The life of me

Can I go and play now?!

If you are a teacher within the Early Years or KS1, there must have been a time when you have called a child to the table to complete some work with you and they have replied with – can I go and play now?

I was lucky enough to meet the amazing author, Greg Bottrill, who has written the book ‘Can I go and play now?’ Listening to part of his talk was extremely inspiring and linked to all of the reasons and values of why I became a Primary School Teacher.

Greg discussed the importance of inputs and hooks for children’s learning – ‘learning should be like poetry,’ with children’s interests woven into how we teach the curriculum.

I love Greg’s idea’s about the magic door. Greg’s suitcase is the planning, and he walks through the magic door into children’s adventures. He provides the skills children need within that adventure and then he lets them continue with their adventure.

No child wants to go on your adventure! Just like us, as adults we are more interested on going on our own ‘adventure.’

Everyone wants to go on a journey, but their own journey. Children learn so much more from going on their own adventures.

When having a discussion with Greg he pointed out a really interesting fact.

Every Roald Dahl books shows the importance of children. Children are portrayed as the ‘magical characters’ and the adults are less important. It gets you thinking right?

Greg also speaks about the ’emotional connection.’ I talk about this a lot in my blog. Children need that emotional connection with others.

Building that emotional connection with pupils is something I really ensure I do. Having a sense of humour, listening to the child, having empathy and showing care is all so important. As recently shown on my blog, I remember packing away all the things in my classroom and a child gave me this card. She waited patiently until I opened it and my eyes filled with tears as I read it. My mission was complete. I had built an emotional connection that will be remembered forever.

‘Children don’t learn from people they don’t like!’ – Rita Pierson

Children don’t always remember what you have taught them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Greg discusses the constrains of the curriculum demands, school assessment policy, Ofsted…that get in the way (known as the grey area).

He discusses the Yellow area – children’s curiosity, creativity, the skills needed for the unpredictable jobs and future ahead.

Unfortunately this yellow area often gets covered by the grey area.

Greg also talks about the emotional connection known as the black area. Emotional connection in learning and through building positive relationships. Children sense the energy of a teacher and the enthusiasm. Throughout my year of teaching Reception every few minutes a child is proudly showing me a model. I constantly hear:

Miss Pinnock come into my castle or would you like some tea over here? Come to my party , its about to start – I will give you cake!

After talking to Greg I have realised that the children are inviting me into their magical world. Their own adventures linked to their interests and that’s the moment I can use my skills, to get down to their level and provide them with further skills before letting them continue in their magical world.

Children are magical. Children see things completely different to us. They are magic and learning needs to be magic – not like robots. -Greg Bottrill

To enhance the learning in maths this week I have planned a shape hunt that consists of 2D and 3D shapes. Letting children move away from the ‘focus table’ and explore their surroundings by searching for shapes in the environment brought so much creativity, curiosity and interests. Children found shapes in objects I would have never even seen as an adult. As we grow our imaginations get squeezed out of us but a child see’s the world in a completely different way.

This activity meant that all children were engaged and learned the skills needed to name each shape – 2D and 3D. A child picked up his shape hunt sheet at the end and said – “Can I bring it home?” And I never heard the words.. ‘Can I go and play now?’ Why? Because to them they were playing and playing was valued!

Greg is such an inspirational person. He has lots of talks and visits to offer schools.

Take a look at his blog for more details:

Can I go and play now

As always let me know what you think!

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Every kid needs a champion

This week I went on some maths lead training and mindset was linked into the topic.

They played the video by Rita on TedTalks and although I have watched it a few times before I would watch it again and again.

It saddens me to see teachers who teach but don’t show love for the pupils.

having respect and listening to children is so important.

I remember being at school , I must have been in year 3 or something and I had the most miserable teacher. She was old, mumbled a load of stuff under her breath and never smiled. I always wondered why she was a teacher. I even thought

Do you even like children?

But of course I never asked her this!

I remember a visitor at a training session shared a quote with us

Children won’t always remember what you have taught them but they will never forget how you made them feel.

This is so true! I respect every single one of my pupils. I will smile and say good morning to every single one even on the days I am exhausted and can’t wait for the holidays. I will apologise if I make a mistake and model good behaviour.

Rita clearly explains the reasons why teachers play such an important part of a child’s life. You can make a huge difference and I always finish watching it with a tear in my eyes.

https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion/up-next

Rita is a great inspiration for all and has made a huge impact on so many educators. I inspire to be like her one day. Rest in peace💕

Let me know your thoughts.

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Maths mastery in The early years!

What’s the best way to learn addition and subtraction other than with real life objects?!

My class have really enjoyed adding pieces of fruit, comparing and sorting different sized buttons, counting magic beans and even different shaped pasta!l this year.

Counting real life objects is a must in the early years before moving into abstract concrete objects just as cubes.

Children will then be able to problem solve by turning the ‘real life object’ from a problem into cubes to work out their answer.

My Reception class have spent a lot of time this year counting different amounts onto 10 frames and exploring the part whole model. This has significantly increased their understanding of number.

For instance the 10 frames have enabled children to realise double facts and number bonds.

I can simply say:

What can you tell me about this number?

The children will come up with a range of responses such as:

8 and 2 make 10

4 and 4 make 8

1 and 1 make 2

8 is more than 2

2 is less than 8

The part part whole model has also helped children with their number bonds and understanding.

The children can explain different ways of making numbers up to 10 and some children now can automatically say the facts and use them in different problems – they have mastered it!!!

Introducing 10 frames, real life objects and part part whole models can really embed the essentials needed for children to reach great success in maths in year 1 and beyond.

Completing maths mastery means you allow time for the children to practise and you continue to review what is needed despite the curriculum content.

Would you rather continue to embed and practise the skills or just move on with children only gaining little knowledge of it anyway?

I am completing a masters dissertation this year all about the impact it can have on children in the Early Year’s, so keep posted!

The NCETM and maths hub also have a range of great resources that you can use for free too.

https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/52060

The bbc number blocks are also great and I will be separately blogging about that too. Keep an eye out on these little people!

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Teaching is what I ‘do’ not who I am..

After a massive reflect over the weekend I have been itching to publish this blog post.

Life flies by so fast and when teaching and working in a school l, you can easily forget the outside world and come completely become engrossed in the classroom.

It’s important to take a step back and think about other things in life too.

I have so many identities:

I am a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, a friend, a best friend, a girl friend..

As well as a teacher we have so many other roles and things in life.

It’s so important to switch off from the workload and ensure you spend times with loved ones too! Doing other things that you love to do!

I enjoy travelling, I enjoy attending the gym, listening to music, going to concerts, baking, drinking cocktails and all sorts! These are the memories we really reflect and remember in life.

I am extremely career driven and passionate, but a YouTuber recently made me reflect on this. Tomorrow he is undergoing open heat surgery. He’s happy, healthy and loving his career. He’s spent a lot of time building up his career and he’s working in a very stressful demand of the IT world.

He hadn’t realised whilst he was stressing and working hard exercising that his heart was actually failing. He was born with a heart defect but hadn’t realised until he had sharp pains in his chest 40 years down the line. The doctors describe him as a miracle as they said his arteries are 100% blocked and people often have a heart attack when it’s 70% blocked.

He realised what really mattered in life and how things he stressed about didn’t actually matter as much.

It touched my heart and I will be thinking of him and his surgery tomorrow. But it’s also made me realise that actually….

Teaching is a passion yes, but it’s something I ‘do’ and not just who I am.

It’s so important to take care of yourself and make time for family and friends.

💕💕

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Being a good role model

Teaching has its challenges for sure! But it’s so important to make sure every pupil feels welcomed into school. I always show them a caring smile and a huge good morning. I make sure every pupil is ready to start the day and I pick up on those pupils that are not quite themselves.

Before any teaching can be done, you have to care for that child. You have to build up a great relationship with them and most of all have faith in them! I tell every pupil in my class – you can do it!

I remember packing away my things in summer with shear pride of how much my pupils had achieved and then finding this lovely card from a pupil.

She has drawn us at the bottom and asked her mum to help her write the wonderful message inside.

It brought a tear to my eye. How amazing. This is the reason why I became a teacher, to be a good role model to all of the pupils. I want them to remember me as a hero – someone that inspired them to be the best that they can be!

#MissPinnock

The life of me

WANTED!

I created this lesson for a Year 2 class and it worked really well!

Children saw a huge mess and lots of crime Scene tape. A suitcase was left at the scene with lots of items inside.

Who could it be?

What has happened?

Why have they entered school?

The children were full of curiosity and were eager to write a wanted posted using expanded noun phrases to build up a better description than the one I showed them.

After describing items set out on each table the children were eager to draw their description.

They made predictions linked to the story through what they saw eg, I think it’s the smartest giant in town because of his smart clothes. I think it’s Jack and the Beanstalk because of these strange beans.

To encourage editing and checking their work I asked children to swap their writing with a partner and read their peers work.

It was great to see children giving feedback to their peers and changing mistakes when needed in an encouraging environment.

I left blank flash cards on the table for children to write different expanded noun phrases on to share with their peers.

English lessons can be full of excitement and curiosity, from a simple learning objective of using expanded noun phrases, the pupils were extremely excited and all succeeded!

Creativity is key,

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Future teachers event!

I’m looking forward to being a part of the Leeds Trinity University’s, future teachers event in the next few weeks! A range of professionals will be talking, including the author of the book ‘Can I go and play now?’

I will be talking to students about the life of a primary teacher and offering them advise in the profession.

Teaching is extremely exhausting but it’s such an amazing rewarding job.

Balance is certainly needed to make sure you live your life well and spend time with your loved ones.

Over the last few years in my career I have stretched and challenged myself to take part in all kinds of opportunities. From taking on the role of the reading leader, to attending maths hub meetings and being observed teaching maths mastery by Pearson’s Publishers! I’ve leaped into studying further and I am on completion of my masters in education as well as leading on maths in my current school…

Through trial and error and a little encouragement from others you can embrace and try all sorts within teaching.

Take a risk is key within my advice. Take a risk in your role, in the school you go for, take a risk whilst you teach lessons! Some lessons may go terribly wrong, whilst others go amazingly well.

You will have pupils you remember forever for good or for bad! But embrace it all, listen to the children you work with (they often have better teaching ideas than I do! ) and build up positive relationships with both them and their parents.

Good luck to any students about to enter the profession in September. Your first year is both exhaustingerrrr😂 and rewarding!

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Jack and the beanstalk!

We’ve had a long term – (perhaps a little too long) of looking at the book Jack and the Beanstalk.

This has brought so much awe and wonder to the children.

First they found footprints, a giant shirt and giant boots!

What are these? Who do they belong to? Why are they here?

Later on they found the book wrapped up and they were all so excited to read it.

The giant sent the children a letter apologising for leaving all the mess and he gave them some ‘magic beans’ (sunflower seeds) to grow.

The children loved watching them grow and explored what happened when they watered them. They decided to bring them home on Mother’s Day, with their Mother’s Day card!

The giants footprints were used to measure and compare the children’s feet in provision. Children were inspired to work together to build a giants castle.

We used the forest school area to search for the giant, chanting the song: were going on a giant hunt were going to catch a big one were not scared… uh oh..

We used positional language to model obstacles in our way and to make decisions of how to get passed.

The children loved writing letters back to the giant and getting ready to post it!

Such a cross curricular activity – the fun never ends!

#jack and the beanstalk

#misspinnock