My personal journey
Life after the PGCE course: Looking back on this journey, I realise how far I have come and how much I am looking forward to having my own class of children as I now start the job hunting process.
Week 38: Week 7 FPP. Final week of the PGCE. It was really sad saying goodbye to the children on Thursday. During circle time we discussed things that make us happy and also things they remembered and enjoyed during my 8 weeks at their school. I made them all certificates to thank them for welcoming me into their school and then wrote individual comments about things I would remember about them. On Friday it was our last day at university to get everything signed off and to think about our future careers. On Saturday night we enjoyed our graduation ball and heard some great speeches, although it was sad to say goodbye to everyone.
Week 37: Week 6 FPP. I had asked the children to send postcards from their holidays, so was able to introduce the new topic of Seaside Holidays through looking at the postcards and the locations where the children had visited. I asked the children to design and make their own boat, being as creative as they wanted - I was astounded and very impressed with the results!
Week 36: Half term week 2: I spent planning for the final two weeks of my placement, including an introduction to a new topic, an extended write on Billy's Bucket and looking at Forces in Science.
Week 35: Half term week 1: I spent this week in Wales with my family and also submitted my final Synopsis of Learning to reflect upon how my philosophy has developed over the PGCE course.
Week 34: Week 5 of FPP: The children started doing their SATs this week under test conditions. In Literacy, the focus was on speaking and listening so the children worked in mixed groups to research a polar animal , create a poster and then present information on that animal. The last day before they broke up for half term, they wrote news reports on their animal and the children were really enthused about their work and for a lesson observation, I was given outstanding in every area. A great last day before half term!
Week 33: Week 4 of FPP: For our nocturnal animals theme this week, the children learned and gave actions to a poem "On a moonlit night when the stars are out, there are nocturnal animals all about..." As well as creating their own poems, they produced some amazing artwork which I was proud to display. For further details please look under Placements. This also tied in with numeracy where they created a Venn diagram for owls and bats. In science the children were amazed to see that the cress seeds had all grown to some extent on the different materials. We then used celery sticks and food dye to show how plants absorb water.
Week 32: Week 3 of FPP: The children completed their non-chronological reports on jungle animals. In science we used Discovery Dog to explore the question, 'Can plants grow on anything?'. The children planted cress seeds on a variety of materials, watered them, placed them in the sunlight and watched them grow...
Week 31: Week 2 of FPP. I introduced non-chronological reports to the Literacy lesson and the features. The children are building up to writing reports on Tigers, Giraffes, Monkeys, Elephants and Crocodiles - the names of the groups they are grouped into.
Week 30: A busy week! To fit in with the Animal topic, Year 2 went on a visit to the zoo on Thursday. The children thoroughly enjoyed the day and in particular many of the group overcame their fear of the bat cave.
I revisited Money in Maths and used a fun ICT game to help the children use exact change:
In Science we looked at Habitats and the children loved the following game and got very competitive:
Week 29: Observation week on FPP. A great week with a lively Year 2 class! On day 2 we walked into the village to explore the features of their local environment, the types of shops and houses and the children got to spend £1.00 on a healthy treat. Lots of planning to do...
Week 28: Theme week - last week at university before FPP! We were split into 6 groups (Events, Drama, Art, DT, Music and Dance) to prepare and perform a magical ball for 60 primary school children from around the Manchester area. The theme for the ball was fractured fairytales. For more information please visit:
Week 27: It was very strange to have our last Maths, English and Science lessons this week! The drama session was really interesting and developed some of the ideas I had used on GPP and I am looking forward to using more drama in my lessons and especially the 'thought tracking'. On Friday we met with our tutors and discussed FPP. Over the weekend I updated my website and realised how much useful information I have built on the site since week 1! I have definitely increased my knowledge of ICT in primary schools, as well as my confidence for teaching ICT.
Week 26: Foundation Stage week - Before I started the course, I had volunteered in Reception and was surprised at the range of reading abilities and my week with the Reception class at Warren Wood only reinforced this. Whilst some children were moving through the Phonics phases at a great speed and were reading confidently or sounding out, others had little word recognition and were struggling to segment and blend words and had little interest in reading. This made me think about the importance of instilling reading for pleasure at a young age and the important role that parents play in reading to their children regularly.
Week 25: I handed in my 6,000 word Literacy Pathway assignment and then went to a meeting to discuss our final placement - FPP! The Circle Time lesson made me think about techniques to get the children working collaboratively and about developing their confidence in speaking in front of the class I liked the idea from circle time that they will be able to close their eyes in an exam and visualise these moments from the lesson to help them to recall details.
Week 24: We began the week looking at targets for FPP and discussing our Foundation Stage Placement. I am really looking forward to working with the early years, especially as I have had experience with my own! The week ended with a Humantities Day which I really enjoyed, especially the drama focus and 'thought tracking' and the 'conscience alley'.
Week 23: I have been working on my 6,000 word pathway assignment and trying to set the research into the context of my placement, as well as considering an effective model of literacy that I would like to adopt. My main conclusion is the importance of finding the right balance and not going to one extreme. In that respect, I think that technology should play a greater role in the draft curriculum, but during a debate on the amount of time children should spend on a computer during the school day, I think no more than one hour spread across the day.
Week 22: We continued our Literacy Pathways back at university and it was really interesting to listen to the debates, plus hear from the author Anne Fine and poet Mandy Coe. On Thursday we presented our school-based findings to the group and I enjoyed hearing different priorities and viewpoints. On Friday I passed my QTS tests and was pleased to tick something else off my list!
Week 21: I have been really lucky to be in such a great school for my Literacy Placement and have been been inspired through observing some great lessons from enthusiastic and dedicated teachers. I attended a staff meeting on guided reading and led one of the guided reading groups on Friday where we looked at different strategies for decoding words.
Week 20: I have had a great week at Chorlton Park and been inspired by the culture of reading that I have seen throughout the school. I attended a staff meeting on grammar run by a year 6 teacher who reflected how the quality of the work from her class has improved since the extra focus on grammar.
Week 19: Getting ready for our Pathways Placement. I chose 'Literacy' for my Pathway because I am very interested in the Phonics aspect and how children learn to decode words and how the strategies they develop make a huge difference to their progress.
Week 18: I particularly enjoyed the Music lesson where we explored a piece of artwork and looked at the cross-curriculum opportunities, including creating a song to convey what the art means to us. I spent a day in a KS3 setting and experienced literacy, numeracy and IT lessons as well as attending a motivational assembly for Year 11 students who were preparing for their GCSEs.
Week 17: Back to university and handed in my core assignment. Great to see my tutor group again and to share feedback from GPP. Really enjoyed theme week as I see the benefit of cross-curriculum learning and think the scope for using themes to involve and inspire the children is endless.
Week 16: Not feeling well this week, but enjoyed the build up to Christmas and organising related activities for the children, including some calculated colouring, word searches and acrostic poems.
Week 15: It was a huge relief on Tuesday when my last official observation was over! I have really enjoyed the Literacy lessons this week as the children have been writing the play scripts that they began last week and have been adding in some very powerful speech adverbs and stage direction. I am looking forward to next week when they begin to act out the plays! I have also chosen my pathway subject and am pleased it has been confirmed and I am going to concentrate on Literacy lessons throughout the school.
Week 14: I feel that my confidence is growing in the classroom and I was happy for my UT to observe a literacy lesson this time.
Week 13: I am finding my numeracy lessons quite difficult with the high ability group and need to make sure my strategy and explanations are clear and that they are being constantly pushed. The children found improper fractions quite confusing and needed quite a lot of support this week.
Week 12: I have just completed by reflection on my first 3 weeks teaching in school and I am amazed at how quickly the time has passed and how my lessons and my plans have developed over those 3 weeks. I am working on classroom management and I think that this has improved and I am using children as examples of good behaviour to encourage others and I am not speaking until everyone is listening to me.
Week 11: This week saw my first University Tutor observation and lots of development points as well as positive encouragement.
Week 10: A really busy week after celebrating my sister's wedding at the weekend, but good to finally stand in front of the class and one of the children commented, "You're like a proper teacher". My feedback was that I explained the lesson and the activites well, but need to work on ensuring that all the children are paying attention - something that I think is a key issue in the classes I have observed and something which I hope will improve over time and with confidence.
Week 9: Observation Week went well and I am very impressed with the school and can see why it is rated Outstanding by Ofsted. Interestingly though they are constantly trying to come up with ways to improve and develop things, in particular the way of marking and assessing. The feedback from a recent mock Ofsted inspection was that marking needs to show progression. The outcome is that every child’s workbook for literacy and numeracy throughout the school has a list of the levels at the back and these are ticked and dated when they have achieved one of the points.
Week 8: This was my last week at university before GPP and more than half of the trainees were on Observation week (due to differing half terms). We spent much of the week looking at planning and assessment and preparing our files for school. The Humanities day stood out as memorable as we worked in teams to create an interesting introduction to a topic. I worked in a great team to introduce the Victorians and we were asked to focus on the punishment given to a young boy for stealing two rabbits and looked back in time to the court room drama. It was really interesting to watch the other groups perform and was a fitting end to our time at university before the start of GPP.
Week 7: On Friday we met with our tutors from the schools where we are doing GPP. My tutor had brought the school prospectus, the timetable and some medium term plans and made me feel very positive and enthusiatic about the school.
Week 6: This was our last week at Didsbury Road for Phonics and Reading and it was sad to say goodbye to the children we had been working with over the last four weeks. We had a very interesting visit to Marland Hill school in Rochdale with a very inspiring and enthusiastic Headmistress, which made me think of the important role a Head has in a school in creating a culture for both the pupils and staff.
Week 5: The week began with Safeguarding and ended with First Aid - both very necessary topics but ones which I hope I will not have to deal with to any great extent. We had a useful maths lesson with another former trainee on lesson planning and it has made me start to think about medium term, weekly and lesson plans.
Week 4: I really enjoyed the Phonics lesson this week and think we were well planned with different activities and good resources. The children were actively involved throughout and it was good to get a feel for timing as the session seemed to pass really quickly. On Wednesday afternoon we had a very interesting lecture from a former trainee all about 'Kagan Structures' and on Friday we had a very inspiring lecturer, Dr Neil Hopkin. Both these speakers focused on techniques to engage the whole class and made a number of points I referred to in my reflection.
Week 3: On Monday we shared our presentations with the group. It was very interesting to listen to the other presentations and to watch everyone’s different style and think about what I would have liked to have improved. We visited another school to do phonics and reading with a Year 1 class and a third school to watch a Year 5/6 science lesson. There was a huge difference in ability levels between the two Year 1 pupils -the first girl I listened to only needed help with the character’s names, whilst the second reader knew very few high frequency words and had to decode most of the words. It was also very useful to have an independent study day on Friday to prepare for the phonics lesson we are to give next week and to do some work on this website.
Week 2: I have completed my first reflections doc and reviewed my first 2 weeks on the course, plus my pre-course experience. I feel as if I have learned a lot of useful information in a very short space of time and am very impressed with the quality and variety of the lecturers we have had. Most memorable was the trip to Plymouth Grove primary school on 13/9/12 to watch a demonstration science lesson with KS1 teacher Mrs Simpson. The lesson was very inspiring and afterwards we got to meet a lovely group of children to discuss with them what they knew about light.
Week 1: I am writing this following my first week on my PGCE course. I have just set up this website and am feeling pleased that it is looking the way I want it to at this first stage. I have worked on the content for websites in the past and been involved in discussion on layout but have never actually created the functionality myself. I am feeling slightly overwhelmed at the end of my first week with the amount of paperwork and reading that I have, but also very enthusiastic about the journey on which I have begun and looking forward to the next 37 weeks. One of my favourite classes this week was Design & Technology where the idea of the "journey" was discussed and I feel that this is a great description of my PGCE year so I am using this in my website.