I love my job, but it is hard work too. Like all settings we spend a lot of time working and thinking, changing strategies and adapting. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ week. Nevertheless, here are the highlights from my first week of Autumn Two.
I teach Rectangle Class, the lower KS2 class, with 10 pupils. However, across the week I get to interact with and teach students of all ages across the school.
Just another manic Monday
I love greeting the children in the morning, this Monday morning was especially exciting because we had been off for two weeks. As the children arrive we get straight into our morning routine. News is when the children share what they have been doing outside of school. The children will use their voice or their AAC. In Rectangle, our children use switches, PODD books and communication apps. I share a class with my mentor and AHT @cherrylkd. Cherryl teaches Monday morning so it was a case of a quick handover before I dash off for my planning, preparation and assessment (PPA). It did feel a little strange going for my PPA first thing after two weeks off, but, because I had finished my planning during the holidays it was a good opportunity to complete some annual review paperwork.
It’s the afternoon and I am back in the classroom. It is maths and time for a new topic – time. Some of the children are working on time related vocabulary while carrying out mini change of state experiments with eggs, glow sticks and food colouring. The rest of the children are ordering the months of the year and finding dates. We have a large calendar and we are finding everyone’s birthdays.
This year my school have introduced a new, bespoke curriculum with five areas: Think and Explore, Communication, Create and Inspire and Play. We have a play session on Monday afternoon in Rectangles. Some of the children take part in a Lego group, this week they were introduced to the roles of engineer, builder and supplier. The other children take part in sensory play. This week it is bonfire themed!
Tuesday = Move Day
This week was a particularly exciting Move Day as each group got the opportunity to take part in a wheelchair basketball session with wheelchair athlete and coach Gordon Perry. The children and young people loved it!
A highlight for me was seeing a boy with autism from my class, who doesn’t even like the school hall, joining in, absolutely loving it and asking when he can do it again!
On Tuesday I left school early to attend an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) training session with Star Institute. This months module is Knowing More and Remembering More. We explored, managing cognitive load on working memory, spaced practice and choosing and ensuring that what matters most is remembered. I sat with two ECTs from another local special school. This allowed us to discuss our practice and those “me too!!” moments.
On Wednesdays I spend my whole day teaching Circle Class, our KS1 class. It’s always a busy day, but a lovely day. This week Geography was lots of fun as the children navigated Bee Bots, dressed as pirates, around a desert island to find treasure. I post pictures of the children on Seesaw for their families to see. We use these pictures for assessment too. But, I know today’s pictures are also a chance of Circle Class’ teacher Miss Baines to see what they have been doing too.
Like Move Day, Thursday mornings are very active. The children and young people move to groups around school and take part in activities such as cooking, swimming, horticulture, trips out and more. This week for cooking my group prepared and made their own salads. Next week we are visiting Blackpool Tower.
We get creative and messy on Thursday afternoons. It is time for Enterprise and Art. First, we planned what we will make this half term to sell at the enterprise fair and in The Gift Box. The Gift Box is our school’s new shop. All of the products are selected or made by the students and all of the profits go to them. Next, we looked at the importance of Remembrance Day and why we wear poppies before making our own with paint and water balloons.
After school I attended a personal education planning meeting for a looked after child in my class before dashing off in the school minibus with colleagues to the dance festival at the Winter Gardens. 15 pupils opened the show dancing to the theme ‘America’. They were amazing and wowed the audience. Making Mrs Short, who choreographs all of the school performances, very proud.
On Friday mornings I move around school and teach two other classes. This Friday in maths in upper KS2, we explored how many minutes there are in an hour and how they are divided into 5. In history in KS3, we investigated a murder mystery from Ancient Greece – next week we are analysing the crime scene.
Friday afternoon I am back in Rectangle class. There is no slowing down. We have Music, Communicate and assembly.
Communicate sessions are some of my favourites. Last half term we played a lot of AAC games such as Crocodile Dentist and dressing up Mr Potato Head. Inclusive Teach by @jw_teach is full of great ideas and resources. This half term we are using Colourful Semantics and this week we started the process by identifying ‘who?’ in photos and video clips.
The week always ends with our celebration assembly, led by Miss Rowe, where children receive awards for their achievements. This week Rectangle class and I were very proud when a boy from our class received our Wow Moment for swimming for the first time ever without a woggle.
It’s time for the weekend. I am looking forward to it but I am looking forward to Monday too. I love working with unique and remarkable children and young people, and from the beginning of the year, it’s a privilege to be part of their journey. I learn from them everyday. Here’s to a fab Autumn Two.
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