Month: May 2014

clash of two worlds

it was an enlightening experience for me during my 7th day at prac today. My mentor called a close on one of my lessons as she felt the students were not engaging in the lesson. Now I tend to disagree with this as they were excited and learning lots of information using Google to research a National Park of their choice. We had lots of discussion about what to look for and even had research scaffold sheets. One particular student commented on the way back tot he classroom that they had never learnt so much before in their life (a timid under achieving girl).

However as my mentor has a chalk and talk ethos the very idea of students discovering things by themselves seemed ludicrous. I am a little down trodden to be faced with a just give them a booklet to do response every time I make a suggestion of an exciting activity. Hats off to my mentor for having control of the class. They can read silently for 30min (yr 3) and sit quietly to copy from the board. I wonder how much they are learning or worse still how much do they actually like school or learning in general?

Experience isn’t always the only way. I hope I will be willing to try things differently when I am given the opportunity to host a student teacher.

Always have a plan B… and a plan C

So today I was lucky enough to spend most of the day teaching! My mentor was ill so there was a casual appointed to my class. No big deal as my mentor had run through yesterday what the plan was for today.

1) I was to plan and teach a session in the computer room that involved the students researching information about Kakadu. I went home and devised some scaffolding sheets to guide the questions they might like to have answered.

I even found 3 suitable sites. Planning ahead I created a wix site with images and the links to the sites I wanted the students to use.

So 1st problem- Students went straight to computer room. I forgot to write on the class door where we were so the couple of stragglers were left to wonder about looking for us. Because we went straight to the library the students also didn’t have pencils to record info. Rookie mistake right (all easy enough to fix).

2nd problem- After printing the wix address out in huge writing so the whole class could see and type it in- it turns out it is blocked by the department of education. Oh man. So some quick reteaching on key words saw my very scaffolded lesson become a lot more open. Some students (they were in pairs- student choice) worked amazingly well and got well into the higher levels of Blooms. Some with out the sites were distracted typing silly things into google.

My lesson: is to check the technology works. My mentor being away threw me a little. I did manage to hook my iPad up to the smart board and connect the internet using my phone as the school has no wifi. Next step is to try Skype on the big screen as i want to teach a lesson between different schools. where the students complete maths questions and then explain their answers over Skype. I have even had some ‘maths challenge’ trophies made for each class.

Feeling grand today. The casual was full of praise and was unaware of my failure.

Bee Bot Bonanza

One of the most exciting and rewarding things about becoming a teacher is engaging with games and manipulatives that have the potential to inspire a love of learning in students.

A previous post of mine hinted at my impulsive tendencies, my love for books and anything classified as educational. 

I again have fallen vicim to my whim. My postman delivered my latest purchase on Friday.

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I am so excited to bring these into the classroom. My children have given the seal of approval and I just know they are going to be a huge hit with my prac class. I’ve come across some great blogs about bee bots and have amassed a few ideas already. I managed to find what I believe to be older stock as these are still battery powered for half the price of USB rechargeable models. Apparently batteries will give 8hrs life and the Bee bots sleep automatically after a few minutes of inactivity. That’s good enough for me. I just wish I could have gotten more. Three for the whole class might be a bit difficult. Needless to say my laminator has been getting a work out making time and money cards to use.

Now the next thing I am waiting for…… is giant number and dot dice as well as 12 sided giant foam dice. The plan is to use them for quick warm up games as a whole class drill exercise. Add the two dice, subtract the smaller value from the larger value. There are so many ways to use dice. Check this out– toward the end of the document some more great ides with dice.

I think I should learn my postman’s name- I have a feeling we are going to become very good friends at least over my first few years of teaching. My second take away front his situation is I am far better off to blog in the wee hours before i hit the hay then search for teaching ideas. At least my bank account thinks so!

 

 

We need to be mindful of political spin

This blog is in response to the online cyber safety course I recently completed. I have been fortunate enough to have been to two separate parent cyber safety sessions run by my children’s schools. I think there was a lot of content that was just skimmed over. Was this my complacent attitude to my studies this morning, or a case of information overload?

As a part of the professional development participants were required to answer a series of questions in the form of a survey to indicate personal computer usage and practices. Here is where I lost focus and respect for an otherwise well intentioned program. One needs to consider the motive behind any means of text and communication. What is it that is being said, who does it benefit? In this case the intent is to provide teachers with the knowledge to teach students how to be active and informed citizens. Perfectly reasonable. But is it?

The cynic in me is drawn to the use of survey data. Is this recorded, who has access to this data? The responses offered ranged from every day, 2-3 times a week and then jumped to once a fortnight and then never. If the results are to be considered critically how can such a wide range give an effective indication of actually usage? It seems to me the results have been slanted toward responses that indicate an increased use beyond what is the reality. Does this then serve the company that later offers an endorsement to a full day professional development package? 

Perhaps this is the biggest take away from this course. Let’s teach our students to consider more then just the overt aims of the author when viewing online materials.

ponderous planning

I sat down last night and contemplated all the things that I now know about lesson planning. My ideas were plentiful but a little difficult to group together. Unlike Jenny i didn’t feel this post should be about planning as such but more to do with my reflection of it. Below you will find an image I created to synthesise my thoughts. I was enlightened to think of the gains I have made since my very first prac. What I would give to have had the knowledge I do now then.

The planning is where all of the concepts and theories we spend so much of our degree learning come into play. It is an intricate balance between content, context and execution. Is it stupidity to strive for something that is impossible to achieve or reflective and incentive? I personally opt for the later.

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