Weeks 6 & 7 – A Catch Up Post!

Apologies for not keeping up with my ‘one post a week’ rule already. Things have been absolutely insane this week, despite it being half term – I have been in uni 3 days this week, started planning and reading for my first assignment and been plannigna  whole host of lessons and starters for next week and beyond!

Let’s go back to Week 5 shall we?!

The week before half term was a bit of a whirlwind in itself. On Monday I did starters with both my Year 8 and Year 10 classes. Year 10 were moving onto fractions so I did a Simplifying Catchphrase with them. Surprisingly the concept of Catchphrase was more alien to them than the fractions! Overall it went well, they were engaged and wanted to be able to see the picture underneath and I tried to get everyone in the room to contribute. That was hard, as I didn’t know all of their names yet, and I must learn to stop apologising for that!

With Year 8, this was my first ever starter with them, so I was a bit nervous, especially as I wasn’t in the lesson they covered nth terms in! My host teacher is great though and tried to make sure I knew everything I needed to, so I planned an ‘nth Term Bingo’ for them. Again, I was more shocked that they didn’t know the premise of bingo, or at least selecting 9 of the 16 answers I provided on the board for their own table… Overall it went well and my feedback was good. I even tried to use the last few questions I had to get them thinking about the rest of the lesson (building up sequences from a given rule).

I spent much of Wednesday on observations in other curriculum areas to enhance my first assignment. I absolutely loved the RS lesson, which was a continuation of the one I saw following a Year 8 around the week before. There was lots of discussion about respect, how it is perceived by individuals and if there is ever a general consensus on what is respectful. The Year 8s were really perceptive of other people’s views and there were some great points made and some minds changed, I think!

First thing Monday, I took my first ever solo lesson with Year 10! Originally this was planned to be a team teach, but I think my mentor structured the planning of it so I would feel I could just run with it. I did, but a little bit of bad planning on my part meant I forgot a sheet/examples and then panicked. We ended up doing a lot of mini-whiteboard work rather than getting things down in books, and we also didn’t get to use the sheets I HAD remembered! Lots of good feedback, and things to work on, but this is definitely the thing I am most proud of:

I feel like this isn’t something you can learn, so the fact this is something I already have with this class makes me feel really good. OK so I have things to work on, I wasn’t expecting to be perfect from the start, but this is a great foundation to be working from.

Uni and Hub WSI focussed on pastoral care (including being a Form Tutor), the use of ICT and a bit of help with Assignment 1. Curriculum area sessions included feedback on the use of everyday materials as resources. I’d taken away the polystyrene cups the week before and have now found 2 uses for them:

  1. A Place Value Tool, see: this video (sorry the guy is quite annoying!)
  2. An exploratory way to discover linear graphs to find the height of the teacher, see: here

We also discussed using paper plates, straws and string for circle theorems, paper plates for visualising fractions and string across the classroom for a problem solving approach to 3D Pythagoras. We then moved on to developing explanations using visual representations, especially area in algebra and the use of bar modelling. I took away a lot of ideas from this session which I’d love to use in classes in future. I will report back!

In University on Friday we had a session with some local maths teachers and contributors to Maths Hubs, covering AfL and questioning. This gave me much more of a focus on why I’m using AfL and how to make the most of it, and how to best scaffold questions. I think this is something I will relate back to a lot, not just this year but throughout my career.

Now, Week 6…

Despite it being half term, I have actually not had much time off at all. I’ve had university 3/5 days this week and have made the most of the afternoons I am the the library to get my head down and focussed on my first assignment reading. It’s starting to take shape in my head now and I have a plan so hopefully it will be OK when I start writing it in the next couple of weeks.

We also had a great session on Geometry and Behaviour Management (a weird mix you may think, but it works!). Lots of helpful, practical tips that will be useful in all lessons and then some that are very geometry specific!

The past 2 Fridays have also included some element of peer teaching. My group did an ‘A Level Micro Teach on Algebraic Division’ this week. I’m pleased to say it went well for 2 reasons:

  1. I hate pretending a class of grown adults are kids. Or pretending I’m a kid and being awkward for the sake of it to test out the ‘presenter’. It makes me feel so awkward.
  2. We didn’t have much time to practice – being on SD, my team and I are all in different schools and never see each other in the week except at Hub sessions and Uni sessions, which is a stark contrast to those on the Core PGCE course, who see each other every other day with a free afternoon to collaborate.

We got some good feedback, and I am pleased that no-one in the room decided to be too awkward about the whole thing.

The days I wasn’t in uni I have been planning starters for next week, and then a suite of lessons on equations of a straught line for Year 10 when I start my block placement. It’s been a bit manic, to say the least.

My work-life balance is probably very heavily weighted towards work at the moment, that and sleep…. But I tried to make sure I had the weekend before half term off, which was helped by a visit from my best friend, and I did spend a large proportion of yesterday playing Lego Marvel with my boyfriend. (Thank God Amazon messed up and it arrived late, or I’d have done nothing for the whole half term!)

I hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am, albeit ending up very tired in the process, and that some of you got an actual half term! Must get back to planning for tomorrow, so TTFN 🙂

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