April 13, 2016:
My time at Dunmurry Primary has been spectacular thus far. The nursery students are very independent and well behaved. The kindergartners in America do not compare to how mature these students are. I had my first formal observation today, and it could not have gone better. Our focus this month is rectangles, and today we each made a Mr. Rectangle. These students are such a joy to be with. After nursery I went with P7 (5th grade). We played rounders, which is similar to baseball. The students were so surprised when I told them I had no idea what it was. I watched for five minutes and then ended up pitching for the rest of the game. The students absolutely loved it! Everyday I go in with a smile and every night I can’t wait to see what the next day has in store for me. Above are just some pictures of transportation work I have done with the nursery students.
April 6, 2016:
It is only my second day at Dunmurry Primary school, but I already have seen so much. I have been in the nursery unit in the morning and then I head to the older grades. The nursery unit is so much fun. The children are great and I love seeing them learn and grow. I then go and work with the older grades are. It’s amazing how different it is! The management system is not as structured as I’m used to. Class sizes are larger, but they have a lot of teacher assistants. Throughout the next few weeks, I will be working with nursery in the morning and then I will be going to an upper grade level (a different on everyday). I’m excited to get to know all of the students at the school! Again, I’m so thankful for this experience!
April 4, 2016:
Tomorrow is my first day at Dunmurry Primary School. We had a seminar this morning to prepare us for our first few days. Our focus this week is observing the classroom/school environment. I’m excited to compare and contrast my teaching experiences to what happens in the school systems here.
The planning tool that teachers use is a little different than the states (first picture). In Northern Ireland, there is a focus on integrating all subjects. This allows students to connect information throughout the disciplines. They participate in themes/units that last for weeks.We met with a principal today who spoke about students that had a unit on flight. They learned about planes and flight using mathematics, science, literacy, geography, ect. At the very end of the unit, the students went flying on a small plane. This type of learning seems so effective and memorable.
The second picture is a break down of the Northern Ireland curriculum. The curriculum focuses on developing the students into well rounded individuals. It is entirely student centered, which is amazing. Teachers have the freedom to adjust the curriculum to themselves and the students.
Obviously, there are going to be aspects that I like and that I wish to take with me. I’m also prepared to see aspects that are unusual, and that I might not like as much. This is such an amazing opportunity, and it is helping me become a more well-rounded and educated individual. I can’t wait to reflect on my growth, and bring new ideas to my future school and classroom.
March 23, 2016:
Today I visited St. Joseph’s Primary school. It is an eco-school about ten minutes away from Stranmillis. It began as a church but later expanded. Students here help build and preserve a garden that is around the side and back of the property. This school also has solar panels and many other features that helps them save energy. Students go outside daily to learn different subjects in the garden. The school recently built an above ground garden that will be used by the students to grow flowers and vegetables. I was impressed with how put together the school was and how knowledgeable the students were.