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Diary of a Lead Teacher by Emma Webster

Author: ejwebster

A constructivist start 

These first few weeks of the new term have been busy, busy, busy. To say the least!

It’s always exciting starting a new year; new shoes, big baggy jumpers and lots of loose teeth (Primary School life!). A lot of your time as a class teacher is dedicated to getting to know so many new names and faces, and then get to know that same, grown up face that picks them up!

This year is full of promise for Prendergast Primary as we add another year group to our growing school and have a new focus on creative learning, with an aim to develop transferable skills in our students. This of course includes working much more closely with our secondary school through Digital Schoolhouse.

It seems a long way off until my current year 1s will understand concepts of programming and debugging, however, with a constructivist approach to learning, it is never too early to begin the computational thinking processes. As an advocate for creativity and problem solving, I believe that engaging children with practical experiences will enhance understanding, learning and skill in a vast array of areas in education as well as everyday life, and especially when it comes to computational thinking.

Encouraging these fresh, young minds to problem solve in a top-down way will also enable them to be reflective in their approaches. Looking at, or imagining the finished product in order to solve the issue by decomposition; smaller chunks that enable children to work through tasks in a careful and considered manner.

In our first week, I challenged the children to reconstruct a hundred square (a 10X10 square displaying numbers 1-100), cut either into strips, smaller squares or random polygons. The children used a hundred square in its complete form in order to support their accomplishment of the task. They thought about which numbers needed to follow others, as well as being above and below them. The development of these thinking skills will really pay off once we get stuck in with DSH unplugged activities as children will be able to understand how small steps create a bigger outcome as well as how to debug a problem. I have seen some brilliant natural problem solvers in my class already!

I really look forward to supporting these children on their learning journeys this year; they’re a hugely creative bunch who are ready for new experiences that will enhance their learning.

Let’s get unplugged!

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