I have had some ups and downs with this course, as I know many others have experienced too. Overall I think I am going to be a better and more flexible teacher when it comes to how I structure my lessons, and how I use technology to help me teach those lessons. I think the lessons I have learnt from this subject have been invaluable to me as a teacher. I know that I should not be afraid to use technology, but I should also be aware that there are dangers in using it too, and I need to be cautious about what I expose the students to, and to also teach students and their parents about these dangers so that they become responsible users of ICTs.
At another staff meeting we were in the year 4/5 classroom, and the teaching tool this teacher has prepared for us to look at was one to break up the very long middle session with a fun little exercise using a video from Youtube called Boom Chicka Boom. It is a very daggy video clip where a guy calls out actions and lyrics he wants the audience to do. She said the whole class love it and get really involved, it gets them into a better frame of mind when transitioning from one subject to the next. They can get up and be silly for five minutes, and then they know that the expectation is for them all to settle down and listen to the next lesson once it is finished. She did say that it took a little while to get the class to calm down after it in the beginning, but now once the video is finished they know it is time to sit down and get back to work.
I think I’ve mentioned in at least one of my posts that this is my second time around being enrolled in this degree. About four years ago I decided to stop and take a break from it all, and this semester is my first one back since. I have noticed a lot of changes since I left, the first one being this course did not exist back when I was first doing it. Another one is something I only discovered at the end of my Prac, and it was the fact that at the end of the Prac your mentor teacher only has to mark down whether you passed or failed. This is different from before, as they use to give you a rating S1 meaning you were fantastic, and were well on the way to being a great teacher, S2 meaning you were pretty good, but there was still room for improvement and S3 meaning that you did well enough to be given a passing grade, and then there was obviously a failing or not competent mark.
Throughout this Prac I had been trying to get feedback from my mentor teacher as to where I was on this scale, and I was getting frustrated with the fact that she was only saying ‘Don’t worry you’ve definitely passed’. The lesson in this is to make sure I read through all of the documents involved before I beginning anything so I know what is required of me!!
During my time at my Prac school I attended the staff meetings. They had what I thought was a really good setup for theirs. Each week they would have the meeting in a different classroom. Whoever’s classroom it was in would be a little presentation at the beginning which was about something new using an ICT that they had implemented into their classroom. One of the meetings was held in the music room, and the music teacher was showing everyone how to use Class Dojo. She thought it was a great tool, because she could have it on the screen throughout her lessons and the students could see how they were tracking. She would also run little competitions between different classes, so that they were competing for the higher overall good behaviour percentage.
One huge thing that was brought up about using this site was that it wasn’t an Australian Based site, so therefore the information kept on it – the students names were stored somewhere overseas. The schools ICT teacher made a point of saying that using the students full names on the site would be a breach of Education Queensland’s Privacy laws, and at the very least the names should only be first names, but would be better off being different alias’ for the children’s names.
I thought this was a very interesting fact, and I know a lot of schools use class dojo without thinking about the privacy side of things.
For an art lesson I needed to choose an art style from another country. I chose to do Origami from Japan. I am amazed at how many youtube videos I was able to find on how to fold different types of origami. The students in my class had a range of different abilities, and having a youtube video playing in the background, as well as each of them having an instruction sheet, made the lesson easier for all the students to achieve. I chose to use this clip as the instructions were easy to follow along with, and were done nice a slow.
One thing I always find hard to implement in the classroom is good behaviour management strategies. Luckily the school I was at had a well thought out and implemented program, which I could easily follow and put in place. My mentor teacher was also a massive help in advising me how to let the students know I was serious about how I expected them to behave. In my first week I taught a few lessons, and there weren’t too many issues with the student’s behaviour. In the second week my teacher told me to teach a whole day, saying that she would sit back and only jump in if necessary. Well this led to a huge change in student behaviour, my ‘honeymoon period’ was definitely over. The kids were not doing anything to naughty,they were just unsettled and talkative, and the few students that were trying to test me were setting off the rest of the class. In the second session the behaviour was so bad that I had 7 students in time out. I had to stop the class and tell them to sit quietly for one minute without saying, touching or doing anything. I had to keep the class in at lunchtime for 5 minutes. Once they had all left I was quite shaken by the experience and was not sure where I had gone wrong. However, my mentor teacher reassured me that, other than being a bit quicker to hand out the punishments to begin with and trying to reward the students for correct behaviour, I had done everything the right way, and when the class came back in I needed to let them know that their behaviour needed to improve. I did this and made a point of rewarding a few of the students that came into the class straight away and sat down quietly. The afternoon was much better than the middle session, and I made sure when I started each day from then on I went over my expectations of them. I had no major issues with behaviour from then on.
In the school that I did my prac at the teachers were told to use the C2C system to teach their lessons. This was introduced to the school when C2C first came out. My mentor teacher was telling me that when it first started it had all the promise of being a good system, a way to make sure all the students were at the same stage no matter where their classroom was in Australia. However, her views have now changed, she explained to me that C2C lost a lot of the funding it started with, so previously there were a general outline for the lessons to be taught for each subject involved, as well as in depth lesson plans with links to resources. Now the Maths C2C no longer has the detailed lesson plans and the information given on the general outline is so vague that it could be interpreted in many different ways. A lot of the resources that were once available to use for these lessons, are also no longer available.
I found it such a shame that something which so much money was originally spent on has fallen down in pieces, and yet teachers are still expected to teach with it, and deliver well thought out lessons. I do think some of the structuring needed changing, as some of the lessons were not achievable in one lesson, but would have needed multiple lessons in order to give the students the in depth knowledge they would have needed to grasp a concept. However, this is a reason to improve the program, not put it in the ever growing pile of programs that could have worked but were not given the chance.
The English lesson that I did teach using the full C2C planning were well organised, and had enough give in them that I could change them slightly to fit the needs of the class. The linking of resources to the Learning place worked well too.