The greatest take away from my experiences in Taiwan was ESL students’ capacity to retain sight words. I seriously spent a good 11 years teaching sight words in the Sesame Street Language School system and children as young as Year 1 had nailed sight words and reading at a Year 4 standard in Australia, and that’s English in a second language. I guess being taught phonics in a model and drill environment has enabled to strong capacity to retain information. In contrast, in Australia, where a rote learning style is uncommon, children really do struggle with retaining sight words. Gabrielle posted an interesting sight word page, webtothecore that help students retain important words for reading.
I just read with interest Dayna’s post regarding professional experience. Like her, I find it easier to pick 9 AFL winners a weekend, mow the neighbour’s lawns, then whip up a roast dinner for 25 than to be placed in sufficient time for prac, although Dayna did find hers :). Last year I was off to Dayboro State School and it was the most wonderful teaching experience since my previous year’s prac at St Flannan’s. My hope if I get to a Catholic school before doing my first 4th year prac at a Ed Qld school again. Anyway, the countdown begins and it’s almost a daily visit to inplace to check placement status. I’m curious to find who has been placed yet and who is still waiting.
I’ll start off by saying that I am extremely challenged when it comes to dancing. I can only navigate the chicken dance if my partner in crime is alcohol. Wait, let me start again …. “I’m not that great at dancing, yet”. Ahhhh I feel better. That’s that growth mindset that we so importantly want to instil into our learners.
Ok, continue, I was reading Mitchell’s post this morning about a how simple tasks like dancing with GoNoodle can get the students back into a variety of modes, settling them down, preparing them for an activity, or getting them focused. Gonoodle advertises that it enables 10 millions kids to move to be their strongest, silliest, smartest and best selves, and practically every piece of feedback on the site is from teachers.
I can see great potential in this site and movement activity for the aforementioned purposes (settling, preparing and focusing), but also as a reward for children, offering a gonoodle ticket allowing a student to choose the daily after break song. A prep teacher I worked with last year was very big on gonoodle, and would often speak about the benefits of using both sides of the brain to help the brain and coordination amongst the littlest.
While this one could be a challenge for me to implement, especially if the students want to see my moves, I think it is definitely a trick I might store for future practice.
I am taking on four units for the first time ever, while working six days a week (five days a week as a TA, and every Sunday in retail), but despite this I have never felt on top of my uni work like this semester. EDC3100 is a tough gig, but I love it. I really enjoy the blogging component of the course. I haven’t missed a Maths EDX3280 tutorial and despite the horror stories, I’m ready for the ePortfolio bad boy. I have had a solid plan ready for action for a couple of weeks now. The EDX2170 multimodal presentation looks like one of the best assignments in the education degree. I brought home four picture books from school today and the plan is to put this one to bed very early. Finally, EDP4140 Second Language learning and pedagogy. This is possibly my favourite as it relates to my Taiwan teaching. I was asked why I feel this one by a friend this week and it got me thinking, I just feel that the four units I am undertaking are four of the best supported units I’ve taken throughout my degree, but probably equally important is working in a school setting. If I have any advice for an aspiring teacher, it’s become a TA. The network you build, and the resources that become available to you cannot be understated. In a ideal world, every year working as TA should knock a fourth year unit off your degree!
Inspired by the words of James Comar “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship”, Rita Pierson in her Ted talk called mindshift reminds us why every student needs a teacher champion. It’s hard not to see a lot of Nel Noddings in her teaching philosophy, something I genuinely try to borrow and inject into my own. Rita speaks about how relationships between teacher and student, adult and child, are fundamental to getting the best from students. This talk led me onto a bit of a google frenzy to find out more about learning and relationships, and while my end result was to find the insightful 9 Powerful Practices that speak about how to raise achievement for students living in poverty, nonetheless, its practices I believe are pertinent in any socioeconomic climate.
One a side note, I was fortunate enough to have this Ted sent to me by a friend, who is my cousin’s wife, a teacher. I love that a great deal of my educational resources, and in turn inspiration comes from teachers and pre service teachers. I am not sure if there is another field of employment that gathers together as one to share in the greater need of better the lives of others, as educators do to each other.
If you have any other Rita Pierson-like gems, please comment and share.
Nothing like a controversial title to draw in the reader. I used to do a paper round as a child and amongst my 35 ‘Herald Suns’, there was the ‘Truth’ newspaper which came out once a week. I remember the ‘Truth’ was notorious for two things, one the beautiful semi clad women gracing page three, and the second were the headlines; “Boony smashes 52 cans” was a vivid one. Pretty sure the ‘Truth’ was also known somewhat for being ‘not’ an overly reliable paper in terms of accurate information either …. good for the gags, though. FWIW, the dude waiting out by the mailbox for me each Wednesday wasn’t waiting to read back page sport news.
Anyway, so visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners, it it a fallacy? I just watched a great TED talk, geeee they’re great listening. Head to ted.com for a catalogue of educational gold. It’s like listening to Al Pacino is Scent of a Woman, or Any Given Sunday, or Mel in Braveheart. They really do inspire. The one I just listened to debunks the VAK theory. This backs up what our coordinator/lecturer, David Jones brought up in a lecture at the Way Station the other week. It’s not that we, or students are V or A or K learners, it’s that we have better visual, or auditory or kinaesthetic memories. That makes a lot of sense to me. To get a better appreciation of what I am on about, take a look below. It’s highly thought provoking. Grab a coffee and sit back and enjoy.
I have been thinking for a while about what strategy I could use when things get a bit boring in class, especially when watching foxfooty is not an option 😉 Stand up, star jumps, go run 800, “heads, shoulders, heads, shoulders, heads, shoulders ears, clap, clap, clap”. You know, that moment when the activity is getting too long, and children are becoming disengaged, and one by one the requests for toilet breaks come … and we know they don’t really want to go to the toilet. Behold Socrative! I reckon this is it, well perhaps not to eliminate boredom during a super long peer and self editing class of narratives, but definitely an option when you need to teach something that looks a touch difficult to inspire your troops. Socrative is an online site, but also has an ios app with both teacher and student interfaces that allows for the creation of formative assessments. There are options for the teacher to;
- Start a quiz (I saw a similar app used to quiz during a religeous education lesson! WINNING!!!!!!)
- Quick question (for a polling activity); multiple choice, short answer, true/false
- Space race (add some competition to the task)
- Exit ticket
I really have been looking for something that can visualise student results to activities in real time, allowing me to unobtrusively monitor them. This is a winner and when I get them playing the rocket space race, I might log in under my pseudo student account … everybody loves winning.