Catching up

9 02 2009

I thought that with doing those lessons on literacy I would feel I had teaching to write about and would keep this up to date but obviously so many other things have got in the way that I have been too busy to keep this up.  I have really  been trying to focus on my running blog lately to help me keep going with that as the 53 mile Highland Fling race from Milngavie to Tyndrum is only 11 weeks away now!  I am starting to wonder how I am going to keep going for about 12 hours!  

I did 5 lessons in a primary 5 class on Lets Think Through Literacy.  The p.5’s were definitely at the bottom end of the age group for these activities and the ideas were very typical of that age.  When we had the training day we actually did some of the lessons as if we were pupils and had some great ideas and really got into it.  I think this may have given my too big ideas of what to expect from children as their ideas were nothing like ours!  Maybe if I did it with p.7 it would have been slightly different.  I was pleased to be in this class though as the teacher was really enthusiastic and followed and took notes through every lesson.  She was definitely the type who thought that children should be given the chance to use drama and talking and listening to gain in confidence and she could see big differences in some of the pupils from the beginning to the end.  I am looking forward to running some CPD on this next year and getting teachers to do this in the same kind of way we did at the training.

And then I started doing lessons in a secondary!

I was looking at shoo fly resources and as I am going to be running CPD on that next year as well I thought I had better pilot some lessons on this.  This resource had specifically been given to a secondary to try and I was working with the PT of the English department when I suggested I do a series of lessons which he watches and then he does a series that I can watch. 

I chose to do the poetry work as it is one of my weaker areas so I thought I would challenge myself but it was also probably the piece of writing the children would find most interesting as it was a bit scary and was entitled ‘A Gothic Tale’.  The resources can be used on the interactive whiteboard or viewed through power point, which was what we had to use. 

It was a first year class, and although I have done a lot of Malawi work with classes from 1st to 6th year this was my first time at trying out teaching at secondary level and it’s fair to say I was a bit worried!  The class are an absolute dream though, I would have loved to have them in p.7.  The things we could have done!

So we spent time on the poem, wrote a synopsis and researched gothic culture and history so far.  Tonmorrow we will write a poem and then on Wed they will put it onto powerpoint like the original poem and make it look gothic.

I have really enjoyed working with the class and find secondaries fascinating but being stuck to a timetable is very restricting and I am not sure I would want that all the time while teaching.   50 – 55 mins is not very long to discuss things and get the associated work done and I have felt I, and the children, are just getting into things properly when it is time to stop.  And that is with a wonderful class where the behaviour and the work ethic was as close to perfect as you get.  With Curriculum for Excellence schools are definitely going to have to look at timetabling, as I know some are, so that pupils can go into a particular topic in more depth and not be restricted by time.  It made me realise how lucky we were in the primary if we were given the freedom to be loose with the timetable and spend longer on subjects/topics the children were interested in and that consquently generated more learning.