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Miss Honey’s Classroom

Classroom haul

Hi. My name is Miss Honey and i’m an addict. 

An addict for all things organisation, stationary and classroom that is.

So you make it through your teacher training year and you are beyond excited to have your very own class and your very own classroom. How do you go about setting up your own classroom? What do you buy? Where do you buy it?

Over the past few weeks I have begun building up my resources and collecting materials for my classroom. Pinterest, pound shops and my laminator are my new best friends. My family are completely unimpressed with the dry stringy glue from my hot glue-gun they keep finding on the carpet (sorry about that, newspaper down from now on I promise!)

If you follow me on snapchat/instagram you are no doubt fed up of all my teaching photos so I thought I would write a blog post on what I have bought/made so far for my classroom and where I sourced it from – hopefully this will be of use to any teachers out there, or anyone who is a stationary geek like I am!

So here it goes…

Assorted cushions and blankets/throws for a ‘cosy reading corner’ next to the library area of my classroom.

FullSizeRender 13Round watermelon cushion and padded turquoise cushion both from Tiger. Pale blue & pink cushions from Ikea. Blue throw from Ikea. Rose patterned throw from Bargain Buys.

Jotter storage trays. These are perfect for transporting if you need to take marking home – I learned the hard way that using canvas bags is a nightmare.

IMG_7711Assorted trays are from the ‘trofast’ range at Ikea. I made the labels using Microsoft Publisher for Mac.

Adorable chalkboard labels and jumbo chalk. The labels are a great way to organise boxes/trays and the chalk can be used to carry out active spelling in the playground.

FullSizeRender 10Chalkboard labels available on Amazon. Jumbo chalk from Tiger.

I made this iHelp job chart to display which pupils will be carrying out which administrative jobs, I plan to change the roles around on a weekly basis.

IMG_6825I stole this idea from Pinterest. The board is white card and black paper. I made all of the labels using Microsoft Publisher before laminating.

Play-doh can be used for active spelling and other design/technologies lessons.

IMG_7913Rainbow play-doh from B&M home stores.

Plastic balls which can be used for big writing games like ‘hot potato’ to encourage the use of a wide range of vocabulary – I picked this idea up from my last mentor!

FullSizeRender 12Ball kit from B&M home stores (intended use for a ball pit – get creative!)

Various clips to display work (particularly great for art work along a ‘washing line’).

FullSizeRender 11Heart and butterfly clips from Tiger. Blue and polka dot washing line clips from B&M home stores.

Jazzy lettering to liven up displays.

IMG_6236Poppin’ patterns in a pack of 250 available from Amazon.

A large 3D book which I made for my library wall, inspired by our class novel/topic which will be Harry Potter.

IMG_7866I made this using cardboard, black, brown and white paper, tissue paper, recycled tubing and of course my hot-glue gun.

‘Editor glasses’: Another idea I picked up from my mentor! At the end of a big writing lesson pupils can be chosen at random to play the role of editor and wear these glasses. The editor will peer-assess by giving their peers a ‘tickled pink’ and ‘green for growth’ for their work (i.e one thing they enjoyed about their written piece and one area for improvement).

IMG_7951Selection of fun glasses from Tiger.

Storage essentials! I intend to have baskets full of resources on each table and then extra in a stationary section (as you can see I have labels on the baskets for the table names – again Harry Potter themed!)

IMG_8025Round baskets from Bargain Buys, square baskets from B&M home stores.

Fairy lights. Just because they’re pretty…

FullSizeRender 9Polka dot lanterns from Tiger, rose printed lanterns from B&M home stores.

More pegs for displaying work… and also because they’re cute.

FullSizeRender 6Squirrel and hedgehog pegs from Tiger.

Various bits for my desk! Stamps for self-assessed and peer-assed work and a two-stars and a wish stamp.

FullSizeRender 5Elephant sellotape dispenser from Tiger, pen holders from Amazon, various stampers from Amazon.

Lots of reward stickers! My favourite are the growth mindset stickers.

FullSizeRender 4Growth mindset stickers and star stickers from Amazon. Peronsalised stickers were gifts but I believe they are available online. Reward stickers book was a little find from my Dad from the good old ‘Sulaymans’ Cash & Carry in Glasgow!

Cupcakes I made for a ‘birthdays display’ wall I will have in my classroom.

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Colourful brushes for scrubbing art supplies such as paint trays, chalk pens for writing on blackboards (how cool?) and rose magnets.

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White tub is from Ikea, coloured brushes from B&M home stores, chalk pens available on Amazon and rose magnets are from Tiger.

Favourite quotes for a ‘words of wisdom’ display wall I will be making.

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Lastly, a word from the teacher.

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I didn’t want to bore you with my mundane displays for VCOP and maths but I hope to share the finished result of what my classroom looks like when I am finished setting it up!

Lots of love,

Miss Honey ♥ xx

So you think you want to be a teacher?

Highly ashamed of the fact my last teaching related post was back in September LAST YEAR!

9 months, 2 placements, 3 observational assessments, 2 essays and several near emotional breakdowns later… I am very pleased to announce that I am officially a newly qualified teacher (an NQT for all my teaching friends). Over the past couple of months I have had a few people contacting me to ask whether or not they should apply for the PGDE (post-graduate diploma in education). Always happy to help (or maybe more of a hindrance!) I thought it may be of use to write a blog post on my own personal experience of becoming a teacher. So if you have any friends or family who are contemplating going into teaching, feel free to pass this post on to them.

Applying for the course

To apply for the PGDE or PGCE if you are in England, the entry requirements are pretty much the same for every university (a degree – this doesn’t have to be an honours degree, english at higher level and maths at standard grade level).

I always knew that I wanted to be a primary school teacher ever since I was a little girl, although I veered from the path a few times. Personally, my intentions were to apply for, and undertake the PGDE straight after completing my undergrad in Psychology (I stayed for my honours year) in the summer of 2013, however I made the terrible mistake of putting my career on hold to follow my heart – foolish I know.

I applied instead in November 2015 and in hindsight these two years out from studying were incredibly beneficial to me. As I had worked full time for these two years I had built up a good deal of savings to see me through my year of studying. I also felt far more mature having had more experience of the working world, building relationships with colleagues and generally maintaining a work-life balance. I had also matured a great deal due to my personal circumstances meaning that I had a new found level of determination as well as a gift of empathy which I have since brought with me to my classroom. So my first piece of advice is, don’t go straight into the PGDE from your undergrad, take some time out for experience, this may however not suit everyone and if you feel it best then of course dive straight in!

When it comes to the application process it is pretty much the same as applying for any university course, you enter details of your qualifications and of course write a dreaded personal statement – be sure to include ANY experience you have had with children. Also take the time to explain any hobbies you may have – I wrote in my application about my baking and this was seen as an extra skill I could bring to teaching and my classroom. I know it is hard to talk about yourself, but don’t hold back! There is an extremely high number of applicants for the PGDE course and it is very competitive so you need to make sure you shine.

Everyone who is accepted for a place on the PGDE course must first go through an interview. The interview process involved a group discussion, a written short essay and a one-on-one interview. Again you will be asked for any additional skills or interests you can bring so be sure to discuss a few. One of my best friends has a history in speech and language therapy and the other is an incredibly talented artist so both of these skills were viewed highly and have been useful to them throughout our placements.

You find out if you have a place within a few days of being interviewed – try to relax and don’t stress out everyone around you like I did!

Studying

Half of the course time is spent in university and the other half is spent in schools on placements. During your time at university make sure that you DO keep up with the readings – that is what my Fridays were devoted to! I was in university from 9-4 Monday to Thursday and Friday was a study day. There are no exams, instead the course is graded through continuous assessment by way of 3 essays. The first essay was a critical literature review based on a pedagogical theory, the second focused on raising attainment in a curricular field using a specific form of pedagogy and lastly the third essay was a professional enquiry. A professional enquiry is where you carry out a research investigation during your placement and document your findings in the format of a report. None of these essays were easy but you are given a lot of support from university and it is the best feeling once you have completed each one!

Placements

To tell you the truth, the hardest part of this course is when you are on placement. You will be on placement for a total of 18 weeks and this is split into blocks (I believe each university is different).

The first placement I had was with an upper stage (I had primary 5), followed by an early stage (I had primary 2) and lastly a middle stage (I had primary 4).

When it comes to your placements… HAVE FUN!! this is where you will get the real experience of what being a teacher is really like. Amid the never ending lesson plans, lesson evaluations, weekly reflections, keeping up to date with your teaching file, watching learning rounds and your assessed lesson you have so much on your mind that you kind of forget to enjoy it. Make sure you do sit in the staff room at breaks and talk to the teachers rather than staying in the classroom to work.

I was very lucky in that all of my placements were at wonderful schools where I met truly incredible teachers who became more like friends and I continue to stay in touch with them. Don’t dread your assessed lesson either like I used to, it is your time to show what you can do so grab that opportunity and make the most of it!

I was also extremely lucky as one of my friends from my course was placed in the same school as me for all three placements – knowing that there was someone to keep me right and also be there whenever I wanted to share a funny story or a worry was amazing!

Another tip is to set up a group chat with your friends so you can keep up to date and vent about anything and everything. My group chat with my best friends really got me through as I knew they were there when I was stressed with a pile of work to do and could just spend a few of minutes to share funny stories or funnily enough talk about how stressed we were and our lack of time (!)

Completing the course and getting your first job as a teacher

We are very lucky in the UK as all NQTs are guaranteed a job for their first year. The first year of teaching is known as the ‘probation year’, I don’t know much about what will come during this year as I am just about to embark upon it but I hope to keep updating my blog with posts of my experience! You will be asked to choose which 5 local authorities you would like to work for in your probation year (in order). The local authority you are allocated to is worked out at random, you are then allocated to a school within this local authority. I found out which local authority I would be working for on the 23rd of May and then I found out which school I would be going to on the 24th of May (while typing that I realise that wasn’t a long time to wait but trust me at the time it felt like the longest 2 days ever!)

First you are DYING to know your local authority, then you are DYING to know your school, then you are DYING to know which class you will be teaching and finally you are DYING to see your classroom. All in good time though you will find out everything you need to know and it will be well worth the wait!

I was very lucky enough to be given a school which I had one of my placements at, in fact I have been allocated to one of the classes I previously taught (whom you may know as the class I made the rainforest cake for!). This is fantastic as it means I already know the school, the staff and the pupils which is of great benefit!

I am extremely excited to start teaching my p6 class starting in August and I will be setting up my classroom this summer. If you follow me on instagram or snapchat you will already have seen some of the bits and pieces I have been working on but I hope to share my ideas with other teachers so may keep posting on this blog as a platform for this. If you are thinking about applying for teacher training or are about to embark upon your PGDE please do not hesitate to get in touch via instagram or snapchat (@misshoneybakes for both) or via email: misshoney@misshoneybakes.com. I will be happy to answer any questions!

Lots of love as always,

Miss Honey ♥ xx

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A little something i’ve made to use as my class jobs chart!

Where the wild things are

I’ve finished my first week of serial placement!

The serial placement is a 2 week block in which we are able to observe and get to know our assigned class. After another month of university we then return to the same school in November for our first assessed placement – a six week block where we are able to plan and implement our own lessons covering all aspects of the curriculum.

I was very lucky to be placed in a primary school which is very close to my own heart – the same primary school I once attended when I was a little girl.

Walking through the hallways, memories of my own time at school and teachers have come flooding back and I can’t help but smile when I think of how I will be a part of my pupils’ memories in years to come.

This past week has been a whirlwind and I have enjoyed every single day. I’ve carefully written notes of everything and anything I’ve learnt in my teaching journal as I attempt to soak in every bit of information. I attempted to highlight the ‘crucial’ areas of my journal upon reflection of my first week, when I realised pretty much every page was covered in fluorescent pink – so to sum up, when people tell you that you learn the most when you are on placement, they are not exaggerating.

 My teaching journal

I’m working with a Primary 5 class who are simply wonderful. They are so eager and enthusiastic to learn, in particular when it comes to their class project which is on the rainforest.

This weekend I attempted to make a rainforest themed cake to take in for my pupils on Monday and I can’t wait for them to see it! (See pictures below.)


IMG_8673.JPGmy weekends will never be the same again!  

  Handmade fondant frog

  handmade fondant snake and jaguar

As well as everything else, I have realised that teachers must be able to multi-task and remember the smallest of details as they are normally working on 20 different things at once!

After my second day with my class, I addressed one of my pupils and in turn she exclaimed in awe ‘Miss! How do you already know all of our names?!’ – the reality is I tried my absolute hardest to memorise every child’s name and yet still have mind-blanks which I try to tactfully hide. It did however give me a confidence boost when the same pupil then whispered to her class-mate ‘how does she do that…’

I’ve enjoyed the first week of my serial placement and I never thought I would say this – but I can’t wait for the weekend to be over so I can go back to school!

Miss Honey 

Donations needed

My cousin is going to Swaziland in Africa to help build an education centre and develop community links. Please donate to support this wonderful cause. The link is: http://gogetfunding.com/zarinah-goes-to-swaziland/ 

Class is in session.

That’s me completed 3 weeks of my Post-Graduate Diploma in Education… And I have LOVED every minute of it.

Don’t get me wrong, the PGDE is every bit as hard as it was promised to be, the stories you have heard are all true. It requires relentless dedication and sheer hard work, but it is absolutely worth it to pursue a career which has been my dream ever since I can remember.

In a short space of time, I have already learned so much valuable information and I find that with each day that passes, I feel even more passionate about what I’m doing – which no doubt will make the end result just that much sweeter! In the short time I have been on this journey I can already tell that teaching is a vocation in which you never stop learning. This opens us up to the number one principle of life: never stop learning and growing.

My personal highlights over the past few weeks have been:

  • Learning to play the ukulele for future music lessons – who ever said I didn’t have any rhythm?!?
  • The realisation mid P.E lesson that I need to brush up on my forward rolls. (Clearly I’m not the flexible gymnast I once was when I was at primary school myself!)
  • Finding out that you can do MAGIC using smart boards… Or the illusion of magic anyway. I was pretty awed.
  • Reading lots of childrens’ books and stumbling upon a few classics that were my favourite as a little girl.

 Ukulele lessons

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revisiting old favourites

I wanted to share my journey as a student teacher for anyone else who is thinking of going into teaching or perhaps going through the same route as I am right now, however it is only now that I’ve caught up with all of my studying and am able to do my first post. In a weeks time I will be starting my serial placement and the thought fills me with both excitement and angst, but mostly the former. I get butterflies. Luckily, the serial placement is not assessed but is more to give you some time to experience teaching in a classroom and incorporate the theory we have been taught so far on different learning techniques.

 My thoughts exactly on long division!

I am unbelievably excited to meet my first primary class and for all the fun learning that lies ahead!

I hope to keep MissHoneyBakes updated with my journey and progress… Wish me luck!


Miss Honey ♥

When I grow up…

A few weeks ago, amidst all of the excitement from the 2015 UK general election I had one of the most insightful conversations with a bright and inspirational 8 year old. This 8 year old is – like most children of her age – full of life, dreams and ambitions.

The conversation went a little like this:

We were watching the news one evening when she turned to me and asked “What does that house look like on the inside?”

(The house in question being number 10 Downing street.)

I ‘google-d’ away until I was able to show her photos of the interior of the Prime-Minister’s residence.

She had a good look through the photos before quite decidedly turning to me and announcing:

“One day, I am going to be prime minister and I am going to live in this house.”

Of course, on hearing this, I smiled to myself.

She paused and looked at me with an inquisitive expression before asking, “Am I being silly?”

I launched into a speech where I told her that she was not being silly at all and that she is capable of achieving anything which she sets her mind to and that she should always follow her dreams, no matter how big or small.

She eventually nodded her head and then told me that when she grows up she is going to be the prime minister, AND a teacher, AND a lawyer, AND a doctor, and that I can come over for midnight feasts every night… I had told her to dream big after all, and at that age staying up until midnight is the ultimate goal.

This 5 minute conversation was of massive significance to me. Firstly, because it was with one of my little cheekies who I just adore. Secondly, because it got me to thinking. Isn’t it incredible that the young aren’t afraid to dream and will share these dreams fearlessly? At that age, anything seems possible and why wouldn’t it? It seems that over the years we fill ourselves with self-doubt or doubt from others and think twice because we’re afraid of embarrassing ourselves or worse – failing. But really, what is failure?

I choose to believe that there is no such thing as failure. To fail is to not try and to try in itself is to succeed. Lets face it, when we look back on our perceived ‘failures’, more often than not, we can see in retrospect that it carved a path for us to get to the next stage of where we are now with the added wisdom gained from lessons learned along the way.

 I am very passionate about inspiring the next generation. Unlocking potential and moulding the young minds of our future. Every child should be encouraged to follow their ambitions with the support to build their confidence along the way.

As adults, we should do the same and practice what we preach. Can you imagine how differently you would live your life if you never thought about the possibility of failure? When we are born the prospect of failure is not a fear. If you consider, for example, the process of a toddler learning to walk – despite stumbling we are able to overcome the fear in order to walk on our own two feet. This is a practice which is innate, it is our life experience over the years within society where we come to fear failure itself and this is supported by many arguments in psychology such as behaviourism, humanism and to an extent cognitive psychology which supports innate mental structures being constantly changed by our environment.

Children look up to us as role-models and in their eyes we really are super-heroes. We owe it to them to see ourselves in the same way that they see us.

FYI my super-power would definitely be the power of flight – imagine being able to explore the whole world without the price of airline tickets!

We are all capable of achieving our every aspiration. Simply believe in yourself… and do your thing!

♥ Miss Honey