Last post….

Although this probably won’t be my last post ever, more than likely, I won’t be doing regular posts.  When I first commenced this course, I enjoyed writing a post here and there…Till the reality of meeting the module deadlines set in.  Then I felt as if I was blogging for blogging’s sake.  And really, this has been how it has gone down for me.

Even so, I found blogging for blog’s sake has helped me to reflect on various things throughout this course, throughout life and just generally.  I have also had use my filters to ensure that I don’t say everything that I want to say when I start a rant on something that bothers me.  That has been useful.

So for now, I’m off to complete assignment 3 for bonus marks and try to keep my GPA looking as respectable as I can.

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Grade modeler…

So like Miss Wical, and many others I expect, after the first two assignments, I was able to achieve a passing grade.  Also like Miss Wical et al. I am not content with just a pass.  So I appreciate the time taken by those to set up the grade modeler on a spread sheet.  It is something that I had never thought about doing as I normally just have a sheet of paper attached to the semester calendar with each subject and the breakdown of marks available and as I receive results back, I write those marks as a fraction eg. 45/50.  As for my entire degree, I have a spreadsheet with all of my subjects, in the order that I have enrolled, with the completed results including a column with my GPA….

Differentiating on prac…

My class got to spend 40 minutes of class time each week in the computer lab.  This time was usually used for participation in the Mathletics program.  A program which the school has purchased and encourages teachers to use.  Since its implementation, results in maths across the school have increased.  The school prides itself on the high levels of both numeracy skills and literacy skills its students have.  These results are reflected in their data.

The thing I like about the mathletics program is that each student can have a differentiated program set up for them by the teacher.  This allows them to have success in mathematics, but also allows for growth as they succeed.  While the teachers agree that initially, the program does take a little effort to setup, the results make that effort worthwhile.

4…

To get some inspiration for my posts, I have been scrolling through Feedly to see if anything helps.  Thankfully, Emma has written a post which brought back a memory from prac.

On previous pracs, I have done a similar thing to Emma and created Powerpoints for my lessons and for various reasons.  So far, all of mentors have mentioned that this has been a great addition to my lessons, especially for those students who aren’t as quick to write things down and when there is limited board space due to rules, or behaviour charts, or displays, or anything else that gets stuck on the board because there is simply no more wall space in the room for it.

Now this prac, while my mentor did agree with the opinion of previous mentors that my Powerpoints were a great inclusion, he also made me think.  At no time while he was teaching did he use a Powerpoint.  He used the projector (and speakers) to provide audio visuals if required, but no Powerpoints.  So after observing a couple of his lessons, I asked him why he didn’t use them.  He explained to me that in previous years, he had gone down the path of making up these fantastic slides to use in lessons, but he noticed a significant drop in the quality of student bookwork.  Students were becoming lazy with their bookwork because writing was not being modelled on the board for them.  With him writing on the board, it also gave students time to keep up with what he was writing and he could better gauge how well they travelling.

When reflecting on my own lessons to that point, I saw what he meant.  I found that by reducing my reliance on Powerpoints and increasing my boardwork, I was able to engage in better discussions with the class about the topics were studying.  Now, this could be due to many reasons.  For example, it may just be what this class is used to, or because of their age group.  However, it did make me question the many hours that I had put into creating “engaging” slides.

Sidetracked…

Last post, I decided to stop what I was saying.  Mainly because I felt it was the professional thing to do.  So this post, I am going to reflect on the awesome three weeks that were my prac.

I had a wonderful Year 6 class made up of 15 boys and 14 girls of mixed ability.  My mentor and I got on extremely well.  He has had many years of experience and it was great to be able to freely tap into some of that wealth of knowledge and experience in the relatively short time we had together.  Like Jordan, I had an extremely positive experience.  Not that I haven’t in the past, it was just somehow even more rewarding this time.

I did find that although the school has access to a lot of ICT, its use in my classroom was restrictive.  Now to me, that is fine, as my experiences over the years as teacher aide working in classrooms where teachers have to struggle against departmental constraints I have witnessed how much time can be lost due to ICTs and how disillusioned in lessons students can become because of this.  I’m sure there are probably many studies out there that disagree with what I’ve witnessed, but hey, that’s what I’ve witnessed.  And we certainly don’t live in a perfect world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not discounting the value of ICTs in the classroom, but just like in the workplace, ICTs are a long way from being the be all and end all.

And then there were 6…

The assignment…  It is not my favourite thing to be working on.  Most of the time throughout my degree (to this point of course), I have been able to engage in the majority of assignments without too much of a problem.  Some have been more stressful, or time consuming than others, but for the most part, fairly straightforward.  This course however, I have not enjoyed that same feeling.  Particularly for this 3rd one.  Part A…no real dramas except for ensuring that I do the correct number of posts, rather than just rely on an excessive word count.  Part B…no real biggie….Only worth 10 marks though.  What the heck is that about?

Part C – 5 Marks?????????????  That is one of the most ridiculous things I have seen to date in my degree.  All of that work for five marks?  And as for the template itself, well that’s another story.  The fact that the actual Prac is only worth 6 marks in reality is wrong.  Where are the priorities of the university at here?  As I am located in an area where I have to compete with a local regional university whose students take priority over those studying via online/distance, I also have to deal with the embarrassment of what is our university’s  system.  At this point, I am going to stop before I publish something that shouldn’t be…

7 to go…

So even though my draft report came through the other day and it says I’m sitting on 5/5 for the learning journal,  I don’t trust it.  I was in that situation last time.  My posts averaged more than enough words, however I didn’t have the right number of posts and therefore, I lost marks.  So I obviously misunderstood the task somehow.  So just to be sure, I am writing another 7 posts to meet the minimum requirement.

At the risk of sounding very selfish, I am glad that I have now completed prac and that this assignment and the blogs are the last due for the semester.  I am really looking forward to an actual break from uni work for the 12 days I have between S2 finishing and S3 commencing.  I really feel for those in the position like Misscheado wh are only commencing now, or those who don’t have a prac to go to as yet.  Both situations simply inexcusable on the part of the prac office.

Moodle Book Blog post

Knowledge and experience?

Having previously worked within education systems, I am somewhat familiar with procedures and protocols around safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in the workplace and the classroom.  I would prefer not to comment on my personal experiences with students involved in cyber bullying and also regarding identity theft and fraud as I deem this to be inappropriate to publish online.

In terms of the quizzes, I didn’t do as well as I thought I would.  It seems that the literature reviews go against the common thought or belief amongst school counsellors (G.Os and Chappies) that I have spoken to over the years who have given me contradicting advice around bully self esteem and other matters.  Obviously, the literature reviews would be more accurate, so I now have a job to do to find out more for myself, rather than use the data collected in schools relating to incidences of bullying.

So I just did the cyber safety quiz.  I got 1 wrong.  Apparently, according to the cyber safety quiz, it is ok to provide your first name.  I don’t agree with that.  A first name can still make you identifiable if your IP address is traced by an undesirable person.  Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but that’s my choice and I definitely won’t be allowing my son to be using his real name online.

While I don’t profess to know it all about remaining safe online, I follow the protocols set out by my former workplaces both at work and in my use of home internet to ensure that my privacy, and that of my family is protected, as much as possible, from undesirable people.

Loving this prac…

So into the second week and approaching hump day.  Where has the time gone?  Out of all of my pracs, I feel like this one has been the best so far.  I’ll admit, I was very nervous when I found out I would be in a Year 6 class for this prac.  Previous pracs have been great, but this time just seems better.  So I ask myself, why is this so?

Is it to do with my mentor?  I think so.  Unlike a couple of my previous mentors, this time, we just seemed to have clicked and it is making a massive difference in how I deliver my lessons and just generally fitting into his classroom.

In terms of implementing ICT, I should be getting to the nuts and bolts of it later this week.  In class, we have looking at natural disasters and the students are going prepare a 60 video, aimed at Preppies-Year Ones about how to prepare for a flood/cyclone/bushfire.  So each group has decided on what they will focus and will look at things these younger kids can do, for example, pick up loose items (their toys) in the yard before a cyclone comes.

Like Mrsrisson, I have found the 50 ways to use a projector in the classroom very helpful.  I also splurged on a wireless mouse and a Powerpoint clicker, so I don’t have to stand near my computer when I’m going through slides.

I also found myself having to step up today when another Year 6 teacher went home unexpectedly early.  Similar to what Dean faced, my mentor had to move in next door to keep them working and I had to take over the class with very limited supervision.  I felt that it made it more like having my own class and when I finally got to sit down with my mentor, he said he didn’t even know our class were still in the room they were working so well.  Here I was thinking they were being a little too rowdy.  So that was a positive.

Well that went quickly…

And I have finished my first four days of prac.  I’m not sure what went more quickly…The four days, or this weekend that I desperately needed so much for assignments and for planning this week’s lesson.  Anyway, here I am again, propped up in bed with my computer jumping from job to job as I remember to add things here and there to all of the open windows on my screen.

Like many, I hit the ground running having to teach my first lesson pretty much straight away.  Feedback from my mentor has been very positive so far and this prac has been far more productive for me in the first four days, than most of my entire last prac.  Although I’ve basically only been using the IWB as a projector so far, I do have some engaging ICT experiences for the students toward the end of this week.  Like Emma and Jane, my mentor is super supportive of the use of ICT in the classroom.  The problem for me will be to get the students into it.  On my first day, and as part of my introduction to the class, I had prepared a profile questionaire and many of the students in my class are not interested in ICTs.  The majority of the class is sport orientated and would rather engage in role playing activities and educational games involving movement.  I am hoping to get more ideas from this website on how to use the projector more effectively.

4 down.  11 to go.