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.

Returning to Uni after Christmas

If you are currently in your first year of study this Blog might be particularly relevant to you, although it could just as easily be important to anyone at University. It might be your first time back at home for the Christmas holiday’s, especially if you live in a different country to your study. So you have gotten back into your old life routine, your bedroom, friends and family and almost forgotten you ever moved out at all, but unfortunately the time comes when you have to go back up to your halls which while you might miss, may also leaving you feeling a bit apprehensive as you had just gotten used to staying at home again.


The first thing you can do to make things easier is bring any extra thing’s from home you may have not been able to bring the first time or had forgotten, pictures and posters or maybe things like books/DVD’s that you may now realise you actually wouldn’t mind having while chilling in halls.


Invite a friend or family member to visit, it is important to remember that as far as I know you are not allowed to have people overnight within halls accommodation (but that could change so I’ve provided a link to find more information) but it wouldn’t hurt to have them come up for the day or a few days depending on the distance, and stay in a hotel etc. This is a great way to bridge that gap between your university life and your home life and when you may possibly be feeling homesick after christmas, this ‘bridge’ so as to speak is a good way to slowly ease yourself back into independent life.


Plan out when you are next going to visit home and family or friends, putting in a date even if it’s a few months from the present can really help relax you in the long run. If you feel like you won’t see your family for ages it would definitely help to know that in fact you will actually see them in March or April.


Anyways hope you enjoyed reading, any questions ask away!

Jordan

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 🙂

Studying over Christmas

Creative Edge in the snow

Whether you’re a student at university, or a student in sixth form or college, you most likely have some work you should be doing right now: essays, assignments, coursework, reports, or the dreaded revision. But let’s be honest, with Christmas fast approaching and winter beginning in earnest on the 21st (the winter solstice), work is probably the last thing you want to be doing.

Now don’t fret, I’m not going to tell you that you’ve got to forgo the festivities to stay on top of your work load. My main piece of advice is to plan your distractions. What I mean is that you’re going to to be busy over the holidays with things unrelated to your studies: quality time with friends from home, family, last minute shopping, and possibly eating copious amounts of food. What I find helpful is to take note of when you think you’ll be likely to be doing all this socialising and plan your work around it. Slot in little revision sessions, or dedicated working periods, every other day when you know you’ll be relatively free from distractions. This will help you stay on track for January exams or deadlines without missing out on any of the fun.

Sometimes you need to be a bit selfish in that your work comes first. If you have work you know needs doing, you may have to turn down social activities to get it all done, even if it is your family – you’re allowed to say no! Ideally, you won’t have to, as long as you plan ahead. If you’re having trouble pinning down the exact timings of your social events, then scheduling a short half an hour study session on an uncertain day will guarantee you get something done. If even that is too much and you feel you need to revise, then carrying around flashcards on a busy day will ensure you’ll have something to feast your brain on. Otherwise, set time aside when you know you won’t be busy, and get working.

I myself have a written report due in January for Molecular Biology, and a closed book exam for both Molecular Biology and Life On The Edge. So I’m going to have to follow my own advice this holiday season!

Half way through my degree…

Next week marks the half way point of my degree, and yes everything has moved sort of quickly for me – I’m using this week to finish my post university plans, as I don’t want to leave anything to the last minute!

One thing that stuck in my mind from my old further education days is my lecturer teaching us about using Career Portfolios; A practice which I have taken on board, hence I thought I’d take you on a tour of my own Career Portfolio which I started before my first year.

My Career Portfolio detailing my employability status (such a which jobs are in demand, what skills do I still need to gain ect).
My Career Portfolio folder detailing my employability development (such as which jobs are in demand, what skills do I still need to gain ect). I probably should make an online version to make life easier…

Within it are five sections:

  • Introductory papers – This is an overview of where I am now and how to get to where I want to be; there’s annotated drafts of CVs / personal statements, job application history (notes on where I went wrong or right), and strengths / weaknesses.
  • Careers – These are notes of the numerous jobs that I would like to have, how in demand they actually are, and how to realistically get them. I sometimes read books showing career profiles, and some profiles have really shocked me!
  • Professional Development – This part focusses on gaining work experience (paid, unpaid, self employed) to add to the skills gained from University. Here I have detailed how I’m getting myself out there (such as getting a blog, networking progress ect), what skills I have, and what skills I still need / how to get them.
  • Academic Development – A very useful part especially since my own degree is very research based. Here I detail various research resources (books, journals, websites ect), coursework feedback, and what potential postgraduate courses (course content relevance, fees I must pay upfront) I may pursue.
  • Spare Time Activities – All the extra stuff such as side projects (like commissions, business projects) and societies joined.

This is just here to show one way of how I’m aiding my attempt to find work in the apparently ultra competitive graduate job market.

I guess Career Portfolios aren’t for everyone, but it’s really helped me so far!