Sunday, September 16, 2007

Goals for a First Year Teacher

1. Organize my time, tasks, and classroom before school begins

2. Always have a backup plan, in case an activity just does not work

3. Develop successful professional relationships with my colleagues and with the families of my students

4. Develop a meaningful relationship with each of my students

5. Plan lessons that will meet the needs of my students

6. Deliver instruction that will fully engage my students in learning

7. Assess my students’ progress accurately and fairly

8. Motivate my students to succeed

9. Help my students develop the study skills they need to become independent learners

10. Prevent discipline problems from disrupting the positive learning environment that I want to establish

11. Successfully manage discipline problems once they occur

12. Meet the needs of each child in my diverse classroom

13. Find a balance between my work (professional) life and my home life

14. Increase my content knowledge of History

15. Keep a journal to reflection on my teaching experiences

Friday, September 7, 2007

Reflections: Week 5

Wow! I can't believe it, I only have 2 more weeks left until I am completely finished!

Working on Improving:

Calling Attention. Most of the time I have no problems calling for the students attention; however, I sometimes find that it may take me a little longer to get the students attention when they are working. There could be a number of reasons why this is:

1. It is only natural that as human beings we want to finish the conversations that we are having.
2. I might need to work on my voice technique. I usually call the students attention through saying: "Class, Could I have your attention for a minute." or "Eyes up, pens down." The majority of the class will stop what they are doing and look up at me, then I go through the process of naming students who are still chatting or continuing to write. I feel that sometimes I cannot demand the students attention straight away without using a stern loud voice. I don't want to have to yell at the students all the time.
3. I demand every students attention and wait until the whole class is quite before starting my instructions. However, I have observe a very effective teacher who calls the students attention and then begins to instruct the students. If their are students who are still chatting they usually settle down and listen once they realise that the teacher is talking. I might try this technique next week.

If students are not listening or chatting during a class discussion I believe that I use effective non-verbal technique to get students back on track. I also do not hesitate to more students if they are chatting to much or disrupting other students.

What went well:

I had two very successful lessons yesterday. The first was with my Yr. 9 History class. I believe that it is important for a teacher to engage the students in the learning process through first gaining their interest and excitement of the subject. I had the students make some observations of a handout on the Viking Longships. Most of the information was historical; however, in the picture it also had a dolphin which it referred to as "quite smart." I think the stimulus engaged the students and by allowing the students to explore the picture first gave the students a sense of control over their own learning. Afterwards, as a class we made observations about the Longships and discussed how the Viking ship making technique was advantageous for their invasion of other countries and exploration. Afterwards, I had the students work in groups of three or four to play a Viking board game in which they had more back and forth places depending on the issues the Vikings incurred in their day life: "Food runs out, stop at an island to go seal hunting, miss a shot" or "Good winds, raise sails, have another shot." The students loved this game! As a class we then discussed the events Vikings experienced in their daily lives.

The other class was my Yr. 8 SOSE class in which the objective of the lesson was to reinforce the information about the Eureka Stockade, which we studied in the previous lesson. I first had the students pull a questions written on a piece of paper out of a bowl. Each student had a different question in which they had to find the answer to it and write it in their books. I then had the each student read out their question and answer. All of the questions were related to the events of the Eureka Stockade (the causes, actions and results). I then handed out an A4 sheet of paper which had one event in the timeline of the Eureka Stockade. Each students read the event and then had to draw a picture to represent the event. This worked very well the students enjoyed it. We then put the pieces of paper on the wall in order and had the class conduct a "walk through." We then discussed the information as a class.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Reflection: Week 4

Another week over and only 3 more weeks to go!!!!

What worked well:

Over these last couple of weeks I have really felt completely confident and competent in my teaching. I also feel that my supervising teachers have complete confidence in me and have given me the independence and total control with the units and classes that I am teaching.

This week I met with the teacher-librarian to discuss helping my year 11 Modern History class with their research. She was very helpful and I am sure the students will benefit a great deal from the tips she can give them on researching their individual Cold War topics.

I taught a very effective lesson to my year 11 Modern History class on how to evaluate Internet websites. I believe they found the information very relevant and useful. I started the lesson with asking the students whether or not gossip magazines or gossip blogs are reliable. I had the students look up some examples such as and research the publisher stormfront, I went through the reliability of and looked at the recent issues with John Howard. I then had the students evaluate a Cold War website using an evaluation checklist handout. I believe the students were attentive and engaged. I then taught this same lesson to the year 11 Ancient History class and the students were once again engaged.

I had a few bahavioural issues with students this week. One girl was sucking on a lollipop at the start of class and I asked her to put it away, which she did and then I turned around again and she had it back in her mouth, I had another student making some strange sound with his phone, which was distracting other students, and finally a student who hit another student on the head with a textbook. I dealt with all of these students individually and after class.

Needs to improve:

I think at times I find myself having to repeat to the class three or four times "Excuse Me, pay attention to the board" or "Pens down, eyes up." Most of the time the students switch on but a few students want to continue either doing their work or talking to one of their classmates. I think I need to either work on the tone in my voice or simply name the students who are not paying attention or I could list the student who are not paying attention with their names on the board and make that their first warning, second warning is a five-minute detention.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Things to do:

At School:

** Observe more classes outside of my field of teaching and also maybe a lesson in the learning support centre.

** Follow up on a girl who I believe has a learning problem. I will go an see someone in the learning support centre and ask for advise or strategies that I can use in class to help her better understand instructions.

At Home:

** Lesson Plans for next week

** Create resources and lesson plans for: SOS102 (Gold Rush), HIS201 (Vikings), HIS304 (Civil Rights).

** Mark papers (essays) for SOS102 and HIS402

** Put together folders of my unit plans and lesson plans thus far for each subject

** Work on my Portfolio (write to each of my selection criteria and start printing resources)

Reflection: Week 3

** This week for my year 8 SOSE class, the students were working in pairs or groups of three to research a Convict and they had to create a "police file" poster about their convict. After researching their convict and writing a draft in their books, the students had one lesson to create their poster. Two girls that were working together decided that they did want to be friends any more, and could work together, one of the girls then went and started working with another student, whose partner was away, while the other girl said that she had done all of this work at home etc etc and the two girls were arguing. Basically a big drama. So I calming spoke to the girl who was left by her self and had her join another group and ask the group if it was OK that she use their information to create a poster. I feel that I was successful at defusing the situation by separating the girls and doing it calmly.

** I taught a really good lesson on "How to check the reliability of Internet Websites." The students were engaged and responded well to the Internet examples I gave: such as "Peerze Hilton" and "The Onion," which were examples of unreliable websites. I was also able to use the PowerPoint successfully, despite a few technical difficulties to begin with. I think in the future it i am going to use PP I will only do it if I have a class straight after lunch or morning tea so I have time to go in and set up rather than having to run around and waste 10 mins trying to put everything together.

** I feel that I have been able to build up a rapport with my Yr. 11 Modern History class, we can joke around for example: they tease me because my ALF team isn't doing very well on the ladder etc. I believe that building up a rapport with students is essential to creating a supportive learning environment.

Reflection: Week 2

Week 2 was a short week due to the Ekka public holiday on the Wednesday and then another pupil free day on the Thursday.

On the Tuesday night was the school dance and I volunteered to be a supervisor. I had a great time! It definitively made me feel old seeing all of the kids there dressed up. I think attending these type of events outside of school time it great for building up a rapport with students.

What I learnt:

** you need to be flexible to students needs during a lesson. This means to be able to stop or change the lesson plan to better suit the students. With my SOSE class this week I taught a lesson on the background History of the Gold Rush and I thought that the students would benefit by doing a timeline in their books of Australian history so they could see where the Gold Rush sat in relation to later events. I had a number of key events and the dates written down and students had to put the information in a timeline. As a class we had discussed a number of the events and I asked for students for their understanding of them. I was under the impression that all of the students had learnt Australian history before in primary school however many had gaps in their knowledge of such events. The previous unit that the students had studied was "Who discovered Australia" however the students had no knowledge of what "Terror Nullius" meant or what the Federation of Australia was. Therefore, rather than continuing on with the next activity, I made sure that students had a complete understanding of the events. I did this through questioning the students, having the students themselves ask questions. I also needed to make sure that they knew what a timeline was and how the date system worked with BC and AD.

So basically I learnt that every students, especially in year 8, have varied educational experiences and knowledge and that it is best not to assume that they would have learnt it in primary school. I also learnt that the teacher needs to be constantly checking for understanding. I do this through moving around the classroom, check students work, asking students individually questions, asking the class questions, having the students explain something or putting it in their own works and summarising.

** I have learnt that as a teacher you must work into the classroom with the confidence on knowing what you are going to teach and how you are going to teach it. This week I taught a lesson on Beowulf to by year 9s. I little knowledge of it before hand, however the weekend before, I study up on the poem and learnt how to pronounce the names. I think that it was important to be able to work into the classroom with confidence.

What went well:

** I was teaching a lesson on the reliability of historical sources and the students were about to study the story of King Arthur. The students had the task of researching the reliability of the story. I first showed the students images of gossip magazines and I asked the students "how do we know that this is reliable?" "what evidence would we need?" I then asked them about Santa "Is the story of Santa based on truth?" "What evidence do we have?" The basis of this was for students to understand that often legends or stories are based on some historical truth however it is the details around the story that change over time. I then showed a short clip from the movie Excalibur where Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and asked the students "what evidence do we have of this?" I think this worked really well as a way to get the students interested in the topic and to connect to the knowledge that they already have.

**My year 11 class had their exam this week so I have marking to do this weekend!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Week 1: Reflections

What I learnt:

* In every lesson try to have a skill or learning technique which you teach to the students rather than simply teaching the content. For example, teaching techniques such as the Inquiry Process and SQ3R. Also it is important to explicitly make the students aware of the technique they are learning.

* Year 8 students take a lot longer to get through activities and set tasks compared to year 9 and 10s. They tend to get over excited and often take longer to settle down.

What went well:

* Students respond well to visual information and activities. For example, I taught a year 8 SOSE class in which I was introducing the concepts of "heroes" and villains." I had students study images of 9 famous characters such as: Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort, Batman, Cruella De Vil etc. In pairs they had to discuss and identify whether or not the character was a hero or villain and what characteristics make that person a hero or villain.

* Scaffolding and modeling. Students need examples and guidance when completing an activity or task they are unfamiliar with such as essay writing.

I will write more later... I have to get back to writing lesson plans and resources : )