Planning lessons – where to start!

Hey there!

Since there are many of you who are starting your teaching course in September, I thought I would talk about planning lessons on professional practice. As you are likely to start your placement around January time, you have plenty of time to research and get support from university.

I found the seminars before placement really useful to gain more ideas and inspiration for teaching different subjects. As you will be teaching up to 30% of the timetable in first year, you can spend some other time observing your teacher’s lessons or visiting other classes in order to feel even more inspired!

Finding inspiration:
  • Facebook groups can be really useful to discuss and share lesson ideas
  • Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest
  • websites such as TES where you can create a free account and download lots of different resources
  • advice from other teachers
  • advice from university tutors
Other things to think about:
  • class size
  • if your lesson is part of a series within a topic
  • the resources you will need e.g. are there iPads available and are there enough for the whole class?
  • deploying support staff effectively e.g. can they challenge those children who can learn at greater depth?
  • how can you make the lesson as creative as possible to make it memorable and effective?
  • if the lesson is practical, how can the children demonstrate their learning for future reference?

These are just a few ideas that I hope will be useful to you… let me know if you have any questions! Have a lovely weekend.

What is the Primary Education course all about?

Hey everyone, I hope you all had an amazing weekend and are ready for the week ahead! I cannot believe that it is February already. This made me realise that a lot of you may have already had your interview for Edge Hill University as I had mine around a year ago!

This post will hopefully offer some more information about the Primary Education with QTS course that I am currently studying here and loving every minute of it. Enjoy!


What is the timetable like?

Personally, I find that the timetable for Primary Education is very good as it keeps me busy. Others would say that the timetable is rather ‘jam-packed,’ which is true but, in my opinion , the more classes, the better. 

My timetable looks something like this;

  • Monday – Independent Study
  • Tuesday – Minor Specialism
  • Wednesday – Foundation subject seminars which are sometimes followed by a curriculum lecture
  • Thursday – Core subjects such as; computing, maths and English
  • Friday – APD lecture followed by science then an APD seminar.

This timetable varies between the year group and over the years. As I said, some people may find this timetable rather busy but I love it because it keeps me busy, occupied and you appreciate the weekend more. Don’t worry, you still have time for socializing and going to any societies which makes the timetable much better.

 

Any exams?

Nope! Thankfully we have no written exams and so our grade is based on  assignments and our professional practice. This is good if you are better at writing essays with no looming time limit in a large hall but you need to have some self-discipline! Those assignments are not going to write and reference themselves, start them early so that there is no rush before the dreaded deadline.

I am currently on my professional practice and I am loving every single minute of it! A visiting tutor comes in to assess you against the Teacher Standards which means you must work very hard to involve yourself in every aspect of school life. Luckily for me, I am in an amazing school that has given me so many great opportunities for learning.

 

Duration?

The course that I am studying is a 3 year course. Each year you have a block placement that gets longer each year. For example, in first year currently, we are all on a 7 week block placement and then next year it will be longer.

First year has seriously gone by so fast so I have no idea how quickly the next couple of years of my life are going to go!

 

What are the staff and lectures like?

I am so happy that I chose Edge Hill University as my place to study to become a teacher. The staff and lecturers are amazing in terms of support and advice they give you, even during placement! 

All the lectures and seminars are really interactive and interesting so there is no need to worry about falling asleep at a 9am lecture because you will not want to miss it. You can tell that so much thought has been put in to each presentation and seminar which makes them so worth while coming to.

If you do happen to miss a lecture due to illness, some lectures are recorded and put up on Blackboard, a place we can all access work materials and assignment guidance. However, a recorded lecture is never the same as the real deal, trust me.


I hope that this post has been helpful to those of you who have applied to study Primary Education with QTS. It really is an amazing course, offering so many opportunities to expand your learning and experiences. I cannot wait for the next two years!

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”

– Brad Henry – 

Running a School Club

Hello! How are you?

I am SO close to the end of my final placement of primary education… and I know the last day is going to be a sad one! Not only because I will miss the children, but because I will miss everybody who works at the school. I have never been in a place so welcoming with so many smiley faces. By knowing there is a lot of support around me, it has really made the placement work a lot easier!

In order to meet the criteria for teachers’ standard 8, it is extremely important to take on more responsibilities. For example, helping out at a Christmas fair or simply working cooperatively with colleagues and parents. Since I am very passionate for art, I have been running my own art club for pupils in year 4. Getting involved with messy art activities has been a lot of fun – for me and the children!

If you are also on professional practice, or know you will be soon, I definitely recommend creating your own club! Obviously, it depends on the school and which type of clubs they are already running. However, if you have the chance I 100% say go for it!

Last week the children began to create ‘galaxy jars’ by sticking tissue paper on a glass jar like a mosaic. It was a pretty simple activity but VERY effective. We will be finishing them off with a bit of glitter tomorrow! Who doesn’t love a bit of glitter?

I would love to hear about any clubs you are, or soon will be running!

Speak soon,

Saving money by cooking as a pair! 🍲👩🏽‍🍳

Hey everyone! I’m currently on placement for my teacher training which lasts around 7 weeks. I’m placed up in High Peak and I’m living with three other students. I and another girl have decided we need to save some pennies while we are here and are buying our weekly shop together and cooking our meals together. Our shop last week came to  £10! Honest, it is possible!

Plan plan plan📝:
Before we went out shopping we planned our breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. We’re at school Monday to Friday now so it’s a little easier to be more disciplined with our food, no more snacking! 🙅🏽 We both like cooking and so take it in turns to cook each other food. Anna planned to make Thai red curry, jacket potatoes and I make a creamy mushroom pasta and a vegetable stir-fry. We are still managing to eat healthy which is the most important thing. We wrote down a little list on Anna’s phone and kept to it as much as possible.

The benefits✅:
It is so much cheaper. Our bill came to £10 each from the last shop and we got everything we needed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That included snacks! On the days when you don’t cook and someone else is doing it for you, you can come home to a lovely meal and it’s just like being at home! It’s also a lot easier knowing exactly what you’re having that day, instead of opening and closing the fridge and cupboards multiple times before settlings with a pot noodle. I can’t recommend it enough, even if it’s just for a few weeks to save some pennies.

Other info about living/eating on placement☺️:
If you’re looking at the Primary Ed course, they offer a regional opportunity, which is what I’m currently on, and the university provides £3 a day for breakfast. You can reclaim this weekly or as a chunk at the end of the placement. This works out at £105 for the entirety, which is really great for them to offer to us.

Hope you’re all having a great January and prepping hard for the interviews you may have coming up! Best of luck 💕

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Final Year Placement

Hello everyone!

I hope you all have that Friday feeling and have some nice weekend plans ahead!

I have officially completed 8 weeks of my final professional practice with only 2 more to go! The time has flown by and what an incredible experience it has been! This is partly down to the support and guidance from teachers in my current placement school, and also because of previous teaching opportunities that Edge hill have provided.

When I applied to study primary education, I did not realise how worthwhile and valuable professional practice would be. Although our seminars and lectures are useful for developing our knowledge of classroom pedagogy, putting theory into practice has been my favourite part of the course for many reasons.

Usually, at the start of a placement block, students begin to teach a small percentage of the timetable. This increases week by week until it reaches 80%, which used to seem impossible! However, having 3 blocks of professional practice has allowed me to grow in confidence and develop my love for teaching even more!

If you are going to study a teaching course with professional practice opportunities,  feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Have a fantastic weekend,

Information and Preparation for a Regional Teaching Placement 👩🏽‍🏫📚

I’m not sure which other courses require you to go on placement but I know that for trainee teachers and trainee nurses it is compulsory. In your first year as a trainee teacher, placement is seven weeks. Last year it started in November, but this year we start in January. I think I would have preferred to get stuck straight in at the deep end, but I do feel more prepared now than I would have at the start of the year.

On the Primary Education with QTS course, you are allocated to a school by the university. You do have some say in this and they will do their best to accommodate you where you want to be placed. For me, I took a regional opportunity. This means I am moving away from home and from University to go and do my placement in the Peak District 🏔. The other choices were Cumbria and Barrow-in-Furness, but these may change. The University places you in accommodation that is paid for and any travel expenses are reimbursed. It’s a great opportunity and if you end up at Edge Hill and on this course, I can’t recommend it enough.

Image result for edge hill teaching

I travel down on Saturday and I’m going to a very small sample school. I’m going to be co-teaching a KS1/2 combined class, which is something I hadn’t ever heard of before starting University. Whether you are staying on campus, moving home or moving to a regional place, prepping can seem daunting and it can feel nerve wracking if you’ve never taught before. 👩🏽‍🏫

You find out your school and year group, sometimes it can be just a Key Stage. You email the school and introduce yourself, hopefully, they give you lots of information that you can use to prepare. I’ve spent my time looking through the Year 2 and 3 curriculum and researching strategies for teaching combined classes. 🏫

A great thing about this course is we have people called SAMs (Student Academic Mentors), these are second and third-year students who are available to email or tweet and will answer any queries we have. I asked them for some advice on teaching combined classes and my Twitter direct message box was full of advice from students. 📫

I’ve done all I can to best prepare, I think. This profession is definitely about learning on the job and learning through experience so the first week will be observing the teacher and getting to know the class, the routine and the planning. I’ve got a notebook and pen at the ready and I’m so keen to get started. 📝

Please feel free to ask any questions about placements and I’ll do my best to answer! Thanks for reading ☺️

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My first term at University 👩‍🎓📚

Hello!

It’s very strange to think that I’ve been at University for thirteen weeks now. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. We broke up the Friday just gone, I don’t think it’s the same for everyone but the Primary Ed guys have all finished for the year. My parents flew back from Saudi and came to pick me up from University, we’re having Christmas at their UK house this year! Of course, I over packed. We have an assignment due over Christmas and lots to do before placement in January so I feel like I’ve packed the entirety of my uni work.

If you’re a prospective Primary Ed student then this post is for you. This post is a little insight into how the first term went in my first year and what I’m doing over Christmas to plan for next term.

The seminars, lectures and the workload👩🏽‍🎓:

The timetables change each year so what my timetable looks like this year may well be different to yours but this will give you a gist of what an average week looks like. Firstly, we have Mondays off – I know, it’s the best. Then we have our Minor seminar for 2 hours on Tuesday, Foundation Subjects seminar for 3 hours on Wednesday (sometimes with a FS lecture after), Thursday and Friday are the longest days with English, Maths, Science, Computing and APD seminars mixed in.  It’s a nice balanced timetable that gives you a long weekend to chill and spend some time socialising but then also gives you a lot of time to get some work done.

The workload is manageable but challenging. As long as you organise and manage your time well and do your best not to miss any seminars or lectures you’ll be fine. I’ve really enjoyed my first term and I’ve managed to pull myself to seminars when I was exhausted and just didn’t want to get out of bed, but I always did because they’re always so fun and engaging. I’m not in university now until placement and I know I’m going to miss it! ☹️

The assignments📝📚:

I’ve handed in three so far. The next one is a whopping 3,500 on APD that’s due in January. This scared me to start with but the my biggest tip for you is to get in the library! They have so many books available and I managed to get a load before I came back so I’ve been reading through them and I feel a lot more prepared and ready to knock this out over the Christmas period. They vary from 750 words to 3,500 words and they’re all set in a different kind of style which I love. They are challenging but not at all impossible, they also make me feel very intellectual and academic 🤓!

Placement 👩🏽‍🏫:

Out first placement starts in January, last year it started in November so yours could be a different time too. I just recently found out where I’m going for mine this year and I’m really excited. I took a regional opportunity and I’m heading down to the Peak District. With the situation I’m in I honestly didn’t care where I went but my heart felt this was the right place and luckily I got it. They can’t always guarantee you what and where you want but they do their best!

So over the Christmas period, as you can see, I have some work to do. They encourage you not to work over the two weeks the University is closed for, and I’m sure some people will, but if you’re like me and you want to be as prepared as possible, I’m sure your desk will look like mine!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! See you next time 💕

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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 🙂