What’s been happening?

I’ve had a busy past few weeks! Lot of lectures and seminars, lots of new information to take in. I think I’m really getting into the swing of Uni life now. Although, I’m still a rubbish Fresher! I prefer a DVD night in with a cuppa and chocolate over going out any day of week. But then I am almost a mature student…

I’ve started learning about phonics in my English sessions, and I’m really trying to grasp it myself. On my work experience before starting my course, I had never worked with children that young, so have little to no experience of phonics and children’s development of speech. http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/ has really helped out though, breaking each learning stage down into manageable chunks. It’s sort of my Bible at the moment, and I’m trying really hard to get up to speed! I’ve also started reading a “Famous Five” book by Enid Blyton to contribute towards my Literature Log. I’m not even ashamed to say I’m enjoying it!

We’ve started exploring Shape, Space and Measure in Maths. In my last session we focussed on creating different shapes from tangrams, exploring their properties, then comparing and contrasting them. We also did a task based on an old Chinese story “The Willow Pattern Story” which inspired the popular white and blue willow patterned decorative plates you see around. We read the story and then, with the guide of ready-made examples, cut up tangrams and arranged the separate shapes to make the characters and objects in the story. This seemed a really interactive task which I think would keep children engaged (some of the characters you have to make are actually quite hard!) and it supports the learning of shape in Maths lessons.

What stood out to me was that although this task would likely be fixed in a Maths session, it can be applied across other areas of the curriculum. The reading and comprehension of the story provides an English element, also exploring stories from different cultures, and the cutting and arranging could support Art and Design. This is the sort of task that would also be great for children of  different abilities; children who are particularly strong in this area may finish the task quickly, but as the tangrams are an easy resource to get, there could be more readily available for the child to create more shapes. A child who may struggle in this area can focus on cutting out their shapes and having enough time to arrange and study them properly.

In Science we have begun to explore Forces. It’s been very hands on so far, having been supplied a range of equipment and allowed a free rein to explore and create our own investigations and hypotheses. It’s really useful to adopt this explorative approach ourselves, as I feel I need to get back into the mind of a child and remember how I felt when I was at school doing such experiments; did I prefer to explore things of my own accord or did I prefer some guidelines with what I needed to do? And how did everyone else in the class feel?

There’s a lot of negativity around Science in primary education at the minute. The abolition of Science SATS suggests the subject is no longer deemed significant. Having started studying primary Science properly I’m keen not to let this carry on the way it is. I feel Science can be approached in lots of different ways and can be extremely fun, interactive and messy. And we all know that kids generally love messy!

In Education Studies we’ve been exploring communication and in particular Social  Media. We had quite an eye-opening lecture on the ,perhaps, darker side of social media. How anyone in the world can type your name into Facebook, Twitter etc. and instantly find out the ins and outs of your personal life. I’ve always had my Facebook set to private so only people I choose can access information on my personal life. My Twitter account is public, but I only post things on there I wouldn’t mind anyone seeing and use it mainly as a tool for networking and connecting with people. I created a presentation with 5 others on this topic and it was useful to contrast and compare views with other people in my group.

And finally, in Digital Literacy, my specialist subject, I’ve had a really fun few weeks focussing on creating animations! When I first read what we were going to be doing I felt quite nervous; could I do an animation? I’d never done one before. It turned out, I could and with two other girls in my group created our first animation: The Adventures of Ginge and Blue! All about a fiery-haired girl and her blue-haired brother going on adventures with their trusty steed Pinky the Cat. So we may have got a bit too excited over this, but we did learn how to create simple animations, which was to come in handy in the following few days. We’re even considering selling the rights to Cbeebies…

Yesterday though, we took our newly appointed animation skills into a school!

Let me gather my thoughts on that one, and I’ll report back to you with it later!

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