Integrating the Australian Curriculum Using Web2.0
 
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One of the greatest elements of prac teaching is the ability to try out new things, to have a go at weird and wonderful things with little if any consequences. Of course, I don't try anything, but I do attempt to have a go at as many different styles of teaching as I can. 

I have realised through my very limited experience that for me, I have to start with the activity.  My best teaching this semester has been done when I have created a creative task which the kids will enjoy and I will enjoy teaching and then developing it for the students needs.  Some of the other less productive, enjoyable and successful lessons I have given, I have focused on the students needs and abilities first and tried to find tasks which will suit them. This has not worked for me at all.  

My weakness has been classroom management. Keeping students interested and on task. I read an article the other day about the differences between engaged and on task. At the year 1/2 level, students are honestly not engaged for longer than 10 minutes, so to have them on task for 20 minutes is a big challenge.  As I would expect, student behaviour goes out the window when I attempt long tasks, no matter how enjoyable.  

I had a successful science lesson, a possible reason for its success could have been how I had students move from their desks, to the floor, to walking around the room investigation.  There was noise, and it was very loud but all students were commenting on what they had found. We were investigating gravity and air resistance through the use of paper helicopters. It was a very successful lesson, and if I had enough time I would have finished it.  Having all the students do the same thing at the same time, but having their activities vary made it a successful lesson. 

I worry too much about the issues in the class. For example, there is a student who is ESL. He struggles with his writing, and will basically freak out if he has to do anything to do with writing. Frustratingly, he is very clever and is actually able to do more than what he allows himself.  I spend a lot of time and cognitive effort trying to come up with activities which will engage him and push him without his knowledge.  It has got to the stage where I have absolutely no authority over him, he will regularly say no to me, or completely ignore me.  I am just not sure what to do. I have tried getting to know him better and being more friendly on a personal level outside of the class. This seems to work as he will react to me well however when we are in class and I am in that position of authority, it is as if I do not exist.  

There is another student in the class who (year 1) is very clever (much more than his peers) however he has come up with the idea that he doesn't need to work. He will regularly try to achieve work avoidance goals, he will sit for hours with nothing on his page.  Whilst i continue to come around to his desk and offer positive reinforcement, he will end up doing a half hearted job.  I am just not sure what to do with this student.

There are however many positives that I have taken from this experience: for example the student teacher relationship is well defined. Unlike last semester in prac, I am less these student's friend and more their teacher however they still know they can have a laugh with me and they can trust me.  I enjoy hearing my name called out when I walk up to lines in the morning and the enthusiasm they share to see me.  I have also developed a stronger tone when needed.  Being able to sit on some of the loud students is something which has been developing. 

I will continue to catch up all the things I have mis

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I have unfortunately been very poor in my effort to keep up this blog. Whilst it has continued to be at the forefront of my interest, and i have endeavoured to check the edchat stream regularly, I have still not written nearly as much as I had hoped. 


This update is to put down online my thoughts, experiences and developments as I have started my heavy practical teaching experience.  This semester, I have been at a local public school with a very experienced master teacher. The school is quite high socio-economic status and there is a lot of money in the school. The school is part of a government initiative to be one of the top developing schools which provides it more money, staff and resources.  


What I have loved about this practical experience is the smart board in the classroom. Getting used to the notebook software has been a great challenge but also lots of fun. The functionality is incredible. Just today for example, we had the kids (Years 1 and 2) working in the computer room on the notebook software.  They are creating a virtual book. Basically, they have all designed characters and backgrounds and trees and tree houses. These images were then dutifully scanned into the computer.  Students were then able to create pages in the book to accommodate script that was written by another class.  Once they made their pages of background, they can use the screen capture function to move characters across the page and have a moving animation.  The possiblities for this technology are incredible, and the fact that my master teacher has year 1s and 2s doing it (6 & 7 years old) is astounding. 


Today, as I write this on a little bit of a high as I had a successful lesson. For the first time in weeks I feel like I gained control of the class and my classes were meaningful, well received and achieved the outcomes I had hoped to achieve.  My thought processes had changed for these lessons, and over the next few days I will explain why, but the short story is: I focused on my own creativity.  I started with the outcomes, and moved onto the activity.  I came up with engaging activities which would demonstrate and help students to learn what I wanted them to learn.  It was only after I knew what I wanted the students to achieve that I began to set the differentiated tasks for the students. 


The second lesson I did today was a science lesson. This one could have got out of hand, however I was able to direct the class and keep on top of any extra behaviour that might occur.  The lesson went well as students knew what was expected, I did everything in small steps and the students had the promise of an engaging fun activity which they could learn but also demonstrate understanding.  What I liked most of this activity was the language that students were using to describe what was happening. 


I will endeavour to write more over the next few days as I battle with UNI assessments and Lesson Planning. 

 

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    This blog is that of a very confused, bewildered and amazed new scheme teacher in Sydney Australia who is hoping with all his might that he doesn't fall on his face. Enjoy!

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