Semester One is complete!

Like many of my peers, I have decided to reflect on the learning that has taken place over semester one. You can read Tess’ and Tegan’s  thoughts on the semester here.

For me, I finished a long, demanding but also rewarding semester. I chose to do three subjects and completed the fourth over summer last year. Along with EDC3100 I also completed SPE3003 – Teaching Students with High Support Needs and SPE3005 – Managing Challenging Behaviours. The workload was very heavy, but between all of my courses I learned a lot of skills that I feel will be valuable to me later, and that I was able to utilise on my prac. I’m nervous but excited to see what semester two will hold for me.

Thanks to everyone who has interacted with my blog at some point this semester!


Assignment Three is complete!

After receiving an extension on the assignment due to a late end to prac, my third assignment for this course is finally complete! I found the assignment interesting and more relevant than some assignments I have completed for other courses as it was focussed around prac and the teaching methods and experiences I chose to employ.

Like many of my peers though, I am glad to see an end to the semester. It has been one of my hardest yet, with a big step up in terms of the amount of content and the difficulty. Prac was a major highlight, particularly as I got my first experience teaching for a whole a whole day.

Positive Behaviour for Learning

Earlier today I read a post by Stacey about how Positive Behaviour for Learning or PBL helped the students in her class on prac to manage their behaviour.

The school I was at also used PBL, and I found that the students definitely responded well. They had a ‘gotcha’ system, where the students could earn tickets for showing positive behaviours and demonstrating the school’s values. Even the students with more challenging behaviour wanted nothing more than to get one of these tickets, as they went into a draw to win a small prize. The students corrected their behaviour and were rewarded for their positive behaviour, which in my opinion is a win-win situation as students are not constantly being reprimanded.

The system worked really well, and I hope to work in a school that uses PBL in the future.

Selecting Resources

My peer Sarah recently shared a several resources that can be used with students on prac. It prompted me to look through my own resources, and share a couple more websites that have some great resources.

One of these is Teachers Pay Teachers, a website with thousands of resources shared by other teachers. Although as the name of the website suggests, some cost money, there are also some great free resources to be found that are very useful.

Another website is this virtual manipulatives resource. It is maintained by McGraw Hill Education, and has tons of different manipulatives, including calendars, base 10 blocks, clocks, attribute blocks and a lot of others. Hopefully some of these will be useful to others on their pracs!

ICTs that just don’t work

I’m sure everyone has had that moment, where your carefully crafted lesson completely falls apart, because a computer won’t turn on, or the Smartboard won’t start, or some other ICT just plain won’t work. How do you deal with that?

Caitlin suggests essentially planning two lessons – one with ICTs and one without. Although at first this seems kind of daunting, it makes sense. Sometimes ICTs are simply used for substitution anyway, so it is simple to fall back on the tried and true methods – such as handwriting notes on a whiteboard, or using butcher paper to create mindmaps. This can often be converted to a digital format later anyway. After all, there’s nothing worse than standing in front of a class and not knowing what to do. This is definitely some advice I will keep in mind on my next prac!

The end is in sight!

Wow, it feels like ages since I’ve been on here! I’ve finally completed my three weeks of prac after a solid fortnight of illness. I can honestly say it was my best prac yet. I learned an incredible amount about managing students at different levels, both in regards to age and academically. The class I was in was a special education class that had seven students spanning 6 years in age, and accessing curriculums from foundation to year two. I had a wonderful time and have to admit to shedding a tear or two when I finished.

It was also a great opportunity to practice using ICTs in the classroom, as there were several computers, iPads and a SMARTtv to use. I definitely noticed that students were more engaged when ICTs were used in conjunction with concrete materials, and that they retained the knowledge longer than when traditional pen and paper was the medium.