There are opportunities for learning EVERYWHERE!

barnes_gap__ireland_by_younghappy-d3c86t8

After a very stressful week of exams and assignments at university, I am FINALLY HOME in Northern Ireland! I decided that, as it is Mother’s Day today, I would bring my mum up to the Sperrin Mountains -which are just a few miles away from my house- so that we could go for a walk. , I was amazed when I got out of the car and looked around the surroundings. I couldn’t help but think ‘There is so much potential for learning’ – I still obviously have my ‘teacher head’ on! But it’s true – as I walked deeper and deeper into the countryside, I kept seeing more and more creative opportunities for learning. My mum, sister and I were walking up a really really steep hill and were discussing the beauty of the trees – they all look the same from a distance, yet when you look up close, every single tree is different in it’s own right. One tree had a smooth, dark trunk, yet the one beside it had a type of fungus growing on it, making it look white and fury. This can easily be related to Health and Wellbeing as it is important for children to learn about the concept of individuality. We continuted on our walk and suddenly, in the distance, a deer walked across the path. This led us to discuss how the deer survives on its own, how it finds food and why it got scared and ran away when it heard us. If children were given this opportunity to explore the countryside and to see this deer, they would be able to appreciate their timid nature and understand what sort of environment they live in. As my mum, sister and I reached the ‘turning point’ on our walk, a small puppy came running up to us. We gave the puppy the attention it was looking for and looked about to find its owners. We were, however, in completely barren land and there was no-one in sight at the time. We decided that it’s owners must be further down the path where we were walking so we encouraged the puppy to follow us down again. This led to discussion about what we would do if we got lost in a forest with no phone reception, and how you could stay safe. At the end of the path, there we saw the puppy’s worried owners whom it had run away from and they were happily reunited! In conclusion I think that if we included more outdoor learning, including learning in the country-side where possible, we can provide children with some really wonderful opportunities to learn about the world around us – enabling them to become successful learners which the Curriculum for Excellence aims to promote.

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Tips When Blogging in the Classroom

This highlights the need to use more ICT and start blogging in the classroom. The practical tips which are given are very useful for me, as a learning teacher, to know how to teach children how to actually blog. Everything that I have been learning about blogging in my Computers, Creativity and Children class is now starting to make sense and come together after reading this post.

From Student to Teacher.

Blogging is becoming more widely used in all sorts of industries now; beauty, sport and now education. Over the past few months it has become increasingly more apparent to me, that blogging and the use of twitter in the classroom is increasingly popular. The way that I have seen it used is that every so often a child is given an opportunity to express their ideas or thoughts on what they have learnt, or discovered recently in their post. But is this the most effective way to ensure that it remains ongoing?

I was recently presented with the question, is blogging in the classroom beneficial to a child’s learning?
After throughly researching this topic my answer would be yes, providing it is used in an appropriate way and that there is a system such as quad blogging put into place, where it is ensured that all children will get some…

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To Email or Not to Email?

An interesting article on emailing. For my assignment I have been discussing the benefits and drawbacks of using email to promote creativity in the classroom. This post is beneficial to inform me about the drawbacks of email – such as the idea that filters are often extremely strong in school which means that children don’t get the opportunity to learn how to deal with problems or inappropriate content, when they are in the secure and safe environment of a classroom to depend on the teacher, rather than have to see this first when they’re isolated on their own computer.

Down the Road

Parents have been reaching out to me to ask about allowing their children to have their own email accounts. While email can be a valuable tool for children learning written communication skills, there are, of course, questions that need to be considered.

Checking in with parents about their concerns about their child’s use of email helps to figure out what may be the right approach. Is a concern that they can sign up for things (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)? Is it about who might send them messages? Is the concern about the child’s ability to filter information? Is it about what the child may put in writing? Is it about knowing what children are writing?

Based on each child’s situation, there are options for email accounts. Parents can create an account that is monitored by having the incoming emails forwarded to them. This can be just to be ready to have conversations…

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Education in Pakistan: A historical socio-cultural perspective

It is so interesting to see how education is approached in other countries. I think it is extremely valuable and important for me, as a student teacher, to find out about other cultures and see how learning and teaching takes place.

Sadaf Shallwani - Early Childhood Development Research

Today’s post is the first in a six-part series reviewing the historical and current context of education in Pakistan. These posts include: (1) Introduction, (2) Ancient India – Hindu and Buddhist Influences, (3) Islamic Influences, (4) British Influences, (5) A Separate Nation, and (6) Education in Present-Day Pakistan. Some of the information in this series is drawn from the book, “Going to School in South Asia” edited by Amita Gupta, interwoven with my own understandings of context, values, and beliefs in Pakistan.

early-childhood-pakistan-copyright-sadaf-shallwani-001 Children at a school in Sindh, Pakistan. Copyright Sadaf Shallwani. All rights reserved.

Introduction

Children develop within the contexts of their families, schools, and communities. But families, schools, and communities also evolve within broader socio-political contexts – which are shaped by innumerable historical and current, global and local influences.

We often don’t think about these contexts, and perhaps even take them for granted, when we talk…

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Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

Gallery of Modern Art

At GoMA, we were introduced to a thought-provoking range of exhibitions featuring a variety of media such as painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography.

The exhibition on show was called “You, Me, Something Else” consisting of sculpture from Glasgow

Firstly we were asked to look at the artwork in the gallery, thinking about how they made us feel and whether we felt connected to any particular pieces.

We were split into small groups and were asked to pick one of the sculptures, stating why we were drawn to it, outlining what music we think of when we see it, how we think it would smell, and 3 adjectives to describe it. We were then asked to sketch a picture of the sculpture that we chose to represent. All groups gathered together and we were encouraged to leave our sketch pads on the ground and move around to look at each other’s sketches, providing positive feedback to our peers.

We were provided with a small object to feel and were asked to place this beside the sculpture which we felt it most related to. Our group chose to place the steel object beside the metal rod-like sculpture as we felt this looked like a fishing rod trying to hook a fish.

After this, we were provided with materials to make our ‘sculpture’, creating a story behind it. The materials which my group were given were neon rods, glitter and ping-pong balls which were tied onto paper-like-string.
My group aimed to replicate a sculpture which was in GoMA. We named it ‘RioTrio’ as there was a recurring theme of ‘trios’ and ‘threes’ within the piece and the bright, vibrant colours reminded us of a carnival in Rio.
We were encouraged to look at the other sculptures which were created…
Below: I have inserted a link to video below which shows teaching ‘The Arts’ through an integrated curricular approach.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBQdKyF1Ak4

What I learnt from the workshop:
– Contemporary artists can question established assumptions about what a sculpture can be, what it is made of and how it should look and be displayed
– Individuality is especially apparent when looking at art

How the experience can be applied within a primary teaching context:
– In museums you are often not allowed to touch the items so it might be beneficial to provide each small group of pupils with an object which they can touch and feel, asking them to think of adjectives relating to it

Can iPads really be used in a Primary Classroom?

During the week, I have been out visiting the Primary School where I will be completing my 6 week placement, after Easter. When I was getting a tour around the school, I went into the computer room to find 30 desktop computers, 15 laptops and 30 iPads. This is obviously fantastic that these resources are being provided for the children; however, when I spoke to my class teacher about the use of the iPads, she said that they really don’t use them very often because they just don’t know what to do, or what apps to download. For this reason, I thought that it would be benficial to research videos about using iPads as a practical way of working and learning. Hopefully you gain as much from this video as I have!

Kelvingrove Art Museum, Glasgow

Kelvingrove Art Museum, Glasgow

At Kelvingrove Art Gallery we were provided with advice on how to encourage pupils to discover various pieces of art in the museum, e.g. by providing each pupil with a torch and asking them to explore different points of a painting, suggesting how this part makes them feel, exploring the concept of inner emotions. We were advised to use higher order questioning methods when talking to children about art as this enables them to come to a new level of thinking. For example, instead of asking basic questions such as “What colour is the sky in this picture?” it would be more beneficial to ask “How do you think the people in the painting felt?”, contrasting it with other paintings. Another issue explored was the need to explore colour and texture used in paintings with the pupils allowing them to understand the links between colour and emotion e.g. dark colours in paintings generally suggest a gloomy context.

We were brought on a short tour of the museum where we were provided with ideas of activities we could do with pupils enabling them to see art beyond the literal visualisation and start to think what the art suggests. It was suggested that we could show children the armour of knights, comparing it with the armour of animals (e.g. the hard shield on a tortoise) discussing how both these armours are used for protection. This could then lead on to further discussion about animals which have protective armour.

I have included the link for Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum below:

http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/our-museums/kelvingrove/whats-on/exhibitions/Pages/home.aspx

Below: Some pictures of my day at Kelvingrove!

In small groups we explored the museum, gathering ideas for a lesson which we could present to a class of primary school aged pupils. My group were particularly inspired by the ceramic faces which were hanging from the roof at different levels, giving us the idea of doing a lesson based on expression where pupils could look at the expressions on the faces and write a creative piece suggesting why the particular expression is displayed.

What I learnt from the workshop:

– The importance of looking beyond the literal visual meaning of a piece of art

– We can incorporate art into various elements of the curriculum e.g. English

– Colour dramatically affects the mood of artwork

How the experience could be applied within a primary teaching context:

-After looking around the museum I thought of various objects which could be explored in order to teach ‘the arts’. For example, pupils could look at various sorts of jewellery, exploring different cultures, colours, textures, synthetic materials vs. natural materials. Children could then make a piece of jewellery such as paper bracelets which are made in Africa.