On Friday we had the privilege of attending the Writing in Cultures conference hosted by Sue Ellis here at the university. The day was full of interesting speakers from all over the world taking about the teaching of writing in their country.
Steven Layne from Judson University in Illinois, America spoke about how to ignite a passion for writing in your classroom. Steven was genuinely inspiring and so easy to listen to. He spoke about various ways we can gain inspiration for writing. One of the most interesting things Steven spoke about was writing down your own family stories for others to read. Many of his own books have been inspired by things his children have said or done. Steven used the lovely example of “Mailing May” by Michael O. Tunnel. This is the story of a young girl who was mailed by the U.S postal service to visit her grandma. To find out more go to http://www.michaelotunnell.com/mailing_may.html.
Another idea which I can’t wait to try on placement is using a visual aid as a stimulus for creative writing. This could be a photograph or a piece of art work that could tell a story, however each person may interpret it differently and come up with unique scenarios and stories. Steven also suggested that you could give the children a title to work with or a caption to match the visual aid which would give the children a starting point and some inspiration to work their ideas from. “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” by Chris Van Allsburg is a book which features no stories in the form of text, only drawings, titles and captions. This could be used as an effective stimulus for creative writing within the classroom.
Children also need the opportunity to write about whatever they want. It seems as though children are so used to having the thinking done for them as they are more often than not told what and how to write. The same topics seem to appear year after year – “write about your christmas holiday”, “write a story about a time you felt scared” etc. Children may feel nervous about write whatever they want as they lack confidence as writers orperhaps they are not sure their ideas are as good as the teacher’s. However, this could perhaps be improved with a positive classroom ethos when it comes to writing, where the teacher encourages children to be creative. It is also important for children to understand that it is ok to take risks in their writing, that writing is a personal thing and there is no right or wrong when it comes to putting pen to paper to record your own experiences and ideas.
Hello everyone. I want to draw your attention to an event that Vivienne Smith at the University has organised. It is entitled ‘Read to Inspire’. Vivienne has run the event twice over the past 2 years, and they have always had a large audience, all of whom are enthusiastic about reading and teaching language and literacy in the classroom. I am now in my 3rd year of the B.Ed. course and have attended the both events since I enrolled at Strathclyde.
These events are completely fantastic, they inspire you, they encourage you, they give you practical ideas and tips to implement in your classroom, and you develop a deeper understanding of the authors, their books and the thought behind their books. Previous Read to Inspire events have had very high profiled authors, and this year is no different!
Date: January 9th
Time: Afternoon (Time and Venue TBC).
Mairi Hedderwick (Author of the Katie Morag books)
Eleanor Updale (You can find out more information on Eleanor’s books by clicking here.
This is a free event.
It is fantastic this year that there are two authors that appeal to the early years through to the upper school.
Take my word for it from one student to another – these events are completely worthwhile. I have hugely benefited from these events, they have prepared me for some placements and I would advise anybody who is working in the primary sector to attend! The event is also open to staff. Use the hash tag #ReadToInspire on Twitter! I shall hopefully see you there!
Like I mentioned last time this week has been full of CPD opportunities for students at Strathclyde.
On Monday B.Ed. 3 organised some speakers to talk to us about glow and digital literacies. Whilst it was a shame that the Class teacher who had offered to give a presentation on how to use Glow was ill and could therefore not present, I still found the event really valuable.
Con Morris from Education Scotland came along and spoke to the student audience about using Glow to help with CPD. Although I’ve been on CPD central for nearly a year now, I have to admit I was unsure of how to use it when I signed up. Con described CPD central group on Glow as being like a Teacher’s CPD dating website. By having lots of practitioners with their interests and expertise in one group, Teachers can use it as an area to find someone who can help them with a CPD issue they had in mind, i.e. if you needed help with teaching Music, you may find a music specialist teacher on CPD central!
Also I didn’t know much about the I-intended link. Con explained that this was to help people commit to a piece of CPD. Saying your intention out loud and onto glow will help motivate yourself to work towards achieving it as you will get support from others, including Con who will ask at your target date if you achieved your intention, and what your next steps may be.
CPD central will also put on help you get any kind of CPD you want for free! The catch? You need 5 people to sign up to the event, and it would be hosted online. If you want to learn more about teaching bilingual children, or assistance with teaching children with Autism, use the CPD request in order to get the free CPD you need.
Con gave students a proposition: if 5 student teachers from Strathclyde to sign up to CPD central – he would set up our own Group on CPD central- and he has! Visit the page with your glow login to either sign up and see the other Strathclyde student teachers as well as other professional teachers from around Scotland. http://bit.ly/strathcpd is the link to go to.
Teachmeet on Wednesday was a great afternoon. Thanks to Rebekah for planning a great event!
I really enjoyed Megan’s presentation on the different ways to take learning outdoors, and Paul’s advice on implementing Design and Technology in the classroom without the use of a any jinx joints!
Wednesday’s Teachmeet was just a small student only event, but I still find that it makes me just as motivated and excited to try out new things in my classroom, just as the larger Teachmeets do! We’ll be planning another big Teachmeet for the end of may/ June, so keep an eye out on the website to find out how to sign up!
if you missed it, here is a copy of my presentation which gives you a flavour of what I was talking about; unfortunately most of my resources on the night were pieces of work that I did with my class and were not on the prezi! I would really recommend the Belair books that I have included in the prezi just to help with ideas for helping you teach your learning intentions. They have great ideas which you can modify for lots of different curricular areas and the chidlren really enjoyed making the monsters and the little booklets!
The CPD day was one of those days which also got me excited about trying out new things in my classroom. Although my drama session didn’t turn out to be that popular, it gave me the opportunity to go and see what everyone else was up to!The Autism session with Megan and Karyn was great and although I’ve worked with children with autism from when I worked at a ‘special needs’ camp when I was working with Camp America, and when I’ve been teaching; I still found out new things and different ways to support children who have autism.I really enjoyed Nicholas’s art class too, as this gave me some great ideas for an area I struggle to teach ‘properly’. Lots of ‘art’ lessons I implemented with my p1 class last placement were lessons which were linked to social studies or health and wellbeing topics, but not ones which focused on the 7 elements of art. Nicholas and Camilla gave us some great simple ideas which we could do, but which also focused on the elements of art.
The other workshop I went to was the Working with Families workshop, which Susan on the committee had organised. She was able to have representatives from the national parents forum come along and speak to us about what parents expect from teachers and what teachers can do to build a partnership with parents. It was a really valuable session, and I think I’m definitely going to look back over those notes when I’m approaching the start of my probation year. I am really quite anxious about getting to know the parents, just because I’ve had very little opportunity on placements to actually work with parents and build up my confidence with them.
The whole day was great fun and I took away a lot more than some lovely artwork. Thanks to everyone who came and presented; and special thanks go to Rea and Rachel for sorting out the whole thing!
Learner Voice and pupil participation
On Friday Paul, Susan, Megan and I from the society went through to Edinburgh for the Learner voice and pupil participation conference. Not only was it in the amazing Royal college for physicians (I did feel a bit Elizabeth Bennet like at one moment…) but the workshops were brilliant. I attended one workshop in the morning from Mearns Primary school, and the pupils and staff showed us what they do to encourage pupils to have a voice and participate in the life of the school. I loved the idea of mediators, pupils mediating other pupils arguments, however I would want to see how another school does it first and see any difficulties which need to be addressed before I would implement it in school.The Head teacher from Ormiston Primary showed us some great ways of encouraging pupils to use their voice, I especially loved the idea of speech bubbles! Pupils would have a laminated speech bubble next to a picture on the wall and have the opportunity to write down something that sums up their week for them; a pupil #pedagoofriday for them I suppose! This could be done in conjunction with learning logs which we spoke about a few weeks ago at the TM365/5 at Jordanhill library.
So that’s been my week, and as you can see I’ve needed all day Saturday and Sunday to just about recover from it! It’s been a great week and I’ve learned a lot about different aspects of teaching and learning in and outwith the classroom, but now unfortunately Major project and revision beckons!
I’m currently out on placement with a p1 class, this is a blog post about my experiences with philosophical inquiry in the classroom both with my current p1 class and a previous p7 class.
Last year on my third year placement I had a primary 7 class. I wanted to try out different teaching strategies that I had learned about at university. One of which was philosophy. The children were looking at ‘vivisection’ (class teacher’s idea!) as their topic to develop arguments within language. I decided to put I a philosophy lesson to allow the children to think as a group about what vivisection means to them which would help them develop their arguments for writing. However it did not go as I had planned. In fact the lesson was an absolute disaster!
I went into the lesson the wrong way for two reasons. Although we had already discussed vivisection as a class with reading books, the pupils never actually chose to talk about vivisection. Secondly I never had any stimulus to allow the children to think about something in context, such as a story or a picture.
This year I decided to try out philosophy again, this time with my primary one class! We are learning about different feelings you have. Each feeling is firstly explored through a story within a drama lesson, with the story being set in a toyshop (to link in with their environmental topic) and the children hear stories of toys who have different feelings, i.e. sad because their friend has been bought and left the toyshop, or angry for being teased by another toy etc. The feeling is then explored by a philosophical discussion. I tried this out with my primary one class a few weeks ago and I was so surprised how well it had gone, considering my last failed attempt!
I started by introducing a talking teddy toy. Whenever someone was holding the teddy that meant they got to speak. This helped to stop any interrupting and shouting out which may put shyer children off. I then showed the pupils a large image of a child feeling ‘left out’ on the whiteboard. I initially asked them to talk to me about what they see getting responses like “That girl is not being allowed to play by the other girls” “that girl is alone!” and asking the children to then elaborate on their responses, describing how each child may feel, or what they should do in the situation. The children needed very little from me, only a few questions and thoughts to help encourage the children to think about their opinions and ideas, but they had ownership of the conversation as they were responding to each other’s ideas! This is the difference between the first time I tried philosophical inquiry with my primary 7 class; although my p1s didn’t choose the topic they did choose the flow of conversation and of thought. My primary 7 class were not motivated or enthusiastic to talk about a topic they had little interest in in the first place, so they were then unable to use each other’s ideas as a basis to consider their own. Also by giving my primary one class a stimulus of the picture, this hooked them into the lesson and allowed them a visual reference to consider ideas.
The creative thinking and the way that the children spoke about their ideas was fantastic, it did show the ‘power’ of philosophy with young children. Young children love to talk to teachers- philosophical inquiry gives them opportunities to share with their teacher what they think about deeper issues and situations.
I hope this inspires some people to think about how they can implement philosophical inquiry into their classroom (and learn from my mistakes!)- after all if p1s can do it…
what is stopping the older children?!
p.s. I’d like to thank fellow B.Ed.4 and CPD Vice president Nicholas McMahon for giving me advice for planning philosophy with p1′s! : )
It tends to be one of the most dreaded things that student teachers must come to face and overcome – teaching maths.
In the second year of the B.Ed. programme at Strathclyde University, there is no maths provision, as this is an aspect that is deeply covered in your first year. In first year you also acquire the knowledge on how to go away and learn for yourself. While coming into B.Ed. 2, it dawned on me – I will have to teach maths to an upper school class on placement in the coming year! Quite nerve-wracking!
Knowing that others would be in the same position, and taking into account the fact that no initial teacher education institution can teach a teacher everything they will ever have to know - I decided to set up a maths focus group.
The purpose of the focus group was to work collaboratively, to share different pedagogies, resources and ideas, with the aim of developing our own practice and confidence when teaching maths.
After the first couple of sessions, we decided to set up a hash tag (#StrathMathBEd2) on twitter to share resources and connect with the wider education community.
This is something that has played a benefit to many people, and the resources shared – I hope, have inspired people and given them ideas when teaching maths.
So, that was the rationale behind #StrathMathBEd2, I just want to share some of the resources that have stood out for others and myself in the group (and beyond!).
1. Times Tables in 10 Minutes
Watch this – I bet you can list off the 17 times table now!
The group found this video to be excellent. Why?
It was engaging and interactive.
It was OKAY to make mistakes and that environment was established at the start.
The numbers each had an association with something (a movement/ phrase). Which made it easier to remember.
Each of the numbers were put on the number stick individually, and the different methods on how to get to that number were explored.
Afterwards, StrathMathBEd2 were able to answer any multiplication of 17 up to 170, despite it not being in the video. (e.g. What is 17 x 8? = 136 (that’s the one she can’t remember!)
There are many many many more! So, feel free to follow #StrathMathBEd2. If you have any resources or different ideas you would like to share – tweet them or comment below!
Lastly, I would just like to say thank you to the group of people who have participated throughout – you can’t have collaboration without people!! Also, thanks to the wider education community for suggesting resources, articles, ideas and just general tips and opinions. It is great – get involved if you are not!
Wednesday was a particularly quick day; I was at the Student Congress at the John Anderson Campus in the morning with Paul, and in the evening it was the Teachmeet Strathclyde event! To say I was rushed off my feet would be an understatement. Here is a brief overview of my day;
Student congress 11
Paul and I attended the Strathclyde University’s student congress on behalf of our 4th year on the B.Ed primary education course. The Congress was one of the biggest that the University had organised, and the twitter response (#congress11) was so big that it was a ‘trend’ in Glasgow! The day was spent discussing views on topics such as lectures, lecturers and how modules/classes are evaluated by students. In the afternoon the principle of the University Jim McDonald, spoke to the congress about the future of Strathclyde and also responded to questions raised by students attending the congress. Paul and I raised questions regarding the legacy of Jordanhill and the merger of Jordanhill and the John Anderson Campuses. I asked the principal about the effect the merger is having on the budget; with new furniture being unnecessarily bought and a computing programming system being developed for staff to ‘look’ at their new offices and teaching spaces it seems like the university isn’t spending their budget wisely. The principal gave me his assurances that any furniture which is still in a good state will be used and invited me to work on the ‘estates’ committee for the merger. Paul also raised his point to the principal about the legacy of ‘Jordanhill’ and the principal said he was keen to ensure that the brand was kept alive, however he didn’t state how this would be done. Hopefully the name of Jordanhill doesn’t just remain a place in the west end of Glasgow come June next year.
It had finally arrived! After months of planning and emails and tweeting, and emails and printing and planning, the big day had finally arrived. Everyone on the CPD society committee did a fantastic job, and I’m so proud to be working with them all. I hope that our next one is even better! In case you didn’t make it, this is what happened on the night.
The presentations were fantastic; Rea from the CPD Society did a fantastic job talking about collaborative work in the classroom and children taking ownership of their own learning to create a fantastic classroom environment complete with a giant shark around the whiteboard! Ollie Bray also challenged everyone to think of using Wikipedia in the classroom, and Jim McDougall, Head of Hutchesons’ Grammar School tweeted that he actually used Wikipedia in his classroom following Ollie’s presentation! That shows you the power of Teachmeet- it inspires classroom practice.
Our question time part of the evening was a new edition to the usual Teachmeet routine, but we thought it went really well, there seemed to be a good range of debate and discussion on the panel. We were delighted to have as our panel; Graham Donaldson, Amanda Corrigan, Ollie Bray, Linda Brownlow, David Noble, Dr Gill Robinson, Susan Quinn, Tony Finn and our own Susan Liveston! Questions were submitted online before the event, but questions were also raised on the night, particularly about issues such as the future of chartered teacher course, technology in the classroom and the implications of the Donaldson review.
I gave a presentation for the first time by myself at a Teachmeet, about teachers using twitter to enhance their CPD entitled ‘Tweachers- Teachers using Twitter’. I’m really pleased that so many people who came to the event joined twitter, or started using it for CPD after my presentation. In fact I noticed a few people afterwards saying that they didn’t know how to use twitter. So I have decided to host a CPD Seminar – which will help any students or staff in Strathclyde who want to use twitter to connect with teachers and other educators, but don’t know how! I’ve looked into getting a room booked so watch this space if you are interested!
If you missed the Teachmeet event or you want to watch the presentations again you can find some of them on the ‘Teachmeet’ YouTube channel here
- Special thanks go to Paul Casey for uploading them for us!
Also here is a copy of my ‘Tweachers’ presentation, have a look and tell me what you think by tweeting me @MSkinnider with the hashtag #tweachers at the beginning!
The next CPD event apart from the twitter seminar is our Respect me event. Brian Donnely will be coming in from Respectme, Scotland’s Anti-bullying service, to give us some advice on bullying in schools.
Hope to see you at the next upcoming events, but in the meantime, let us know if there is something that you would either like to see as a CPD event and we’ll try to make it happen- just tweet us or email us!
So, the past few weeks have been busy! Found out my placement school this week and it has finally hit home that placement is upon us! I seriously cannot wait!
Anyway, there are 3 things that I want to mention in this blog: Teachmeet Strathclyde, ClassDojo and Dropbox.
Firstly Teachmeet Strathclyde! This is now very close! I am thoroughly looking forward to Wednesday night. It really is an exciting event, and I hope that everything runs smoothly! Everything is now confirmed and set to go! All we have to do now is turn up! For those who have signed up, just a reminder that its this coming Wednesday, 26th October. Again, (I know you will have these details) as I’ve said in past blogs, if you click the tab ‘Our Events’ at the top and follow the link to the Wiki you can find out more. Also, if you would like to as the panel a question at Question Time towards the end of the event, then you can post these on the designated area on Wiki.
Moving on, a couple of weeks ago I was looking for some behaviour management resources. While doing so I came across one ClassDojo. To summarise it is an amazing amazing AMAZING tool to use in your classroom.
Basically, you can programme the names of your pupils into this system. All names can then be shown on the screen (& interactive white board) in a child friendly manor. You can click on a name and then award points of some kind e.g. good listening and so on.
It’s free to sign up and there are demo’s that walk you through how to work it. ClassDojo, quite simply is a tool that keeps pupils engaged and alert. It can be used to promote pro-social behaviour and good work. It can also be used to pick out negative behaviours. However, depending on your style of teaching and the general context you are using it for, you don’t have to use these. There are also instructions to connect it to your smartphone and iPod and iPad, allowing you to use it remotely rather than having to stand at the computer. I hope I get an opportunity to try it out on placement!
Lastly, I want to talk briefly about Dropbox. Dropbox free and is essentially an online storage system in that you can save and access your computer documents and other files online. It is a secure and easy system to use. Quite simply install Dropbox on your computer/lap top and save your files onto it. If say for example, I was going to university that day and I wanted to work on an assignment, then I wouldn’t have to email it to myself to download later, I wouldn’t have to take a data key/memory stick and I wouldn’t have to take my lap top in. Simply go to Dropbox and open your file. You can then save it and when you go home the revised work you have been working on will be there. You can also download the app on your iPhone/iPad and access all of your documents from your phone!
I wont talk about it anymore – if you go to the Dropbox home page there is a very good video that explains it much better than I have!
That’s the end of this blog! Enjoy using ClassDojo and Dropbox if you decide to do it! If you are going to Teachmeet Strathclyde then I shall see you there!
*ClassDojo (click here to go to site or type: www.classdojo.com into your browser.)
*Dropbox (click here to go to site or type: www.dropbox.com into your browser.)
Published Date: 21 September 2011
By Graham Leicester
This really is an inspirational article about what we are doing in Scotland and why we are doing it. But it goes far beyond that too. It recognises there are barriers in place, but what we can do to overcome these, what is going to come in the future for education revolution in Scotland, and what our responsibility is in this. But importantly, it emphasises that it will take time.
Some key parts of the article were:
‘ I suggested that the real challenge for schools in an age of rapid change is to prepare our young people “for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet”. No school system in the world has adequately addressed this challenge, even though all of them know they must do so.
They also know that it will take a special kind of innovation. We can’t serve these unknown needs simply by squeezing the last drop of performance or efficiency out of the systems we already have – even though the political clamour, especially in the age of austerity, is to do precisely that.’
‘ “Headlines writing Curriculum for Excellence off are to be expected. But if government can hold its nerve, give space and support to the pragmatic visionaries, and encourage an ‘open conspiracy’ for deeper change, we may yet start to develop the education system our global predicament demands.”‘
‘Once again I say: give Scotland a chance – we are leading the way in refashioning education reform for the 21st century.’
So we need to be thinking and reflecting on, how do we and collectively as schools and professional groups engage with an uncertain future? Hmm.
For more information about the McKinsey Reports discussed in Graham’s article:
How does a school system with poor performance become good?
And how does one with good performance become excellent?
This latest education report is the follow-up to the 2007 publication “How the world’s best performing school systems come out on top,” in which they examined the common attributes of high-performing school systems.
I am writing this blog after an exhausting but inspirational and motivational couple of days at the Scottish Learning Festival, #SLF11. I attended many seminars, keynotes and of course gathered all the freebies my arm would allow me to carry, but there was one seminar that stuck out: Science, Teaching, Learning and Assessment – Making the connections. It took the theme of ‘Literacy into Science,’ and they reported on a project conducted by a cluster of schools. I am going to very breifly describe the project, as I know the longer these blogs are, the less likely people are to read them.
So basically, primary schools from one area all got together to work with their local secondary school in the field of science. The teachers all collaborated with one another to agree on the experiments they would all conduct, the lab report format they would all use, a sequence of 4 lessons they would all teach and the success criteria for the lab report. Firstly, the secondary teachers came into the P7 classes to introduce scientific definitions used in reports and to model conducting an experiment. This enabled the primary and secondary teachers to team teach. The primary teachers were able to have more confidence in teaching science. The class teacher would then follow up the work of the science teacher but using a different experiment – solubility. After the children had conducted the experiment, talked about the aims, hypothesis, results ect they wrote it up in a lab report format that had been agreed by all teachers. The aim of this was not only to teach the children essential literacy skills, but to ease the transition into secondsry school. This allows the P7 children to all by starting S1 with a similar background in science and to all be aware of and used to using the lap report format that they will use in S1 and beyond. To me this makes complete sense! They also hosted an exhibitaion day where the children worked in groups with a mixture of pupils from the 4 cluster schools. They got to not only share what they had learned and put it into practice, but they got to meet people who would be in their year group. Again easing the transition. This to me is a fantastic idea and could be carried out in many curricular areas.
To add to this seminar they even had the some of the pupils involved in the project to report back and give their reason why they foun dit beneficial.
So in a nutshell there is a 45min seminar in a couple of hundred words! Hope this inspires you to give it ago, because I know I am!