Part 2: Faith through Art week

Looking back on Faith in Art week, it was amazing to see the children reflect, explore and question what they believe.

Another activity my class did was that they were given a picture of the journey of life and had to discuss:
– what they thought the picture was
– what each part represent or symbolised and why
– which shop they would go in and why (dreams, hope, joy, wealth)
– what advice would they give others about life
– which direction they would want to go round the map

This was interesting to see how the children would interpret this map as well as reflect on their life and open up to each other.

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During the week each class had to decorate two wooden crosses based on the ‘I AM’ statements in the bible, which would later be hung in each classroom:
– John 6:51:”I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;”
– John 8:23: And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I AM from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
– John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
– John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
– John 10:9: “I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
– John 10:11: “I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
– John 10:36: “do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
– John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
– John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
– John 15:1: “I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
– John 19:2: Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”‘”
– Acts 7:32: Stephen speaking of Moses’ encounter at the burning bush “saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers– the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look.”
– Acts 9:5: And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

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Year 5 – I am from above

Part 1: Faith through Art week

At school in this moment in time, we have a week devoted to ‘Faith through Art’. One thing I absolutely love about my school is the Christian aspect: many teachers have a Christian faith; we can openly share this with the children; we can base assemblies on what we believe.

This week, we have had the opportunity to share and explore our beliefs through art. At the start of the week, I introduced a national art competition called ‘Art in heaven’, where the children have to create a work of art about a particular theme. I decided to choose ‘Worship’: what is worship? Who worships? When and where do people worship? How and why do people worship? I have some fantastic responses where children really thought about their own time of worship and why they worship. Then I gave the class a choice of the type of art work they would like to do: video, PowerPoint, painting, watercolours, song, dance. I had a complete mixture. After, they had to write an explanation of their art work: what they had done? Where their inspiration came from? Why they had done it? How is it linked to worship. I was just mind-blown by some of their description: there were some deep thinkers amongst them.

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Another activity (which would improve their presentation skills) was to test out different typography. Before this, we discussed the different ‘I am’ statements that Jesus said in the bible. We explored what they meant and how this can help us in our faith: purpose and giving our life to God. After they created a poster of different ‘I am’ verses on a poster using different fonts.

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As well as wanting the children to think about what they believe and where they were on their spiritual journey, I was curious to find out individuals faith. Showing my class the blob tree, they had to decide on their own which blob they were and why about their faith. I gave them several examples including mine, where I was the person who was hanging on to tree as I wanted to do my own thing but also have Gods approval. Recently, I feel like the blob half way up the tree looking happy with life, my surroundings, my future: wanting to understand my beliefs more; letting God take over my path and guiding me through his plans to impact the world around me. I found that many children, who I thought would have a stronger faith, had slightly different perspective on their lives.

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School Report Writing

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As the end of each academic year, reports are needed to be written for each child. At secondary school, it must be slightly easier as your scribbling down about one subject and one subject only, even though they are writing about crowds of children (they can copy and paste).

This was part of the year that I was slightly dreading, however it could not be as hard as last year. At my previous school, I had to write reports two weeks after starting to teach the class, due to reports given out earlier and me getting the job half way through the year. Looking back at the end of that year, I had totally mistaken some of the children’s behaviour (first impressions aren’t always correct). Luckily, I got the levels from the previous teacher so I didn’t need to assess them beforehand.

I knew that it would take hours and hours to compose them; about 2-3 hours per child. With 32 children, that would take approximately 70-90 hours, on top of what I currently do, which is slightly ridiculous (no social life for me). This may shock you or think I’m over exaggerating, but believe me, this is the reality of working as a primary school teacher.

In each report, I would have to:
– give an attainment and effort grade for all subjects including the foundation subjects
– write an in depth comment about reading, speaking and listening, writing and four maths areas: shape and space, using and applying, data handling and number
– write an overview or comment about all the foundation subjects
– write a comment about the child’s personal achievements and how they relate to others
– give a teachers comment at the end

At the start, the thought of writing them was completely over-whelming. I am the sort of writer, that needs to start early, plan what I want to achieve by the end of each week ( even though I did quite do this because of the busy work lives teacher have normally) and proof read my work as I can guarantee there would be mistakes, otherwise I panic so much that I wouldn’t even be able to write them.

Feeling snowed under with paper work is not the best experience, however there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. As I’m not the most confident or best writer in the world and I knew I would end up repeating comments, I created a batch of different level comment for each subject (shocker, I know) so I could copy and paste; changing names and the pronouns.

Relaxed, I re-read each report in detail, correcting every mistake the day before they were due in. I just had to print, sign and give then to the head to read and sign.

A massive wave of relieve past over me when I put the folder full of finished reports in his pigeon hole. That is one thing I’m not going to miss next year.

Talented children

Sometimes even children surprise me. I know that everyone has their talents: some people are gifted in certain aspects; other people are talent in different areas.

At my school, there are a bunch of extremely talented children (even though the school is small): musicians, dancers, artists, mathematicians, runner, footballers. I love seeing children grow in them; become passionate about that area; feeling proud of their achievement; seeing the biggest grin on their faces. When I observe these children, I feel like a parent when their child first walks into school on their own.

It’s that season where school children audition for the main parts; teachers select individuals and the play practises begin. The year 6 teacher and I have chosen to do the end of year play based on a script called ‘Move it’: it is where two dance groups battle against each other to win in a competition. The play consists of modern, upbeat songs; lots of street dance as well as a story about friendship. When we showed the children the script, they got really excited about it.

Quite a few children in year 6 have taken it into their own hands to comprise the dance moves for the main songs. Last week, while learning the songs, we let one of the groups show the dance moves that they have come up with. Oh my goodness! They were amazing. So much better than I would have come up with. They were modern, sleek, in time, professional, diverse. I was gobsmacked. One step at a time, one girl in particular taught the whole group the moves. To my surprise, they were easy to learn, simple moves but looked so smart and profession. These girls are extremely talented.

Also, I was slightly surprised how quickly the rest of the two year groups learned these routine. Even though, I know that my class are very practical, and love a song and dance, I was blown away by the amount of talent. I am such a proud teacher. One thing I like most about doing a school play, is that you see individuals shine that you don’t think will, but also children who are not necessarily academic.

School trips

What a success! No injuries, no lost children, no kidnaps!

Yesterday, I took my class on a school trip, which to some maybe daunting in itself. However, I was feeling slightly nervous as I had arranged this outing on my own (I had to ensure I had booked transport and the museum on the correct day and the right times) as well as being solely responsible for the children (I did have a teaching assistant and parent volunteers but if anything had gone wrong it was my fault). I have to say, I wouldn’t have been able to do the trip without the help of my TA or parent so are extremely grateful to them.

As with a number of school trip, head counts are important and at regular intervals along with paper work and risk assessments (all completed in full before the day). It’s a good job I’m organised and love planning trips.

When the kids arrived at school, I could tell from their faces and huge smiles, that they were looking forward to the day ahead. After giving clear instruction and expectations, we were on our way to board public transport. The best thing about taking a group of school children on a public bus is seeing all the faces thinking “Why did I get on this bus with all the loud children? This is going to spoil my quiet journey!”

Soon after, we arrived at the museum slightly early so I aloud the children to run around the green to get rid of their energy before listening and learning from someone new.

During the day, we had two workshops about Africa: one to get an overview with different artefacts and the other to delve deeper into african masks. The children seem to enjoy learning, sketching and man handling the different objects. Even I learnt a few things about Africa which I didn’t know about before: the rings on some of the tribes necks; traditions about what happens to children at the age of 13; how many countries there are in the world.

Transporting ourselves back to school was a slight worry, as I thought we wouldn’t fit on the bus and the kids had to squeeze on a few seats. With a sigh of relief, we arrived safe and sound for the end of the school day, with smiles on our faces and children full of excitement to tell their parent about the day.

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