As I heard back from Millie to say that I could come in Tuesday 21st I spent Monday preparing a presentation about myself as well as a brief overview of the project for the children. After being at university for the last 3 years and prior to that being in college/school, I felt suddenly out of my comfort zone making a presentation for children and not something official that would be graded. I made a couple of tries to start making slides but both times I knew they were just too formal. I had a chat with Dave who showed me some examples of presentations he had done for children. I realised what was missing from my presentation was myself! I had been trying to make it formal with just the information instead of introducing them to me, when talking to Dave about how sensitive and personal my project is going to be, he emphasised that I need to be open with them so they feel comfortable to do the same with me. After this I found myself a lot more relaxed and created a presentation I am much happier with!
On Tuesday it turned out I didn’t need to prepare anything for seeing the children, we were just going to have a 10 minute chat about it after I spent the morning observing them. I met with Millie before school started, she gave me a bit of background on the children that she knew about, explaining why they had been chosen for the project. I then spent a few hours in different classes observing a few of the children and making notes on how they behaved. The main aspect I picked up on with this group was that one of the children was very low ability; he struggled with his reading and writing as well as following the teacher in general throughout the lesson. I noticed that all of the teachers gave the children time limits for all of the tasks they were given as well as using countdowns to get them all to be quiet and pay attention. They have access to about 8 computers as well, which I thought would be useful if any of them forget some material to work with for lessons or even to use the computers together at some point.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to observe all of the children on Tuesday but just before their lunch, Millie arranged for me to meet them and briefly explain the project as well as myself. It was really great when she told them outside the classroom that they had been chosen, they cheered and seemed really excited! After introducing everything bit by bit, Millie asked them if they knew what identity was. Their responses were not what I expected at all! The first student suggested it was about discovering fingerprints, another said that it was like a mystery and someone else added it was about DNA. I can’t wait to ask them again and see if they come up with some more responses!
I came in on Wednesday as well to try and observe the other children who I hadn’t been able to on Tuesday. One of the children who I had been told was an introvert and quite mothered, was very bold. She immediately asked what I was doing in again and continued to keep an eye on me all morning as she happened to be in both lessons I observed getting herself told off twice because she wasn’t paying attention to her book. The student I was told had anger issues, who I should keep my eye on the most was actually very well behaved all day. I was also told that he had low self worth and if he didn’t think he could do something then he wouldn’t even try. I saw a little bit of this behavior in the sense that when he was asked to continue writing his diary entry from yesterday he wanted to redo the whole thing because he had made some mistakes. I added to my notes that it would be a good idea to keep things fast paced and change things around by swapping places, stop and jump up and down, finger exercises that my old teacher made us do when he felt we weren’t concentrating?
For the rest of the week I continued lesson planning, re-writing my notes so there was more structure with aims and materials or equipment that I would require for the lessons. I also read ID An international survey on the notion of identity in contemporary art although this was dated 1996 it was still a very interesting read and I shall research some of the artists further next week.