The End………..

So the time has nearly come to finish EDC3100.  With assignment three due tomorrow evening I am madly trying to finish it.  Reading Jacqueline’s blog titled A3… Still going…looking for kindred spirits, I know that i am not alone in the struggle of trying to finish off the assignment and the semester.  It has been very long and challenging – but that is why I love studying.  Prac was extremely interesting this time round and I learned a lot – I have been practising some of my new behaviour techniques in my job as a teacher aide.  Just like Chloemprice and Mitchellraine, I too am happy to be ending this course and like them I have learned a lot about how to plan and implement enriched ICT lessons.  Yet, I am still torn on ICT vs concrete materials/hands on activities.  I understand the way the world is moving and developing in regards to technology, but I believe that children learn best with hands on activities, using concrete materials they can manipulate.  So one of my first blogs is about this same issue and I can honestly say after about 10 weeks I am still sitting on the fence.  My progression through this course has not been able to sway me but it has given me a new insight in how to ICT to enrich students learning.  So I say goodbye to EDC3100 in a few more hours as I must go now and finish assignment three.  Do I think I will continue to blog……. not sure.  After some time away from ICT and some well earned holidays I may be able to look at this blog a little differently and continue to blog when the need to have a rant or vent arises.  Until then thank you to everyone who has read my blog, liked posts and referred to them and good luck for the rest of your studies.

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References:

Cat picture.  Retrieved from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/00/1b/8f/001b8f76798cd792fa004f562818d8a4.jpg

Chloemprice blog.  (2016).  The end.  Retrieved from https://chloemprice.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/the-end/

Jacqueline blog.  (2016).  A3… Still going…looking for kindred spirits.  Retrieved from https://jacquelinehowlett.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/a3-still-going-looking-for-kindred-spirits/

Mitchellraine blog (2016).  Finally the end!  Retrieved from https://mitchellraine.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/finally-the-end/

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In the headlines again….What do you think?

Last Friday in the papers the topic of technology and children was raised again in the Courier Mail article titled Technology is creating a generation of dummies.  Over the weekend many news and morning talk shows also discuss the latest article.  This topic has once again been raised due to the federal election and the education policies from the parties.  The course EDC3100 is designed to teach pre-service teachers the importance of enriched ICT lessons and how they can benefit students.  This article highlights many issues of this hot debatable topic – at what cost is it costing our schools.  The maintenance of the technology not to mention maintaining up to date technology is being paid by the schools.  This is where I am torn.  This money could be being spent elsewhere, more concrete materials for students to learn with, more readers, more sporting equipment, more teachers and teacher aides to support and extend students.  The cost of technology is something school budgets need to consider together with supporting teachers with professional development in technology.  The article also highlights the effects technology is having on students, as quoted in the article “reliance on technology is turning kids into jumpy, erratic dummies who cannot focus long enough to meaningfully study anything”.  Many comments from the public also support the need for less technology.  There have been studies and articles about this hot topic.  This article written in 2012 highlighted the same issues back then.  However, what are we doing about it?  It seems to me we are continuing going forward with technology, yet no one is really aware of the long term effects it will have on students learning, behaviour or socially.  Whilst on professional experience the task was to plan and teach at least five enrich ICT lessons.  This was extremely challenging for two reasons, the limited ICT available and my mentors attitude to ICT.  Whilst she allowed me to meet the requirements she believes that ICT only replaces it does not amplify or transform.  After many discussions around this I also tend to agree (and I did before I went on professional experience) as nothing beats hands on concrete materials especially when working with students in the early years.

References:

Lang, L.  (2016).  Technology is creating a generation of dummies. Courier Mail.  Retrieved from http://www.couriermail.com.au/rendezview/technology-is-creating-a-generation-of-dummies/news-story/5c84058176b9d2bf88e367c01663b4c7

Mintz, S.  (2012).  Are we raising a generation of educational dummies?  Retrieved from http://www.ethicssage.com/2012/06/are-we-raising-a-generation-of-educational-dummies.html

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Coming to the end………

As my professional experience draws to an end I feel it’s time to reflect on the experience.  As stated in a previous blog I was lucky enough to have a returned placement.  This meant I knew the school, the rules, the procedures and some of the students.  I thought with this knowledge it would be a breeze.  Well I had no first day nerves….. but that was about it.  This experience has been challenging due to the teacher’s rules and the students behaviour.  Most of my teaching time I had to deal with behaviour management and it is extremely hard when you follow Play is the Way program and the rules are:

  1.  Yellow Poster – it takes great strength to be sensible.
  2. Orange Poster – treat others as you would like to be treated.
  3. Red Poster – pursue your personal best no matter who you work with.
  4. Green Poster – be brave and participate to progress.
  5. Blue Poster – have reasons for the things you say and do.
  6. Purple Poster – be the master no the victim.

This is extremely hard when you need to ask the students constantly show me yellow poster or the words “was that a strong or weak choice” or “follower or leader”.  The students are very familiar with this language and know exactly what I am referring to when I have had to use it.  So like Jacqueline in her blog Behaviour Management, I too have struggled with behaviour management.  This actually troubles me as I believe as a teacher aide I have strong behaviour management however I do mostly work with a small group of students.  However I wonder if it is the school as many student’s behaviour at the school is quite challenging and every teacher is up against it every day which is taking up a lot of their direct teaching time.  Whilst these rules may seem hard to understand they do have some value and I do like the yellow poster – I have used that a lot.  I do also like the green poster, students need to participate in order for them to progress.  I have only one day left and then I go back to my school where I work as a teacher aide with stronger firmer rules that most of us are used to, however I am sure I will slip up and language like strong or weak will come out and I am also sure the students will look at me as if I have lost my mind.

My experience has been challenging and rewarding at the same time.  I have learned I can plan a lesson fairly well, in the early years relate everything back to real life as students will connect and engage, my teaching does need more practice and I need to be able to pick up cues that students are struggling with abstract questions – I must show in concrete, especially in the younger years.  I have also learned that it is much harder to observe a whole class and teach at the same time and I hope this develops as I continue my degree and during my first few years as a teacher.  The class has been lovely and I do have a few favourites and I will be sad to go.  The class is challenging and they do not react well when they have a relief teacher.  This is something that really needs to be address as my mentor unfortunately has to take leave for medical reasons.  So for the next 3 weeks I will wonder how they are behaving – which little volcanos have exploded.  I am thankful of the experience and extremely fortunate to have such an experienced mentor.

References:

Jacqueline’s Blog.  Retrieved from https://jacquelinehowlett.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/behaviour-management/

Play is the Way.  Retrieved from https://playistheway.com.au/buy-products-resources/58-life-raft-manual-6-x-a4-posters.html

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Professional Experience – the end of week 2

Ten days down, five days to go!!!!!

Professional experience this time round has been challenging to say the least.  I was fortunate at late notice to be told I would have a return placement.  I was not very nervous to begin with as I knew the school, the rules, the layout and some of the students.  So after ten days do I still feel like this?  No, not so much.  The students are out of the class every day involved in many other extra-curricular activities.  On Thursday I only see them for the last session which makes teaching extremely difficult.  The teacher also has set times for literacy groups as this is when she has two aides and these activities have been planned for the whole term.  I have taken all maths and science lessons since day 3.  However I feel like I am not teaching enough.  I always help out in literacy groups however I never get my own group to work with.  As a teacher aide I am very capable of working with small groups and find it frustrating that I am not being given any opportunities.  However in saying this week three will start with a huge challenge.  My mentor will be away at a meeting all day and she has left me in charge with the support of a relief teacher.  I will be running the whole day.  I feel confident I can do this and hopefully prove myself as a teacher.  The class as a whole can be quite challenging and they have to date played up with every relief teacher they have had.  My mentor has given them a stern talking to and told them that her detective (me) will still be here to tell her everything that happens in the room, together with the camera which will be turned on for the day (don’t ask that is a whole other story, the camera is not real, however they do not know that).  I am looking forward to Monday and the last week of prac, I will be sad to say goodbye to the students.  I felt very special when they remembered me from last year.

My mentor uses some very good techniques to obtain the students attention which I have taken on board.  At first I didn’t think they would work for me, and thought they only work for her because she has rapport with the students.  This is not so, I used a couple of her techniques during a science lesson and well they worked.  I was surprised and thought I must remember these and I could even implement them in my work as a teacher aide.  These techniques she uses come from a man called Dylan William.  I borrowed her book titled Embedded Formative Assessment and have to say it is making a lot of sense to me and I will be implementing a couple of his techniques and strategies.  I have been actively trying to implement them on prac to ensure consistency for the students.  I do recommend you have a look at the book and his website.

References:

Dylan William website.  Retrieved from http://www.dylanwiliam.org/Dylan_Wiliams_website/Welcome.html

Embedded Formative Assessment book.  Retrieved from http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781934009307?redirected=true&selectCurrency=AUD&w=AF45AU960P60L3A8Z38H&gclid=CIXpq-S7_MwCFQukvQodVWgJdA

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Excitment at the end of week….

After a stressful anxious wait and a missed phone call while I was supervising Naplan, I have finally been placed.  I am returning to the school I was at last year.  Very excited as I am familiar with the school, the teachers, the students and the resources available.  My mentor is a very experienced teacher and I am looking forward to learning from her.  I am also looking forward to seeing how the students learning journey has progressed in a year.  I am on year 1 this year and last year I was on Prep, so I will know some of the students in the class.  The school is so lovely and everyone who works there are extremely nice, they have a very positive working atmosphere.  They have been understanding and are allowing me to drop my daughter off for camp and be a little late on my first day, as they stated “family is important and they come first”.  This made me feel relieved and I am ready and calm for Monday.

So now that my placement is sorted I can finally concentrate on Assignment 3 and I have also brought myself to read a few blogs (I was envy of everyone being excited about prac, when I was worried and stressed I was not going to be placed).  The blogs I have read discuss Assignment 3 and in particular Part B, Ttuner96 – #38 Time to attempt Assignment 3, shares a little of what she knows about her context and Becteacher2B – My Context also shares about her context.  These posts are assisting as I write my context in preparation for Assignment 3.

Naplan Update – so yesterday saw the last day of testing – numeracy.  As I looked through the test I was able to identify those higher order thinking questions and was interested to see how the students attempted them.  All students in the class I supervised did their best and that is all anyone can every ask of them.

References

Becteacher2B blog.  (2016).  My Context.  Retrieved from https://becteacher2b.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/my-context/

Tturner96 blog.  (2016).  #38 Time to attempt Assignment 3.  Retrieved from https://tturner96.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/38-time-to-attempt-assignment-3/

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Professional Experience…….

Professional experience is to begin next Monday 16th May and yes I am nervous.  However, not for the same reasons Sherrynjohns, becsavuni2016edc3100 or Kattybrad.  I am still yet to be placed at school and this has me on an emotional rollercoaster.  I am frustrated, worried, anxious, nervous and unprepared.  I am doing all I can to be prepared on my part at least.  However I am not worried about prac as such, it is more the daily life things.  I am a single parent and have no support.  I do not ask for help often and feel bad when I have to.  My daughter is going on camp on Monday and I have no idea if I am going to be able to drop her off at school as I do not know how far I will have to travel for prac.  I have to take time off work without pay, so I have the added financial pressures and no one to help with that.  My daughter when she comes back from camp has to be driven to her dancing classes (two afternoon per week) and then there is the how do I get her to and from school as I can not afford to pay for after school care.  All this is making me more nervous that actually going on prac and teaching.  So I am a little jealous of the blogs I have read about professional experience as I wish that I had a placement.  So I will spend another night worrying with my fingers and toes crossed I get a placement tomorrow.  I do hate to look unprofessional and would have liked to meet my mentor before I started and visited the school, however I don’t think I will have that opportunity.

References:

Becsavuni2016edc3100 blog.  (2016).  Still terrified…. Part 2.  Retrieved from https://becsavuni2016edc3100.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/still-terrified-part-2/

Kattybrad blog.  (2016).  Prac for the first time in 4 years….  Retrieved from https://kattybrad.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/prac-for-the-first-time-in-4-years/

Sherrynjohns blog.  (2016).  My thoughts as Professional Experience draws closer.  Retrieved from https://sherrynjohns.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/my-thoughts-as-professional-experience-draws-closer/

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Naplan – up close and personal

Yesterday was the first day for Naplan testing for students in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Yesterday was my first up close experience as a teacher aide supervising Naplan.  Being in my fifth year as a teacher aide I was lucky until this year not to have anything to do with Naplan, except supporting my daughter during year 3 and 5.

I must say as a teacher aide experiencing it for the first time….. it’s boring.  Walking around a room occasionally checking how students are going, picking up sharpers, rubbers, or pencils as they keep knocking them off (pretty sure in the last two days I have done like 50 squats) and being quiet, that is actually hard and not being allowed to help them or even point to something to help them.  The rules are extremely strict and all posters around the room must be taken down or covered.  It is this process I believe that causes students to become anxious.  Not to mention how jumpy the teacher was.  It was her first time in many years and she kept questioning me about the time.  Example we start at 9:20am what is 40mins from now.  I said 10:00am.  She said I was wrong mmmm.  Stressed much.  After much debate she laughed and apologised.  This is a very experienced teacher, counting down the days to her retirement and she was anxious.  The students have handled the last two days extremely well.  This year for the first time in five years, with a new principal, no pressure was put on the students, no heavy practising occurred and the talk about Naplan was minimal.  As a school that has exceptional results in the past (with pressure and practising) I am keen to find out just how the students have gone and if the school keeps their high exceptional results.

Every year around Naplan time, experts come out and speak against, morning shows talk about it and politicians support it.  The students are exposed to these media coverage’s and can make them more anxious and give it more weight then really necessary.  The Today Show had a segment on Naplan which was funny, however it is still putting focus on it.  Kelsey Munro from the Sydney Morning Herald also wrote an article Naplan verdit: Lots of questions, some hard, some fun, once again, putting the focus on it.

As a parent I do not agree with Naplan.  I never pressured my daughter (although at the time her school did).  This test is not going to tell me what kind of person my daughter will become, she needs to The testing has nothing to do with what they learn through the curriculum.  Kimpooler also shares the same opinion as stated in her blog post called Naplan Rookie.  I can relate to the advice she gave her son as it was the same advice I gave to my daughter three years ago.  I also loved the letter that she mentioned in her post which was also mentioned a lot on social media and Mamamia also mentioned it on their website.  I applaud the school who was brave enough to say what we all think out loud as many teachers support it quietly.  If you have not read it, take the time, it is extremely heartfelt.

Tomorrow is the last of the test – numeracy.  So another anxious morning for the teacher who today trust me with the time and I am also in charge of time tomorrow – lucky for the students.

References:

Kimpooler blog.  (2016).  Naplan Rookie.  Retrieved from https://kimpoolerblog1.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/naplan-rookie/

Mamamia.  (2016).  Teachers write a beautiful letter to students ahead of Naplan testing.  Retrieved from http://www.mamamia.com.au/teacher-letter-naplan/

Munro, K.  (2016).  Naplan verdict:  Lot’s of questions, some hard, some fun.  Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/naplan-verdict-lots-of-questions-some-hard-some-fun-20160510-gorro7.html

The Today Show.  (2016)  Retrieved from http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/05/10/12/43/karl-and-lisa-sit-mock-naplan-test

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