Probation

Congratulations, you have finally graduated college, yet there is still one obstacle left to overcome before you can be officially recognised as a Fully Qualified Primary School Teacher in Ireland, or any where else in the world for that matter. That my friends is the dreaded DIP.

Now, I will not lie, once you lock down that sub-mat leave or fixed term contract, you need to be ready for the most challenging 100 days of your professional career.

school 100

 

Is it do-able? Totally!

Can you smash it? Most definitely!!

Will it take every ounce of energy you have? Oh hell yes!!!

What I will say though, is that it is completely achievable once you give yourself the time you need to prepare, and are willing to put the effort in.

 

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Hitting the gym, going for a walks or continuing with a favourite hobby throughout the dip will be essential to help keep your mind fresh and you life balanced.

 

         So where do you begin?

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Prepare Yourself, Autumn is Coming!

 

HELLO SEPTEMBER

It has been exactly 9 weeks and 2 days, since my first class kiddos finished for the holidays. True, we were kept in another week  until the end of June, but I swear it feels like only a week ago (well two) since we called it for our well deserved break.

Anyways, no time for reminiscing ,school starts next week and you have a lot to prepare.

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1.Get yourself a planner!

Planners are a must. This is a personal preference, whether you prefer to keep it simple and to the point, or you want to go all out and invest in phenomenon that is the Erin Condren. If you want something similar to the Erin Condren planner but can’t justify the price, you can always opt or for a more affordable option in The Plum Paper  planner or better again D.I.Y it! The choice is yours.

Having a specific place for your calendar, planning, checklists, contacts etc, is essential!

If you want to stay organised and a few steps ahead, this is the way to go.

 

2. Checklist

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What She Tackles She Conquers!

How to Create the Perfect Display

First and foremost, I always like to organise my ideas and set up my essentials for creating my display area.

After some research into the importance of colours in the classroom, I now tend to choose mostly light blue and green for my display backgrounds, but I also like to use yellow and light purple for variety.

As I aim for my display paper to stay up for the year (unless it gets grubby),  I like to use aironfix to keep it firmly in place. It is amazing! This transparent adhesive is key to keeping up your display all year round, and when needs be it comes off easily when you give it a tug. I just use it on the top of edge of the display paper and in selected areas.

If you don’t have this handy, the next best thing is a good stapler. 

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Never Overlook the Importance of Colour

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“imagination and creativity can change the world…and your classroom!”

 

When it comes to my classroom, I like to take my time. I do not rush, and I most certainly do not take notice of other teachers that finish before me. This is something I would like to credit my cousin Trina for. Over a cup of tea we got to chatting, and told me how she had read an article about the impact colours can have on children, and the importance of choosing the rights colours for different purposes.

So, as you do, I launched my google engine, and searched “the importance of colours in the classroom”.

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She was right! Use of colour can have a significant impact on emotion, which in turn can influence their productivity, communication and learning. State of minds such as calm, relaxed and happiness come from colours such as light blues, greens and yellows.

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I can write a List

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When it comes to literacy in the classroom, I like to create an environment that encourages writing. I want my children to light up when they hear “Open mirror, today we will focus on our writing… close mirror”. One way of accomplishing this is by changing up the way I approach my lessons. I find that in doing this it keeps my  lesson fresh and my class engaged in the task at hand, despite the fact that they had completed the introduction to this task only one or two days ago.

Introducing “I can write a List”, Lesson Two.

Writing lists can be a hit or miss with your little ones. Fortunately for me, my class seems to enjoy them. The only bump we hit in Lesson One, was that after they had written three or four items on their list, they became a bit stuck and began to loose interest. Luckily, I work with an amazing and very supportive team, and after having spoken with them over lunch, I was delighted to find this amazing lesson idea left on my desk.  Genius! So simple yet soooo effective.

After an hour or so of printing and laminating, say hello to my little friend.

The laminated trolley that features a laminate pocket and matching game.

(insert smiley emoji with love heart eyes)

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This hands on activity brought our lesson alive.

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Visual Arts

Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm – Earl Nightingale

Creativity

Starting out as a new teacher I loved teaching art. I still do, very much so. When it came to the Visual Arts strand I was very much focused on following the strand units that needed to be covered and finding original and fun ways to bring art alive in my classroom. Each lesson was new and had to be integrated in some way with the theme of the week, fortnight or month.

This in itself was a task and a half. I was inspired by my fellow teachers displays and how uniform they were. Twenty plus student’s colourful and carefully created pieces of art, almost identical in every way, displayed creatively for all to see and admire.

There you have it, my first rookie mistake.

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How to Assess Writing Tasks Effectively

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One question that always came to mind when I myself was a student was “How do they assess our writing tasks fairly?” This question still remained in my mind when I began my teaching journey. As student teachers we are taught the importance of assessment. Not only for our students learning, but for our own as well, as it guides us towards different methods of teaching and learning. Assessment gives us the opportunity to follow and document our students progress effectively, while gaining invaluable feedback from the children themselves at the same time.


Assessment of Learning.

When you are assessing a certain writing task you need to ask yourself two questions;

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Time Detectives

This term my class will become ‘Time Detectives’. Learning all about the past, the children will discover skills they never knew they had. This project focuses more on history, however it integrates well with science, art , drama and geography. Time Detectives is quite exciting for the children as their new found skills will lead them to discover clues from the past. They must use these clues and place them in the correct order to uncover their history. Important events such as ‘The First Moon Landing’ and ‘The Wright Brothers’ are included in our plans.

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Guess Who? Monster Description Task

Monster

 As my new class settles I’m getting to know them better, and vice versa. On the first day of school I like to remind the boys and girls in my class that we come to school to learn. That we are not supposed to know all the answers or get everything right straight away, it takes time and practice. I conclude with ” I really like, no love to see mistakes, they make me happy”.Cue the confused looks and glimmers of hope. I then explain that when I see a mistake it shows me that they are trying their very best, and that that is what makes a great student. It takes a while for my five and six year olds to feel comfortable with making their mistakes and knowing that it is ok.nobody's perfect

This school year I am starting to notice their confidence appear little by little. Hooray! This week I had two children switch from being afraid to write in case what they wrote was wrong, to writing three lines, all sounded out by themselves. Spelling mistakes all over the place but I loved it. They were trying and going straight for the finish line.

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