So close to the END

I guess technically everyone is finished the course.  But as per normal I am just pulling in the lines now, getting it all sorted for the big end.  Due to life (My 11 year old running 7th in Qld for 800m and going to Townsville for a long weekend, in the middle of prac), I am a late finisher, but a very proud one.  Thankfully with that an extension on the last assignment which feel like it has grown whilst I was I prac.

So with my fingers crossed that I have passed this semesters unit I will launch into my final year, well really I have completed one subject already so only have seven to get through.

Thankfully, EDC3100 has taught me a few things over the past few months, so now I have an idea – not only about integrating ICTs into pedagogical processes, but about student life in general.  I have also learnt a few things about me.

  1. I will get there
  2. To get there, you must work
  3. Things don’t always go as planned, but that’s not always a bad thing
  4.  Technologically advanced ICTs does NOT = amazing learning experiences
  5.  Think outside of the box
  6.  Continue to grow

For now, this is the actual adios amigos moment. Thanks to anyone who took time out of their day to keep up with my journey through EDC3100. It sure has been a ride. Good Night Sarah thanks for the good reads.

mash_goodbye

I came across this youtube clip, about writing a letter to your future self on the day you start teaching and think it is a fabulous idea.

Dear Future Me,

So your not quite at the end of your degree, but the end is in sight.  Stay focused you can do this. Yes life is busy no not just busy but completely crazy for you but thats no excuse.  Remember how it feels to get in with those kids and guide them with their learning.  Never ever forget that year three boy who said “Thank you for helping me with my maths Mrs Vaughan I would never have got it without you.  Those words are precious, those words are why you are burning the candle at both ends.  Children need teachers, good teachers, not just good teachers but passionate teachers.  Yes thats YOU.

Don’t ever stop helping them be the best that they can be.

Is It Enough

When I first started this degree, my now 11 year old’s best friends mother started an education degree through a different University.  We have discussed many things about our studies over the years, one of them being the practical experience time.

While my first prac was two weeks in the class, observing, teaching small groups and the whole class, (we’ll call her Mrs A) Mrs A had one day a week for ten weeks of just observation.  I certainly felt that I had experienced more after comparing notes.

My point being should teaching be more practically based.  A four year apprenticeship with most of the time spent in the classroom.  Lets face it the knowledge comes from doing.  Isn’t the below saying what  we as teachers try to do everyday.  So why not for us learning to be teachers.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin

In England students studying Education do 3 years of theory and then a year long paid internship. Again another amazing opportunity, though not getting to experience prac until after all the theory is done can have 2 main downfalls: students can finish the theory, get into a classroom and decide its not for them, and competing many assessments requires real life classroom experiences which wouldn’t be possible.

The Practicum & Initial Teacher Education

Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley

Speld

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I recently went to a to see a speaker brought over from Perth by Speld, Dr Lillian Fawcett Ph.D., B.Ed., B.A. (Psychology) Specialist Dyslexia-SPELD teacher, Multisensory Reading & Spelling Programs: Rapidly improving reading & spelling.  WOW, I wish I had seen this a whole lot earlier.  Cracking the ABC Code

I went as this year out of the blue my nine year has developed for want of better words, writers block, causing huge amounts of upset for him.  While literacy has never been a strong point for him and he has struggled through the sight words, learning to read and learning to spell.  Dr Fawcett system would have saved a huge amount of pain.

As we are taught to differentiate our teaching in accordance with our learners why are we not using a system that encompasses all the learners including dyslexia, disgrapha, ESL’s etc.  While I completely understand that students will understand the rules and concepts at different rates/speeds and travel through the course faster than others and thats great, just like sight words; but what about those kids that do not have the photographic memory, that have used that their vision memory on other stuff.  Our bodies do not have the capabilities to increase this memory space, so what happens to these kids.  But no, we continue with look, cover, write, check, well you know what that doesn’t work for them all.  Yes I know your teacher will suggest, get them to write in sand, in shaving cream using the multi sensory side of things, but what about the rules.  I was never taught so how am I suppose to teach my kids.  Yes yes I have a bee in my bonnet over this, learning English is hard, very hard.  Why is Australia not up with Sweden and Korea with spelling because English is hard unlike those top spelling countries our letters don’t say just one, yes 1 sound regardless who its partying with.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh: Please someone tell why we don’t use a system that has been proven to assist more kids than the one already in use. graphiteducator,  ChristyKelseyAlicia

Rant Over well for the moment.

Logging on, Logging on, Logging on, Still Logging on.

Literacy is a great and easy way to get the kids to use Laptops and in my class they have just begun literacy rotations.  The two class combined and the students break into groups (according to ability but we will keep that between ourselves).  I have been asked to help the Teachers Aid with the lower level groups. Goodo no problems, laptops are charged, setup ready for the students to log on.  And that my dear friends is where all the problems really begin.  Time is so limited and as I mentioned earlier there is 24 laptops between four classes of approximately 26 students, so really they don’t often get laptop time so, every minute is precious.

Recently the school that my two younger sons go to announced that they are scraping the year 4 one to one laptop program.  Admittedly I was at first alarmed thinking why ICT skills are so very important your putting these kids at a huge disadvantage.  Replacing the laptop program with a one to one iPad program, great idea although more expense for the parents who have to pay for the device. And while I was happy very happy with the change I wondered why.

So back to my prac school. Cleary as a teacher with so much stuff to cover each day of each week time management is paramount.  Logging in is fine for 85% of the group of class for that matter when doing a class laptop lesson, but for that unfortunate 15%……. At what point do you say ‘you these laptops are rubbish there has to be an easier way’.  Out of everything, all things that can go wrong, difficult students, rude parents, lunch duty  very staff meeting blah, blah, blah the logging in issue for me is the most annoying.  Unfortunately it is the kids that miss out if they cannot login, waiting for someone to finish so they can use another laptop.

Do I think what my boys school is doing is the right thing, absolutely…. Logging in and saying logged in is a big problem for many schools I have been told.  The beauty of an iPad is you simply turn it on and go hard at it.

It’s a new day It’s a new time and I’m feeling Gooood

Having never done anything more than show a youtube clip on a IWB (interactive whiteboard) I was a little nervous using one with the students.  Lordy knows if they see weakness they will pounce and eat you alive…….

Well I survived and am now an avid believer in how great they are in the classroom.  Even though I  had my L plates on the students were glued to the lessons.  They of course took pleasure in my mistakes and lack of IWB knowledge but were eager to assist me  and have a laugh.  By allowing them to take control over the IWB and manipulate the screen was awesome, never before has grammar and spelling been so fun.  I am pretty sure if it had been done like that when I was at school (a very long time ago) I would have learnt and understood a lot more.

As a reward for getting through all our work I would put up this story online on the IWB for the students to enjoy some down time.  I will be taking this one with me to all classrooms.

storyonline

One Day In – And it’s Up to Me

 

Second day and  I’m learning all the different students names and making apologies to those I mix up when my mentor has an emergency and has to go home. Hmmmm this could go well or incredible bad.  I know the timetable and duties off the top of my head well enough to tell the deputy head what was happening for the rest of the day.  ‘Well you’ll be find for the rest of the day was her comment’ and of course I said yes.  The learning support teacher will be in the room but your up.  Piece of cake, I knew which kids I needed to watch, I knew I had a lesson that would reel them in and hold for as long as I needed, even though it was based on religion not my strong point.

Smashed it, not that I want to blow my own horn but it was good, the kids were awesome, there were no problems, and we got through everything and more.  Fortunately for me I was able to get the laptops for the rest of the day and login into a program that the school already had. So in closing this blurb about how great that day went and how pumped I was about getting the kids powering and enjoying  the ICT lesson that I have attached a TED talk about why we should be doing this.  The teacher talks about how we as teachers do not need to be experts on every app.  (Which I am also posting onto the class Facebook page so the parents can watch it also).  Reading through some blogs I came across this one from Julie where she link iPads for education from the Victorian Government that I also thought was really handy.

TED Talk – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6vVXmwYvgs