Endings & New Beginnings!

Last of my internship-

I’ve learnt to trust what I know and believe in myself as a teacher. I often holding very high expectations of myself I’ve felt at times like I haven’t measured up to the standards of a quality teacher. Though looking back at my reflections now, I realise my capacity to learn from mistakes, recognise where improvements can be made and acknowledge when teaching strategies and tasks have worked well. I believe that reflective practice is a major element to becoming a quality teacher. With this in mind, I now feel that I’m well on my way to becoming just that.

My supervising teacher has been more than supportive, something I will be ever grateful for and hope that one day I will pass on this gift to another pre-service teacher.

As my pre-service teacher training draws to an end I am a little sad to say goodbbye to such a massive chapter in my life, yet I am eagrly jumping into the next, with open arms and an open mind. I can’t wait to have my own class of children to learn and grow with!

Now all I need is someone to employ me. Lots of job applications and interviews await!

 

Always have a back up

This was my lesson today. To always have a back up for those early finishers. Normally I do have something up my sleeve, though for some reason, today students worked more quickly than they did yesterday and needed something more challenging. This made me very happy- the fact that they are learning, maintaining focus and working hard despite the year drawing to an end. However, it really highlighted to me, that perhaps what I gave these groups was not challenging enough. In amendment of this, I  made some slight changes to the group rotations for the remainder of the week so that my students are being challenged at an appropriate level.

Behaviour has been somewhat of a problem- with some bullying and teasing outside of class hours. The mentor teacher has dealt with these predominantly, and I have been fortunate to witness the strategies he uses to ensure that everyone involved gets to speak and everyone is responsible for their choices.

I have been getting the science word wall ‘vamped up’ to engage students and bring some lofe to the classroom. This has worked to engage a lot of students and get them curious about our scientific exploration of soils and rocks. One thing I am really looking forward to seeing, is students’ investigations of their own ‘wonderings’ about the scientific phenomena. This links to last weeks science lesson where students conducted an observation scaffolded by the ‘see, think, wonder’ routine. After marking students’ work, I collected three prominent ‘wonderings’ and typed these up. I’ve since printed and stuck these onto our word wall as a part of our scientific questioning and investigation.

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Ciao for now.

Going solo

Monday 3/11/14

Working with Words their way

 

Literacy groups takes off in full flight- advertising techniques- exploring visual literacies

 

Maths groups- investigating temperature, fraction bingo, problem solving with time.

 

Quick game when we had 5 minutes before lunch- Fraction Heads (like celebrity heads but with fractions instead)

 

I recognise that today I was more explicit and maintained momentum throughout the lessons.

Areas of improvement-

Work on developing stronger reinforced expectations- particularly for students who like to push the limits with disrupting others.

 

 

It’s Friday!!

31-10-14

Today started on a positive note, it’s Friday after all. My mentor has given me history to take on, and so I am really excited to try something new with the class. All of my literacy rotations and maths rotations went smoothly. I’m feeling my behaviour management improving as I get the gist of maintaining momentum and flow throughout the day.

The goal of today’s history lesson was to develop historical thinking and understanding about the nature of contact between Australian Aboriginals and Captain Cook. I wanted to make connections with the English unit on persuasive texts- from our understanding of perspectives. I engaged students by presenting a newspaper article from 1867 which spoke of the colonisation of Australia. Immediately students started offering their ideas about whose perspective was being portrayed, and what their values were. From here I used part of a ‘True for Who’ thinking routine. Students were split up into groups researching perspectives on Captain Cook’s first contact with Australia, and Aboriginal Australians contact with Captain Cook. I provided students with laptops and links to informative websites relevant to the task as well as a range of articles. Students then had to synthesise this knowledge into single words that describe the differing perspectives. At the end of this, I brought all the groups back together and they selected a representative from each group for the silent debate. You can see photo’s below of students in this process.

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At the end we discussed what might influence these perspectives and compare this to the relationship between Aboriginals and Maccassan’s.

Quite a number of students began to lose engagement toward the end of the session and I feel that this was partly due to the fact that it was Friday afternoon yet also because I had made the task too open-ended or not scaffolded enough where students were researching. I have learnt from this experience that I must consider the dynamics of the room during these times of the week and place lessons that require a high level of critical analysis during the middle of the week.

We ended on a positive note and students enjoyed the afternoon having a little play on the ‘spiderweb’.

There is only one week left to go on my internship. I’m looking forward to getting some practice in reporting and assessment as the term draws to end. Watch this space!

Growing and Learning

29-10-14

The day started off hot and smoggy, it’s really hitting into summer time. I got in early today and started up the air conditioner to try and keep the classroom at a comfortable temperature, then I made sure my laptop was all set up with the documents, webpages and video’s I would be using. This has become a part of my morning routine now.

Getting to know other teachers from the school has been a huge blessing, particularly getting to know a graduate teacher who is coming to the end of her first year of teaching. This experience has made me realise the support that teachers provide for each other in this school. With such a family atmosphere it’s no wonder the staff are full of smiles and positive attitudes.

The day ran smoothly for the most part, and I felt that I am improving on my time management in keeping the flow of the day. However, during the final session in science today, although I knew the content, was well prepared and planned the class became chaos. I feel that it was mostly because I spent too long re-addressing behaviour which caused students to switch off, and the session lost momentum. I began to worry about the time and was scared of not making it through the lesson, instead of stopping and perhaps doing something entirely different I dragged the lesson on. We got there in the end. Though I realise that it could have been a lot better I had of addressed my expectations more clearly at the beginning. Had students positioned better and followed through on my directions. By the end of the day I felt like a little bit of a failure, though I realise that this is something I will learn from and use to improve my practice. It was very comforting to talk with my mentor and another teacher as they shared how they too have had complete failures of lessons and they have just had to take on board what went wrong, why and how to avoid it in the future.

I’m looking forward to a fresh start tomorrow morning.

 

Rotation Improvements and Planning for the future

28-10-14

Today worked well for the most part. My students were engaged in what they were learning and the discussions we held as a class demonstrated that students were advancing their understanding of fractions and decimals.

During the middle session today I facilitated a review on converting fractions into decimals, I asked students how confident they felt with their understanding of this content and organised into two groups. Students who were less confident worked directly with me as we discussed and explored together how fractions can be represented and how we can look at them as a decimal. Meanwhile students who were grasping the concept were given some extension work on fractions as decimals and this was supported by my mentor. Using various concrete manipulatives such as string, hundreds, tens and ones blocks as well as diagrams, we collaboratively discussed different scenarios and how we solve the problems. For example, we spoke about a very large cake at a big party of 100 people. The cake was cut into 100 equal pieces. If half (1/2) of those people ate one equal piece each, what would amount left-over be as a decimal. Inviting other students to explain their understanding and share it with others helped to maintain engagement and developed students’ communication skills.

Unfortunately there were still two or three students who still did not understand the concept properly and I will need to make time to provide more support for these students. I will conduct some more research into teaching this content area for different support strategies and ways of helping my student with potential short-term memory problems.

The real teaching begins- a semi normal week

27/10/14

Time is the big factor!                   Today I had the opportunity to run the whole day. I was very excited about this. I’m enjoying getting to know all my students and develop stronger relationships with them. In this reflection I will talk about the literacy and maths rotations I planned and facilitated, outlining their successes and areas of improvement.

Literacy rotations: On the positive note, I felt organised and well prepared. This is because I knew what the students knew, therefore these experiences built upon prior knowledge and understanding. Furthermore, the learning activities were worked towards assessment as learning.

Room for improvement: During the transitionary phases of this rotation I noticed that some students became off-task and disruptive, and I believe it was mostly due to the drawn out nature of the transitions. This made the learning lose momentum. To overcome this factor I will need to explicitly give direction before hand- perhaps selecting a leader from each group to refer to the rotation chart and a 30 second time span for students to quickly transition to the next rotation task.

Maths rotations: The maths rotations were very well organised, constructive learning experiences that drew upon prior learning. I also used differentiation strategies as I worked with lower students using more concrete familiar objects and some more symbolic mathematics language with the proficient students. Because the maths groups are ability grouped, this made differentiation easier to cater for. The tasks that I facilitated work as both formative and summative assessment.

Recognising the implications of these rotations, I believe some had a higher workload than others, and upon considering the time constraints it was not practicable to complete all of the components of the task.

However, using this to my advantage, I can simply use the left over work to build upon in next week’s rotations. For example, the measurement rotation I designed to build upon last week’s graphing lesson, required students to measure the distance of each group members’ paper plane flight using a range of measuring tools, recording data and then transferring this data into a bar graph. However students only had time to fly their planes, measure and record data. Getting students to keep their data with them, next week they will transfer that data into the bar graph and then look at some other types of graphs they could use to display data.

Another maths rotation (which serves as part of student assessment on fractions) required students to identify and position equivalent fractions on a number line. I worked directed with each group on this task, which was effective in providing each student quality time and giving them the opportunity to communicate their understanding in more depth. During this experience I consciously drew upon the gradual release model to help provide students with an explicit understanding that was then synthesised as students gradually took on the task with more independence and were able to confidently explain fractions on the number line with reasoning.

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Final notes for tonight-

Over this weekend I have been conducting research into methods of recording and maintaining qualitative data on student academic outcomes. I recognise that this is an area I need to demonstrate my capability in, as a professional. So I have begun to create my own checklists to keep track of student progress and later use this data to report on student learning. Reporting will commence next week, so I must be prepared.

 

(Australian Professional Standards- 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 5.2, 5.4, 6.1, 6.2, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3)