A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

September 7, 2020
by Jean
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Your first day (FDLT)

We are looking forward to welcoming students to the FDLT course next week (week beginning September 14th). You will have been receiving emails from us and from the university about starting the course.

What should I do before I come to the first day?

Make sure that you have completed pre-enrolment. You can find out more about this here.

Make sure you have introduced yourself to the group on your group’s getting to know you padlet. The information about this was emailed to you last week. Go back to this padlet a few times to read new posts and comment on some to start getting to know each other. You will meet each other face to face next week.

You should contact ASSIST if you have any additional needs relating to disability, medical condition, autism, specific learning differences (like dyslexia) or a mental health difficulty including if you will need assistance during arrival.

What should I bring on the first day?

When you come please make sure that you have everything you need to complete your enrolment. There is information about this here.

Bring a bag as we will be giving you things and you are likely to collect your laptop if you are enrolling as a full time student (ie with no exemptions from modules).

You should make sure that you bring a mask to wear. Information about our Covid19 precautions can be read here

You should also bring a pen and something to make notes in.

You might like to bring a drink and snacks although there are refreshments available to buy on campus. 

Where should I come to on the first day?

the atrium in the learning hubBoth groups will be coming to the Waterside campus for the first day. The Leicester group will be based at Devonshire Place thereafter. You can find out more about the location and parking at Waterside here.

We will be meeting in the large open space on the ground floor of the Learning Hub. Look out for Abbie and Jean and email Jean if you get lost or need help.

Look out for students whose posts you have read on the getting to know you padlet as well.

There is a map of the Waterside Campus here.

What will happen on the first day?

On your first day you will meet the course leader, Abbie Deeming and another of the course tutors, Jean Edwards. You might already have met or talked with us at an open day or interview. We will guide you through the day. 

We will first take you to enrol and you will also collect your welcome package laptop at some point in the day. 

After that we will have an induction session in one of the large classrooms so we can be together as a group and still appropriately socially distanced. Abbie and I will talk you through key information about the FDLT course and you will have a chance to ask us questions.

What if I have any worries or questions?

It is natural to feel nervous when you are embarking on a new part of your life. Starting at university is a big step but you have all applied for and been offered a place on the course because it is the appropriate next step for you right now. There will be lots of people supporting you at home and at school and you will find that there are lots of people here at university to help you too, both as part of the course and in the wider organisation. 

If you have any immediate concerns or questions email the Admissions Tutor, Jean Edwards, jean.edwards@northampton.ac.uk 

We are looking forward to meeting you next week.

children's cook covers

June 3, 2020
by Jean
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How can we work for a better world?

As you keep up to date with the news you will no doubt be considering how we in education can work for a more fair and equal society. In classrooms using children’s literature as the basis for conversations is a good way in.

children's cook coversThe list of children’s books linked here is curated by critical literacy organizations, The Conscious Kid and American Indians in Children’s Literature and it is called “31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. 

This author notes that: “Beyond addressing issues of race and racism, this children’s reading list focuses on taking action. It highlights resistance, resilience and activism; and seeks to empower youth to participate in the ongoing movement for racial justice. Children not only need to know what individual, institutional, and internalized racism looks like, they need to know what they can do about it.” (The Conscious Kid, 2019, lines 22-270).

Another great source of book recommendations in this field is from classroom teachers. Year 4 teacher, Miss Newton (@MissNewton91 on twitter) has shared this presentation of her recommended picture books. You can access it here.Going beyond sharing and talking about stories it is also vital to integrate the black experience across all the subjects that we teach. Miss Newton shared her planning for a Year 4 history unit which you can access here

From children themselves as readers we can begin to understand how it feels to find oneself represented in the books that are around. Ananya Ganesh, a fifteen year old, had written about this in her blog post ‘We need more #ownvoices books’ which you can read here

As well working in our individual classrooms in stories and the curriculum there are also organisations to support and develop diversity in education. One of these is BAMed:

“BAMEed is a movement initiated in response to the continual call for intersectionality and diversity in the education sector. All members are volunteers and have committed their time and efforts into creating a tangible support network to equip teachers and leaders with the tools to progress into and through the workforce.

BAMEed connects, enables and showcases the talent of diverse educators so they may inspire future generations and open up the possibilities within education careers.” (BAMed, 2020, lines 3-5).

BAMed is developing regional networks, resources and and a network of speakers. They have collected a useful book list which you can see here. This was curated by Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom), Kaen Sands O’Connor (@ksandsoconnor) and Books for keeps (ABooksforKeeps).

Letterbox Library logoThey also recommend exploring Letter Box Library which specialises in selecting and recommending books “in which all children can see themselves and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity” (Letterbox Library, 2020, lines 9-10).

Now is the time to use the amazing stories, resources and networks that we have around us to educate ourselves and the children we support to take action to grow up in a more just and fair world. 

If you are interested in exploring the representation of black and ethnic minorities in children’s literature this CLPE survey was published in 2018.

References:

BAMed. (2020) About us. website [online] Available from: https://www.bameednetwork.com/about-us/ [Accessed; 03/06/2020].

Ganesh, A. (2020) We need more #ownvoices books. website. [online] Available from: https://www.ananyaganesh.com/post/we-need-more-ownvoices-books [Accessed; 3rd June 2020].

Letterbox Library (2020) Letterbox Library. website. [online] Available from: https://www.letterboxlibrary.com/ [Accessed 3rd June 2020].

The Conscious Kid. (2019) 31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].

The Conscious Kid. (2019) A children’s book list for anti-racist activism (image). Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 30, 2020
by Jean
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Animating science!

Over the last few weeks the FDLT Year 1 students have been making stop motion animations.

They used the app ‘StopMotionStudio’ on ipads to make their animations, and the app ‘iMovie’ to edit them, adding sounds and music. 

The students chose an aspect of the science PoS to explain in their animations, using visuals and words to explore ideas such as how water is used by plants; seasonal change; the cycel of the moon and many more.

You can watch the animations on this YouTube channel:

 

September 30, 2019
by Jean
0 comments

What can we learn from education in Finland?

When you are examining the curriculum, what is taught and how learning is organised, making international comparison can be useful.

In this article in the guardian, journalist Sally Weale discusses the approach to the curriculum and learning in Finland.

As a university student you would want to use links, names and titles to track back to the original sources used if you were considering using this material in an assignment.

This could lead you to look up:

PISA

Pasi Sahlberg

John Jerrim / IOE blog

Finnish National Agency for Education.

Reading these sources could lead you to some useful reading but you should also search in NELSON for additional academic material.

 

December 3, 2018
by Jean
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Christmas writing fun!

Pobble have shared ten fun ideas to inspire writing with a Christmas theme here.

Christmas poems
Jesse’s frosty festive poem evokes all the senses. She’d love you to have a read.

Christmas in China
What is your Christmas fortune? Dexter discovered what happens at Christmas in China and then wrote fortunes to share with his family. Read here.

The Iron Man saves Christmas!
Father Christmas has one last hope: The Iron Man. This fun narrative is a fun twist on a traditional tale. Click to read.

A recipe for the perfect Christmas
What ingredients would you choose to create the perfect Christmas? A beautiful teaching idea! We think Libby’s recipe is spot on!

The Christmas Truce
After learning about the truce on Christmas Day 1914, Holly wrote this poignant piece outlining the events.

The sound of Christmas
What does Christmas sound like? Lee shared his thoughts in this joyful poem. Have a read.

Victorian Christmas
Joe time travelled back to a Christmas Eve in the Victorian era. In this piece he explains what he discovered.

The Bear’s First Christmas
This simile packed story is a festive treat! Tiah tells the tale of ‘The bear’s first Christmas’. Read here.

If Father Christmas got stuck up my chimney…
What would you do if Santa got stuck up your chimney? Jessica would give him a push! Read more.

Reindeer job application
A job application with a twist! Maxwell is applying to be one of Santa’s reindeers. Would you give him the job? Read Maxwell’s letter.

Reference:

Pobble (2018) Festive teaching ideas. [online] Available from: http://blog.pobble.com/festive-teaching-ideas-for-you/ [Accessed: 3/12/18]

June 13, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

FDLT year 1 field trips

Last week the FDLT year 1 students went on field trips to explore different ways of supporting learning outdoors. Led by Ken Bland and Georgina Hand, they explored fieldwork around a river including mapping the meander, measuring depth; testing speed of flow and exploring water quality. They also took a kick sample of the animal life in the water and used magnifiers to look at the creatures they had found. They explored the clues to the history of their location around the landscape.

Students also used the outdoors as inspiration for poetry and art. As a starter the students played a digital find it activity in pairs. Each pair was given a grid with things to look for, photograph and present as a PicCollage. The grids were based around subject content, subject specific vocabulary, and could be differentiated to the learning of the pupils. It is a good way of getting a group to explore the outdoor where they will be working in without unnecessarily collecting and damaging the environment. 

We also looked at the work of artist Richard Long. The students then had a go at making walking poetry by setting a rule to walk, collect words and explore the outdoor environment. Some students walked ten steps and then looked up and looked down; others set rules related to collecting certain groups or patterns of words. This gave them the opportunity to use grammatical knowledge in a creative context. 

Students also collected one leaf and tried to identify it using books and an identification app on the ipad. After this they had a go at writing a poem around the edge of the leaf. We discussed using scientific as well as poetic language. 

We also looked at The Lost Words – see earlier blog post. 

This day connects forwards into the PDT2016 learning beyond the school site module that the students will study in 2018/19. 

June 7, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Can your pupils sew on a button?

Great British Button Challenge!

Hobbycraft did some research and found that out of the 10,000 people they surveyed 1 in 5 could not sew on a button, with 52% never taught this at school (Hobbycraft, 2018). This summer they’re running a  challenge to bring sewing back into schools.

Teachers can go along to their local Hobbycraft up to 20th July and pick up a free bag of buttons and Great British Button Challenge stickers. There are also lots of button based projects on the Hobbycraft website along with educational resources – you can download the pack here.

If you’re not sure how to sew on a button Hobbycraft have made a video guide to help!

With thanks to a BALT graduate, now teacher, for pointing this out.

Reference:

Hayhurst, M.  (2018) 

Hobbycraft issue first Craft Report and launch Great British Button Challenge.

[online] Available from: https://www.craftbusiness.com/news/view/hobbycraft-issue-first-craft-report-and-launch-great-british-button-challen [Accessed 07/06/18]

May 4, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Useful advice about your email address

My colleague Jeff Ollerton has written this useful advice about email addresses:

Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog: Advice to students: choose your email address carefully and think about changing it).

If you work in or study education Jeff makes some very good points.

Jeff’s blog is an interesting one to follow if you are interested in the environment, biodiversity and conservation.

April 27, 2018
by Jean
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30 days wild!

The Wildlife Trust invites you to something wild every day in June: random acts of wildness. You can sign up here to get a free pack including a wall chart, interactive booklet and some stickers. There is also an app.

When you take part you can also share your activity using #30DaysWild and look at what all the other participants are doing. It is a great opportunity for gathering ideas to use in school or at home in the future.

This is my favourite idea from last year:

A scarf showing the temperature for each day with a row of knitting in a colour based on the temperature each day. I have since seen others based on daily rainfall.

 

March 29, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Keep Learning!

As supporters of learning and people interested in education you are likely to be seeking opportunities to keep learning yourselves. This might be to fill gaps in your subject knowledge, to allow you to perform your role more effectively or to follow a personal interest.  FutureLearn run a number of online courses on many interesting areas, including education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can browse the available courses here: FutureLearn

The courses tend to be quite practical and involve online interaction with other people who are involved in the course. They are free to take part in although you can choose to pay to have a certificate of completion which may be useful if you want to use it as part of your CPD record or CV.

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