Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Top Tips for Student Placement

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Hello everyone!

Well, I said I'd resume blogging in January and here I am!

Logging in to my blog for the first time since the 12th of July feels strange! I made a conscious decision that I would log off the blog in July when the baby arrived and honestly, I haven't had time to even think about it since! I have a whole new respect for mothers and I'm counting my lucky stars that I decided not to go back to school until next year. I'll still have plenty to keep me busy, my diary is already jam packed for the next 6 months and it's only the 2nd of January!

First post back and I'm tackling the most recent queries head on - Student Placement!

Firstly, 10 weeks will seem like a looming marathon! But hold tight, it's not going to be that bad, in fact if it's teaching that you really want to do, then jump in, embrace it! We've all been there and survived! Yes the planning can be a bit ghastly but you'll get it done!

1. Your plans are not ornaments. 

  • Beautifully presented folders are lovely....but crisp, untouched pages tell me one thing - these are for show. Use your plans, use your folders. You don't have to destroy them but use pencil to take notes - what worked, what didn't? This will make writing reflections SO much easier and purposeful. Stock up on your sticky labels. Think, what vocab might need revisiting? Did you achieve all your objectives? Did the children bring any additional learning to the lesson? These are real anecdotal notes! 
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2. Displays 

  • If you're going with the handwritten approach on posters, signs or titles - use the handwriting script the school follows. For example, think of the Infants, do they use the curved t? the looped k? the f with the tail? Avoid confusing the little ones! Same goes for making your own worksheets!
  • If you're printing your own posters or display lettering, no matter what class group, consider all learners. Comic Sans is always a safe bet. It's recommended that Sans Serifs fonts are used for learners with Dyslexia, so Comic Sans, Arial, Verdana and Tahoma are good!
  • If it's lettering on flashcards to be displayed, consider the size and if all learners can see and potentially read them from their seats!
  • Avoid overpacking noticeboards. Spread out posters / artwork etc. Your displays reflect you. Take time to hang them nicely.

3. Timesavers
  • Print several lists of the children's names & have them handy on your desk or in your resource folder. I've been doing this for years. It's handy for sticking on to artwork, projects, written work for display etc!
  • A date stamp is super handy for keeping on top of corrections! I generally revisit and add a comment later but a date stamp is a nice way of keeping track of things! Here's the stamp I have!
  • Individual learning portfolios / files for each pupil. This is a handy way of keeping their work together and showcasing it on an observation from your supervisor. Little plastic folders are handy. That way you can pass them out for the children pupils to file their own work!

4. FAIL - First Attempt In Learning
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  • Sometimes, things won't work. And that's fine. Sometimes a lesson you planned that would last 30 mins was over in 10. Maybe that artwork you planned, didn't work and the children weren't engaged? Don't flog a dead horse. We all have #fail moments. Just learn from it, stick it in your reflection and brush it off! Don't consider it a fail - consider it a first attempt in learning! A nice little motto to instil in your pupils too!

5.  Prompts

  • Prompts just aren't for pupils. You go to such great effort planning lovely lessons but then you forget to ask the correct questions or discuss certain points. Here come the post-its again! Using a novel or a big book? Place some post-its of specific questions you want to ask to trigger higher level thinking etc! I hang all sorts of prompts all round the classroom for myself - Blooms Taxonomy being one of them!


- Take photos; document your work! Google Photos is my saviour! It's lovely to look back on your ideas AND be able to show them to your supervisor to back up your plans.

- Have fun! Enjoy your placement. Build a relationship with your class. If you're a big bag of nerves, the children will pick up on it. Smiling is infectious! 

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-Ask all the questions. Don't be shy. This is your opportunity to learn and absorb as much experience as possible. 10 weeks may seem long but it also makes placement so much more credible for both yourself and the pupils!

-Remember, your ideas and creative are so important, don't be afraid to try things out! Who's to say the teacher won't adapt some of your ideas into their teaching when you leave?! I've been lucky to have had seven student teachers in my classroom over the years (yes, I'm old) and without fail every year you pick up some lovely ideas that teachers have tried or put in place during their placement.

Best of luck!

Don't forget, you can email your teaching queries to me or message me on Instagram or Facebook!

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