Pointy End!

finish-line

So close and yet so far. The semester is almost at a close. I have my last assignment to polish off (EDC3100) and an exam. This last semester has been a massive whirlwind. 3100 has tested my beliefs in more ways than one. I had to take a large side step out of my comfort zone. Who would have thought blogging was the least of those leaps, something that filled me with dread, and intrigue, at the thought prior to this subject, is now a familiar friend.

Speaking of friends, a very a dear one recently reminded me of the importance of living today, in the moment. A little line that is often touted, with lots of head nodding and smiles, but how often do we really live in the moment? My uni and business life usually consists of  a set of future dates of jobs to be completed or relief from assignments and tasks finished. Little time in my day to day experience is spent appreciating the little things; like my cup of tea that gets me through the work I am doing now (in this case blogging away for an assignment). My brain idly sips away at the warm satisfying beverage without a thought. Whereas if I lived in the moment I would pause, and suck up the wee bit of joy in my favorite mug.

Children are very good at living in the moment, it is one of the reasons why I love working alongside them so much.Children delight in an amusing shaped cloud or a completely ridiculous joke that makes no sense, simply for the current moment of pure joy and seeking happiness. As teachers we know our job is to help shape little people to be the best big people they can be, whatever that may be. But as big people, we must not let the opportunity for the little people to shape us in return and remind us how to live in that ever special moment.

In Miss B’s blog  she describes a beautiful scene of letting the kids record their own photographs of an activity. I would love to see those photos to find out what did they think was important about the activity. Was it a smiling friend or a momentary intrigue that grabbed their interest and was worth recording. Would an adult have recorded images from the same inspiration as the child? Certainly there will be lots of clicking for the fun of clicking the camera and doing the big persons job. But I can’t help but wonder what differences in the images would evolve from enjoying the moment, rather than recording a moment for a portfolio (as educators, is often our end goal).

This may or may not be my last blog post, as it is my last ‘required’ post for assignment purposes. I would like to think that I will continue the process, as I have found a deal of joy in it. I can see the blog as a nice tool to record moments and appreciate what is my now. But by doing this am I living in the now? Or am I simply reflecting and musing about future ideas, I think it is more of the latter, however, it is enjoyable regardless. I will leave this post with one last thought from Albert Einstein “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

K.L. x

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Becoming a Teacher

Now that I am entering the last phases of my degree, I am finding myself exploring the final to do tasks, for becoming a teacher on paper. The following is a list of ideas that come to mind that I need to look into.

  • What are the registration differences between private and public?
  • How to prepare for the Literacy/Numeracy tests? And how to apply to sit for them?
  • What is the pay scale (could come in handy at some point?)
  • Do I want/have to belong to a union? What are the benefits/drawbacks?
  • What should be contained in the perfect teaching resume/portfolio?
  • How to find work? (I have a good lead for the end of my degree but still handy to know the process if I am ever in need)

Links that might help answer some of my questions (To be added to)

Teacher Registration QLD 

Becoming a Teacher QLD

Tracer

Independent Schools Queensland

Aussie Educator – Teacher Employment

QLD teachers Union – Salaries

QLD Teachers Union

15 Things I Wish I’d known before becoming a teacher

Top 10 things no one tells you about becoming a teacher

 

 

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End of Prac

Practicum experience ended for me on Tuesday. Now that I am back into assignment mode it almost feels like a distant memory. This last prac has been one of my favourites. I finally felt like a real teacher and not a fraud. It was such a positive experience. My mentor gave me loads of teaching time and was incredibly supportive. She has offered for me to return for my internship and has made a recommendation for my employment once I finish my degree (not till the end of 2017).

I currently find myself almost depressed going from the high of spending three weeks doing what I love, back to assignments. Let’s just say the relationship isn’t quite so loving! The uni/real life experience never seems to truly blend for me. I can see how the theories and thinking help’s to shape my future practice, but in reality I have never learned so much about teaching as when I actually teach.

Why is a teaching degree not apprenticed? The mind boggles. In university, we are taught that learning through experience is ideal, and yet uni life offers so little experience in the classroom. In small chunks yes, but we never see the start of a new year or watch students develop over a long period of time (3-4 weeks really isn’t enough time to track the growth of a learner), or see the nitty gritty last minute panic at the end of a term or year. I feel teaching in the real world  is going to hold many surprises yet!

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Behaviour Management

grumpy-cat-no-talking.jpg

Poor Grumpy Cat,  this picture serves no purpose other than I am sure this is how my face looks rather regularly! And I found it rather amusing.

Recently I was very lucky to watch a visiting teacher in my prac classroom, to cut to the point she was sensational!! I felt so fortunate to witness her brilliance I had to send her an e-mail thanking her. The funny thing was this amazing teacher in my eyes, had been having a really tough week in her own class, of which I obviously had no idea about, and she was so thankful for my acknowledgement. It just goes to show even the brilliant teachers have tough days and a kind word goes a long way.

I thought I would share with you some of the very simple tips she used so get a rather ‘tough’ grade one class (as confirmed by the teachers that avoid the class at all costs), under control.

Step One – The children were lined up outside, making a noise…let’s call our brilliant teacher Mrs B… Mrs B, quietly walked up and down the line, asking the students “can you tell me where your hat goes?” “can you show me what voice we use?” “can you show me what a straight line looks like?”… Well, the poor love could see quickly that this was not working, so she dropped that idea, grabbed a loud bell rang it and said “new teacher new rules”. SILENCE.

Still outside Mrs B thanked the students, then explained to them, she was the sessions new teacher and she was “SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!! TO BE TAKING THIS CLASS” …whisper voice… “now I am your new teacher for the session and I come with new rules (Mrs B. shakes a small stick of bells, and introduces her ‘mime stick’) “this is my mime stick when I make this sound (rattle) you freeze like a mime artist trapped in a box, show me your mime face” (the faces were hysterical and adorable), and the students were hooked she was excited to teach them and fun!

The students quietly moved indoors and found their desks…The fun started again with one of the ‘regular’s’ (a little love that loves to test every last nerve you have). Mrs B straight away called his name ….let’s call him ‘Poppet’ for the sake of the story… “Poppet, I am making you, your own box on the board just for you!” Poppet was thrilled and smiled from ear to ear. Mrs B drew a box, smiley face one side, sad face on the other, for every, inappropriate thing Poppet did he received 1 tick. Poppet was soon up to six ticks rather quickly, and you could see Mrs B was waiting to catch a good tick, she finally got her moment when Poppet sat up straight “Excellent, Poppet you are so straight I am giving you 2 smiley ticks”.  Poppet was won over, he still earn’t more sad ticks, but the behaviour was shorter than usual and back on track quicker and Mrs B ensured that the ticks stayed as close to level as possible catching him being good as often as she could.

Reading this simple explanation you might think, well that was Okay, it doesn’t sound that amazing. And by description, it might sound very basic, but to watch such simple techniques and the calm that came over the kids was fantastic. So thank you Mrs B!

Oh, I almost forgot I also saw a lovely TA play a game of freeze whilst moving kids in their lines from one class to another, both the kids and the TA were loving the game and the kids moved quietly through the school, what more could you ask for!

As this post has a very definite behaviour management feel, I will also share just a handful of great looking behaviour management tips I have found out in the world wide web.

How To Improve Classroom Behavior In One Lesson (tempting title, I had to read this one)

Top 5 Behaviour Management Strategies (yes I know Behaviour is spelt differently in my two links, I have copied the link title and not used my own spelling, for the record behaviour is my choice of spelling)

Behaviour Management Strategies for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (this one is a handy little PDF document)

 

Till next Time🙂 x

 

 

 

 

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Day One Done!

Thrilled!!! I am on a high at the end of my first day of prac. Like Liss8707 I spent some of my day observing. However, I was amazed that I actually ended up teaching about 3/4’s of the day. My eyes have ben opened to a very different teaching experience.  I started my day with 30 minutes of prayer and devotion (before the children arrived). Coming from a non-religious background I found this tricky, my brain wanted to get stuck in and prepare for my day in the classroom. That is until the pastor started her morning message regarding slowing down and approaching your day with a calm focused mind. In addition to  trusting your ability to do what you love ‘teach’. By the end of the meeting, I was uplifted and ready to go, and considered the time well spent.

I was introduced to the students as a ‘second teacher’ that would be doing everything the regular teacher does, I have not experienced this before, usually, students are told that I am ‘learning’, I found this shift of thinking made the students accept me readily, easier understanding my role, and made a mental note to ensure  I demonstrate the same respect if I ever have a prac student in my charge.

For the remainder of the day, I ran the library session, double maths, and double literacy sessions. As well as assisting some students with homework during the lunch break for learners that don’t get the opportunity at home ( a great idea for some one on one time).

My class cohort is a challenge at best (apparently, many relief teachers and aides struggle with the group, due to reasons I have noted in an earlier post). However, I must say I surprised myself. It was not easy, behaviour management wise, but I did surprise myself. I feel I would like to learn better ways to quieten children during group tasks, and have made a mental note to try and observe how my mentor approaches this. I have found maintaining a reasonable level of class noise a personal struggle. Mind you my mentor reports that I am doing fine (WHEW!) and assures me that I am being too hard on myself.

I noted a couple of children that could benefit from keeping their hands busy whilst waiting. I used a couple of little hand games to try and focus their energy. However, I decided tomorrow I will take along a couple of my fabric marble mazes which I have made and had success with in the past for fidgety students (let’s hope these ones take to them as well).

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Potential ICT Resources for Prac

The following is a very basic start to record a handful of ideas for my lesson planning whilst on practicum placement, hopefully, there will be many more to follow.

Science Sound & Light

Sound and Hearing – game

Literacy Rotations

  1. Writing stories; beginning, middle and end (need teacher support or whole class activity). Potentially a bit too old for grade 1
  2. Game  – Word Rhyme A board game of rhyming simple words, can be done in small groups or individually. Sound can be turned on/off

 

Health

Healthy lunchboxes and how the body works

Make a healthy Lunchbox – students can fill a lunchbox and print what they put in it. Text is supplied to support/influence choices.

 

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Nervous Exhaustion Setting In

Righto, getting to the pointy end now. I have completed all due assignments that are due when I am on prac. It was a mission )partially fueled by chocolate, red wine, and a very achy back) but it is done. I am becoming increasingly anxious and excited for my placement. Even the simple things, such as how will I get my six-year-old daughter out of bed an hour earlier so I can get her to school and me to prac? (Luckily my son is pretty good in this area). Thank you Teaching Mrs H. For your insight into your first few days of prac and links to Australian School font’s I am sure they will come in handy for many of us. I thoroughly enjoyed your description and positivity!

I am very fortunate to have a very helpful mentor, who has emailed me the type of SmartBoard they are using at the school, which has enabled me to have a look at some of the resources specifically designed for it on the SMART Exchange I am in awe at the amount of material out there.

On my regular scooting about on education websites, I came across this timely and interesting site regarding NAPLAN ‘Say no to NAPLAN’  a very interesting page regarding what we are putting our children through each year.

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Take this Lollypop

Well, that was creepy! And yet comforting as there was not a lot of my personal information as I thought in it.

In response to the following questions

  1. Do you now feel able to:
    • Describe “the issues and strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching”; YES
    • Identify your PE site’s existing policies and processes related to the safe, responsible, and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching; YES
    • Describe what ICT skills are required of your learners by your curriculum; and,YES
    • Integrate this knowledge into your response to Part B of assignment 3.YES
  2. What aren’t you ready to do? Why? Nothing, aI feel I am good to go.
  3. What, if anything, about your planning for Professional Experience has changed as a result of this week’s learning path? Nothing.
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Safe Responsible Ethical ICT

Point 1. Current knowledge of digital citizenship

  • Do not break any laws
  • Do not type anything you would not be willing to say to someone’s face
  • Do not share identifying information of children
  • Be respectful at all times and remember digital media is there forever
  • Do not spam people’s email addresses

Cyber bullying is an insidious, 24-hour, all-pervading activity. It knows no boundaries of gender, race, age or work status. Recently I experienced cyber-bullying from an individual who upon identification turned out to be individual that was seemingly a highly respected member of my local community and held a very authoritative position (the person was using a fake identity, however, I managed to uncover the perpetrator).

I was able to look past this person’s actions and move on. However, I could imagine how a person from a different position could have reacted very differently to this individual’s bullying behaviours. I consider myself to be rather in control of my ICT engagement, and responses to bullying behaviour, and yet this individual managed to make me feel sick and worried regardless.

Points 2 & 3. Quiz result & reflections

2/4 – I was surprised that cyber bullying is not the most common form, media certainly gives the opposite impression (or I have interpreted it that way).

I hesitated on question four regarding what the right thing to do was. And I agree with the explanation that all students gain confidence by regularly engaging with and practising social skills. I also agree that ensuring the bullied student does not be positioned as the reason for the bullying to occur.

 

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Getting Real

keep-calm-and-pretend-it-s-on-the-lesson-plan-27

(that’s just the beginning of my problem)

It is 6.15am on a Saturday morning and my brain has been whizzing for the last 2 hours on how to integrate ICT into grade 1, so a blogging I will go. I will explain my dilemma. I have been incredibly lucky to be given the most organised school and mentor, they are simply amazing. To the point that my sensational mentor has sent me the entire terms worth of unit plans, broken down week by week (and day by day for literacy and numeracy).

That’s sounds amazing I hear you ask well yes and no. Amazing as I love it and it feels like a real grown-up education context. I love the comfort of knowing what I will be teaching. Oh and did I mention my mentor is planning on handing 100% of the teaching over to me, she would like it to happen in the first week. Here in lies my problem, from all of the sensational organisation. I have very little grounds for deviating from these plans I now need to find enough ICT for 5 lessons that are suitable for grade one, that does not just incorporate ICT, but enhances learning (this is the particular area, I am stuck on how to tackle). Enter dilemma number two…

The following is a list of ICT available to me

  • IWB
  • 6 IPads

End List.

Unfortunately whilst the school have a state of the art computer lab it has been ruled out due to the children not being permitted access to it until term 4.

Very Broadly the topics I will be teaching (in the event any of you genius educators would like to share some wonderful ICT ) are.

  • Science: Light and Sound – This is pretty chock full of planning but thinking I might be able to squeeze in something clever, just what kind of clever will be the hard part! Learning goal is for students to learn then illustrate how light/sound travels to their eyes/ears. Students understand the term vibrate.
  • Literacy: Poetry – identifying the similarities and differences between poetry and traditional tales
  • Literacy: Narrative Sequences and elements – students to explain beginnings, middle (introduce a problem) and solution (end).
  • Literacy: Understand the term ‘repetition’ and look for patterns of repetition in their favourite poems
  • Numeracy: Australian currency, adding doubles, near doubles, addition strategies
  • Health: Healthy lunchboxes and how the body works
  • History: Past and present; electricity and transport, past and present; lifestyle
  • Design & Technology: Building with shapes, design challenge (need to think of one, maybe Funhouse?), design a building based on the design challenge, make a plan and construct said house with shoeboxes etc
  • Christian Studies: Proverb 6:6 (this will be shiny, new and interesting territory for me, note to self must look up what proverb 6:6 is)
  • Media Arts: 100% Planned, no opportunities there
  • Art: 100% Planned, no opportunities there

How am I going to overcome this…

Step 1: Stay calm K.L. (bit of self-talk is always a good start)

Step 2: Post on my blog and the Facebook page Teachers resources for ICT requesting help (a great little Facebook page if you are yet to stumble across it)

Step 3: Google my little heart out and start listing potential resources/webpages onto my blog… The first result from my search is Smart Boarding School

Step4: Panic is rising!!!

Step 5: Complete the rest of the learning paths on the study desk, in search of answers

Step 6: Stalk/casually look at my peer’s blog posts for sensational ideas or camaraderie in panicky arms. Some of my most recent inspiring stalking includes

 

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