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!

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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.

Prac has begun!

Done and dusted! I just finished my first day at prac and it was amazing! My mentor is great and has some brilliant ideas for teaching. She also regularly incorporates ICTs in the class,which is encouraging.

Alex described my feelings towards prac perfectly yesterday – nervous but excited! I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet my mentor prior to prac so I was a little apprehensive as I didn’t know her expectations. I’m glad to see that my worry was unwarranted.

The class has a fairly broad range of ICTs, including a SmartTV, four computers and several iPads, which for a class of seven is very impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing how I can incorporate these to enhance the students’ learning.

CLEM Framework

This week we’ve been learning about the CLEM framework – a framework for learning about new ICTs and their use in the classroom. Lucas has a great explanation of what this is.

CLEM is an acronym, which stands for Community, Literature, Examples and Model. Each component represents a point which should be considered when using ICTs to amplify and transform student learning.

Community – Who else uses this ICT? Can you contact these people to discuss their use of the ICT?

Literature – Is there literature about this ICT? Where can it be found and what does it say about using this in the classroom?

Examples – Has someone else got an example of the ICT to see how it is used?

Model – Each ICT has a model embedded into it. Understanding how it works, what parts it has and what vocabulary is used with it is essential, along with how to fix any problems.

CLEM is a great framework for using new ICTs, I’m excited to use it on prac!

Connect.ed & Cyber Safety

On Monday I completed the Connect.ed cybersafety professional development. My certificate of completion can be found here. 

It was a great reminder of the need to explicitly educate students about cyber safety and how they can keep safe online. Although personally I am very careful about my privacy and keeping myself safe online, I know many people that aren’t aware about how to do this, especially young people who haven’t been taught how.

The concept of a digital footprint was also interesting, as it is so important to be aware of what information you are sharing and who can potentially see it.

Stay safe online everyone!

Assignment Two – Done and Dusted!

I am proud to say that I have finally completed Assignment Two! After many hours of writing, proofreading and double checking, I’m very happy with my work. I chose to write a unit for Year 1 History, based on the idea of diversity in families, and how they have changed or remained the same over time.

Prior to this course, I hadn’t heard of constructing and transforming content descriptors, so it was a bit of a learning curve to find out which was which. I’m glad now though, because it will aid me in the developing of future lesson plans greatly!

It was also the first time I have worked with the History Curriculum, so I greatly enjoyed seeing how the content descriptors could be used.

Overall, the task was very challenging but I do feel I have developed skills that will assist me as an educator. But for now, it’s time for a hot drink and a movie!