Today’s Nursery Fun

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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.
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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.

The Curriculum and Assessment in IOM

assessmentSince 2006 IOM schools have had no SATS, in either KS1 or KS2, as well as no OFSTED. This may lead to some questioning if education in IOM is ‘up to scratch’ compared to England. However, it is shown in academic results at the end of Primary and Secondary that children are achieving the same levels and grades.


For both Literacy and Mathematics to assess and track children’s learnign teachers use statements which are allocated into levels and are called ‘I can statements’. For example in mathematics an ‘I can’ statement in Level 2A is ‘I can describe and sort 2d shapes’. Schools in the IOM have the freedom to create their own documents and tracking grids to best suit their school and to follow these ‘I can’ statements.

Instead on OFSTED, schools are still inspected by the department for education but they are not graded and teachers are assessed alongside a personal reflection for the teachers themselves. I believe this is an interesting way of assessing schools and teachers because teachers will have to constantly reflect and set targets for their professional development. download

When schools are proving children’s learning and grades in both Literacy and Mathematics, teachers have to have a minimum of 4 pieces of evidence in that area, all with different dates as well as other evidence which is in other curriculum areas. For example, if a teacher is proving a child is a 2A for measure, the teacher will need 4 pieces of evidence from mathematics sessions over the year as well as other evidence in subjects such as Science to show the child can master that skill.

The evidence that is used to prove the child’s abilties does not have to be worksheets done by the children, it can be:

  • teachers notes
  • work books
  • summative tests/quiz’s
  • games
  • pupil comments
  • photographs (whiteboards)
  • models
  • in house moderation

This the builds a bank of support to prove that the child is able in that area.

I believe that this is an ideal way to assess and justify children’s learning, however, teachers need to know their children in more depth and teachers need to constantly be assessing and tracking progress.

As well as this, the Isle of Man have a curriculum which is embedded in many schools that readies children for life. They are called the 6R’s.

It is intended that as a result of experiencing the curriculum and the way it is delivered, young people will develop as individuals with:

  • Readiness
  • Relationships which are positive
  • Resourcefulness
  • Resilience
  • Remembering Skills
  • Reflectiveness

In the school I am in, they do not follow this exact curriculum due to the freedom schools have on the island. Therefore, my school have ‘Secrets to Success’ which are as follows:

Secrets to success

  • Understand others
  • Imagine
  • Improve
  • Don’t give up
  • Push Yourself
  • Concentrate
  • Try new things
  • Work Hard


During my first two weeks in an IOM school, I have learn a great deal about the way they assess and track progress of their children. Through first hand experience I have found these tactics easier in some aspects. For example, when tracking progress and identifying next steps for children it is much easier to identify what that is using the tracking/levelling format. On the other hand, I believe it could be seen as more work for teachers however, once this is learnt I believe it is equally as beneficial than England’s assessment and criteria.


I would like to continue to use the IOM tracking and assessment documents and reflect upon this at the end of the placement.

This information has supported and will continue to support my development in TS 2, 3, 5 and 6. TS2 and 6 because I am learning about assessment and progress in a different area. TS3 because I am learning about someone else’s curriculum and TS5 because I am adapting my teaching to meet the needs of the children who are following this curriculum. 

Higher order thinking skills in the classroom


higher-orderHigher order thinking skills gives the children the opportunity to discover and have access to varied and many thinking skills as possible. It supports them in gaining a range of strategies, finding thinking that suits them and helps children meet challenges.

I believe that children should be given the opportunity to experience higher order thinking skills as it will develop their learning and thinking throughout the curriculum. In relation to techniques which support children’s higher order thinking skills I like De Bono thinking hats. It supports children’s learning and directs their thinking in particular areas. When I am attending a school setting I would like to use this techniques in a session I am planning and delivering.



Are the Foundation Subjects as relevant to a child’s development as Mathematics and English?


Controversial is a idea/viewpoint that is disagreed about by a number of people. 


Controversial issues are looked at in primary schools in through: 



 Controversial issues in the Foundation Subjects.

  •  Art -What is art? Who decides what is a ‘great’ art? Who decides which is valuable art or not? 
  • DT – Will the industry affect Britain’s technological future?
  • Geography – Fair-trade? Brexit? Globalisation? Climate change? Water?
  • History – Glorified war? Different views? History of tomorrow? Accepted ‘truth’. 
  • Languages – English dominate? Should there be a universal language? Relationship of culture and language. 
  • Music – Sexualisation of music and videos. What music and why? 
  • PE – Racism/gender in sport. Obesity. Coaches teaching PE. Lack of time. Extra Funding.
  • RE – Gay Marriage. Equality for woman



Why are these issues not addressed in schools and how can we?

Society and particular people can support addressing controversial issues, such as Banksey, Protest movements/songs, Inventions. 

Demonstrations and Protests can show controversial issues and they show power. 


  • teach all of the foundation subjects 
  • question national curriculum 
  • use local authority 
  • utilise PSHE curriculum 
  • citizenship curriculum 
  • collection worship – use assembly’s to address issues 
  • talk about issues on the news

Hidden curriculum – Diversity, Equality, Race – aspects which are in the always occurring in a school setting and can support addressing the controversial issues. 

BOOKS – this resources can support the starting point of controversial issues for example Jaguar Talk, A fine dessert, The little refugee. 

Books can support the addressing of issues because they can support children questioning what happens throughout a book for example the little refugee can start conversations about war and refugees now on the news. 

Circle time, Worry Monsters, News-round, Question boxes, Share languages: ways in which we can start to address the issues in everyday life. 


Use art for questions – listen to music and discuss the purpose – discuss historical events – Protest ecological and culturally linguistic issues  – Explore feelings that relate to news (football and racism)  

Through engaging with further reading with Hess (2007) I believe that teachers should educate children in controversial issues and have a balanced approach when doing so. This is because children should have the opportunity to decide what they believe in relation to a particular issue and should not have teachers opinions influence their own decision. Education is to prepare children for later life experiences, controversial issues will be an aspect which children will encounter when they are older so this should be taught to ready the children and support their skills in deciding what they as an individual think. 

Following further reading by Oulton et al (2004) i discovered ways that issues can be taught to children. These practices included: focused groups, role play and resource-based learning. I believe that role play would be a beneficial pedagogy for teaching controversial issues as it offers children the opportunity to learn about an issue however the activity will depersonalise the debate as it is breached in an informal way. 


In relation to the original question, I have developed a philosophy through reading and directed tasks. I believe that Mathematics and English as important subjects that children should develop in however the foundation subjects and Science are just as beneficial towards a child’s development. For instance the subject of languages can offer time to develop phonology in both English and another language as well as learning about other cultures. Physical Education can impact a child holistically as well as improve their health. Subjects can be cross linked with others and this will create a interesting environment for the children and support overall development. Therefore, I believe that the subjects that are integrated in the curriculum are all beneficial towards a child’s development. 

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives are seen on a day to day basis by teachers and pupils. They link with Teachers Standard; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. 

Lesson objectives give the children and teachers a direction to what is wanted to be learnt by the end of the session and sets a focal point for the lesson. 

The following terms are goof for learning and assessing.

  • WILF – What I’m looking for
  • WIEFE – What I expect from everyone 
  • TSB – To be successful 
  • WWTK – We want to know 
  • WALT – We are learning to 
  • LI – Learning Intentions 
  • WALA – We are learning about 
  • WAGOLL – What a good one looks like 
  • WABOLL – What a bad one looks like 

When I was on professional practice 1 A I used WAGOLL and WABOLL and i found that it really supports children’s learning. I used it in an English session and I modelled with the help of the class changing a written passage which was a WABOLL to a WAGOLL. I discovered that this helped children understand what is wanted from them and also supports children capturewho are not as confident. I will be using this technique again. 

Lesson Objectives can be given at the end of session as an assessment criteria. This will also keep the children engaged and offer suspense to the lesson for the children. I have not yet put this theory into practice but I would like to try this with a session. 


It is important to ensure LO’s are not over complicated and are simple. This is because if children don’t understand the lesson objectives and they seem a lot then this may demotivate them from the beginning of the session. 

When writing LO’s always start with what children already know then what you want them to learn in the next session. Ensure LO’s are: creative, inspiring, inspire the children, outside the box, and imaginative. 

It is important to support children’s higher order thinking skills (Blooms Taxonomy), ensuring they achieve to their best ability.  This can be done in lesson objectives because the teacher could; include children in writing the lesson objectives, quiz children using lesson objectives or using pictures as lesson objective. These ideas will activate children’s higher order thinking skills because they will have to create, evaluate, analyse and understand the ideas they have learnt to discover the lesson objectives. 

I would like to use these skills when next teaching if possible as I feel it will engage the children in the session more and also inspire the children to think about what they have

When writing lesson objectives on PP1A I found it difficult to pin-point the specific learning intentions at the beginning however nearer the end of the phase it become easier. In addition I would like to develop further in this area. I found that it is important to make lesson objectives engaging because when children enter a classroom this is what they read first. Therefore, if children are not engaged then they may not want to participate in the session.