Practical Experience Reflection

Finally I am able to sit down and reflect on my practical experience after having to submit three other assignments at the beginning of this week. I really have a sore brain.

My experience was unforgettable in such a positive way. I was so lucky to have an extraordinary mentor teacher and a really good class of Year 4 students. There weren’t too many difficult behaviours, just a really chatty class that could be quite draining at the end of the day.

Through all the pracs I have experienced so far, this would definitely be my most rewarded. I was able to witness through the students completing a math revision test of all the concepts that they had learnt over a five week period. Through this assessment I saw that the math concepts that I had taught them enabled the students to do really well with these concept areas. I thought to myself, ‘Yes I can teach.”

Another highlight was introducing the iPads into math rotations. The students thought this was an excellent part of the rotation and told me this was by far their favourite activity.  They had never utilised the iPads in class before so I was really proud of my planning and implementation of this ICT tool.

I was reading Nicole’s blog regarding behaviours in the classroom. Using ICTs in the classroom really assists in aiding behaviour management as you can tell the class that if they don’t work hard or listen, then they may not be able to use that ICT tool. This strategy worked with the students in my class. They definitely wanted to use the iPads.

I used the IWB for most of my lessons. I felt that implementing hands-on activities helped keep the students engaged. I had one day of hiccups. I wanted to use the IWB board to put the bomb timer up for the students to do mad minute multiplication when the server had dropped out. Plan B came into place and I went to my next ICT option and used my phone which had a timer on it and made a noise when the time was up. One thing I learnt before prac especially an ICT one, is to have plan A, B and even a C.

Overall my three weeks was amazing. I can’t wait to go back to my host school and discover more teaching tools and strategies and to keep on pursuing high expectations for myself and my students.

Second week of Practical Experience

What a tiring but eventful week I have had at my host school. My lessons have gone very well due to me feeling more confident and relaxed while teaching and I have found that I have the students respect which really helps for behaviour management. I utilise the schools behaviour management plan and rewards as well as rewards I have improvised myself.

The highlight for me happened on Thursday 29 May, 2014. My mentor teacher asked me to organise and implement the math rotations for the day. I had to plan four rotational activities for small groups. One activity was a 6 times tables bingo game, an activity sheet about the concept of chance, an activity involving the tossing of a coin and collecting data and recording it on a bar graph and the last activity was Ipads.

The Ipads were a hit as the students told me that they had never used them before in class. I was shocked! The concept for the week was 6 times tables so I found an app that was already downloaded and the students navigated this activity. I assigned a teacher aide for this and the feedback she gave me was very encouraging. She said the students were engaged the whole fifteen minutes of the rotation and there weren’t any behaviour issues. I was very thorough with the rules prior to the rotation and I was very proud of the students for listening to the instructions.

I have to organise math rotations again next week, so Ipads are definitely on the program. 

First week of practical experience

Well my first week of practical experience was pretty awesome. I have learnt so much in such a short time. My mentor teacher is so supportive and encouraging, showing me many strategies for teaching. 

One in particular is behaviour management. I am learning different techniques to keep the students engaged through counting down from five which the students copy. The teacher starts counting and stops at three while the students keep counting down to one and then say shhh!! This strategy is non evasive and the students respond to it very well. 

I’ve used a few of my own strategies, starting with head shoulders, head shoulders, shoulders waist, shoulders waist. Making the actions while saying this. The students then started copying which made them settle and focus on me. Another strategy was standing quietly with my arms crossed and looking at the whole class as to indicate that I was waiting for them to be quiet and listen. I used this strategy when the noise level became high.

The class utilises a money reward system where they receive money for something positive that they have done. This strategy works really well which all students respond to. They accumulate their money and they can then purchase something through the class shop that the teacher has set up. This is an excellent system as it teaches the students the concept of money by adding, taking away, dollar value and saving.

I am getting quite confident teaching in front of the class now. I make sure that I am prepared for every lesson and Liaise with my mentor teacher every morning just to make sure that the content I am teaching is correct. 

I observed a brilliant lesson that my mentor teacher gave on Wednesday 21/5/14. It was preparing the students for an English assessment piece that they needed to do. She gave the students pretty well everything except for the answer. They were doing a character review about a story that they had listen to called ‘Big Mouth’ by Paul Jennings. The students were given a planning sheet where they had to answer the subheadings in the boxes, then from this planning put three paragraphs together for their character review. My mentor teacher went back to basics with her year four class explaining every process step by step.  

I’m a teacher aide and at my school it seems that our students are rushed through the learning process. I’ve never seen the teachers at my school go back to basics and do a step by step process like my mentor teacher did. I feel that some teachers become so time poor with the curriculum and don’t get me wrong, it’s not their fault, are unable to take the time to utilise the teaching strategy that my mentor teacher gave. I just know that I will do my best to teach this way.

So overall, I can’t wait until next week. I’ve been given two math lessons to teach, Math rotations to organise and teach with teacher aides, plus reading groups and activities to organise and teach with teacher aides. It’s going to be a busy week.

 

second day of prac

I am starting to settle in quite well with my host school for my practical experience. I gave my first lesson today which was Math. I had to teach the students 6 times tables by writing them on the board and asking the students to copy the tables into their math book. While I wrote the tables on the board, I chose a student who had their hand up to give me the answer for the sum. For students who weren’t familiar with the 6 times tables, I thought they did really well.

After the tables were completed I then engaged the students with an interactive math song so they could sing the 6 times table. The activity was called Percy Parker and the Biswazs Bees. The students were very engaged and participated in the song.

I then moved onto teaching the students the concept of chance. This was quite daunting but very exciting at the same time as I was the one teaching them a new concept. I really had to research and plan to make sure I was giving the students the correct information. After I explained the concept I then wrote some scenarios on the board asking the students if these scenarios were possible, impossible, likely, not likely to happen. We also used words like chance and definitely.

After demonstrating on the whiteboard I engaged the students with an interactive game where they had to choose whether something was possible, impossible, likely, or equally likely. The students seemed to like this activity and were very engaged when asked a question.

At the end of the lesson which went for majority of the middle session, my mentor teacher gave me a very constructive report of how she thought my lesson went. It was very positive and also had pointers for where I can improve on  which assisted me in planning for my next lesson.  Taking all her advice on board has made me more confident for tomorrows lesson.

First day of prac

My first day of prac was quite good. I was able to get to know the students, learn what their capabilities are, what level of learning they are at, who the independent learners are and the students that need assistance.

I am teaching a class of year four students and I have two mentor teachers. One from Monday to Thursday and the other on a Friday. I was also told that the Friday teacher will be with me for a week while the other teacher goes on long service. I was a little worried about this at first as I would have to work with a supply teacher  but when I found out that my mentor teacher on a Friday will be with me I felt more relaxed. Even though yesterday was my first day, I thought we both worked very well together

The behaviour management system is really good in the classroom. The students are given money as a reward and then they can buy something out of the prize box at the end of the week. This system I feel is really good as it incorporates mathematics and problem solving as well as positive reinforcements. 

My mentor teacher has given me a timetable and the subjects she wishes me to plan for so this weekend Guess what I’m doing….

Facebook Security

Whilst surfing through word press I came across Nicole’s blog regarding ‘Take this Lollipop.’ She too had the same concerns as me. Reading Nicole’s blog triggered a memory regarding a conversation I had with fellow work colleagues last week about Facebook security.

I mentioned to my colleagues about the ‘Take this Lollipop’ site and then a colleague said that her daughters don’t use the check in function on the Facebook page as it alerts people to where you are. I have used this function many of times and I thought nothing of it. It is actually quite a concern as I was thinking of custody battles and families that are trying to keep safe by hiding.

What if your children were with a family member e.g. cousins, aunties, uncles and by accident, not really thinking of the concern, they tagged these children as to where they were. It allows for whoever you are keeping your children safe from to have access to them. I know this comment may seem a little extreme, but I do believe it could happen.

Connect.ed

Hi to everyone,

I just completed navigating the Connect.ed website. In my opinion it is quite impressive. I like the cyber-bullying message on Youtube, in particular the video made by the catholic education where they used a Cold Play song as an emotive message. The use of heartfelt music with sad expressions really makes you understand how children feel when they are bullied.

I also played some games such as:

  • Pic your Friends
  • Drop Box
  • Crowd Surfing
  • Flip and Fix

All are very useful when explaining to children the dangers of cyberspace and technology, especially what can happen if you share your information to the wrong person.

I was a little concerned with the activity Crowd Surfing. It was asking the student to choose the right person to pass a message on to a friend. In my opinion they are asking the student to pick a friend purely on what the friend looks like. For example there was a character that was dressed very smartly with his top button done up; a character that was tough looking wearing a singlet and spiky hair; another character wearing a plain shirt with prickly hair. I clicked on the character with prickly hair and was told that this person is not a suitable friend because he wouldn’t pass the message on. I felt that the activity was setting the students up to be stereotypical and judging a person’s character or personality by the way they look or dress.

I like Hector’s World. It is a colourful series of short stories/messages with great animation that the younger students’ would relate to.

Whilst navigating Connect.ed I have learnt as an educator as well as a parent to not take things for granted when it comes to cyberspace. If we have educated our children wisely and taught them about the dangers of technology then we should be confident enough to trust them to make the right decision while searching the internet. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be one step ahead of them making sure that they are making the right decisions and not sharing information to the wrong people.