Progress Between Observations

Above is my very first observation of my Professional Practice phase 2. The lesson I taught was a numeracy lesson and it was graded ‘good’. My emerging targets from this observation were to adopt a more energetic presence in the classroom and also to think about how I can get the children reasoning in maths by using different problem solving questions/activities. My third target was to make sure I had extension activities that were different from the others for those children who are targeted at GD.

Above is my final lesson observation from Professional Practice phase 2. This again was a numeracy lesson and once again I was graded as ‘good’, however I did not receive any feedback to how it could be improved to ‘outstanding’, instead I was told it was an amazing lesson but did not believe I could be ‘outstanding’ after eight weeks. This being said my feedback was really positive, in particular I was told that I was energetic and this reflected in the pace of lesson being a lot quicker. I was also told that i provided excellent opportunities for reasoning which deepened children’s understanding. Also my third target about making sure GD children had their own extension was met as i was told I challenged all children through well planned activities.

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Individual/ Pair/ Group Work

Throughout my time in schools, I have learnt that it is much more worthwhile to integrate teaching styles such as group work, pair work, whole class work and individual work. I have also tried to do this in a creative manner. Below are some examples:

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Group work

Upon starting a new topic on Mr Benn, the first piece of writing the children were going to do was a character description. The teacher told me that if we watch one episode and then have a talk about what he looks like then the children should be able to get on and write a character description independently. However, from experience, I know writing character descriptions do not take long and it is much more worthwhile to talk and discuss the character. Therefore I decided to do role on the wall with the children. For this the children worked in groups of about 4-5. The children were given sugar paper with an outline of Mr Benn. They were to discuss together what they thought he looked like, where he lived etc and write it around the outside of his body. Then they were to discuss what they thought his personality might have been like and what he might have been thinking, this they were to write on the inside of his body. This exercise got children engaged and excited about their task and ultimately their character descriptions were a lot more detailed than usual. The class teacher told me that they were some of the best character descriptions they had written, I believe this was because the children had the opportunity to talk about their ideas before the wrote.

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Paired Work

In numeracy, I regularly started the children off by giving them paired tasks, sometimes even before giving them input. This meant the children had to discuss problems in pairs and think of solutions to work them out. We would then come back as a whole class and discuss how the children solved the problems (they were encouraged to use whatever method they liked). After a sharing of ideas the children would then go away and work independently in their books. The above picture is of a pair of children who were solving different ways to make different amounts of money. This is an example of something the children had to do in pairs without input first. Using sugar paper also meant the children could be as messy as they liked and they were able to use techniques such as trial and error and not worry about getting anything wrong.

Whole Class/ Individual Work

Throughout World Book Day week, I decided we were going to do something a bit different in Literacy, so I created a class project. All our work for that week was going to be based around the book ‘Journey’. We did many activities with the book and the book trailer such as book talk, drama and hot seating to name a few. All our work was leading up to writing our own version of the book. The book journey was a picture book, therefore I thought it would be a nice idea to create our own class version using the pictures but we was going to tell the story through our own eyes. The children were given pages from the book, they were then to write about what was happening on that page, however they also had to think about what the person was writing on the next page and the page before them. Therefore they had to discuss their ideas with each other to make sure the book would flow and make sense. They then had to write their page and in the end we put all the pages together to create our own book which I read to them to finish the mini-project.

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Reflections/ Annotated Plans

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Throughout all of my placements I have always made sure I have been reflecting on every lesson I teach. I have done this numerous ways, I started off by using the Edge Hill reflection template, however I did not feel like it worked for me. In the end I decided upon reflecting through annotations, I feel this was the best way for me and also one of the most professional ways to reflect because it is easy to access and therefore easy to inform future planning with.

Above is a differentiated numeracy plan. The starter, main and plenary are all differentiated numerous ways and I have also planned for the TA clearly and effectively.

After this lesson was done, I reflected on both the learning of the children and my delivery. I have made notes of the children who need to come back for ‘Fix Its’, but I have also made note of them children that I feel made good progress. This being said, when reflecting on the lesson, I noticed some children were making silly mistakes, but on the whole had made good progress and had met the learning objective, therefore I did a tally next to their name so I could see how many questions they needed to correct.

Throughout the annotations I also reflected upon my delivery and the timings I had estimated for the session. This process allows me to inform myself about what I need to tweek in terms of my delivery next time around to stop the children making silly mistakes again.

Once I had completed my reflection, I was able to look upon this plan in order to inform my next numeracy lesson. I could tell who might need support in the next lesson, who doesn’t need support, how I might set my groups up, who the lesson needs differentiating for and who might need extension activities.

I undertook this process every time I taught a lesson, this meant that through my reflections I was able to inform future planning, making my teaching more effective.

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Target Tracking

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Whilst on Professional Practice phase 2, target tracking was a main priority. This is because I was in Year 2 and in the not so distant future they had SATs, therefore we had to be clear in how we were tracking the children against their targets and keeping evidence of their work for moderation purposes. Above is a tracking grid for writing, every child in the class had one of these. This child’s target is WA therefore by the end of the year this child should be able to do all the statement in WT and WA to be given this grade. This copy is an early copy of my records, the class teacher has her own set of records and at the end of this practice we will be meeting to discuss pupil progress and I will give her my records so she has a full set. Along with this tracking sheet we also had tracking grids for numeracy and for reading. We used these in the same way as this one.

I often used this tracking grid to give children targets for their next piece of work, for example I might look at this grid and see I have no evidence of that child using question marks, therefore I know that in their recent writing they have not been using them. This means I can give them a target to use them in their next piece of writing. I can do this for every child, therefore I can give personalized and specific targets for children.

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Behaviour Policies

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Throughout my three teaching practices at university I have numerous behavior systems which i have followed consistently and inline with the school.

On Professional Practice 1a I used the traffic light system. All children would start on green at the beginning of the day. If children had a really good lesson they may move up to silver or even gold, however if they had a bad lesson then they might end up on amber or red. If a child ended up on gold they got a certificate to take home, however if they ended up on red then they lost their next break and had to write lines. Although this system worked for that class and the teacher, personally I would not use it in my classroom because if the children ended up on red and had to write line, once they finished the teacher would rip it up in front of them, this is something that I felt was very drastic and more like a high school punishment.

On Professional Practice 1b the school used a very similar traffic light system to my previous school. However the rewards and sanctions were different. If a child ended up on gold at the end of the day then during celebration assembly on a Friday they would go in the golden book and be presented with a certificate. However, if a child ended up on red, they would miss their break and their name would be logged. If this same child ended up on red on 3 or more occasions during a half term then they would miss a class treat which might have been 10 mins more play time, or extra golden time etc. This is something that I thought worked much better than the system in the previous school I was in because children did not want to miss their treat so it acted as a deterrent to them getting on red, whereas in the previous school children did not seem as bothered by getting on red.

On Professional Practice 2, the school had a very different reward and sanction policy. If children had worked really hard then they were given a star to put on their charts. Once they reached 10 stars they got to go in the treat box. Furthermore, if the class had worked really well they got a class star, once they had got 10 then they got a class treat. This system worked really well as all children had the opportunity to get a treat, as observed in my previous schools, the traffic light system was almost unfair because it was the same people getting on gold all the time. However using the star system meant that all children could work towards getting 10 stars and a treat.

Whilst on Professional Practice 2, I decided to implement my own behavior technique. I introduced my class to ‘Class Dojo’. This is an interactive program where children can earn points for a variety of different things e.g. being polite, working hard, working as a team, reading at home etc. ‘Class Dojo’ also allowed me to connect with parents and be able to share the children’s accomplishments with them. Parents were able to see what their child had been doing in school and also what they were getting points for. I was also able to use the program to liaise directly with parents at home and send them messages to ask if they could come and see me. This program worked amazingly well, so well in fact that as I left the school at Easter, they were preparing to roll out ‘Class Dojo’ in all classes after the holidays having seen how well it had worked. This Gave me an opportunity to work with other staff in training them on how to use ‘Class Dojo’.

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Interventions and ‘Fix Its’

During my Professional Practice phase 2, Intervention sessions were held in the afternoon. I took over the phonics intervention group. This group were working from a scheme called sounds-write while the rest of the school were working from letters and sounds. This meant that prior to taking over teaching of the intervention group I had to research the sounds-write scheme and also observe high class teaching of it. I was then entrusted with teaching this intervention group for the whole time I was there. I am proud of the fact that these children made good progress under my teaching.

As well as teaching intervention groups the afternoon was also a time when I carried out my ‘Fix its’. During morning lessons I would make rough notes (see picture) of children who were meeting the learning objectives and those who were not. I would also mark and question children as I observed them to check their understandings. During ‘Fix It’ time I would then call back any children who did not meet the learning objective and work with them for roughly 5-10mins on a one-to-one basis, then they would carry out a small independent task to check their new understanding. These ‘Fix Its’ were intended to reach those children who were struggling and give them quality one-to-one interventions. During these interventions I would also talk to children about how they think their learning is going and we would discuss future targets.

As well as recording who needs interventions, the rough notes that I make during my lessons also allow me to identify who is struggling and deploy resources quickly and effectively to help them e.g. the above picture shows one girl was struggling with money, the objective was to do it in their heads, however because she was struggling, I noticed this and got her coins to use to help. I then brought her back for an intervention session where we discussed how we could move from concrete resources to pictorial representations to help her instead of her trying to do it abstractly.

These intervention and ‘Fix it’ sessions allowed me to give immediate and regular feedback to all children on their learning and their targets. This meant that children always knew what their targets were, what they had to do to meet them, and what their next steps in their learning was.

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