I am aiming to instil a positive mindset into my class this year!
Growth mindset for learning is so important. No matter how many fancy displays you have or creative themes and strategies for learning – if the children do not have that ‘can do’ attitude then what’s the point?
Children need to be intrinsically interested in what they are doing to learn well.
I have a few ideas in mind to do this and I will share classroom ideas shortly. But the best time to build on this growth mind set is within those first few weeks of teaching, when you are building in the rules and routines in the classroom.
It’s been a while since my last blog as I have been busy relaxing from all things teaching this holidays and grafting away at my masters dissertation…
But I just came across a great post that jogged my memory about the EYFS which I’m dying to share with everyone.
It’s quite easy to look around the early years classroom and think- what a mess! Go and tidy up your mess, why have you moved the play dough into the home corner and why are there bowls all over the book corner floor???
But actually if you zone into what children are actually doing and engaged in it’s pretty amazing.
A children will make connections using their imaginations in provision that will be more amazing than any adult could think of.
They may see the yellow play dough as a delicious bowl of porridge and place it in the home corner to cook and play with. They may have transferred bowls in the book corner to imitate a story they have been inspired by. The may have decided to pick up a boat from the water area to help build their bridge and lake in the construction area…
By telling children to put things back and instantly tidy up during their play will actually crush their creativity and stop their ideas of play from flowing.
My message is before you tell a child to tidy up, look around and observe what they are doing with the ‘mess’ you may be more amazed than annoyed….
After all the early years is messy and learning is messy too!!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!