needed to specify to 20, I got a few sums to 100!). I also did a short final part with some drawn on boxes and asked how many more were needed to get to 20. If I had to do the lesson again, I think I would not use straws as one of the objects, as they tended to fall down a lot, and were fiddly. The objects were played with a lot, so maybe I would spend half the lesson with them and do something else with them tidied away next time? I am pleased that the hands on head thing worked here too, because the children were veryvery fiddly! My observer said that I needed to make a clearer objective; so perhaps ‘Write three number sums which make 20’. A really excellent teacher is graded a 1, and in this placement we are working towards a 5, and in 3 out of 8 sections I got 5, and the others I am working towards level 5, which is not bad, infact it is very good, however I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve higher than this, and it obviously did not happen! My partner is a maths specialist, so she was in her element, and the other two students were allowed to choose their lessons, whereas I was not, and maths is not my strongest point, so I feel a bit put out by this to say the least! Also, being in this school has its disadvantages; several levels we were all unable to obtain because the setting did not allow us to, for example assessments. Obviously it is better that this happened now, but very annoying anyway, and a slight knock to my confidence. On a better note, the observer did say that I had a good relationship with the children, I enthused them, and they knew what they were doing. Well done team!!! (I would like to point out that this observer spent 20 minutes observing both myself and my partner, flitting between us. To the point that he actually recommended I try do an exercise a certain way, which would have been nice, had I not done the exact thing in the lesson, just not when he had been watching me!)

After this stressful time, it was lunch, and I had a lovely conversation with a Polish teacher about languages and how it is easier for some children to communicate in Polish than in English, etc, and it was interesting to hear things like this from a native speaker.

The rest of the day passed without (much) incident, and I sat in on a staff meeting about Individual Learner Profiles; they have to do one for each and every child as studios (classrooms) which, when finished will be very beneficial for the children, however, getting there and actually writing them will be awful!

My room is a tip from leaving early and coming back late, my washing up in the kitchen is a mountain, and my motivation to do assignment work is a ditch, but I am enjoying myself immensely (as, unfortunately, are the flat next door….)