ICT Boo-Hoo

(BTW this should of been posted Thursday 2  June…I’ve been writing blogs into my laptops note while on prac but keep forgetting to actually post them).

 

So today my mentor was unexpectedly sick and unable to come to school. Well, that just upped the stress levels didn’t it.
One of the classes we had planned for her to teach and me give feedback (not just observe, actual feedback about how to improve). That was changed to watching a documentary (the unit in film), which sounded easy enough. Put in DVD, quiet the class down and press play; stop halfway and ask what the ‘big question’ of the documentary is. Simple, right?
Haha NO. The technology didn’t want to work. We ended up with a student, the supervising relief teacher and the HOD trying to get the speakers to work while I entertained the students. Halfway through the 70 minutes lesson, we finally got to start the film.
From this experience I have learnt big time to always have a backup plan if the ICT doesn’t work. What can you discuss with the class? What tasks can you set? What’s your next lesson, and can you start that? I mean it’s Murphy’s Law really: prepare for the ICT to fail and it won’t. Trust it and it will.
Luckily, the students were just fine with just chilling. Honestly, it was the best behaved I’ve seen them, so that’s a plus right? It wasn’t the best lesson, but it could of been a lot worse.

ICT for engagement

(BTW this should of been posted Wednesday 1 June…I’ve been writing blogs into my laptops note while on prac but keep forgetting to actually post them).

One of the greatest reason I have found whilst on Professional Experience for integrating ICT is purely because the students love it.

These days their whole world revolves around ICT, so not having it in the classroom makes it seem like we’re forcing them back into the dark ages. Integrating ICT actually, oddly helps the students engage and behave.

Take for example my year 9 class. Like most classes their age, they are as feral as they are sweet. It was extremely difficult getting them to work on their assignment until…. I set them a powerpoint with information at the start and questions breaking down their assignment at the end. Suddenly, with the freedom of a computer, they were all quiet and working well. They respond better to instructions from a Powerpoint than instructions from a teacher.

Even sitting in on a meeting between the mother of an Autistic student and his teachers (inc. my mentor), the benefits of computer-based work were raised. One of the main strategies they decided on the engage the boy and help him complete his work was using computer based work as a reward.

I am still struggling to integrate ICT meaningfully, however, it is becoming more and more apparent that the future of education is ICT based. My mentor is constantly reinforcing though while ICT can be painful its benefits make it not just worthwhile but a necessity.

MYLOL

This is an app warning shared for everyone!
At my prac school their school-based police officer is currently warning parents and teachers about an app called MYLOL, which is literally marketed as a teen dating site. It’s been described as ‘Tinder for Teenagers’ and ‘Playground for Paedophiles’.
The flier (photo below) contains information about why it can be dangerous for teenagers to use. Their website contains a list of their safety features, but a lot of reviews support the information being distributed.
I’ve never had any personal experience with this app however; does anyone know anything more?
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Clontarf

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Today I had a blessing to engage with the Clontarf Academy present at my Professional Experience school. The Clontarf Foundation “exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal men and by doing so equips them to participate meaningfully in society.” This nationally recognised program has in the past year been established in Queensland schools, including Toowoomba, Kingarory, Dalby, Gundoowindi and Warwick, following much success in other states.

 At my school, they have a space dedicated to letting the boys chill out and relax, complete with food, ping pong, T.V., etc. The rooms are governed by the boys, who decide on the rules and punishments. For example, while I was visiting, one of the boys had to do ten push ups for swearing. Teachers and other students are allowed, and even encouraged, to visit and spend time in the room. Clontarf also helps the students by providing counselling, specialised camps and trips, rides to and from school if needed and as obvious as it sounds food. Furthermore, they assist teachers and classes not so much as a teacher aid  but by providing a liaison between the two who can attend class and also help talk and encourage the students outside it.
Clontarf is an incredible program and incredible resource for students and teachers alike, and I’ve had the benefit of seeing them in action. Some tips they gave me for teaching Indigenous male students included:
  • Get down to their level. They love humour and sports and love it when you join in.
  • Use praise, encouragement, rewards and negotiation over discipline and punishment. They’re used to the 2nd, so when you use the 1st its a big deal.
  • When talking about Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander affairs, let them lead the conversation simply by asking their opinion.
  • But keep your speech informal and conversational. Being formal and overly political correct makes them monitor their own speaking.
I was also made aware that some students will completely ignore and even deny their heritage if there is fighting between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. At other times, it is in-fighintg between the Mob that is more of an issue than blacks and whites fighting. Furthermore, sometimes half the problem is just getting teachers to acknowledge the different backgrounds and heritage students have.
I am thoroughly thankful for the energy and presence all my students bring to the classroom, including the Indigenous students. I want to learn strategies for teaching Indigenous and Torres Straight Islander students not just because it is a standard in the APSTs but because I am passionate about catering for their needs.

Childhood cannot be defined

“Childhood cannot be defined because definition is an act of logic and reason, and childhood is presumably the antithesis of logic and reason – a time of innocence, the glory of which is exactly its irrationality, the lack of knowledge and understanding that presumably offers insight into a great wisdom,” (Nodelman, 2008, 147)

Today I stumbled across that quote that I’d saved from an old English course and wanted to share it with, purely to remind you of the beauty of childhood. Sometimes, when we’re busy and stressed, it is the simple beauties that help us to take a deep breath and appreciate life. So maybe try to take just 5 minutes of each lesson to stand back, take a deep breath, and appreciative the beauty of childhood… even when it’s reigning chaos.

ICT for engagement

One of the greatest reason I have found whilst on Professional Experience for integrating ICT is purely because the students love it.
These days their whole world revolves around ICT, so not having it in the classroom makes it seem like we’re forcing them back into the dark ages. Integrating ICT helps the students engage and behave.
Take for example my year 9 class. Like most classes their age, they are as feral as they are sweet. It was extremely difficult getting them to work on their assignment until…. I set them a powerpoint with information at the start and questions breaking down their assignment at the end. Suddenly, with the freedom of a computer, they were all quiet and working well. They respond better to instructions from a Powerpoint than instructions from a teacher.
Even sitting in on a meeting between the mother of an Autistic student and his teachers (inc. my mentor), the benefits of computer-based work were raised. One of the main strategies they decided on the engage the boy and help him complete his work (without spitting at teachers) was using computer based work as a reward.
I am still struggling to integrate ICT meaningfully, however, it is becoming more and more apparent that the future of education is ICT based. I think I finally get it! My mentor is constantly reinforcing though while it is a ICT can be painful its benefits make it not just worthwhile but a necessity.
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Helping students take responsibility

Earlier in the week I was challenged by a school PD that reflected on how many questions teachers ask but how little students do (roughly 100:5). In an effort to engage a difficult year 12 film class more and help them take responsibility for their own learning, today I planned and taught a class where students devised their own questions to be answered in a later class. It was one of my most successful lessons ever.

To explain more: the learning goal for this and the coming lessons is: how the European film movements were different from mainstream/Hollywood cinema. Rather than just shove the information down their throats, we instead had 3 stations for 3 different film movements where the students rotated between to watch 15 minutes of an example film. At each station, however, they were required to construct three questions they wanted answered, for example:

  • why is the mis-en-scene so dark?
  • why is the framing so close to their faces?
  • What is the significance of the baby dying?

Not:

  • why are we watching this?

At the end of each station, they wrote their questions on the board under the relevant section (see photo). I have since typed them up and we will work on a answering them next week.

My mentor and I were BLOWN AWAY. This was a class that was extremely rowdy and disengaged, yet in this lesson they were silently watching the films and coming up with incredible, deep and relevant questions. It was working! By allowing the students to take control of their own learning and ask questions relevant to them, they became more engaged and will hopefully learn more.

My mentor even told me “I was a genius teacher.”

I would definitely recommend taking notice and applying Yavana Jones’ High Impact Teaching Strategies if you ever get a chance because these were what challenged me to change my thinking. Don’t be afraid to change your own!IMG_2947

 

 

Affection from students

Ultimately most teachers are teachers because it’s rewarding and nothing is more rewarding than receiving (appropriate) affection from students. KattyBrad has blogged about what this often looks like in the primary setting, however secondary can be a little different – thanks hormones!

Unfortunately I received some wolf-whistling/catcalling earlier in the week from some unidentified senior gents, which definitely falls into the category of unwanted and inappropriate attention. I have some strategies to try if it happens again. Wish me luck!IMG_2930

On a much better note, today one of my more difficult year 9 ladies drew a picture of me on her Show-Me board. My mentor agrees its a sign of the rapport I’ve developed with her so I do find it flattering (even if she was supposed to be reading at the time she was drawing it…) and am thankful.

Do any other prac students have examples of receiving affection or thanks from students, no matter how simple?

Show-Me Boards

My new favourite resource is show-me boards!

While my school may not have great ICT, they do have show-me boards which are the most simple, but fantastic way to get students to think and write AND quickly check their work.

They’re just mini whiteboards, A4 sized and slightly bendy. Laminated paper effectively, but done well and kept in a kit with non-permanent sharpies and sponges to rub writing off. Students of all ages love using them and when integrated right so do teachers.

Today I used them in year 9 English to prepare the students for learning. They were asked to write 2 simple things on their board: rate the book we were reading out of 5 and decide if the character was ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ of the alleged crime before holding the board up for me to see. This allowed me to quickly gauge students’ interest and enjoyment of the book, while a student counted up the ratio of ‘guilty’ to ‘not guilty’ decisions.

Word of advice though: students also love to draw on these boards when they’re supposed to be reading. Upon reflection, I should of had a few students collect the resources after we were done to prevent such distractions.

Show-me boards are at the end of the day a resource and only that – like ICT it is up to the teacher to implement them effectively and transform learning.

Record and Reflect

One thing I am really trying to implement this professional experience is recording everything I do. This helps greatly with reflection, but also means you can prove in future times your experience (teacher registration and APSTs anyone?).

My mentor printed out three weekly timetables for me so I can highlight every lesson that I directly taught (and then I half highlight the lessons where students were working on assessment and I just had to provide feedback) as a visual record. It’s great for keeping track of my teaching loads and how they are progressing! Ellajhenderson has blogged her ‘diary of day one and two‘ which I think is a great idea, so I am endeavouring to do a similar thing on a word doc, although using dot points.

Does anyone else have any ideas of how to record and reflect what you are doing?