Singing Club

So, on my last placement I took a bold move and started a singing club!

I’ve ALWAYS been heavily interested in music and singing is one of my passions. A few years ago I started tinkling around with a guitar, and today I am able to play a few chords and stumble my way through a few songs. With this in mind, and the absence of a singing club/choir at the school, on a whim I asked the teacher if she would be interested in me starting a club.

She snapped my arm off, and told me about how it would be nice to prepare a song for the upcoming open morning. With limited time left (2/3 weeks) I decided to still go for it, and give it a shot.

I was in a class with Reception, Year 1 and 2 children, and the teacher thought it would be nice to aim the club solely at them.

This made the idea of a singing club all the more daunting, but I knew the children well, and they didn’t really have any clubs that they could attend.

And so the ‘Singing Club’ was born.

On the first week there was a lot of attendance from almost the whole class! I decided our song to focus on would be ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus. I chose this because the children knew a bit about the song, I could *just* play it on guitar, but mostly I really liked the lyrics and the message the song sent. I didn’t want them to do a nursery rhyme or a song about frogs or something, because it was a SINGING club, and today children are surrounded by so much modern music, why not give them a chance to work within the frame of a structured song.

The results from the Singing club were great, and filled me with hope. The children tried really hard, picking up the words and melody (with some exceptions!!) and couldn’t wait for the next club session. One child’s mum came in and told me how much her daughter had enjoyed the club, and how she wanted to do it again asap! The children were singing the song at lunch time, and when sat on the carpet too.

As placement wasn’t long enough for me to teach the whole song, the class teacher took great interest in how I was warming the children up/ teaching the song/ breaking down bits etc., in order to carry on from where i started. This made me feel like I had really contributed something to the school, and done something worthwhile.

On my part, it was a scary process having to sing loudly and clearly for the children to hear, but after 2 minutes I realised that the children didn’t care, and were there to sing together. Adults can learn a lot from children!

Although there were a lot of children out of tune, some not singing at all etc., it didn’t matter, because they were all there HAVING A GO. And that’s what creative arts are about, expressing yourself in your own way, and doing something because you enjoy it. Who was I to tell them to sing in a different way or hit a particular note? The enjoyment on their faces and to watch them singing in union was truly heart-warming, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I’m so glad I started the club, even though it was short-lived. Every child should have the opportunity to attend a club and have a go at something, and I’m pleased I could make that happen. 🙂

Laura.

 

Blogging, and update and an apology.

Hello blogging world,

It’s been a while, (more than a while actually,) since I last posted anything here, but I was browsing through http://mrchurchblogs.wordpress.com/ (he’s great, take a look) and thought that maybe I should get back into the swing of sharing my thoughts etc.

So I made it through my first year if University! I passed all my assignments, audits and school experiences and i’m already into my second year of the course. Last year had a lot of ups and down… two dodgy placements where I felt not wanted, counteracted by one 5 week placement at the best school ever that made me learn a lot about myself, and where I want to be in the future. My partner was amazing, and all of that combined resulted in my favourite placement so far.

Now i’m about to start my first placement of the second year, and this one is 4 weeks long, and the last one done as a pair. My partner is someone who I already know and get along with, so it should be great!……

………I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m not good enough.

This summer I’ve felt a lot of self-doubt about whether I’ve got what it takes to be a teacher, and if it’s right for me, and even contemplated dropping the course. There’s a lot of areas I don’t feel confident in, but 99% of me thinks I should suck it up and go for it.

So i’m going to. 🙂

So that’s it really, placement starts tomorrow and I’m going to give it my best shot! Apologies for not blogging for almost a year *gulp* but I’m going to try and be more consistent.

Laura.

Placement, Day 1

Today was my first day of my 2 week school placement, and it’s safe to say that I was very nervous! Luckily one of my friends from uni has also got her experience there though, so I had her to keep me calm!

We arrived for 8am, and made our way into the school where we waited by the office to be seen by the headteacher. There I met the girl who was in my class with me, and she was lovely. We waited for a bit, and he gave us documentation on safeguarding and some general student advice. Then, he gave us a tour of the school so we wouldn’t get completely lost. The campus was small, but it had everything the children could ever need, with a field, playground, and games hall. After this tour, we then went to our rooms where lessons were conducted. I was with the Year 5/6 class, where the timetable for the day followed: Numeracy, Assembly, Literacy/ICT and PE.

The day started with a maths activity where the children had to make the total of 90, out of words. This sounds completely impossible I know, but it was a clever activity that the children were familiar with and got straight on with. They had to use the alphabet, with each letter representing a number e.g. A= 1, B =2, C=3 etc. and make words, where the total of the letters made 90. I thought this was really clever. The children automatically got out dictionaries and calculators, and through using trial and error they managed to find words that made this total. Slight The ones that found it then wrote them on the board, and as a reward received a strip of ‘raffle tickets’ which are a chance to win something. This encouraged them to widen their vocabulary, get used to trial and error and got them focussed for the day ahead.

This allowed for numeracy to come next, where the children were learning about improper fractions and mixed numbers. The teacher started the session with input, using the interactive whiteboard to show how the children should attempt to work them out; after this he then gave out sheets for the children to work on, ranging abilities. The children are arranged in ability from ‘must’ ‘should’ ‘could’ ‘wow’ and from this their work is determined. I don’t really agree on this, but the class seems to work okay with it. The children didn’t really understand the work, looking confused and telling me ‘I don’t get it.’ This meant I turned into the teacher, as I talked it through and helped the children on various tables answer the questions. The teacher was aware that the lesson hadn’t gone the way he had planned, and mentioned that he will revisit it.

After this it was breaktime, followed by Aseembly which was in the games hall. The teachers sat at the sides of the children, as the headteacher conducted the assembly which was all on bullying. He told a story about bullying and afterwards asked the children what they would do if they thought someone was left out etc. It involved a lot of discussion, and made the school feel cosy and connected. They then sang a song about bullying with actions (which I joined in with!!) and left to start lessons before lunchtime.

This sesson was on Literacy which linked to their topic of Victorians and Oliver! The children are working on creating their own version of Oliver, creating each chapter through their own words, which will build up to create a book. Today, they were writing about what Oliver saw when he first reached London, doing a detailed piece of descriptive writing. The teacher used the interactive whiteboard to show a piece from the film to help the children start. The children worked in silence, writing their descriptions in their books. At the end the teacher asked to hear a few pieces of work, and the children volunteered. Here, he offered both praise and constructive criticism that the children could work on. He often encourages them to evaluate their own writing, giving them a blue pen to edit their own work. I also noticed that the children always have thesauruses out on the tables, and are always looking for effective language; this is a great habit to get into.

After lunch, the children were asked to get the laptops out to type up their story so far. Not much help was needed here as the children are all very competent on computers. They could all access the programs they needed and managed to type up their work so far with minimum hassle. This lasted for half of the afternoon, and it allowed me to do some floating and look at the types of work they had been doing so far.

P.E was next on the agenda, and I didn’t have a place here as the school have people come in to take the sessions. They took the children outside for football in the rain. As I had no P.E kit, I couldn’t help out, plus there were 3 staff from the program that had come in- there was nothing I could do. We took this time as opportunity to look at our folders and what we needed to collect during out stay. After P.E the children got changed and went home, ending my first day of placement.

All in all, a good day! Still getting used to it, and it is very scary, but the children are great.

Will try to update everyday.

Laura

First Placement

Today I received confirmation for my first placement- luckily it’s not too far away, but it’s at a school I’ve never heard of before.

It’s safe to say, I’m very nervous!

But, I’m looking forward to it too.

It’s a small school, a lot like the primary school I went to, it has 4 classes, and has 15 children per year group. The year groups are grouped, meaning there’s 30 children per class. I am going to be in the Yr 5/6 class, with another student from my course.

It’s for 2 weeks, in which I have some tasks to complete, e.g. read with a child, observe a phonics lesson etc., which will be interesting and hopefully insightful. Most of the time will be spent observing teaching as this is my first placement, and I will probably work with a group as I enjoy helping the children. My work experience was at my primary school, so I am quite used to the way small schools tend to work, but when I got to a bigger one I think it will be a big shock!

I think I just need some confidence in myself and all will be well.

Laura.

P.S- My broad bean seed hasn’t done anything yet! I’m hoping for some developments in the next few days.

Growing seeds.

This is just a brief post about what I did today in my Science seminar.

Today we started looking at ‘living things,’ and my lecturer took my group down to the University greenhouse. Inside it had various different plants, cacti etc. It was a little bit of a squeeze for our 20 something strong group, but we fit in.

The activity we did would allow us to watch a broad bean seed grow, without all the mess of the soil.

First, we all took a see-through plastic bag (roughly A4 size,) and a piece of kitchen roll. The piece of kitchen roll needed to be damp, so we used a tap/watering can to get it ready. After this, we then put the damp piece of kitchen roll inside the bag, and stapled it at the bottom 3 times, evenly spaced, so it wouldn’t move. At this point, the seed needed to be put in, so we placed the seed on top of the kitchen roll in the bag, leaving it in the middle so it can be seen from outside. Then we stapled the top of the kitchen roll, and just one underneath the seed to try and keep it in place.The top was sealed, and the preparation for the observation was complete.

We took them all home, and we now have to watch them to see the progress in the bean. Hopefully we will be able to see all the roots.

This activity would be fabulous with a group of children- it’s simple, doesn’t take many resources, and it works on observation skills. Children can keep a seed diary, monitoring what they see each day, and writing down any changes. It can also get the children outside, into a greenhouse if the school has one, and getting them to think about the processes seeds go through underground which we can’t see.

I will let you know how it turns out in a couple of days!

Laura.

The teacher voice.

We’ve all heard of that magical thing called a ‘teacher voice,’ but what exactly is it?

It’s having conviction, strength, yet a tone that still makes you approachable.

The real question is, how do we achieve this?

I honestly don’t think it’s something you can ‘practice’ or ‘perfect,’ it comes through confidence and a belief in what you are saying.

I do think having the correct type of voice when addressing a class is important though. Your voice can speak louder than your words, a harsher tone can convey that you’re not happy with their work/ behaviour, whilst a lighter one can show happiness and appreciation. Although you are a teacher, it doesn’t mean you’re not human- you can still convey emotion and have an opinion on the standard of work you expect. It’s important for children to recognise what is good and bad; when you have had a class for a while, a simple tone of voice may be enough for them to realise you don’t approve of their behaviour.

One day I will have a good ‘teacher voice’ (I hope,) but for now, I will work on just building my confidence!

Laura.

Reflection of Specialism Week

This week, my timetable was full of English Specialism sessions where we looked at incorporating drama into learning about a book.

The sessions were centred on the book ‘The Tunnel’ by Anthony Browne. I have read some Anthony Browne books before, so I had a vague idea of what to expect, but there’s so much detail in the illustrations that you can never fully take in all there is to see.

The first two sessions in the week were about the activities we would be doing with the children who were coming in on Thursday, so we went over drama activities such as conscience alley etc. My group has the ‘introduction’ section of the day, meaning we had to introduce the book and go through it twice; first in silence as they looked at the pictures and listened to the story, the second time asking questions and picking out things they could see.

On the day, the children were fantastic. They were well behaved, had lots to say with a lot of clever, well thought-out contributions, making them a joy to teach. However, on reflection, I feel the task took too long. We followed the structure set by our lecturer of going through the book twice, but I personally would have preferred to only go through the book once, taking a bit of time at the beginning of each page for the children to scan over it, and then discussing it as a group. Going through it twice, for me, made it drag on a little and took a bit of life and excitement out of the book that was there when we read it the first time. The children knew what was going to happen the second time round. But, the children did get a lot from it, and this introduction was the foundation for the rest of the day.

It would have been nice to maybe lead one of the drama games where you can have some fun and really interact with the children, and see what they can come up with, but with teaching you need to be able to jump into different roles- this role was laying the important foundations for the other activities.

Overall, the week highlighted the way drama activities can allow children to draw knowledge from a book in an interactive, hands-on way. The children loved activities such as ‘role wall’ where they could draw around each other, and creating news reports, and throughout the day you could see their knowledge grow as they delved into the characters and situations in the book.

It was a great experience, and I feel much more confident about drama activities, and how to involve it in a Literacy lesson.

Laura.

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