So far I have managed to write almost 1500 words. That’s nearly a third of the total word count so I’m on the way.
It is very hard to stay focussed on the subject though. Even just writing the introduction and rationale I found myself getting sidetracked. First of all I got interested in how the rise of the IWB and ICT generally has coincided with the reduction in use of concrete apparatus. That could probably be a whole assignment in itself but I really had to delete the 200 or so words that I had written as not really being relevant.
Then I got interested in the area of attitudes and beliefs and the work done by Dweck. This is probably something that I can include but I really need to refine my ideas more before I put it into the final paper.
Finally I got sidetracked into how and why we devise tasks for children and how we make sure that they are worthwhile after spending most of the afternoon reading ‘Designing and Using Mathematical Tasks’ by John Mason and Sue Johnstone-Wilder. Again, there is a lot in here that is relevant to what I am writing about but I need to be very selective about how much I put in.
We have been given approximate word counts expected for each sections and I’m not sure how rigidly they need to be adhered to. At the moment I am interpreting them quite liberally in order to include everything they ask for but still make a coherent story.
I have now virtually finished the introduction and the rationale and so next I have to actually get onto my research. This is where I need to start to ‘analyse and synthesise’. I suspect progress from now on will be a bit slower. Still, there’s over 2 weeks of the holidays left yet 🙂
This is probably the first of many posts as I work my way through Assignment 3.
The assignment is 5000 words on the subject of using concrete apparatus more in kS2. I have done lots of reading and have a couple of other things still to read. I have got my classroom research examples and although I haven’t got much, I’m not too worried by that as I have the first 3 weeks of term if I need any more material.
So today I actually made a proper start on the assignment itself.
We have been given guidance on how to split up the 5ooo words into different sections. The first section is supposed to be the introduction and background, why I chose it, how it fits with school priorities etc and what the expected impact will be. We have been given 500 words for that and for the first time ever, I was well over the limit. I know I’m guilty of telling the story too much but in this instance I can ‘t see how to cut it down very much as it is mainly factual.
The second section is even harder to organise. It is supposed to be 750 words on the rationale for my research methods, the ethics that I have used and including the literature I have read. I have written 500 words already and only covered half of it. Again, I know I’m guilty of telling the story but I can’t see how to make it coherent without that level of detail. What I’m not sure of is how closely I need to stick to the recommended word count for each section.
My plan at the moment is just to write everything down and then to prune, move about and cut as necessary. I’m not sure how it’s going to work but at least I have done something to make a start.
While on holiday last week we visited the sculpture park at Goodwood www.sculpture.org.uk It is a gorgeous site set in acres of wooded grounds with a marked trail for you to follow. I loved the huge variety of sculptures, immense blocks of granite and intricate shaped plastic and all points in between. Some of them really intrigued me while others didn’t really say anything at all.
Some of my personal favourites were the fun ideas of Stephen Gregory. The works on display seemed really lighthearted and made me smile just looking at them. The glass stairway by Danny Lane was beautiful in the way that the colours as you moved towards it and Jon Isherwood’s Passages and Circumstances in granite was amazingly tactile with the different surface textures as well as intriguing.
As always, you never really switch off as a teacher so as we were wandering around in the sunshine I was constantly thinking of how I can give my children access to this type of art. I took photos galore and all of the artists have websites as well as the site for the park itself but pictures don’t convey anything like the impact of the real thing. A trip out would be fantastic but I can’t see the idea finding favour as there are so many other pressures on curriculum time. I don’t think that an art visit would be high on many people’s priority list.
The other thing is trying to think of how I can give the children the experience of working as sculptors. We have clay as an obvious medium but that has lots of limitations. We have basic art materials such as art straws which can be used and I know that you can do a lot with wire and materials such as paper mache.
This is something that I really want to try and develop this year. Virtually all of my art work has been 2D for the past couple of years and I need to try and make sure that I widen the range of activities that I give my pupils. After all, I may have a gifted sculptor in my class but how will I know if I never give them the opportunity?