A digital goodbye

I have completed my requirements for this course however I felt the need for a last goodbye (to add to the frantic posts some are adding to get their quota for the assignment).

For me the most profound learning came from the professional experience. I loved every minute of it and am missing the kids terribly – I think this comes from my mentor giving me ownership of the class while I was there. From day 1 I felt more like a team teaching experience rather than a typical mentor/student relationship. I know I could have done a better job integrating ICTs into the class however it was such a rich learning experience.

I am also reflecting on the course content and its impact on my future in the classroom. I engaged through out the course however the theorist and frameworks featured really didnt make sense until this last assessment as I applied them to my prac experience.

Its almost enough to make me want to so the subject over again to use it when I need it ….

ALMOST

I have in fact passed the subject regardless of the marks for assignment 3 so I will ignore my urge to repeat and do the next best thing. I will take my newly gained knowledge into my next prac and rock it.

Goodbye my fellow bloggers. See you on the flip side.

Tess

Reflections

In my final stages of this ICT subject I am completing my last assessment piece which calls for me to reflect on my recent prac experience. Unlike Rebel and Maree, reflection has always been something I look forward to. On previous prac experience reports and even performance reviews at work (Qld Ed) there is often comments on my reflective practices and how they help to develop my teaching practices. I do however struggle with the balance of positive and negative as I seem to easily find fault in my work and often ‘own’ issues that are not mine. For example, I work in special education and I have in the past blamed myself for a students meltdown as I will fixate on what I did or didn’t do to avoid it. I have had knowledge in the past of a students very volatile home background and medication they have missed or a variety of other external influences yet I will lose sleep because I believe that I didnt alter my voice enough when giving instructions. I have in the past even agonized about wearing the wrong shirt for a non-verbal student with ASD. When he had a bad day I was convinced I was responsible because I had always worn the same shirt with him in the past.

Even during this prac experience my mentor said “I think you are being too hard on yourself” as I recalled the improvements needed in my planning and presenting of lessons. This may sound like its not a big deal but I think the key to effective reflections is balance. I need to identify areas of improvement without obsessing over them. I also need to recognise positive experiences so I can replicate them.

ICT Experiences on Prac

Raquel is all over the next task to generate a list of ICTs – Would have like to see this in action in a special ed environment.

My prac experience was in a grade 2 mainstream class.I used;

* Ipad

*Library laptops and class computers – Powerpoint construction (information report)

*Interactive whiteboard with wireless keyboard

  • stimulus videos
  • Template for handwriting
  • Powerpoint quiz (Who wants to be a millionaire)
  • Assortment of learning place games

*Behaviour management

  • Classdojo 
  • Too noisy app (this was a big fail by the way – instead of motivating students to keep classroom noise level at a minimum, it induced a chorus of coughs, fake sneezes, deep sighs and an array of other noises designed to make the needle move and distract students from the task at hand – to the amusement of my mentor and I this app lasted a total of 4 minutes before it was scrapped)

*I also used the teacher laptop and my own, internet, camera in all aspects of planning my lessons.

Im sure I will come back and add to this as I reflect more deeply on my experience with this grade 2 class.

I dont want it to end…….(Sad face)

On day 1, in fact in her first conversation with me, my mentor said she wanted me to have as much time as possible in front of the class. My heart was racing and there was sweat dripping down my face (that’s not an exaggeration. I was in the midst of a panic attack) and I thought, how am I ever going to survive 3 weeks. Oh and have I mentioned my mentors off the cuff comment that the class is lacking in ICTs with many of the kids extremely limited experience with computers or laptops…..

I now have 6 days left and I am hating the fact that I am over the half way mark. My mentor is just amazing. I really feel like I have the autonomy I need to experience all aspects of the classroom. It feels more like team teaching than a student mentor relationship.

Today was my second full day teaching and my first time using ipads as a class. This was not a small task as before this week they had not used the schools ipads. I have however been using them in reading groups to create a cover page for the health unit.

Todays lesson introducing information reports started with a stimulus video on the IWB about ants.  During this time the teacher aide and I logged into Kahoot, put codes in and user names to start my magnificient Kahoot quiz on ants. Problem is as I transported ipads to students, the internet dropped out on all of them and they all had to log in again. I thought that by preparing ipads the transition from video to quiz would be easy. I turns out the kids were able to re-log on with ease.

Issue 2 occurred when 1/2 through quiz the projector overheated and closed down (which it is prone to do) – Luckily I had prepared a hard copy of information report I was going to deconstruct on the IWB as a powerpoint presentation (my 3rd ICT for the lesson).

We did end up completing the quiz (much to the total delight of the class) just before the projector overheated a second time and we continues on with our hard copies.

I dont think any of the kids had any idea there were issues as it seemed like the interruption was actually planned to give them an opportunity to read a text to help with the second part of the quiz.

So although the quiz was actually about ants and not information reports, the kids were making connections with the ICT and (plan B) printouts.

There is so much I can add about what I learnt in just a few short hours today….

Robot Spelling

One thing I really like about pracs is the differences in how each school achieves results. Across different schools there are multiple ways to achieve the same results because of the difference contexts within the classrooms. A successful program in one school does not mean it will work in the school down the road. Hence why there are so many different spelling programs out there.

In the spiel for Spelling Mastery it claims to:

In just 15-20 minutes a day, Spelling Mastery can help teach your student the strategies they need to become successful, life-long spellers. Using a combined approach of phonemic, morphemic and whole-word strategies, Spelling Mastery helps students to understand the relationship between sounds, word parts and spelling patterns.

Walking through my prac school I can hear “drills” of teachers reading from script as a class spell out words in monotone unison and I roll my eyes thinking this is 2015 not 1985 (because I am having flash backs of my school time), but then I look at the results and I see the difference even with my little yr 2s and their spelling rules. They are not asking how to spell words in the middle of the lesson. I can see the these students use the strategies they have learned with this program and I’m really excited about it. It sounds awful as it is being delivered but I’m really glad I saw it in action. I am looking into the free app for my munchkins at home.

First day gitters almost got me

I walk into the room and meet my mentor for the first time. She talks about throwing me into it as she thinks prac students should get as much “TEACH” time as possible. I cant concentrate though as I am focused on the fog rising on my glasses from my steaming face as I try and regulate my breathing.

It seriously doesn’t need to be this hard but this is me in a nutshell. All important (and some not so important) events I must arrive at the venue at least 45-60 minutes before start time so I can calm myself. I went for an interview for a job not long ago, for a position I was more than qualified for, with interviewees that I have known for years who told me it was more of an informal chat than an interview and I still arrived 40 mins before interview time so I could ride out the stress before I went it.

I am actually fearing the rating interview at the end of my degree. I count the amount of pracs I have left in terms of 1st days I have to endure.

I’ve worked for QLD ed for 7 yrs now so prac should not cause this reaction in me. I really have the skills and capacity to do well in a prac situation but the panic attacks continue. The worst part is that the ritual will continue for the next 14 days.

So how was my first day? It was really brilliant. My mentor is sensational. The kids are so lovely. The school is just charming. I loved it. I just hate my defective mind.

So with my lesson plans tonight I am also researching my social phobia and I am determined to make an impact on this part of myself as well as developing my skills as an educator.

Be like a duck……

I think I might actually be fairly prepared…..

I have about 300 words in note form for Part B of the next assignment that is due after prac – it wont be hard to turn that into sentences form as it is all fairly set out. I didnt get all my questions answered about the class context so I will add some observations in the first couple of days and that part will be done. I have a fairly easy day for Monday as my mentor wants me to concentrate more on observations with a little teaching from her plan. I have a clear idea what I am doing for Tues and Wed so I will put the finishing touches on those lessons on the weekend.Its been a little rush to get it all done but I like the feeling of preparedness rather than this time last week when I had no idea of year level let alone the school.

WRONG!!!!

The above was written yesterday and saved as a draft. Tomorrow is day 1 of prac and I am going insane with nerves. I have so many windows open that my computer is sleeping in protest, my laminator has over heated twice and I am fighting the urge to rewrite all my lesson plans (my mentor has not viewed them yet so I dont know why I have convinced myself that they are bad) and its not even 8.30am.

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