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.

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,

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,

It’s Nearly Time for Placement!

As Easter is approaching, it means it’s nearly time to enter the classroom again. As part of my primary education course we have one block of professional practice each year. It goes as follows:

Year 1 – 6 weeks

Year 2 – 8 weeks

Year 3 – 10 weeks

Last year I was placed in a lovely year 1 class at a primary school in Crosby. Although it involved a lot of time and hard work, it was an experience I know I will always remember and benefit from (apart from the tonsillitis I got during the last week…that wasn’t the best way to end it). I have learned a lot from that… take vitamins, drink water and buy some hand sanitizer!

Obviously, only particular courses include placements such as teaching, radiography, nursing etc. So here is some advice for any of you who are entering such a course!

  1. Have early nights

We all have those nights when we’re watching a TV series, then we look at the clock to see it’s 3am. As tempting as this is, waking up a few hours later is almost impossible (well, for me it was). Once you have your paperwork done for that day, relax and try to get some sleep!

  1. Make plans over the weekends

Whether it’s with your friends or your family, it’s always important to have something to look forward to. Remember you’re still at university…

  1. Recognise the support around you

For myself, most days were filled with useful teaching approaches I know I will use when I’m qualified. However, all the planning and assessments could be stressful at times. Fortunately, you have so many people you can go to for support – your personal tutor, visiting tutor and classroom teacher are some examples. I never felt out of my depth because I knew there were people to go to if I had any problems or queries.

  1. Smile

Placement is a very special time which can go very quickly! Grasp every opportunity such as providing extra help for school clubs. Since my course is only 3 years, I am trying to get the most out of these experiences to feel prepared after graduation. So my biggest snippet of advice for professional practice is to enjoy the thing you love to do!!

I hope this is useful, leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Speak soon, Anna 🙂

6 top tips for surviving placement

So, as my life is currently taken over by placement, here are 6 tips to keep in mind that will help your survive.

  1. Be willing to ask for advice.
    1. My behaviour management was one of my weakest areas last year on placement, partly because I refused to ask for advice. I walked into that placement, feeling confident that I knew what to do, but in all honesty, I didn’t have a clue. The worst part about it is that I thought asking for advice was a weakness. My mentor knew those kids better than I did! There was no shame in admitting I still had a lot left to learn.
  2. Be open to feedback.
    1. I have friends that hate receiving feedback from their mentors, but like I said before, we still have so much left to learn, and it really is in your best interests to listen to it – especially if they’re grading you!
  3. If there’s more than one EHU student on placement, support each other.
    1. A lot of trainees I know spend their first placement in particular, acting as if it’s a competition, but having that support and friendly face there can really combat your nerves and make you feel better when you’re having those bad days.
  4. Make sure you have at least one day off.
    1. Everyone needs some downtime and if you’re completely overwhelmed and stressed out, that means you’re not going to be efficient. Take some breaths, put on a movie, eat some ice cream or go for a walk and just chill.
  5. Talk to your friends / colleagues.
    1.  There are days when I really want to throw in the towel, because my lesson hasn’t gone as I’d planned, or someone was particularly disruptive, or I was just feeling generally overwhelmed. Firstly, I probably should’ve kept in mind that I was still training, and everyone makes mistakes when they’re training. However, without my course friends, I’d potentially continued to feel that way, but a gentle reminder that everyone has bad days can really ease the situation and help you to think with a clearer mind.
  6. Remember the biscuits for the staff room / your co-workers.

Teaching Placements

I am both so excited and so nervous for my second placement. By the time I start in April, I will have been out of the classroom for over a year and so I have increasingly mixed feelings about being back in one. Nonetheless, I had an absolutely fabulous placement last year, and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

Edge Hill have a massive variety of placement schools scattered across the country, which is one of the reasons that I chose the university in the first place. I didn’t want to be confined to one area and getting to experience lots of different places was one of the most exciting things I could think of. This year, I have friends travelling to Luton, Wales and the Isle of Man and they’re all incredibly excited to go on what we call remote, or regional placements.

 So, what did I do during Professional Practice Phase 1A?

I learned more on practice than I did throughout the rest of the year; I spent time consolidating the theory I had learned at university, and had my eyes opened to things I had never even considered before. I got to teach a lovely Year 6 class in Telford and it broke my heart to leave at the beginning of February last year. I had created such strong relationships and made such a positive impact on these children during the time I was there, and they taught me just as much as I taught them, if not more.

During practice, there are a variety of tasks you have to complete for when you come back to university. Some things are necessary for when you’re actually teaching, such as reading the Behaviour Management Policy, finding out who the Safeguarding Lead, etc, whilst other tasks are to help you to reflect later in the year. One of these included finding out how the school was implementing the computing curriculum, for example. When I was writing my assignment about why the curriculum had changed, having that knowledge really helped me.

Of course, I spent my time on practice teaching. There is no bigger reward than hearing someone shout out ‘I’ve got it!’ with glee. There is nothing better than the ‘Thanks Miss!’ comments written at the end of a lesson, complete with a smiley face. My favourite lessons were the ones where we had really open discussions and I was taken aback by the nature of their empathy and understanding of others. Despite the early mornings and the long days and the stress, it was these moments that I lived for.

So yes, I am incredibly nervous to start my next placement, but it is 100% my favourite part of the year, and the reason I am here.