Memorable Moments 2

Hello! I hope you are all enjoying this lovely weather! Continuing with my ‘memorable moments’ from my recent professional practice, I am going to be talking about a science lesson I taught to the year 4 pupils.

After Edge Hill introduced this idea in a Science seminar, I knew I wanted to try it with the children. It is a very messy activity… which just adds to the fun, right?!

The activity was based on the human digestive system as their current topic is animals and humans. The children had also learnt about instructions in literacy so this was a perfect chance for a cross-curricular task! Below are the instructions I put together to hand out to the groups of 3…

You are creating your own human digestive system. Every day materials such as the tights that you brought in, will represent a part of the body – so you need to use your imagination!  You will follow the journey of the banana through the body, starting with the mouth.

You will need to do the following:

  1. Use scissors (the teeth) to cut the banana up in the cup (the mouth).
  2. Add a few drops of water (saliva). This will create a ball of food (the bolus).
  3. Push the bolus with a finger through the funnel (the oesophagus), and into the plastic bag (the stomach).
  4. Pour more water into the bag (this represents the stomach acid).
  5. Seal the bag (seal the opening to the stomach). Try not to trap air… if there is a lot of air in the stomach it creates a burp!
  6. Squeeze the bag to make the mixture smooth. Food usually stays in the stomach for 6 hours!
  7. Make a small hole in the bottom of the plastic bag with the scissors.
  8. Pour the contents into the tights (large intestines). You may need two people to ensure the mixture does not spill. Cut a hole at the bottom of the tights.
  9. Use your hands to wrap around the tights and squeeze the mixture to move it down.
  10. Make sure to place the larger plastic container (the toilet) underneath the hole (the anus).

If you are still on teaching practice or plan to start soon, I highly recommend this practical activity if you have the chance! The children were so engaged and absolutely loved it. Afterwards, they were able to talk through the digestive system and apply their knowledge by relating scientific terms to the everyday materials which they used.

Have a lovely weekend!!!

Anna 🙂

Memorable Moments 1

Hello everybody!

My second year placement for Primary Education has unfortunately come to an end. 8 weeks have flown by and I am feeling VERY sad to leave after building such strong relationships with the pupils and staff. There have been so many wonderful memories that are too special to put into one post… so I’m going to start my ‘memorable moments’ blogs to summarise some of my favourite times on professional practice.

My year 4 class and I made visits to the local church to learn more about Christianity as part of their religious education syllabus. Since their next topic was Judaism, I invited a Rabbi/former teacher of mine to visit my year pupils. After introducing the topic of prayer, children showed deep interest in learning about my Jewish identity. So, when the Rabbi delivered an informative and HILARIOUS talk to over 60 pupils, it was great to see the enthusiasm of the children. This gave them a chance to ask questions they have not been able to ask before, and it was amazing to see. The children’s’ eyes lit up when they recognised so many similarities between Judaism and their own faith, and they were astonished to learn about the traditions of another culture.

Brilliant opportunities like this, reminds us of the importance of acceptance. By allowing children of a young age to connect with someone of another faith, it encourages them to embrace differences and appreciate similarities. When children don’t have the chance to communicate with members of another faith, they begin to see ‘being different’ as a negative thing. As teachers, it is our responsibility to encourage open-mindedness. In a world where acceptance is often tested, small moments like these highlight the importance of celebrating differences instead of simply tolerating them.

When you were in school, how did you learn about different faiths?

Speak soon, Anna 🙂

Placement Magic

Hi everyone!

With my placement drawing to a close, I am starting to feel quite sad! 6 weeks have flown by and I only have 2 weeks left of teaching my year 4’s… but I hope to visit them again when they’re in year 5! So, here are some of the many reasons why professional practice is the best part of my Primary Education course:

1)The children

After teaching the same pupils every day for the past few weeks, I have gotten to know each and every individual – their personalities and unique quirks. One of the most worthwhile parts of teaching is watching a pupil understand a new concept or overcome an individual struggle within a certain aspect of work. Knowing I have helped to make a small difference puts it all into perspective. Not only is it amazing to help children learn, assisting with social or community events like a school disco, sports day or club allows children to simply let loose and have carefree fun – laughter and smiles are enough to make anyones day!

2) Developing yourself as a teacher

With every placement, comes new lessons learnt. I cannot begin to explain just how much I can take with me from just 6 weeks of professional practice. This is mostly down to the teachers, mentors and every adult who works there. Their guidance and support has been brilliant and inspires me to become as supportive as they are when I eventually have my own class!

3) The creative side

This professional practice has allowed me to recognise the opportunities for creativity in everything I teach. In Religious Education we recently made stained-glass windows for their topic of the church. In Literacy, the children have put themselves in the roles of Boudicca and Claudius for their Roman topic (also relating it to History). Overall, it has been wonderful to deliver these lessons and watch the children participate with enthusiasm.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to ask any questions if you’d like to know more about my second placement within Primary Education! Speak soon,

Anna 🙂

Teacher Tips

  1. IKEA

One of the most exciting things about becoming a newly qualified teacher for me, is the chance to create and decorate my own classroom! I am already thinking about my future reading corner, the organisation of desks, the stationery pots, the book shelves and other resources…BUT one main issue is money since everything has a cost. However, shops like IKEA are the perfect place to buy reasonable and good quality products which are perfect for a primary school classroom. Maybe you can organise a group trip to IKEA with your teacher friends!

  1. TES / Teaching ideas / Twinkl

As you all know, being a teacher involves a whole LOT of planning and evaluating. Luckily, there are lots of fantastic resources available online to help. My favourite is TES (Times Educational Supplement), as it is completely free and has thousands of wonderful ideas for lessons across every subject, in addition to assessment methods and tracking pupil progress. I don’t know why I have only just discovered TES this year… but better late than never!

  1. Talk to others

By talking to the people around you and asking for advice, it can help to give you different perspectives – whether it’s from parents or teachers. Even by asking your parents questions about your time at primary school, it might open your eyes to the perspective of parents and the importance of communication within the school environment.

Thanks for reading… I hope you enjoy the rest of this beautiful weather!

Anna 🙂

Setting Up a Sandwich Year

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts for the past eight months, you’ll know that I’ve been on a work placement in the USA. In this blog post, I’ll cover some of the intricacies of setting up a sandwich placement, particularly a work placement.

My sandwich year (a term that the Americans find very funny) took place between the 2nd and 3rd years of my BSc Genetics degree – this is the period of time that most people choose to complete their sandwich year in. If your course offers the option of a sandwich year and you choose to take one on, you may be able to find a link from one of the lecturers in your department. If not, then you can find one yourself! There’s a fair bit of paperwork to do before your placement year can be approved. For example, if you’re on a sandwich work placement, Erasmus year abroad, or study abroad year then you need to fill in a transfer form. As well as this, there’s a health and safety risk assessment that must be filled out prior to approval and a form for “approval for paid/unpaid leave of absence for external travel”. If all this paperwork is putting you off, fear not! Edge Hill has a placement officer that will help you through all this and make sure you understand what needs to be done before you go.

Another thing that is a key concern when undertaking a sandwich placement is cost. You can still take out your regular student finance whilst on your year out. Edge Hill charges a small fraction of your regular tuition fees that cover admin costs whilst you are away, and your student finance will cover it. You may also take out an additional maintenance loan to help cover living costs if you want – this is your primary funding and should be taken out before you apply for any additional support from the university, such as the Student Opportunity Fund, which I have blogged about previously. The Student Opportunity Fund also requires paperwork, but your personal tutor or placement head of the department should be able to help you – it requires things like a breakdown of costs and summary of the activity you are taking on.

Edge Hill Life Hacks – Everyone’s free (to wear sunscreen)

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen


Coming to the end of my first year at Edge Hill University I thought it would be worth while writing a blog as a homage to one of my all time favourite songs and essays. The title of this blog might seem odd if you haven’t heard Baz Luhrmanns “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”, adapted from Mary Schmich’s column “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” – (You can listen here and read here) but here goes anyway.


If I could offer you only one tip for the future, studying would be it would be it. The long-term benefits of studying have been proved by professors, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own first year experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the experience and ease of first year. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the experience of first year until you graduate. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as far behind as you imagine.

Don’t worry about exams. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to write a dissertation by chewing bubble gum. The real exams in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 8 p.m. before social on Wednesday.

Give something a go every day that scares you.

Karaoke.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Invest in relationships.

Relax.

Don’t waste your time on social media. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s not on a mobile phone.

Remember firsts you receive. Forget the fails. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old essays. Throw away your old timetables.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what job you want from your course. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they were even studying. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds are still in classes.

Get plenty of sleep. Be kind to your ears. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Don’t expect anyone else to write your reports. Maybe you have a best friend. Maybe you’ll have a smart partner. But you never know when either one might not want to help.

Don’t mess too much with your looks or by the time you’re 40 your dyed blue hair will have fallen out.

Be careful whose classes you take, but be patient with those who teach them. Teaching is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the bin, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the studying.


 

Lesson Planning

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend and you are feeling refreshed for the week ahead! My two weeks of placement so far has gone super fast, I can’t quite believe it! Since I should be planning my lessons right now… I thought I would procrastinate and tell you how I plan them! (hopefully this might help you teachers out there!).

  1. Understand children’s prior knowledge

I find that the most important thing is to find out what the children know, and what they want to find out. Questioning children at the beginning of the lesson is really helpful to get an idea of the extent of their understanding. Whether it’s more or less than expected, it makes it easier to adapt the lesson content when you teach it. Prior to the lesson, looking at previous lesson plans and written work / evidence of learning will allow you to be more specific in your planning.

  1. Use your feedback

Being a trainee teacher involves learning from mistakes and knowing what is effective to a child’s learning. By thinking about your feedback to your previous teaching, it will allow you to personally evaluate your teaching methods and approaches to improve for next time.

  1. Adapt to different needs

Always have a plan B. Consider the differentiated abilities within the classroom and plan for different learning styles – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic. Make sure you have extension tasks to challenge pupils in addition to considering the help from teaching assistants, children with special educational needs, and children with English as an additional language.

  1. Be Creative

Ensure you use varied teaching approaches with a variety of resources. Children can only concentrate on one thing for a certain amount of time – as for any adult! Engaging them with creative tasks will encourage the use of their imaginations and active learning.

  1. Have a read over the teachers’ standards

Familiarise yourself with the Teachers’ Standards to ensure every standard has been/will be met.

I hope these few ideas are useful to you, drop me a comment if you have any questions! Thanks for reading, have a good Monday!

Anna 🙂

A Visit From Home and A Paper In The Works

Around mid-April, I was visited by a friend from home – Hollie, who went to the same sixth form as I. Fortunately enough, I had a few days off to show Hollie around the city and make the most of their time over here. Having come over in early Spring, Hollie got to experience Midwestern weather at its most capricious – with the weather nice enough for shorts bookended by light snow and heavy rain. Whilst the sun blessed us with heat, we trekked around the city, visiting The Bean and shopping in some indie “thrift” stores that didn’t seem to be entirely secondhand. I also took another trip to the Neo-Futurists to see The Infinite Wrench. As per the nature of the show, in the time between my two viewings, the individual plays had changed entirely. Although I preferred the shows during my first viewing, I did get to go up on stage this time, which makes two for two on ‘member of my party being directly involved in the show’!

On the rainy days of Hollie’s stay, we still braved the cold outdoors to visit the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. Honestly, a highlight of the day we went to the planetarium was Pokemon Go Community Day – we both caught some gems including our first shinies of the game and the North American regional exclusive Tauros. On the last full day, I showed Hollie some of the best and worst that Chicago has to offer – the Impossible Burger and Malort – one being a delicious vegan meal, the other a harsh drink that has a lasting bitter flavour.

During my days back at the Arboretum, I’ve been making progress on the work that’s going into the upcoming paper I’m working on with Lane and Andrew. I’ve already managed to create a few nice boxplots and we’re starting to see some interesting results from our analyses – time to get it written up into a suitable format! Working inside at the arboretum whilst it’s sunny and fairly warm outside makes a change from last Autumn when I was working in the prairie. Over at the Museum, I’ve assisted on the bait capture stage of the experiment, a stage that is similar to using the Bioanalyzer in that although it’s a simple procedure, the pressure is on with timing and expensive reagents.

Board-Games and Field-Work

Towards the start of April, I went to not one, but two board game parties – both for the birthdays of some Chicagoans. Sarah from the Arboretum and Katie who is Arb-adjacent, the housemate of someone who works at the Morton. I finally got to play Settlers of Catan, a game I’ve wanted to play for about a year but never found the opportunity to – although simple in its basic rules, a lot of strategy can be implemented. Lately, I’ve come to realise that I enjoy these kinds of events much more than going out to a crowded club or bar, something that I certainly enjoyed during the previous two years at university. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m in a new place with new people that has pushed me to enjoy a more quiet setting over a high energy one.

I enjoyed my first Seder at the start of Passover, complete with vegan Matzah ball soup and many cups of wine. There was a condensed reading which was very informational and interactive – a piece of Matzah, the afikoman, was hidden before the service and since there were no children present to look for it, we did. Also, being the youngest at this dinner meant that I read a specific part of the text.

Over the at the Field Museum, I used the Bioanalyzer for the first time, which was slightly daunting if only for the fact that each individual chip costs around $60. I also attended another talk, this one by Nathan Lord on jewel beetles, their incandescence, and how and what they see. Fascinating stuff, stretching over a broad range of disciplines from biochemistry to taxonomy. Another Super Speaker, Meg Staton, was at the Morton Arboretum in early April also, presenting on a citizen science app, TreeSnap, which aims to help affiliated scientists gather data on specific trees such as the American Chestnut or Ash trees.

Back in the field, I was put to work outside as the prairie restoration project is coming alive again after Winter. The prairie needed to be burnt to rid the site of last year’s dead growth, and I assisted Mary-Claire in readying the plots so that they were in the best condition for ignition. Sadly, I missed the actual fire, as the conditions were so good that the burn team completed their work in a flash.

A Fund for Student Opportunities

If you follow my blog posts here on Inside Edge, you know that I’m currently in the United States of America, on a sandwich placement at the Morton Arboretum. I was fortunate when arranging up this work placement that Edge Hill University had just set up its Student Opportunity Fund (SOF) – a fund that students can apply for to help them make the most of career enhancing opportunities. The fund’s goal is to make sure that no student at EHU passes up a potentially life-changing experience because of the financial burden it might impose.

When I was in the midst of applying for my placement as a Research Affiliate at the Morton Arboretum, I realised quickly that costs would add up. An updated passport, a visa, flights and insurance would quickly put a hefty dent in my finances, leaving my maintenance loan severely lacking for the year abroad. Thankfully, my personal tutor, Paul Ashton, and the Money Advice Team (for whom I was working for at the time as a Money Buddy) informed me about the Student Opportunity Fund and that I could potentially be successful in acquiring additional funding.

Any student on an undergraduate or PGCE course attending EHU can apply for the fund, which will supply them with up to £2000 to support the proposed activity. The projects can be near or far, large or small, requiring the maximum amount available or a portion. Applications could cover travel and accommodation expenses, for example, for unpaid work experience or volunteering; interviews or assessments not covered by the employer; or conferences, festivals, or events where you’re showcasing your work. The fund could also cover costs of developing and making creative material.

Many students have already made use of this amazing fund to enable them to experience some wonderful opportunities that improve both their transferable and career-focused skills:

Applications are judged by a panel and must be submitted over ten working days before the panel convenes. For this academic year, 2017-2018, the remaining dates of convention are:

  • Friday 13th April 2018
  • Thursday 3rd May 2018
  • Wednesday 6th June 2018