Survivial of the fittest

Thank you Mr Clancy for providing some awesome student tips for completing assignments with impending prac placements. This is something I struggle with so much. I find with every prac, I just finish assignments and I never get enough time to prepare properly for my professional experience.

Mr Clancy talks about setting achievable goals – “A practical example is when working on assignments, once I have a plan in sight, I aim for 300 words a day over a five day period. I know good and well that I can pound out a lot more than that but exceeding 300 always leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy”.

With a couple of big assignments coming up in the next few weeks I will have to try out some of those ideas. And your right Mr Clancy, it’s always good to feel those little successes along the way.

Young Australian Skeptics article, The Final Year of University: A Survival Guide is a light hearted and entertaining list of do’s and don’ts for getting through uni.  I fully identify with one quote in the article, “You’ve got to work hard for your success and you’ve got to have a steady presence. That’s the secret.” – Kid Rock

That steady presence is something I will meditate on during the rollercoaster of my next practical experience.

Good luck to all.



Preparing for prac

My prac placement has been confirmed and I have been placed in a Year 1 Class which I am very excited about. Michelle Ferrier identifies in her blog, feeling nervous about facing many new student faces, as am I. Unlike Michelle, I do not have an abundance of resources for quick use. I have however, invested in a laminator in the hope that I will be able to provide some visual and word aids to replace talking so much! Every prac, I lose my voice in the first week and I really need to work on that! I leant this pointer from my son’s year 1 teacher. Instead of telling students 2 or 3 times the list of things they will need out to start the day, she just places the labels on the board and students know to look at the board to get ready for the day. It’s simple but such a useful strategy not only for teacher but for the students too.

TeachThis provides a morning checklist which you can print straight off the website. The website provides heaps of other handy teaching resources which are sorted by year levels.


The constructing stage

Reflecting on my own planning and teaching (practical experiences), I find I strive to bring (learning) concepts to life for children, in an effort to engage learners. However, I often do so in a manner, that the concepts or constructing of learning has not been appropriately achieved or made clear before I head to transforming. I think I have such a fear of being ‘boring’ and for students to find school boring that overdo all my teaching. I try to squeeze so many elaborate explanations and resources into my planning that my lessons tend to go for three times the length (not good). This coming practical experience, I will be aware of this and will plan lessons for the constructing stages of learning that are clear and understandable, that also incorporate student’s interests and learning styles.

Keep it clear, simple but with hint of sparkle.



The stresses of learning and being assessed

It’s that time of year again, a few weeks out from prac placement, when you have multiple assignments due, the kids get sick and your left stroking their heads at midnight with assignment thoughts swirling through your head but unable to act on any of these ideas. Like Lesley, I feel the self-confidence taking a hit. It’s always good to hear that other students feel the pressure because it reminds you that you are not incapable, but that these times are difficult for others too.

This got me thinking, I have noticed on my practical experiences that sadly, prep year students were exhibiting anxious and stressed behaviours, indicating they were struggling to cope under the pressures to perform and succeed. They have A LOT to learn in this first year. Perhaps incorporating a reflection tool such as KidBlog would support children, not only in their learning journey, but also give them the means to verbalise their feelings and identify their stresses in the classroom. This could also provide opportunities to nurture peer friendships through shared experiences and advance student’s social/emotional development.

Just a thought.


ICT to engage and to transform

In my last practical experience, I often found myself engaging students in their learning through ICT. I had a prep class, so I often used ‘dance breaks’ to learn counting and songs to learn phonics using the interactive whiteboard. I liked integrating ‘whole body’ movements, music and games as I was disheartened with how much students were required to keep still and sit at such a young age. YouTube clips were simple ICTs to integrate that were short and would engage the students and get them up and about. Most of the students participated in these activities but there were a few who were not keen on moving about.

Like Lesley discussed in her blog, throughout this course, I have not only learnt about some awesome new tools to integrate authentic learning experiences by means of ICT, but have been reminded, importantly of the need to for children to learn from participating and actually using the ICT themselves as a kind of inquiry. This has been interesting, as I always felt that this was too difficult to integrate, especially with young children such as preps.

I am looking forward to testing out my new ideas in my coming placement in a Year 1 class.

Has anyone else been placed in a Year 1 classroom?



Using Bloom’s to develop learning experiences

For assignment 2, I have decided I will plan to really centre around Bloom’s pedagogical framework. I can see how well the learning experiences will flow as it really works to bring students from constructing their knowledge to transforming their knowledge.

Thank you TalithaGraceKing for sharing the Bloom’s Taxonomy verbs. I remember obtaining these from another course examiner but I forgot about them. They will be useful in my justification as well as explaining ‘what the teacher is doing’ in the unit plan.


Engaging the ”gamer child”

Tonight I came across another awesome idea for implementing kid’s interests (i.e games/video games) into the classroom! One of Edtech4beginners ideas is to turn the game Crossy Road  into a quest novel. Ask students to play the game and then use their imaginations to create some fictional writing;

As I looked to the east, I shivered as the speeding bullet got closer and closer. I froze in sheer terror.

Another idea was to use it in a mathematics lesson. Ask the students to count the passing cars. Can they count in 2s, 3s etc. Another ideas was to challenge pupils to create Crossy Road word problems;

18 cars pass by for every 3 trains. How many cars would pass if 15 trains went by?

There are so many great ICT teaching ideas out there that appeal to all kids. This idea could be implemented using any kind of video game/ Ipad game. Now, I know a lot of kids who would be jumping out of their skins if this was presented in a lesson!