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.