Upon completion of an assignment for university, I increased my understanding of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how a child missing breakfast can impact their level of learning.
Whilst on professional placement, I was able to reflect on this theory. Children had the opportunity to pay for toast at school, and all pupils were provided with fruit at break times. This was an approach implemented in order to support childrens progression up Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. Children are less likely to concentrate if they have not eaten before school, following this, their learning will be affected. The stratgey of providing children with snack removes the barrier of learning becoming disrupted by hunger.
Drawing upon reading of Maslow and reflection with regard to placement shows evidence against TS2. It is demonstrated that I can identify ways in which children learn, and the barriers that can prevent this. With this knowledge, I am able to identify various other barriers which may prevent children from learning, enabling me to support students in the best possible way.
The school strategy, of encouraging snack before break, can have a positive impact on children’s learning as they are eliminating the barrier of hunger from impacting children’s concentration. I do however understand that there may be more than one reason as to why a child is unable to concentrate, and as teachers we have to be flexible to try move around these issues to ensure all pupils are able to increase their learning and development. Developing from this I have set a target to increase my knowledge of other learning theories.
At the beginning of my final placement, the topic within the year group was based upon the Great Fire of London. Children had began to complete work related to this subject. I asked the class teacher if it would be possible to create a display for this topic they were completing.
I used a range of different pieces of children work that they had created within a literacy lesson and added these to the display. I added facts onto the display which were relevant to the history of the 1666 event. The display was bright and colourful, bringing life to the classroom. Children’s Art work was also added to the display to make a part of the picture; this added to a welcoming classroom environment for all pupils.
Below is an image of the display created.
Displaying the children’s work around the classroom stimulated a passion to work hard; it encourage children to try their best and gave the pupils who’s work was displayed, a sense of achievement. Having information about the Great Fire of London was effective; children often spent time in the classroom such as wet play times, where they would sit and look at the display. This meant children were reading the information and learning new facts without realising. For my NQT year I will ensure I incorporate bright, stimulating displays into my classroom.
When carrying out my second year placement, I was placed in a three-form entry school. Within the year group I had been place, planning was shared and one topic was planned by each teacher, each term. During my practice I planned for Maths. A strategy introduced from the teachers at this school involved using pre-tests to inform planning and grouping of ability groups.
The day before PPA the children would complete a specialised pre-test for the topic they would be studying the following week. Each child would have the same test, and the same amount to complete this in test conditions. They would self-mark their test, allowing them to notice the areas they were weaker within. The following day, during PPA, whilst planning these pre-tests would be groups into ability groups. This differed week-on-week, as all children were stronger in various parts of the subject. Activities were then selected appropriately to support learning of pupils. Attached below is a basic pre-test used during practice.
Using and adapting pre-tests to inform planning and support identification of ability groups was an effective strategy; it highlighted the areas children were stronger and weaker in. Furthermore, using these allowed for appropriate and effective differentiation to meet all needs of the learners. As children marked their own tests, they were able to reflect upon their own knowledge and identify the areas that they needed extra support within. One disadvantage of this was that all children had the same test, regarding that there were a wide range of abilities within the group. One target from this would be to ensure that pre-tests were created for different ability groups.
Upon teaching within a mixed Key Stage 1 class, I devised a weekly plan for phonics with the class teacher. The plan involved a variety of different activities to support children knowledge and acquisition of graphemes and phonemes. Questioning is implemented into the lesson, to aid children’s understanding of the sounds they were learning.
The structure of the plan allowed children to recall prior knowledge and links to be made upon what they currently knew, and the information they were going to learn. Once this was completed, the activities supported the application of new sounds. Assessment opportunities were stated at the end of each session.
This planning was effective for the application of new sounds and supporting children’s knowledge of these phonics. The planning was structured well clearly setting out each stage of the process for acquiring new sounds, including the stages: revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. Furthermore, the assessment opportunities allowed for an understanding of pupil progression and attainment. Developing upon this, I would ensure that differentiation for different abilities was implemented. Also, I would adapt the assessment for each day, adjusting the different strategies to suit for the best possible assessment opportunity.
Whilst carrying out teaching practice, during my second year placement I taught a mathematics lesson based upon fractions. The children engaged with a starter activity, and returned to the carpet for the input of their main activity. Once we had discussed the approach as a class and identified the strategy they were to use, children returned to their tables to carry out their activity.
Through supporting the class, I wondered around the room working with different groups of pupils. I had noticed that the middle ability group had began to complete their task, however, had incorrectly used the strategy. I stopped the two groups for this ability for a mini plenary, asking them to explain to me how it was they should use the strategy. Once I was re-insured they knew what to do, I allowed the children to continue their work. Moving around the class again, and returning to this group, I identified that they had still not understand how the approach they were using, worked. I pulled this group of pupils back to the carpet, and used a different method to explain what they had to do.
In order to ensure they had all understood they strategy after the final explanation, I implemented it as their starter for the following day.
Demonstrating the ability to draw mini-plenaries and stop children to re-enforce learning is an essential skill. This showed that I had a secure understanding of the subject knowledge for the lesson I was teaching, in order to present the strategy to the children in a different way. Implementing this supported children learning and progression, as I was able to identify the children who had misunderstandings about this area of Maths. Drawing on this, I will ensure that I continue to pull children aside if they had developed misconceptions of certain areas, making sure I address misunderstandings as soon as possible. Moreover, this will be used to inform future planning.
During my second professional practice I developed my understanding of how to appropriately detail mark children’s work to support learning and progression. When marking the piece of work, I had to identify one positive aspect that could be shown in their work. Next, spellings that would be expected to have been spelled correct were noted. Finally, a gap task was created with regard to the activity the children had been completing. This is a task which supports the development of their learning about the focus topic for that lesson; specifically focusing upon an area they had struggled with or made a slight error.
Often gap tasks created required children to note where they had made mistakes, therefore they had to reflect upon their own learning and show independence.
This strategy for supporting learning was effective as it allowed children to be praised for the positive areas of their work. Children responded well to gap task; this activity supported independence and allowed children to re-visit a topic that they had learnt about within that lesson. It addressed misconceptions children had within the lesson. Furthermore, it is a useful strategy to make assessments of children’s progression and identify where they need extra support. Also, detailed marking should inform future planning for the subject. This is an area that will be implemented into future practice.
As a strategy to motivate children to learn, a ‘Superhero Reward Chart’ was implemented into teaching practice phase 2. Each child’s face was put into a superhero character; the chart had three shields (bronze, silver and gold) with stepping stones in between each shield. All children started on the bronze shield, moving each stepping stone for various reasons: if the child created an outstanding piece of work, met a target which had been set between themselves and the teacher, participated and achieved within an extra-curricular activity etc. The image below shows a uncompleted example of the reward system.
This system was effective as it support children learning and achievement. Children were eager to have their superheros moved up the chart and the competition between pupils and their peers pushed them to show improvements within their work. The system was not something used everyday, therefore it gave children a huge sense of achievement when their success was promoted to the rest of the class. Although the rewards given to children were small, for example bubbles, a highlighter, a ruler etc., children were passionate to receive these rewards. This is a strategy I would like to incorporate into my NQT year, however I would ensure that one person a day would be moved up the chart in order to reinforce rewarding outstanding work.