Assessment – Balance

During my final placement I was given the opportunity to engage with Balance. It is an assessment tool which is interactive and promotes instant feedback for the children in class – a move away from distant marking!


When the Learning is set up and the lessons are being implemented the teacher will use the I-pad or an electronic device and balance the children 1-9. 

The numbers (1-9) are what the teachers use to assess the children and the children use to self assess. Each number will have a statement linked with it. Schools will have different statements for these but 9 will be ‘locked it’. This will mean the children feel secure with their learning or the teacher thinks the child is secure with the LO.  

It encourages children to instantly work on teacher feedback so they can progress from the assessment of the teacher in class– I took this on board and used this in sessions. The children where able to identify their misconceptions as soon as the teacher assessed and this meant they had an increased chance of learning. 

I used this within my planning and assessment with the children – asking them to balance and huddle their books at the end of lessons so I could decide who would need support the next session. I was also given the opportunity to attend Twilight sessions about Balance and these opened up the many ways the assessment tool can be used. 

It was a great opportunity which I thoroughly enjoyed learning and trying out. I believe this is an assessment tool which will help both children and teachers with their learning. As my final placement was only just starting to use the tool, I only got chance to use it in English and Maths but if the opportunity arose again it would be great to try this in other subjects. 


Today’s Nursery Fun

Related image


Today in Nursery we had a focus on developing our fine motor skills.

Firstly, during free flow play we were allowed to play in the sand. By the containers there was letters that we could copy into the sand with out finger or with a lollipop stick. We all did not have to do this only if we wanted to, the play dough was out again as well and that helped us with our fine motor skills to.


As it was bonfire night not long ago, our teacher decided to help our fine motor skills by us all creating a firework picture as a class. She wanted us to ‘squiggle and wiggle’. This made it really fun. We had to dance or wiggle whilst we drawn our fireworks. Finally, when we went outside there was the chalk to use. We were allowed to develop our fine motor skills in the outdoor area, drawing all out us.
Image result for children's drawings of fireworks

As we carried out all of the activities our teacher watched us to observed the way we held our pens and if we had a comfortable grasp on the pen.

Today’s activities linked to the areas in the Early Years document, Development Matters:

  • Beginning to use three fingers (tripod grip) to hold writing tools
  • Imitates drawing simple shapes such as circles and lines
  • May be beginning to show preference for dominant hand.
  • Holds pencil between thumb and two fingers, no longer using whole-hand grasp.
  • Holds pencil near point between first two fingers and thumb and uses it with good
  • Can copy some letters, e.g. letters from their name.

Developing our fine motor skills in Nursery

Today in Nursery we focused on developing our fine motor skills. This will help us with writing in the future. The teacher decided to have fun activities out that we could engage with during free flow play as well as carrying out the dough disco activity.


The dough disco was fun and really helped us use all of our muscles in our hands. We used our hands and fingers to roll, squeeze and exercise in play dough along to music. The nursery teacher plans to carry out the dough disco weekly to help train our muscles in our hands.

During our free flow play there was activities out that would help our fine motor skills. We had a tray full of conkers and pine cones. Then we had tweezers which we had to use to help us move the objects from one part of the tray to another. There was also drawing activities and activities with scissors. As well as this, the play dough was out for us to play with when ever we desired. It is important to develop our fine motor skills so when we are are learning to write it will help us grip. Developing fine motor skills is part of the Early Years curriculum.

My first day in Nursery (as a volunteer)

I have decided to spend a few weeks of my time spending a morning a week in a local community nursery.  I will be able to observe and learn first hand how schools work with children under 5. This will be a great experience for my Minor specialism, Early Years Foundation.

On my first day at nursery, the children all entered the building and were helped to hang their coats up. After this I supported the children in finding their name to stick on the register board. Then the children were allowed to free flow play. This is where children are allowed to play with what they desire and how they like. This supports the children’s imagination and also shows the teachers what the children prefer to play with.

During this time the teachers used a website called ‘Tapestry”. This is similar to a learning journal where teachers record and observe children’s involvement and days happenings. Their parents can see this straight away and like/comment on the posts. I prefer this for the EYFS as it is very interactive and assessment is carried out informally at this age.



After this we all went outside to play and explore. The children chose what to play with and where. After a while of playing with the children, a child came over and gave me some conkers. She was then asking questions and very interested about the tree it came from, this linking to the EYFS curriculum section of understanding the world, and science! (My Major Specialism).



As the children played outside the teacher chose individuals to take inside to assess their colour knowledge as well as their well being. As it is the start of the term there are a lot of children who are unsettled because it is their first time being away from a parent. This shows that assessment can also be done formally, however not as formal as a test in higher years.

Finally we all gathered in the classroom for snack. Following this the children were engaged in an interactive maths game on the board. This involved the teacher showing a animation of sea creatures and asking the children to count them, the highest number was 5. Then the Teacher was able to ask a specific child how many of that animal there were and the children would go to the interactive white board and click the number.

Thailand experience TEFL

Sawaddee ka (hello)

During my second year of university I decided to join the camp Thailand experience where I worked with children in schools and summer schools in Thailand. This involved teaching children any topic but in my language, English, to then develop their knowledge and use of the language. From this, I also gained a Teaching English as a foreign language certificate (TEFL)

My first week I was in a summer school with children aged 7 to 10 and 11 to 14. Both groups had limited English and it was difficult for me to teach the planned session. The children understood basic English and some children were further developed than others in English. I quickly understood when working with children who have EAL you need to be extremely patient and also use communication in other forms, such as face expressions and a lot of hand gestures. As well as this it supported my teaching to ensure I was clear in my speech as well as repetitive.
The session we taught in summer school was about bodies. We ensured our activities were fun and active so the children did not become bored. The children in this school spoke little English and the activities needed to be altered for the children’s needs. For example we planned to teacher the children the game of ‘Simon says’.

This was very difficult due to the language barrier so we decided to spend more time on the fun games such as the sticky note game. This involves all children having a sticky note and they had to stick it on the part of the body we said. This was fun for the children and helped us assess which children knew which body part.

In the summer school is was very informal and the teaching consisted of a lot of games to create a bond and create conversation.

During our time at Camp we learn some basic Thai language to help us live in Thailand as well as teach. I learnt how to count to 50 in Thai. I learnt how to say thank you, hello and simple commands for the class room such as make a circle or listen please.
The second week I was in a private Summer school with ages 6 to 9 on one day and ages 4 and 5 the next. The children in this establishment were a lot more advanced with their English. Again we had to teach using a lot of gestures and clear voices but the children understood a lot more. With the first group we used the body activity from the previous week and adapted them to the children’s needs. As their English was better we made the games more complex in terms of English. The children caught on really well and through assessment, of questions at the end, we were able to see they understood body part names in English. The next activity we did was related to animals. The children were shown different animals on cards and then we played guess who, where the children where shown an animal card at random and had to act it out to their group, who guess the animal. The children really enjoyed these activities and it gave me an opportunity to assess their knowledge of animals.

The final day was the EYFS age. I loved this age as this is my minor specialism so experiencing this age with EAL was a great opportunity. The children’s English was good for their age as they could have a simple conversation with you. The activities we did were all based around colours and we planned to carry out games with the children and adapting them in terms of colours. The children lived twister and this game supported our assessment of their English knowledge. The children also really enjoyed singing English nursery rhythms and all knew them very well.

When visiting the second school it was identified that there were children with SEN . It was nice to see the children being treated equally and seeing that one to one support was there for the children. Their English was not as strong so this was difficult for myself to support them however they were all eager to join in. The SEN ranged from down syndrome to autism.
This experience has gave me a great amount of experience with children who have EAL and also developed my knowledge and pedagogy when teaching children with a similar need. Also the experience gave me many lessons about culture and Thailand.
Of course I learnt parts of the language but I also learnt about the culture. Thai people are very proud and respectful of their religion and their King who sadly passed a year ago. Also I had to ensure I always bowed my head to monks or people older than me, as it was a sign of respect. I learnt that teachers are very respected in Thailand as the first teacher in Thailand was a Monk and now teachers are seen as the same importance as a monk.
When I was in Thailand I visited many Temples. They were all extremely beautiful. I also had fun bamboo rafting and visiting waterfalls.


















I visited an elephant sanctuary which shown me the devastation tourists and trade can do to the beautiful animals. This was one of my favourite days as I was able to look after the animals and support their journey to recovery.

Finally the most heartbreaking moment of the trip was visiting a local orphanage. This night will be one to remember for a long time as it shown me how little some children can have but how happy and thankful they can be when they receive something you or I wouldn’t see as a luxury. We raised over £600 for this orphanage and donated toys and pizza that night as well as love and time spending with the children. Their happy faces when they received colouring pens or a teddy bear was a memorable image in my head for many years to come. I have added the link to their Facebook if anyone would like find out more information.

From this experience I have set myself a target to work with a child in the UK who has the need of EAL and compare the experiences and use this experience to help me with the child’s learning.

Another target I would like to do it to use my learnt Thai vocabulary on my next placement as a shared experience will benefit the children.
Karb koon ka (Thank you).

IOM Risk Assessments

risk assessments

As we are going on a small trip on Monday, the teachers and myself have had to carry out a risk assessment. The trip involves walking around the local area identifying different types of homes and the materials they are made out of. This is linking to our Geography topic and science. The risk assessment involved the teachers and I walking around the area the children would be following on the day. When the risk assessment was physically complete it was then formally completed. In the IOM all schools use ‘evolve’ to record their risk assessments and notify the department.

The sections that had to be filled in for the risk assessment were: purpose of the trip and the learning outcomes, emergency contact, dates, travel arrangements, leaders name, other staff attending, checking the ration is correct and specific risk assessments.

This an easier, quicker way to formally complete risk assessments for trips – especially as it takes you through step by step ensuring the correct data is there. As it is also sent to the department this ensures that they know about this quicker than sending it via post.

This experience has taught me how to carry our a risk assessment prior to a trip including how the schools on the IOM record their information – this is meeting Part two of the Teachers’ Standards.

The unexpected life of a teacher… IOM

During the second week on my Isle of Man placement, the pupils acrossick kids the school began to become ill with the norovirus. At the end of the week, on the Thursday, the school was closed for a deep clean over the weekend. As Monday approached, the children and teachers thought this would have been done, however it wasn’t, therefore no one was allowed in the school. 

This is when it was decided by the Headteacher and the Department that the school/pupils/teachers would utilise the old Fair-field School building for the duration of the week. Therefore, as of Tuesday the school was moved and everyday life continued. 

However, the school life was not normal. Due to the lack of equipment in the building (only furniture) and the change of children’s concentration/behaviour, teaching could not be carried out as effectively as it usually could. 

The children carried out many tasks; reading, small maths activities, Easter craft as well as Easter cooking. The children who attended gained a great deal of respect and appreciation for their school as it came to the end of the week the children began to realise thmanxe massive difference a change in environment can make. Even though formal teaching was not as accessible as usual, continuous provision was ongoing. As well as this, trips to the Manx Museum and the local library and park also occurred. 

Another dilemma the school encountered was the debate between the name of our new pop up school, the headteacher was interviewed by a local radio regarding this (Yes, that is me in the feature image… I am famous!)  Interview

I learnt a great amount from this experience. I learnt that teachers lives are not as simple as some may make out, as many occurrences can happen which will alter a whole weeks planning, or a sports event, or a teacher bake off… however some encounters may not be as drastic as ours. 

I also learnt and experienced how a school can come together as a unflexibleit to meet the needs of the children including being flexible. Regardless of the limited teaching, the children had various of learning experiences. I also learnt how to carry out a risk assessment for school trips and how to manage children in these situations. 

I had to scrap my original lesson plans for that week and plan completely different ‘spare of the moment’ sessions that the children could enjoy and engage with. Not all normal school life encounters changed, behaviour was still in order, with usual routines and the children still did their 10 minute zumba every morning… just on the play ground instead of the hall.

The third week of my IOM placement was an unexpected one but it is one I am most proud of and one I will share for many years to come.