Primary Computing

In a world dominated by constantly evolving technology, it’s important for children to receive an education. This needs to take in to consideration the need to develop their computing skills. In the National Curriculum for computing, one of the points it says that KS1 children should know is what algorithms are. This includes ‘how they are implemented as programs on digital devices’, (DfE, 2013) and that programs ‘execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions’ (DfE, 2013). At a first glance, I struggled to understand how you could put a topic such as this forward to a KS1 class in an easy to digest way. I then discovered that, through computer programs and games that allow practice, children can develop their understanding.

An example of one of these programs is LightBot. The game is designed to increase learners understanding of code and algorithms. It is done by getting them to use program the robot to follow a sequence and light up specific squares. This game was simple, interactive and educational, so I chose this as my tool to introduce algorithms to my Year 1 class. I decided to divide them in to groups of six for this task, the first group I took worked individually. The below video ‘Light-Bot, coding for kids’ demonstrates how the code game works.

The learners really enjoyed the task and, although it took a few attempts, they all managed to work through the first few levels. In their maths lessons of for the week, they were doing position and turns, in their PE, they had been doing movement. I was fortunate enough to be able to use this knowledge that was fresh in their minds, to explain the commands used in the program. While the learners did manage to get past the first few levels, after that they began to struggle. The game introduces more commands as it goes up in levels and, this increased difficulty, lead to frustration among them.

When planning for the second group to do this task, I thought about what could help the next lesson run smoother. I decided to create a sheet with pictures of all the commands LightBot can do (left turn, jump etc). I labelled them and gave them out as handouts so, if they struggled with the commands, they could use the sheet as a prompt. Below is a picture of the handout I used:

Thinking about the difficulties during my last session, I chose to let them work in pairs this time so that they could help each other easier. This proved to work, and the learners really enjoyed the prompt sheet, using it to move across levels. However, what I found difficult was making the message of algorithms and code, and their place in the lesson clear. What caused this I think was having too focus, and time spent on making sure that they understood the program itself. I think once I had the prompt sheets, less time could have been spent taking about commands and more time conveying the learning objectives.

In terms of assessment and TS6 ‘Make accurate and productive use of assessment’ (DfE, 2011) I decided to write a short evaluation for each learner. I did this in the form of a photo, a short description of what LightBot is, and comments on what they learned. I then stuck this in their Learning Journals, I have posted an example below.

This not only helped me keep a record of their progress towards the learning objectives, it also helped with my own evaluations. I hope to use this record of the progress made with the task to improve my teaching with other groups. The first statement in the computing curriculum is the one I feel is most important.

‘A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world.’. (DfE, 2013)

Igniting a passion and understanding for Computing from KS1, can give learners the skills, and creativity to achieve great things. This is something that holds great importance in a world that is ever-changing.


Department for Education, (2013), Computing Programmes of Study: Key Stages 1 and 2 – National Curriculum in England [online], Available <> [Accessed 09 October 2017)

Department for Education (2011) Teacher Standards – Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies, Crown Copyright : 2011 DfE

Inclusion, Diversity and Difference

Inclusion – The ‘Semantic Chameleon’

With reference too Trussler and Robinson – Understanding Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusive Education (2015)

In a 2007 statement, Ofsted said ‘an educationally inclusive school is one in which the teaching and learning, achievements attitudes and well-being of ever young person matter'(Trussler and Robinson, 2015 p.7). When working towards this ideal of an educationally inclusive learning environment, Trussler and Robinson discuss moving away from solely focusing on just Special Educational Needs (SEND). While it is a huge area of focus in terms of inclusion, you must also take in to account those with other differences; such as children from different countries, and those with different cultural beliefs. For teachers, it’s key to develop an understanding of these differences, to understand what each learner needs in terms inclusion. We live in a country that is culturally diverse and always changing. This cultural enrichment is something wonderful, to be celebrated, but it does pose difficulties for teachers learning about each child’s individual background.

The Rouse model shown below, is a visual representation of his idea that if you are doing two or more of the above things, (knowing, doing and believing) you are being inclusive. Knowing about a learner’s individual identity, needs,and differences is the first step in understanding, and being able to differentiate to include their needs in classroom practice. Doing something about it, whether it be resources, additional support, or other systems put in place to help the learner, including differentiation, will support their progress. Above all however, the most important point to take away from Rouse’s Model I believe is believing. In my experience, If a child believes there is belief they can achieve their goals, inside and outside the classroom, they will be more inclined to push themselves to do so. Barriers that stand in their way whether that will be EAL or a SEND, will seem more possible to overcome If those around them believe so.

In my experience in a year one classroom, there we’re children there for whom, English was an additional language. One way of making those children feel included was a small display board in their classroom. The children were encouraged to bring in photographs from their home country, whether it be of their family or of their national foods, history and culture. They were then invited to put this on the display. Letting them bring, present and share a part of their home heritage was successful in creating an inclusive classroom. Being able to differentiate activities to suit all learners is another challenge teachers face, but something that is vital to achieve both TS5 and TS2 ‘promoting good progress and outcomes by pupils’ (DfE, 2011). When of adapting lesson plans to suit all learners, differentiating activities can help all children achieve their targets. For example, if a child in your class had ADHD, using resources alongside their task, things they can play with to explore the questions such as numicon to aid maths, can keep them engage. Children who struggle with their handwriting and spelling, for example if they have dyslexia or dyspraxia, may benefit from doing some tasks on an Ipad or laptop.

I believe that, as teachers, we must celebrate what makes each of us individual and, encourage our learners to do so. We must put any biases we have to one side and give learners who have a different identity a space in which they can learn, grow, and feel part of the school community. Going back to the Rouse Model, I believe a focus on belief in each student is something that you must always have at the forefront of your mind.


Trussler, S and Robinson, D (2015) Inclusive Practice in the Primary School, London, SAGE.

Department for Education (2011) Teacher Standards – Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies, Crown Copyright : 2011 DfE

Reflections on Pedagogy

In her research report ‘Children’s Cognitive Development and Learning’, Usha Goswami discusses, and draws conclusions on mental growth and learning in the primary years. In this post, I will be discussing two of her Conclusions.

‘Thinking, reasoning and understanding can be enhanced by imaginative or pretend play contexts. However, scaffolding by the teacher Is required if these are to be effective’

(U.Goswami, 2015 p.25)

From a young age, children use imaginative play and role playing to express emotions. They also use it heighten, expand and express their knowledge and experiences of the world around them. This is something that continues throughout childhood and, in primary years, it is a great tool for learning. In her report, Goswami talks about how ‘shared socio-dramatic play provides a large number of opportunities for reflecting upon one’s own and others’ desires, beliefs and emotions – sharing mental states’ (U.Goswami, 2015 p.14).  She also concludes that socio-dramatic play develops ‘psychological understanding’ and ‘provides a medium for reflection and knowing about our own thoughts and those of others’ (U.Goswami, 2009 p.15).  This belief in the importance of play in learning is backed up by Vygotsky in this report who argues that ‘play, in particular the creation of imaginary situations, plays a central role in cognitive development’ (U.Goswami, 2015 p.22).

In my classroom experience, I’ve seen socio-dramatic play brought in to school to encourage learning, and empathy of real life situations. It can be something as small as setting up pretend kitchens and costumes in the playground. This encourages socio-dramatic play during playtime, something that I’ve seen work well especially in KS1. In the classroom, acting out situations and putting yourself in another’s shoes is used throughout the curriculum in KS1 and KS2. In early years, it can be something as simple as acting out a page from a story book. I agree with Goswami in that it is important that the teacher scaffolds this type of learning first. If they are given background information about the situation they are going to put themselves in, I feel it deepens their understanding.   By putting themselves in the story they can relate it to themselves more, imagining the feelings and emotions of the characters to encourage learning. In later years, this same technique could be used to act out events in history as a class. In the classroom. I’ve seen ideas like this used to deepen understanding, like with the KS1 idea, by letting the learners feel like they were there so it’s more relatable.

‘Language is crucial for development’

(U.Goswami, 2015 p.25).

In her conclusion about language and development, Goswami discusses how ‘the ways in which teachers talk to children can influence learning, memory, understanding and the movitation to learn’ U.Goswami, 2015 p.25). She also talks about the importance of ‘interactions around books’( U.Goswami, 2015 p.25), the early learning of individual words and phonemes.

In my experience, it’s clear to see the crucial role language development plays in students learnings. From the teaching of individual phonemes in Reception to teaching learners how to craft short stories in Year 6 language underpins all aspects of learning. The national curriculum states that ‘teachers should develop pupils spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject’ (DfE, 2015).  Using quality, interesting books that link to different subject can help with this cross-curricular teaching of language and literacy, as Goswami says, utilising the ‘importance of books’(U.Goswami, 2015 p.25).

The above diagram, from a report on Developing Language in Primary School (The National Stratagies Primary, 2009) is interesting as it highlights Goswami’s idea of how many different aspects of a learners life inside and outside of school can impact their learning. To me, this highlights how linking literacy to all areas of the curriculum and, the learners own experience through play, enriches their language learning experience. Goswami links these two tools for development and learning together, stating that ‘Language and pretending are both symbolic tools for undetstanding the external world’(U.Goswami, 2015 p.15).


Department for Education (2015) Statatory Guidance: Natioanl Curriculum in England: framework for Key Stages 1 to 4: Available Online <> [Accessed 10th October 2017]

Goswami. U (2015) ‘Cambridge Primary Review Trust’, Children’s Cognitive Development and Learning. Available Online: <>[Accessed 10th October 2017]

The National Stratagies Primary (2009) Developing language in the primary school: Literacy and primary languages (1st edition) [online], Crown Copyright. Available: <> [Accesed 10th October 2017]

Behaviour Management

Behaviour Management is, one of the biggest challenges teachers face. You can spend hours planning a lesson with the intention of it running smoothly but, what do you do when disruptive class behaviour gets in your way?

When I think back to my own School education, particularly in the later key stages, I remember hours each week being spent listening to teachers battling with disruptive pupils. When I did my classroom experience in a Year One class earlier this year, I was happy to see that this wasn’t the case. The teacher that I observed demonstrated to me how, when attention is given to behaviour that is good, not bad, the results are more successful.

One day, after play time, there had been an issue with one of the students, ‘Charlie’, pushing another over after a disagreement over sharing. When the class resumed after break, the student in question brought this behaviour back to the class. ‘Charlie’ sat with the other children on the carpet to do a starter activity and continued being disruptive. Instead of addressing the issue in front of the class, giving him the attention he so clearly wanted, she pulled him to one side. Away from the limelight of his peers, ‘Charlie’ displayed more remorse when asked if he thought his behaviour was acceptable. Once he realised that his behaviour wouldn’t lead to positive attention, he calmed down.

In our Pivotal Education Lecture, this was one of the key points I took away. Pivotal talks about focusing on the positive behaviour of the 95% and emphasises this with his five pillar strategy.

  1. Consistent, calm adult behaviour
  2. First attention for best conduct
  3. Relentless routines
  4. Scripting difficult interventions
  5. Restorative follow up

(Pivotal Education, 2017)

The first pillar, consistent, calm adult behaviour is key in cases like ‘Charlie’s’. When students see that they can get a reaction out of a teacher, particularly an angry one, they will play too that.

The second pillar ensures that more time is given to good behaviour than bad. Charlie stopped behaving badly when the ‘attention’ element was taken away from the situation. When students can see reward and attention is given to positive behaviour too, whether it be through praise for work or schemes like reward charts, they will begin to demonstrate this. Pivotal himself shows how the first and second pillar work in practice.


As teachers, we must ‘have high expectations of behaviour, and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategies, using praise, sanctions and rewards consistently and fairly’ (DfE, 2011). This ties in with not only Pivotal’s first and second pillars but also the third. By implementing rules and strategies for dealing with behaviour both positive and negative it makes it easier to take control. Ideally these strategies should be implemented throughout the school. Creating and implementing behaviour management strategies allows you to ‘take responsibility for promoting good and courteous behaviour both in classrooms and around the school ‘ DfE,2011).

This whole school approach is something that Bill Rodgers discusses in his book Behavior Management, a whole school approach. He discusses how there are seven key benefits of working as a whole cohort to manage difficult behaviour and praise positive behaviour. ‘They are staff management; establishing and maintaining internal and external communication systems; fostering a sense of community; taking the lead in setting aims and standards; encouraging collective responsibility; supporting staff and directing overall curriculum and organisational planning’. I have included these points as I think they are key in the discussion of working together to manage behaviour

Of course, with all methods of behaviour management there will come challenges. One of the exciting things about teaching is that no day is the same, you cannot predict how children will react and that’s what makes it such an interesting career. However, this can pose difficulties in areas such as managing a class or, implementing the same strategy throughout a whole school. While the whole <school approach and the five pillars practice may not always work, I feel t they are strategies that can bring real success.




Department for Education (2011) Teacher Standards – Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies, Crown Copyright : 2011 DfE

Pivotal Education, (May. 2017), Achieve Exceptional Behavior, The 5 Pillars [online], Available <> [Accessed 29 September 2017)

Pivotal Education (Feb, 2016), First attention to best conduct [online], Available < > [Accessed 29 September 2017]



Teachers, alongside all professionals working with children must keep the wellbeing of all children at the forefront of their mind.

The Teachers’ Standards state that Teachers must, understand, and act on ‘the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions’ (DfE, 2011).

 Spotting signs of abuse in children

 One of the challenges we face is, how to spot signs of abuse in children. Being aware of the signs abuse, whether it be emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect, is key in Safeguarding. The NSPCC website offers information on signs of abuse and safeguarding, broken down in to age groups. Through reading this, it highlighted to me how some signs are easier to spot than others. For example, if a child ‘acts out excessive violence with other pupils’ (NPSCC, 2017), it immediately flags up that there could potentially be a safeguarding issue. However, children suffering from abuse can, instead of lashing out, become very withdrawn. This can be a more difficult sign to spot as, some children are just naturally shy.

The most important thing to remember is you’re worried at all, make someone aware. If you’re unsure who to talk too, all schools should have designated safeguarding leads. Their role is to ‘provide support to staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties’ (DfE, 2016). Something I took away from the lecture that I hadn’t considered, was the issue with telling a child that you won’t tell another adult. While it may be the case that doing this will build trust and give the child the ability to confide in you, it is against safeguarding regulations. If you are concerned, you must share your concerns with another professional. Therefore you should tell the child that you will do what is in their best interests.


(HM Gov, 2015).

 Staying Safe Online

In the classroom environment, it is easier to monitor what a child is sharing and, who they are talking too. However, in the modern world where ‘34% of 5 to 15 year olds have their own tablet’ and ‘62% of children use a tablet at home’ (Ofcom. 2014) there is a huge focus on online safety.

Be Share Aware – Safety advice from a 10 year old – NSPCC & O2

The video Be Share Aware draws our attention to how, children may not see the danger of sharing information online in the same way they see the danger of things like crossing the road. As Teachers, with a responsibility in safeguarding, it is important that we make children aware of these dangers. Discussing Issues like your ability to share your information through your phone and tablet is key in protecting children online. Even if the children in question are aware of Stranger Danger in their day to day life, they may not understand that this exact principle applies to their online activity in exactly the same way.

Lucy and the Boy: Be Share Aware – NSPCC

This also applies in the second NSPCC E-Safety Video, Lucy and the Boy. Here we see Lucy freely sharing information to someone online she believes to be her age. At the end of the video, we see an older man at the school gates helping children understand that people online may not be who they say they are. While we cannot monitor everything our pupils look at online outside of school, it is our job to make them aware of the dangers. Videos like this can be surprising but eye-opening for children who may not have before questioned that people online may be going under a different persona.


Department for Education (2011) Teacher Standards – Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies, Crown Copyright : 2011 DfE

Department for Education (2016) Keeping Children Safe in Education Crown Copyright : 2016 DfE

NSPCC (2017) Signs Symptons and Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect [online] Available [Accessed 19th September 2017]

NSPCC (Janurary, 2015), Be Share Aware – Safety advice from a 10 year old [online], Available <> [Accessed 20 September 2017]

NSPCC. O2, (May. 2017), Lucy and the Boy: Be Share aware [online], Available <> [Accessed 20 September 2017)

Ofcom (2014) One in three children now have their own tablet computer [online]. Available < [Accessed 20 September 2017]


Hello, and welcome to my blog!

After studying English at Brighton for 3 years, I couldn’t wait to come back to do my Primary PGCE! I think teaching is a wonderful profession where combining knowledge, fun and creativity makes learning enjoyable. This is something I really hope to achieve in my future career.