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 : )

Back on PRAC!!!

I start my second prac last monday (6/8/07)!!! This time I am teaching 4 classes:

** Year 8 SOSE (The Gold Rush)

** Year 9 History (Anglo-Saxons)

** Year 10 History (Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll)

** Year 11 Modern History (Cold War)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cooperative Learning Strategies

Following are some Cooperative Learning Strategies:

Numbered-heads together

Students form groups
Groups members are assigned numbers
Review questions in numbered group
All discuss
Instructor calls out number to get answer
Group member with that number responds to question oral or written.
Helps resolve free-rider problem
Think in Pairs

Idea Exchange
Meet with second group (total of 4) and continue exchange
Combine groups (total of 8 individuals) for even more exchange

Forms groups
Rebreak by numbers
Learn group information
Go back to home group and explain what you learned
Round Robin Approach

Open ended discussion
Everyone talks (round robin)
Two main roles - recorder, presenter
3-Minute Review

Group discussion of the topic presented
Present questions to group/instructor
3-step Interview

Interview each other
Present the others view to class or introduce each other

Monday, July 2, 2007

Yr. 9 SOSE Reflection

Strengths and Needs to improve:

* Connectedness -- creating interesting activities. Using interesting techniques to motivate and get students interested in the topic.

* Highly organised and prepared -- I created lesson plans which were flexible to the needs of the students in the classroom. I also worked well with other teachers teaching the same unit -- to share my resources, discuss any difficulties the students encountered, discuss the time management of the unit, I created a student assignment checklist and explanation on how to prepare and present an oral presentation, which all of the teachers used etc.

* Relate to students -- I feel that I have worked well with the students to understand their individual needs and abilities. I have helped those students with learning difficulties by pairing them up with students of a higher ability during group activities. I also did this with those students who have the tendency to misbehave -- I paired them up with students who are going to concentrate to complete the work.

* Behaviour Management -- to begin with this class was very challenging. My supervising teacher informed me that even an experienced teacher would find this class difficult to manage. I think that I was better able to control the class when my confidence increased as a teacher and I implemented better behaviour management strategies, such as writing their name on the board as a first warning and a x next to it would be a detention. Students need teachers to be fair and consistent with discipline. From this class I learnt that I only takes one or two students who can influence and distract a number of students around them. I think in the future that I will be more proactive in moving those students at the beginning of the lessons before they distract other students.

I would like to say that with this class I could use "positive reinforcement" to create better behaviour however, with this particular class I feel that it would only work to a certain extent and not well enough to control and teach the class. I do however use positive reinforcement with the class when dealing with the academic side however I do also need to recognise good behaviour, which is something I will endeavour to do in the future.

* I feel that I need to improve my ability to cater for different learning abilities, particularly those with literacy learning difficulties.

Yr. 10 History Reflection


• Connectedness with students -- use of The Simpsons episode to get students thinking about the Cold War, particularly definitions capitalism and communism.
• Interesting, insightful and motivating resources -- half the class watched the real education video “Duck and Cover”, which was played in American schools from the 1950s to the 1980s, while the other half looked at brochures informing people about what to do if a nuclear bomb occurred. We then had a class discussion regarding: What was the intended purpose of "Duck and Cover" and the brochures when they were first made? What was your reaction to the film or brochure? Compare and contrast the intended purpose with your reaction to it. The students were genuinely interested, as they were able to imagine themselves in the same situation as people living during the Cold War. This in turn enabled them to better understand how and why people felt threatened by the possibility of a nuclear strike.
• Behaviour Management Strategies -- set out the rules of my classroom and made it clear that students are to follow these. I feel that I have been in control of the class and the students have respected me in this role. Despite the fact that I had developed relationships with the students before hand, I feel the students have respected me as a teacher and a person in authority. Both of which I feel is a result of my behaviour management strategies.

Areas I need to improve:

• Content knowledge -- as I was not completely familiar with the Cold War before I began preparing for this unit, I now realize that as a history teacher I must continually be reading and improving my own knowledge of history.

Week 6 & 7: Reflection

In the finally weeks of my prac I was heavily involved in designing, setting and marking exams for all of my classes.

In week 6:

I marked Yr. 9 SOSE oral presentations

Marked Yr. 11 Modern History essays and taught a lesson introducing the new topic of the Cold War.

Marked Yr. 10 Modern History response to stimulus papers.

Marked Yr. 8 English oral presentations.

In week 7:

I taught two Yr. 8 English classes. I taught a short unit on "pirates", which I created and designed. I had them vote for a captain, analyze the symbolism in pirate flags and deign their own flags. We read a few articles about modern day pirates and then had them compare "Hollywood pirates" and "modern day pirates." There were also a number of other activities related to this unit. I felt that the students really enjoyed the activities and topic. I also think that this shot unit has the potential to be extended to a full history unit where students could research historical pirates or an English unit in which students would study "Treasure Island."

As far a teaching this class: I found the students a delight to teach. I feel that the behaviour management strategies, which I developed earlier in my prac better enabled me to teach the class.

In the final week I also taught a Yr. 9 SOSE class. I taught a short unit on food. I had students compare two pictures of a typical American family food consumption to a Mexican family. I had them look at the geography and economic issues. We then focused on advertising strategies and techniques used to advertise food items. I had them analyze food advertisements and then create their own ad. We then looked at techniques used to photograph food. To conclude the short unit we looked at poverty and compared assess to food in first world verses third world.

I think the students really enjoyed this unit practically the sections in which we looked at brand names, brand recognition and advertising strategies. I really think one of the keys to teaching is to make sure you connect with the students -- Connectedness!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Week 5: Reflection

This week I started teaching another class -- year 10 Modern History. I will be teaching them a short unit on the Cold War. I will be basically covering the causes of the Cold War (both the immediate and ideological) as well focusing on a case study of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

** Bahaviour Management: With the year 10 Modern History class I was really quite proud of my behaviour management ability. I felt like I had complete control over the class : ) I think my year 9 class has forced me to become clear about my behaviour management strategies.

**Connectedness: I start the Cold War unit with a 1:30min video of The Simpsons in which the Soviet Union returned. I asked the students whether or not they fully understood all of the jokes. I asked them what questions they had. Some of their questions were: What is communism, What is capitalism, who was Lenin, Why was Russia called the Soviet Union. This then allowed me to answer their questions. I then had a topic map on the blackboard, which displayed the causes of the cold war.

** My SOSE class was much better this week! : ) I was really able to keep the students motivated and interested. I did not need to write anyones name on the board. I directed the learning of the class much more than before which in turn created better learning outcomes.

Needs to Improve:

** I have never formally studied the Cold War before so I did not feel 100% comfortable answering their questions. However, I am going to try and read up on it as much as I can and I will work had to go through all of the activities before hand.

** I need to learn how to improve students motivation! The school in general is not very academically motivated.

What I have learnt:

** over the past couple of weeks I have learnt to rearrange my lesson plans either during or the next lesson to better suit the students learning needs. For example, with my SOSE class I had to introduce and explain the government decision making process. The students did not completely understand what lobby groups did. So I changed the next lesson to focus just on lobby groups (it was vital to the unit). I had them create brochure's using information sheets from pro and anti nuclear energy lobby groups.

Week 4: Reflection

Positives and Needs to improve:

** I felt much more confident this week.

** Behaviour Management: I felt I had much more control over the class. It seems like my new rules (name on the board) is working with the students. Although the students did they to test me on them. I stood my ground.

** Instructions: I really tried to work on my instructions to make them as clear and concise as possible. For example, during one of my SOSE classes I had the class work in groups to design a poster representing a lobby group. This required a number of instructions so I wrote them on the blackboard so students could follow them more easily. This worked well. However, another problem arose with this activity. Because it was a group work activity students worked at different paces. I really needed to give the students time limits for the different stages of the project.

** With my year 11 Modern History class I think that I have gotten to the stage of being able to create a much more relaxed atmosphere. I think I personally was much more relaxed and confident which in turn created a better learning environment.

** I had been constantly implementing the Productive Pedagogy of "connectedness." I feel that I was really able to do this successfully in my Year 11 Modern History class. We are studying the concept of "Totalitarianism" and the characteristics of totalitarian states using Nazi Germany as a case study. While we were studying the characteristic of propaganda I explained that this type of indoctrination can still be seen in todays society - I showed them a video of the "Islamic Mickey Mouse." The students really seemed interested and this in turn sparked some great class discussion. After this I then showed them a current example of a totalitarian state - North Korea - I explained that all of these characteristics that we have studied in relation to Nazi Germany are not just part of history. I played a short 5 minute documentary of North Korea and had students identify aspects of totalitarianism that they could see.

I also worked on Connectedness when I begun the unit on totalitarianism. I played the opening 15 minutes of the movie "V for Vandetta" and had students identify aspects of totalitarianism.

I definiately think that "connectedness" is a key to improving students motivation and ability to learn.

Week 3: Reflection

This is a little late but here are some of my notes from week 3:

* Watching Videos: I played a documentary for my year 9 SOSE class although it was really interesting and fit the topic perfectly. It was way too long for their attention span (it was 40 minutes). I realise now that I should have stop and discussed sections of the video rather than watching it straight through to the end.

* I realise that displaying data is interesting and different ways is great for improving students understanding of a topic. For example, in my SOSE class I created a concept map "Threats to the Great Barrier Reef" and then displayed the data again using a cause and effect table.

* During week 3 I really worked on repeating what the students said in response to my questioning as to state the correct answer and so the rest of the class understands what the correct answer was.

* I really need to work on my instructions and directions to make them as clear and concise as possible.

* I also need to work on my behaviour management with my year 9 class. During week 4 I will implement two new classroom rule (6 & 7):

1. Always be prepared for class.

2. Be on time.

3. Respect one another and everyone’s personal belongings.

4. Raise your hand if you have a question or want to share something.

5. Listen to the designated speaker.

6. No walking around the classroom without permission

7. If you break any of these rules or misbehave in class your name will go on the board (this is your warning).

** If you continue to misbehave you will get a cross next to your name. Each cross is a 5 minute detention.
**You can get your name off the board through good behaviour.
**Five crosses next to your name and you will be sent to the HOD

* I sat in on one the HOD's classes and got some great behaviour management ideas. Simple things such as: "Eyes up pens down" "Stop what you are doing, pens down, look at me" and the names on the blackboard.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Week 2: Reflection

Here are some of the problems / positive / points I need to work one:

* Misjudged timing for different activities.
In my first lesson the students went through the activities faster than I originally thought. I did however get them to begin working on their homework for the last 5 minutes of the lesson. I think I underestimated their ability and the moved through the material rather fast. (yr.11 Modern History).
* Questioning
I think that I need to work on my questioning technique.

* I have been successful at making the material and content interesting (Productive Pedagogies: Connectedness). I really believe one of the keys to teaching is to make the material and topic relevant.
* I have learnt most of the students names and have used them successfully. I think this is key to connecting with students. It also works a charm when dealing with behaviour management issues.
* Be organised
I have written unit plans for: yr.11 Modern History, Yr. 10 Modern History and Yr. 9 SOSE (studies of society and environment).
I have written lesson plans at least 4 days before they need to be taught.
I think the key is to stay on top of things and not to fall behind.
* I have created good relationships with students
* This is a really small thing but I think my blackboard writing is rather good -- I thought it would be worse.

Need to work on:
* class questioning/discussion
I think that I am a little scared of the unknown.
* I need to give students time barriers for activities.

What I have learnt:
* If students do not completely understand something teach it in a different manner or more intensely.
Last week I was teaching about the government decision making process and the students did not completely understand what lobby groups do. So I reshuffled my unit plan and taught a double lesson on the role of lobby groups. I explained their role and then had the students work in groups of 3-4 to design brochures as if they were a lobby group. I had half the class look at anti-uranium mining and other half pro-uranium mining (Yr.9 SOSE). It worked really well and the students gained an understanding of how lobby groups work and use persuasive language. I think the students also really liked designing their brochures too : )

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Week 1: Reflection

Here are a couple of the major points I have learnt thus far:

** Never overestimate the power of positive reinforcement
-- I need to work on this. Often I am so focused on the flow of the lesson and what I need to do next that I forget to praise students.

** Establish good behaviour management strategies with each class.
-- This strategy is different depending on the students and year level.

** With younger students (yr8 &yr9) you really need to be explicit.
-- For example, when asking students to analyse a picture, tell them to "go for detail. Try to make your list as long as possible. Write like a shopping list - dot points not full sentences." or "You can talk to the person sitting next to you on two conditions (1) that you are discussing the work (2) that you are not disrupting other students."

** When asking students questions as a group, restate what the student has said, so that the whole class understands what the correct answer is.
-- This is another thing I need to work on -- interaction with students during classroom discussion.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Recap of the first 3 days of prac ...

This first week is all observation and allows me time to prepare unit and lesson plans:

Yr.11 Modern History (Hitler and Totalitarianism)

Yr.10 Modern History (Cuba Missile Crisis)

Yr.9 SOSE (Government decision making process)

Next Tuesday, I will have a brief unit plan for all classes, lesson plans for that week and the following weeks lessons.

With the yr.9 class I need to establish strong behaviour management strategies!!!

I think I am handling things ok. The first two days were very overwhelming! Not to mention that is it "that time of the month" and I'm a little over-emotional : (

The kids at the school are very nice and friendly -- I love hearing Miss or Mrs. __!

I am very excited to be involved in helping a group of three Aboriginal yr:8 students with their English school work. They all seem to have a lot of potential and I think with my background in teaching ESL I will be of help. Having this small group of fun, talkative and excitable students this afternoon tested some of my behaviour management stratagies. Firstly, I realise how difficult it is to keep students on task on a wednesday afternoon!

I will write more when I get the chance : )

Monday, April 30, 2007

Great Advice

One of my amazing teacher just give me some great advice and I thought I would share it with you.

1. Good behaviour management starts with good planning and pedagogy. If you get them in they are less likely to misbehave.

2. You need a relationship with the following qualities - respectful, fair and consistent. Do not be overly friendly. They have friends. You are their Teacher!

3. Work towards them trusting you.

4. Give them opportunities for success - in what ever way you can. Constant failure leads to misbehaviour.

5. If they think you are unfair, fake, boring, sarcastic, cruel, a bully, disorganised, ill-prepared or inflexible you are making life hard for yourself.

6. Do not humiliate kids in front of their peers. If a kid is doing the wrong thing, have a quiet word so others are not listening, take the kid aside or outside, talk to them at at lunch - if you make an enemy you create a problem.

7. Do not accept unacceptable behaviour. Draw a clear line in the sand. Demand kids are polite and repectful.

8. Do not be too familiar, particularly with kids who are new to you - in time they will want a closer relationship - do not hurry this.

9. Have honest conversations with your suppervisors - but do not open up too much with other members of the staff - show confidence - fake it until you make it!

10. Detentions are a poor tool in changing behaviour. If it is needed use the time to talk and build a relationship, not to punish.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bag -- you take to every class

I promise that once I start prac (in 10 days!!!!!) I will post more about my own personal experiences and will stop posting as mant checklists : )

** Timetable

** roll

** lesson plans & resources/materials

** emergency activity to do (find-a-work or game)

** bottle of water

** snack

** throat lozenges

** painkillers (I sometimes get bad headaches)

Anything else I have forgotten?

Self-Evaluation Questionnaire

How Do You Teach?

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR HANDS? Gesture? Keep them in your pockets? Hold onto the podium? Play with the chalk? Hide them so students won't see them shake?

WHERE DO YOU STAND OR SIT? Behind the podium? On the table?

WHEN DO YOU MOVE TO A DIFFERENT LOCATION? Never? At regular ten-second intervals? When you change topics? When you need to write something on the board/overhead? When you answer a student's question? At what speed do you move? Do you talk and move at the same time?

WHERE DO YOU MOVE? Back behind the podium? Out to the students? To the blackboard?

WHERE DO YOUR EYES MOST OFTEN FOCUS? On your notes? On the board/overhead? Out the window? On a spot on the wall in the back of the classroom? On the students? Could you tell who was in class today without having taken role?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FINISH ONE CONTENT SEGMENT AND ARE READY TO MOVE ONTO THE NEXT? Say okay? Ask if there are any student questions? Erase the board? Move to a different location? Make a verbal transition?

WHEN DO YOU SPEAK LOUDER/SOFTER? When the point is very important? When nobody seems to understand? When nobody seems to be listening?

WHEN DO YOU SPEAK FASTER/SLOWER? When an idea is important and you want to emphasize it? When you are behind where you ought to be on the content? When students are asking questions you're having trouble answering?


HOW DO YOU USE EXAMPLES? How often do you include them? When do you include them?

HOW DO YOU EMPHASIZE MAIN POINTS? Write them on the board/overhead? Say them more than once? Ask the students if they understand them? Suggest ways they might be remembered?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN STUDENTS ARE INATTENTIVE? Ignore them? Stop and ask questions? Interject an anecdote? Point out the consequences of not paying attention? Move out toward them?

DO YOU ENCOURAGE STUDENT PARTICIPATION? How? Do you call on students by name? Do you grade it? DO you wait for answers? Do you verbally recognize quality contributions? Do you correct student answers? On a typical day, how much time is devoted to student talk?

HOW DO YOU BEGIN/END CLASS? With a summary and conclusion? With a preview and a review? With a gasp and a groan? With a bang and a whimper?

The Practicum -- a checklist

Yet another checklist! This one is very important and I will be up-dating it when I think of my questions to add.

Questions to ask my supervising teacher:

1. Find out the subjects, classes and levels will I be teaching (ask for a timetable)

2. Ask for a copy of the unit plan.

3. Do they have a preferred lesson plan layout?

4. Do they have a list of the students grades/marks or do they have any examples of students work -- to establish their learning ability, what they need to improve etc. Are there any students with special needs or learning difficulties?

5. Organise a time to meet once a week to go over lesson plans etc. Do they have a preferred format for a daily/weekly log or journal?

6. The extent that I am allowed to photocopy. What are the procedures?

7. To what extent do I have access to OHP, computers, the internet, TV (DVD and VCR players), access to the library and access to stationary?

8. Do I have access to the online learning?

9. Ask what expectations they have of me.

Outline what the Supervising Teaher can expect from myself:

1. hardworking, organised and professional

2. I will endeavour to have an outline of my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday lesson plans on the Fridays and the lesson plans for the Thursday and Friday on Mondays (I hope that makes sense). Is email ok?

3. I am here to learn in any and everyway. If they need help for anything at all. I would love to be involved in any extra curricula activities etc.

4. Give the teacher a note with my name, address, email address and phone number

5. Outline my main goal -- to improve and develop my teaching style. To improve my weaknesses and strengthen my strengths.

Important information to get from the school:

1. General school policies and procedures

2. Fire drill and lock down procedures

3. Behaviour management policy

4. School Map and out of bounds areas

During Observation WeeK:

1. Learn students names as soon as possible

2. Learn classroom routines

3. Follow the routines the teacher has already established

Icebreaker Activity Idea

I think this is the activity that I will use to introduce myself and get to know the students during my first lesson.


Students will learn things about each other (and the teacher) they might not normally learn and have fun.


Index cards, creativity, and a sense of humor

Activities and Strategies:

1. Pass out index cards.
2. Instruct students to write three statements about themselves. One must be a true statement. The other two must be untrue. (The more outrageous all three statements are, the better. Encourage students to think of odd information about themselves that no one would be able to know if it were true or false.)
3. Have either the student or a group leader read off the card. After all three statements have been read, have the students vote on which statement they believe to be true. Then have the student in question reveal the truthful statement.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I found out where in going for my first practicum! It is a state high school with around 1300 students and 90+ teachers. From what I can tell it is a largely multicultural school with a number of first generation Australians.

I'm really excited! and a little anxious, worried, scared etc.

My first day is on the 30th of April! Only 12 days away! I have so many things to do and so little time.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Currently reading

To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher -- William Ayers

"Teaching is an interactive practice that begins and ends with seeing the student. This is more complicated than it seems, for it is something that is ongoing and never completely finished. The student grows and changes, the teacher learns, the situation shifts, and seeing becomes an evolving challenge. As layers of mystification and obfuscation are peeled away, as th student becomes more fully present to the teacher, experiences and ways of thinking and knowing that were initially obscure become the ground on which an authentic and vital teaching practice can be constructed."

2007 Teacher Preparation Calendar

My life for the next 8 months!

Blue Sections = Teaching

Purple Sections = Lectures and Tutorials

Building Rapport with Students

** Get to know your students as soon as possible. This includes learning something about each student and learning to deal with various personalities.

** Enter the classroom with confidence. If you seem insecure, the students will realize it and you'll never have control over the class.

** Plan well. The student teaching experience is limited, so create realistic goals for what you want to achieve with your class.

** Use a variety of teaching strategies in the classroom. Plan to use worksheets, games, role playing, group work, and other approaches in order to motivate students as well as help them learn.

** Have a specific discipline plan for the classroom that is coordinated with your cooperating teacher. Start by knowing the school's rules about discipline.

** Smile a lot and have a good sense of humor. It can be contagious.

** Be flexible. A lot of teaching is trial and error. What works for one class may not work for another.


Common Concerns of Student Teachers

Concern: Time/energy involved in preparing classes
Action: Set aside time each day to plan for classes

Concern: Classroom management
Action: Have a plan ready for your first day

Concern: Students' lack of communication skills
Action: Assess where students skills are: give them practice

Concern: Students' lack of interest
Action: Use a variety of teaching approaches: learn students' names

Concern: Emotional and physical demands of teaching full-time
Action: Eat well, get enough rest, and maintain your support network


Friday, April 13, 2007

I just found another great resource for beginning teachers --

This website has a number of videos, which discuss everything from ways to inspire students to behaviour management. What I have found most helpful are the Teaching with John Bayley programs. He works with other teachers to help them improve their classroom technique.

One of the Bayley videos shows a teacher who typically said things like, “Could you maybe start to settle down please.” Bayley asked her if she was asking or telling? If you want them to be quiet, tell them to be quiet and expect them to obey.

I also like this advice: when dealing with a disruptive student move into their personal zone and say quitely: "When you do (x behaviour), it throws me off my mark and I am worried that other students can not learn."

A lot of Bayleys advice is very simple yet effective. Bayley is like the supernanny of the teaching world!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Follow on from the Icebreaker Activity

After reading "The First Year" by Kristi Johnson Smith -- I was thinking maybe I would implement her "Getting to know you" activity. Do you think this is better than the True/False icebreaker activity?

Title: Getting to Know You


You are all amazing people, and I am eager to learn more about each of you. Please help me do so by completing the following handout.

Section I

Please answer questions 1-6.

1. Do you have brothers or sisters? If so, how many?

2. What is your favorite activity?

3. What is your least favorite activity?

4. What is your favorite school subject?

5. Have you been involved (or are you hoping to become involved) in any school activities (clubs, sports, etc.)? If so, which ones?

6. What is your favorite type of music?

Section II

Please complete the sentences below.

7. On the weekends I like to…

8. Someone I admire is because…

9. If I could go anywhere for a day, I would go…

10. I learn the most when the teacher…

11. I learn the most when I…

12. I don’t like it when teachers…

13. I don’t like it when I’m asked to…

14. After high school, I will probably…

15. My ideal job would be…


A must read!

I found this great new blog/essay written by Kristi Johnson Smith. It covers her experiences as a first year teacher. There seems to be a lot of great tips and advice. Check it out:


I like these three rules she has regarding classroom discussions:

1. No one was allowed to interrupt a classmate.
2. All comments had to be loud enough for the entire group to hear (no side conversations).
3. Every comment had to be in some way related to the topic we were discussing.

They seem simple but effective.

Effective Classroom Management

1. Develop a set of written expectations you can live with and enforce.
2. Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent.
3. Be patient with yourself and with your students.
4. Make parents your allies. Call early and often. Use the word "concerned." When communicating a concern, be specific and descriptive.
5. Don't talk too much. Use the first 15 minutes of class for lectures or presentations, then get the kids working.
6. Break the class period into two or three different activities. Be sure each activity segues smoothly into the next.
7. Begin at the very beginning of each class period and end at the very end.
8. Don't roll call. Take the roll with your seating chart while students are working.
9. Keep all students actively involved. For example, while a student does a presentation, involve the other students in evaluating it.
10. Discipline individual students quietly and privately. Never engage in a disciplinary conversation across the room.
11. Keep your sense of perspective and your sense of humor.
12. Know when to ask for help

Minute-by-minute monitoring:

* Establish eye contact.
* Move around the room and increase proximity to restless students.
* Send a silent signal.
* Give a quiet reminder.
* Re-direct a student's attention.
* Begin a new activity.
* Offer a choice.
* Use humor.
* Provide positive reinforcement.
* Wait quietly until everyone is on task.
* Ask a directed question.


Classroom Management

Another list for me to go through before I start prac! Can anyone add anything to this list? Do you have any techniques you could share with me?

Beginning of the day (after each recess/transition):

1.___ What signal is in place to get your students' attention?

2.___ What procedure is in place to determine how the students enter the class?

3.___ Do students know what to do for each entry time? (Entering in the morning...write in their journal, after 1st recess...DEAR - drop everything and read etc.)

4.___ What is in place for the disobedient student?

5.___ What do students do with returned homework or notes from home?

During work times - whole or small group:

1.___ What is the signal or routine for leaving your classroom (washroom etc.)?

2.___ What is the procedure for the students finishing early? Be ready for this.

3.___ How do you establish what the acceptable noise level is?

4.___ How do students get help and when do they leave their seats?

5.___ When can students sharpen their pencils or put something in the trash or re-cycle bin?

Student Work:

1.___ What is the routine for incomplete or missed work?

2.___ What is the consequence for late work?

3.___ Where do your students put completed work?

4.___ How do you track student work?


1.___ What routines are in place for dismissal?

2.___ What routines are in place during announcements?

3.___ What are your expectations during group work to ensure students are on task?


Good Advice #2

I know what you are thinking ... yet another list! I actually find this advice really helpful - if you are a pre-service teacher maybe you will too.

1. Let your cooperating teacher know YOUR expectations upfront. Most student teachers feel that they don't have a say in what goes on, but you do.

2. Remind him/her (nicely) that you are there to learn a variety of teaching methods and that you are trying to develop your own teaching style not necessarily just take on his/hers.

3. Jump in right away! Even if you aren't supposed to begin teaching for a while get up and join in. You will gain respect from the teacher and the students. Offer right away to do small tasks such as grading papers or organizing morning work.

4. Treat the students as if you are the actual teacher. Many student teachers try to become friends with them first and when it comes time to teach they have no control.

5. Go with your cooperating teacher everywhere! Sit in on parent/teacher conferences and see if it's okay to observe a child study team in action. This is all part of teaching and you should have experience with this also!

6. Stay in contact with your professor or advisor on a regular basis. If you only see him/her on days they are there to observe, you will be more nervous.

7. Always try your best! I know it's scary to have people constantly observing you but if you are doing your best whether or not they are there it won't be as scary!

8. Don't be afraid to integrate some of your own teaching techniques or classroom management skills. Your cooperating teacher might just learn a new technique from you!

9. Try to get student input about your lessons. If you aren't sure how your lesson went, ask one or two students what they thought. Sometimes they have wonderful suggestions!

10. Always plan too much. Since we don't have much experience organzing lessons according to class time, it's better to have too much planned then to have the students sitting there with nothing to do.


Advice for Prac Teaching

After reading a number of different discussion boards searching for advice and any kind of tips - I thought I would compile a list of them. This advice comes from other teachers who had just finished their prac year.

1. Class management is number 1. Set your standards for behavioural expectations and be consistent with it. If you want absolute quiet, then demand it, and explain exactly what it is that you want. I learned to say things like "Class, when I say 'Can I have your attention', i expect you all to put your pens down, stop what you are doing and look towards me'. If you reiterate this as needed, you are explaining exactly what behaviour you expect when certain 'code words' are used. If you demand this, then I found that I was creating consistent expectations, and thus got more consistent results.

2. Take pride and time in boardwork. This was an unexpected one for me, but it made me realize the power of modelling. If I executed tidy and neat boardwork, then that's what ended up in students books. If I was messy, so were they. Be very explicit in what you want them to take down, underline etc etc. It took me a while to realize just how literal you have to be.

3. I think that there's a kind of 'magic moment' when you stop 'teaching' the class, and start 'relating' to them. I noticed that students would ask more personal questions, would relate to me more 'humanely' after this transition. It seemed to take different times with different classes. I'd love to know a magic formula to make this happen.

4. here's a tip that I developed after about 6 months of going nuts with the question 'do we have to write this down?' : I established a convention with my classes that if you have to write it down in your notes (in the 'rulebook') then I write it with my purple pen. This is the ONLY time I use purple. And if it's not in purple it doesn't have to go in the notes. If I want to do an 'aside' while we're doing notes, I pick up a different colour pen, walk to the end of the board so there's a gap and demonstrate over there.

It's a really simple technique but it makes a huge difference. Now I just have to hold up the purple pen, without saying anything, and they all start rustling around getting their rulebooks out, and there are no questions at all about what has to be written or not.

5. write down on the side of the board at the beginning of the lesson what you wanted the students to achieve in the lesson, then use these statements to recap and wind up the lesson - & if you didn't get that far you can use them to lead into the next lesson... Basically just to make it clear what the lesson was about and what is expected from them

6. Make sure your students know that you care about them as a person. As you develop a relationship with your students they will not only work for themselves and a better grade, but they will be working for you and will not want to let you down. One suggestion is to greet everyone as they come into the classroom. It's easy to do and makes a big difference to the students. Typically, I try to stand at the door and say hello. It's also helpful if you take an active interest in their life outside the classroom. If you know that they are involved with sports, drama, or any other area of special interest, keep up to date on their progress by asking them about their recent accomplishments.

7. Maintain high standards. Students may not initially understand or appreciate a teacher who challenges them in the classroom with difficult material, but, in time, they will.

8. Be firm but flexible, consistent yet be willing to make an exception. Being firm does not include being mean; being flexible does not include allowing a student or a class to take advantage of you. Being consistent will enable you to get your students to do more for you. For example, if you check homework every day, students will be more likely to do it. However, if you have a student that typically does their work and performs well on assessments, then it would be reasonable to be more lenient if they do not do their work one day.

9. Smile :D Let your students know that you are happy to be with them and that you enjoy their presence.

Quick Lesson Plan Checklist

I realise that prevous list is really long - so here is the short version:

1. Objectives
What do I want them to learn?
2. Student Activities
What do I want them to do?
3. Teacher Activities
What will I do?
4. Resources
What resources do I need?
5. Timing
How long is this lesson?
6. Prior learning
What do they know?
7. Monitoring
Was there learning?
8. Linking
What next?

Lesson Plan Checklist

I'm sure that this blog will be filled with checklists! The main purpose of this blog is to help me to get organised and prepared for my up coming prac. Once I start prac in 2 weeks I will start to post about my own personal experiences.

Let me know if there is anything else you would add to this list?

Lesson Plan Checklist:

*Are the objectives specific and written in terms of what children can do?

Warm-up Activity / Motivation:
*Will the motivation intrigue, excite, and engage children?

* Keep the activity within the 10-15 minute period.
* Are my activities directly related to the objectives?
* Are all objectives addressed?
* Have I established clear measurable criteria for student performance?

Prior Knowledge:
* Do the children posses the background knowledge necessary to complete this activity successfully?
* Have I described how I will provide the children with that knowledge if they lack this knowledge,?
* Will I connect this activity a prior activity or help children to share background knowledge meaningfully?

* Have I fully explained how the lesson is to be taught in a sequential manner?
* Are my instructions detailed enough that someone could pick up my plans and implement the activity?

* Have I described a means of moving to the next activity that is a learning tool?

* Have I included a clear description of how I will review the main points of the lesson?

Materials/ Resources:
* Have I considered ALL of the materials I need to implement this plan?
* Will I need special visual aids or special equipment?

Modifications for Diverse Learners:
* Have I suggested suitable modifications for diverse learners with or without an identified special need?

Supplementary Activities:
* Have I described appropriate activities related to this one that the children could do if they finish early?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Good Advice

I really liked this piece of advice from hipteacher:

"Do not let your students be your "friend" on myspace or facebook. Bad idea (students DO want to know about your nasty social life, and their memories last far longer than the brainiest elephant). Do like your "friend" hipteacher and create a facebook for you as a teacher. Kids will think you are rad and will like having you wish them "Happy Birthday, Dude!" on their wall. They will even write on your wall to ask you homework questions and stuff. This might make you feel cool. Also, this is a nice way to keep up with all your former students who have moved on to be real adults and who are doing neat stuff you wanna know about."

I like this idea as it enables you to form a personal bond with your students -- that they can ask you questions -- yet at the same time there is still a level of professionalism and you are viewed more as teacher then their "mate."

I also had to add the other great piece of advice:

"The magic three: eat, pee, sleep." : )

Icebreaker Activity: Teacher True/False Quiz

I have been trying to find an icebreaker activity to implement once I start prac that is: age appropriate (HS), not too time consuming, fun for students, helps me get to know them better and gives the students a chance to get to know me.

What do you think of this one?

Teacher True/False Quiz:

About a week after school starts I pass out a true/false quiz about myself. I have 10 statements about myself, which deal with things I'd like the students to know about me, and some random true facts that they always think are false. Once the students have silently taken the quiz, we go through the statements together. I ask them to raise their hand if they think a statement is true, then if they think it is false. This part is fun for me to see what impressions they already have of me. I then tell them the correct answer. They love it! Their homework assignment that night is to write a true/false quiz about themselves, which I will then take. They can then grade how well I did on their quiz. I learn quite a bit about them by taking their quiz.


Prac Teaching Survival Tips

Prac Teaching Survival Tips

The teaching relationship is based on trust and respect. This atmosphere is not easy to create in the short time available to you especially when pupils know you are a 'student'. The fear most commonly expressed by student teachers is that they will not be able to control their class.

"Class control" is not an end in itself. It is the creation of a learning environment that is important. In different circumstances the learning environment may be a totally silent classroom or the busy, bustling group activity session. So if you are worried, you are not alone. In reality, classroom control is just another one of the skills that you will gain with training and experience.

These tips will help you to stay on top.

* Use your pre-visit to discover which children have behavioural/and or learning difficulties- talking with the class teacher about individual children.

* Ensure quiet, orderly entry to classroom, not only to set the tone for the lesson, but for reasons of safety;

* Have realistic expectations of your pupils, and be organised and methodical.

* Use a seating plan to keep conflicting children apart;

* Start with tight control. Relaxation can follow when you get to know your class(es). It is much more difficult to regain control after a 'laid-back' start;

* Use a clear speaking voice with sufficient volume to be heard at the back of the class, but do not speak more loudly than is necessary and control your pace of speaking;

* Always face the students whilst you speak. If you are writing on the blackboard, cease and turn to address the students when making explanations;

* Ensure that your explanations are clear, and seek feedback from students to ensure that you have been understood;

* Do not talk for an excessive period of time without some form of student activity;

* Avoid the development of unconscious mannerisms and oft-repeated phrases;

* The most effective form of discipline is self-discipline motivated by interest and a sense of purpose. However, this is not always possible to create in every pupil and it therefore becomes necessary to protect the education of the majority of students from that small minority whose disruption affects their own and their classmates' education;

* Be sure that you know the disciplinary code of the school and how you are to use the sanctions available;

* Try, as far as possible, to contain any problem situation within the sanctions available to you and avoid at all costs a confrontational situation which can undermine your credibility by forcing you to back down;

* Any matter which you cannot resolve, within the sanctions available to you, refer to the appropriate member of the teaching staff;

* At all times be fair and, most important of all, be consistent with sanctions;

* Do not concentrate on the negative side of conduct and performance. Where possible highlight good work and good conduct;

* If you need to criticise bad behaviour, make sure that it is the child's actions that you comment upon, not the child him/herself.

* Remember that we all respond better to praise, encouragement and fairness than to criticism and doubt.

* Performance must always be related to ability. Therefore, praise not only good work but also substantial effort;

* Do not criticise a student for making an honest mistake;

* Make sure you follow up any work you have set. the best motivation for students to produce correct, neat and punctual work is for that work to be promptly and neatly marked and for praise to be given whenever possible.

* Try to understand why an incident of poor behaviour has occurred; and how you can prevent it in the future.

* Avoid labelling or targeting any one child for repeated sanctions, unless absolutely unavoidable.

* Make sanctions reasonable and avoid setting extra work as punishment/detention, as this can convey the wrong messages.

* If you want to impose a detention, always consult with the class teacher and make sure you follow school policy.

* Try not to physically restraint any student - it could be construed by the student as an assault. If you have to restrain a student, you should do so only to prevent harm to others or to the student him/herself, to prevent damage to property. Make a note of the incident and how you dealt with it. Tell the teacher responsible for the class as soon as practicably possible of any incident.

* If all else fails and you start to feel desperate - ask for help, either from your teacher-tutor, the Teachers Federation school representative or a trusted colleague.

* Personal presentation: although personal appearance has little to do with intellectual or moral qualities, to school students (and some teachers) an eccentric mode of dress or an excessively casual appearance can imply acceptance of lower standards. A 'smart' appearance will therefore enhance your chances of obtaining good standards of both work and behaviour from your students. A good guideline is to study the dress habits of the staff of the school and to dress to just above what appears to be the accepted norm.



I thought I would start my blog with how I feel about my up coming practicum and this year in general:

What I am looking forward to...

** Working -- "working 9 to 5" -- having a real job with a sense of purpose and importance
** Teaching -- putting theory into practice
** Getting a job -- making money : )
** Graduation!!!

What I am most worried about...

** Behaviour Management
** Not getting along with my prac teacher
** Not knowing the answers
** Not getting a job : (