Looking forward

The end is nigh. I’m finishing off the final pieces of assignment for the semester and then I will be enjoying three glorious weeks of holidays! Another semester done, another semester closer to becoming a teacher.

The one thing that I’ve become really conscious of this semester is all of the “things I must remember”. All of those great ideas that my mentor teachers have shared. All of those great classroom resources. All of those handy little behaviour management skills and strategies. All of those positive behaviour reward ideas. All of those ideas that are shared during lectures and tutorials at Uni. All of those tips from Textbooks and Research articles. I don’t want to loose them. I don’t want those great experiences to get forgotten and just float off into the clouds! So I’ve started a notebook to keep a record of all these things. It’s going to be my “Bec’s Guide to Surviving the First Year” book. And as I come across these little ideas and bits and pieces, I’m going to add them to the book. I know I will thank myself in the long run. I can see myself reading through the pages on the night before I start my first day with my OWN CLASSROOM!

man-journaling

Image from public domain by Raishel Wasserman. Man Journaling.

Another great source of inspiration for my future is Pinterest. Great little visual ideas, classroom decoration and layout ideas, planning and lesson ideas and games ideas. I’m going to keep on pinning and I’m sure that some of these ideas will end up in my Survival Guide.

For now, this the last post for my EDC3100 course. But I may just be back at some stage and write an update on how things are going. I know I will definitely be back to review this blog and revisit some of the great resources I’ve shared.

So… until next time…

Keeping learning, Bec. x

Fun times for Rainy Days

Yesterday was my last day on Professional Experience for this course. The plan was to have a standard morning of reading rotations, a spelling lesson and a maths lesson – then morning tea. After morning tea is Friday parade, then the students go off to interschool sports. During the afternoon, the teachers and students that don’t participate in inter-school sports are put into groups and they work on different art projects, etc.   I had my art project planned and ready to go.

Then it rained. The forecast was for much more rain as the day progressed so inters-chool sport was cancelled. So with all of the students staying in class, and the possibility of ‘wet-lunch’ we were under pressure to find something to keep the kids entertained for the afternoon.

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Image from public domain by PublicDomainPictures. Rain.

We managed to get away with a bit of housekeeping, desk and classroom tidy up. Read a short story. A couple games of bingo. Then a round of dodge-ball in the multipurpose hall with another class.

However, this had made me think that I need to have a little repertoire of activities to do in these circumstances. Something to keep the students engaged and amused when there is extra time, or the planned work is finished.

I spent some time having a look at a few resources online and there are some great video Riddles on YouTube that could be played through the IWB.  These few that I found would be suitable for the age group of the students I had on my Professional Experience (Year 6):

Here’s a page that lists a few classroom games for a rainy day. I am going to gather a list and keep them ready for when I have my own class in the future.

End of Week 2… Are we there yet?

I’m not going to lie. I’m hitting the wall – BIG TIME!

So far I’m two weeks into my Professional Experience, with one week to go, and I’m struggling to keep up with the demands of uni, being on placement, as well as keeping up with my young family.  Time is not my friend.

time-1457199747Mdt

Image from public domain by Circe Denyer.  Time.

While I’m managing to keep my family happy, and I’m doing a great job on prac (so my mentor tells me), and I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself because 2 out of 3 isn’t bad – but it’s uni that’s suffering! I’m very behind on my assignment preparations and I’m absolutely dreading the two weeks that follow the end of professional experience.

Like Nicola speaks about in her blog post, although Professional Experience is a crazy and busy time with an enormous workload, it’s such an amazing learning experience. I personally feel like I learn 10x more each day that I’m on prac, then when I’m listening to uni lectures and reading academic journals. Nothing like getting hands on! Nicola also speaks about ClassDojo. I’ve heard of it before, and it’s definitely something I want to learn more about. I’ll put it on my forever expanding to-do list.

Well, I better get cracking on an assignment, and stop using this blog as a means of procrastination. Good luck to my fellow EDC3100 friends and have a great final week of P.E.!

A run down of Week 1 of Professional Experience

Week 1 of Professional Experience has drawn to a close. The week has flown by! So far, I’m loving it! I’ve enjoyed reading the reflections of other EDC3100 students about their first week of prac, including this post by Wedrac and this post by Natasha.

My students: Well, the students are definitely in need. Most of my students have A LOT going on in their lives beyond school. Not all kids are having breakfast before school, and/or bring lunch to school. A great majority are wearing dirty school uniforms from the day before. Some don’t have the required amount of stationery and supplies that are needed for school, so it’s given to them by the teacher. On the whole, they are nice kids. We do have some behaviour issues in the classroom, as well as some kids who probably should have further intervention with an OT or paediatrician. It’s heartbreaking that some of these students just aren’t getting what they need from their parents. As a teacher, I need to give them all I can and be satisfied with that.

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Image from public domain by mozlase__. Still life.

My mentor: He is great!! Very approachable and easy to talk to. He has the right mix of friend/teacher with the students, which I look up to. He has welcomed me into his classroom and has ensured the students treat me with the same level of respect as they give to him. The feedback he has been giving to me has been great. If there is only one thing I could say that is not so good is his ICT knowledge/abilities. And I am struggling to incorporate ICT when it’s not really anywhere on his radar or in his ideas for the classroom. This is something that I will be working through with him so that I can satisfy the requirements for the EDC3100 assessment.

Available ICT: So far I’m looking at an older model IWB. My mentor doesn’t really use it, except for watching videos with the students, so I’m not sure what it is able to do. The classroom also has 2 older desktop computers in a separate quiet room at the back of the classroom. Apart from that, there are no other available ICT. The class is allocated 1 other ICT lesson during the week where they go to the school library and go to the computer lab. This is the only time allocation that they have where every student can get onto a computer. I feel that the IWB is the one thing that I will be able to use a lot to get my ICT integration for the students.  I’ve come across this awesome top 10 list of creative ways to use IWBs in the classroom.

The lack of available ICT is the only foreseeable problem that I’m having on my professional experience. I’m doing more teaching than I ever have before, and I’m feel more comfortable and confident doing it. It’s been a great experience so far.

Day 1 Debrief

Here we are at the end of Day One of my Professional Experience… I survived!!

What I have discovered from my first couple of days in a Year 6 classroom – if you read my last blog post, you would know I volunteered for a day last week – is that I lack what I think is general knowledge on some topics. Well, maybe not general knowledge per se, but lack the knowledge and/or confidence to teach some things to the standard that I expect of myself. Sheesh…. Did that even make sense??!!

 

Illustration

Image from public domain by X posid. Illustration.

Anyway, in an attempt to rectify this, I have written a list of the upcoming topics/areas that I need to research, that my class are working on in various different subjects. I will continue to do this over the course of the next 3 weeks so that I can be confident and effective in my teaching.

So far the topics I’ve highlighted for further research are:

  • Mathematics – Order of Operations
  • Spelling – Phonemes and Graphemes
  • Science – Tidal Energy as a Renewable Source of Energy

Several times over my degree I’ve come across a great website called ABC Splash. Here’s the blurb from their website:

“ABC Splash brings you high-quality digital educational content from across the ABC and around the world.

This website offers a new, world-class education experience for Australian students, and is packed with thousands of videos, audio clips, games and interactive tools. All resources are free to watch and play at home and in school and guaranteed to spark discussion and promote curiosity.

There are special areas for parents and teachers featuring thought-provoking articles and blog posts, teaching resources and up-to-date education news.”

I am a big fan! A great source of information that is teacher, parent and student friendly! It’s a great place to find games and tutorial videos to add into lessons. For teachers, the website also lists the Australian Curriculum Content Descriptor that apply to each resource.

Tonight, I revised and refreshed my memory all about Order of Operation or BIDMAS – Take a look!

 

My context

Finally I have my context!

I volunteered for the day in the Year 6 classroom which will be my Professional Experience class for the next three weeks!

back-to-school

Image from public domain by Dawn Hudson. Back to School.

Here’s a snapshot:

  • Large suburban school
  • Approx. 800 students from Prep to Year 6
  • There are four x Year 6 classes
  • My class is 29 students
  • Fairly evenly boys/girls
  • 1 ADHD Student
  • 2 very low academic achievers
  • Generally well behaved students who can be chatty at times
  • Around 4 main offenders who will need further behaviour management and will need to be monitored.

The classroom itself is very lacking in ICTs. There is a smart board and the children also have access to 2 computers in a quiet room adjacent to the classroom. Not sure about other available ICTs that we could get in (I’m thinking digital cameras/laptops/iPads… maybe… hopefully…).

All in all I’m a lot less nervous about starting prac on Monday. My teacher is really nice, accommodating and funny. And the students all seemed very nice and willing to please (for now anyway)!

I hope all my fellow EDC3100 students have a great time on prac and learn a lot!

Students’ Digital Portfolio

I’ve recently read a TED Ed article by Rudy Blanco on how-to, and the benefits of, students creating their own “Digital Learning Portfolios” and it sounds like such a fantastic and beneficial task for students.

Bright Idea

Image from public domain by zaldy icaonapo. Bright Idea.

 

Here are some titbits of important information that I’ve jotted down in regards to Digital Learning Portfolios (DLPs):

  • Creating a DLP takes time – lots of time – to gather the content and organise it and make it worthwhile.
  • Students need to make sure the content is of DLP quality.
  • Content can be enhanced using links, tagging keywords, finding images and videos – all in the hope of offering further information and explanation of the topic.
  • Once published, feedback can be received by peers.

 

But the most important point of the article that I read is:

“Students frequently find resources in places that teachers would have never looked. This gives us, teachers, a chance to explore the minds of our learners even as it allows them a space to put their individual learning experience up for others to interact with.

Think about this: if a teacher does this with 50 students (assuming all 50 students do this assignment), the teacher now has 50 different approaches to teaching and explaining a given topic.”

– Rudy Blanco.

What a fantastic idea – getting into the mind of our students to help teach other students in the future – GOLD!!! This is certainly a tool I will be looking at using for my students when I become a teacher.

Here’s the Ted Ed article – “How to create digital learning portfolios in the classroom”.

Beware the DIGITAL DINOSAUR

One thing that has become blaringly obvious to me over the last few years is the need to be up-to-date with technologies. Everything seems to be going digital, from banking to social networking to university studies.

 

dinosaur-background-20851282041923qTUN

Image from public domain by Yana Ray. Dinosaur Background.

 

Keeping up-to-date is particularly important for teachers. We need to be confident in our use of ICT so that we can put our knowledge and practice into teaching our children. Forecasts for the future look very digital. As Steward Riddle (Senior Lecture at USQ) has mentioned in his article for The Conversation, within the next 2-3 years at least 50% of Australian workers will need to be able to use and/or create digital systems to keep their jobs. Riddle goes on to say that computers will replace around 40% of the workforce in the next 10 to 15 years.

This puts a lot of responsibility onto our kids to be ready for the future. As their teachers, we need to make them so.

We cannot achieve this if we ourselves become ‘signs of the times’ and let our abilities in ICT remain static. We mustn’t allow ourselves to become digital dinosaurs.

Here is a great list of podcasts that talk about what’s new and upcoming in the tech industry.

 

Do digital technologies make it too easy to plagiarise?

I’ve been reading some of my fellow EDC3100 students’ blogs. With the due date for assignment 2 looming I’ve noticed that a lot of students are blogging about their assignment, just like Jacqueline Howlett’s post about the rubric she has created for the assignment.

This is a scary concept for me. What stops anyone grabbing that rubric and submitting it as there own? Now, in this assignment I would assume that 99.9% of students are working on unit plans which are for different year levels and different subjects, and different concepts within these subjects. So I guess the opportunity to plagiarise is pretty minimal. However, this has got me thinking about my future as a teacher, and how to ensure my students don’t plagiarise.

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Image from public domain by axelle b. Businesswoman, computer.

I’ve found a great article from the Connections publication on the Education Services Australia website about plagiarism and why students do it.

There are 2 obvious types of plagiarism: Deliberate and Unintentional. Although both are very concerning, unintentional plagiarism is, perhaps, more preventable when students are aware of it and taught about it.

The article lists three strategies for teachers to implement to minimise the opportunity for plagiarism:

  1. Set tasks which require higher-order thinking skills as opposed to reciting of facts.
  2. Provide students with set resources.
  3. Teach resource evaluation skills.

With the use of these steps, I hope I can help my students to be able to display THEIR best work.  I would love to hear your opinions on this topic – please feel free to leave a comment below.

Once it is seen, it cannot be unseen

The three courses I am completing this semester are fairly different to one another. They are: ICT and Pedagogy (this course), Literacies Education (3 yr literacy), and Managing Challenging Behaviours (an elective). Yet here’s the thing, they all seem to have a strong focus on ICT.

I can put this down to a number of reasons. a) Maybe they don’t have a common theme, but because I am so interested in ICT through this course, I am seeing it everywhere I look. b) The ICT has always been there only I haven’t been paying attention to it. c) ICT are becoming more important in the classroom therefore to pre-service teacher education and subsequently they ARE becoming more prolific in my courses as I progress through my degree.

Either way, I guess there’s no avoiding them, and besides – I actually like ICT. I’m excited by the prospect of using them effectively and appropriately in my future classroom. My fellow EDC3100 student Spil2016 has also spoken about the same observation here.

Globe Brain

Image from public domain by Dawn Hudson. Globe Brain.

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians highlighted the rapid changes in ICT and how vitally important they are to successful learners. And the Queensland College of Teachers expanded on it in their Research Digest.

ICT are important and they are here to stay. As a future teacher I will do my upmost to guide my students to get the most out of ICT so they can become successful, active and informed global citizens of the future.