Well Monday was officially my last day of practical experience. I must say it was a bitter-sweet moment! I cant believe how attached I got to those 26 year one children in only 3 week 😦 I think after an exhausting prac and really missing my normal kindergarten class I REALLY cant wait to get back into my normal routine.
I am so grateful that my experience was amazing and my mentor was so helpful and supportive. I really don’t know, what I would have done if prac wasn’t like this, it probably would have ended in a mass of tears and me pulling my hair out! I really couldnt have asked for a better experience. The one thing I think I have learnt most from seeing how a variety of teachers operate… I definitely know what type of teacher I will be and what type of teacher I certainly won’t be!
I hope everyone had a great experience on prac, and even if it wasn’t the best experience, I hope you all learnt lots and have the confidence to be the type of teacher you think you should be.
Today while engaging with my year one practical experience class, some of the extension students were using the computers in the pod inside the classroom. I was amazed when they showed me what they were doing and how they were developing their literacy skills through engaging with ICT.
They were using a program called Raz-Kids. I have since learnt that this is an online data base of reading books in which the teacher can set for either specific children or the whole class to read. The books each have different features where the students can read the books, listen to the books begin read or even participate in interactive comprehension activities as they go.
Just off the top of my head I could already think of benefits to this website:
- the teacher can set tasks and challenges for the students to complete
- the students are engaging and developing their literacy skills through a multiliteracies approach
- students can progress at their own pace and revisit selected books as many times as they choose
- the teacher can keep track of the students who have participated in the activities and how much reading they have completed
- the students can log on from home and engage with different reading skills.
As I embarked on my practical experience, I had heard mentioned in one of the online lectures ‘The Learning Place‘. I hadn’t really thought much about it, in all honestly I had forgotten about it until my second day of prac when I decided to go through some of the learning paths again. I decided to join, after all it wasn’t really that much for the membership, actually less then what I have payed to join other education resources sites!!!
Well I must say……. ohhhhh myyyyy goshhhh…. I LOVE this site and am well and truly glad i joined up! Not only did it provide me to an abundance of resources but it allows me to download resources, alter them and search through copious amounts of useful resources to further the activities and experiences I create in my classroom.
It was even an added bonus after I told my mentor teacher about joining ‘The Learning Place’ that she told me that she gets lots of inspiration and ideas from these also! I am still amazed at the wonderful ideas and information that I am able to find at the touch of my fingers! And even better…. it is written by teachers for teachers and contains relevant information, links and activities to the Australian Curriculum!
I can honestly say, if you haven’t joined yet, make sure you do! You wont regret it!
I have been reflecting lots this week on different sources I can use to gain information, ideas and activities. I came across a website called TES Auatralia that I am absolutely in love with!!!
This website is free to join up to and has some amazing resources for a variety of themes, topics and learning experiences. It not only contains resources but also a variety of information on various topics. I also love the fact that you can upload your own ideas and activities and share them with other teachers.
I think as a preservice teacher, this a a great website to form a collection of materials and ideas. All of the ideas can easily be adapted to suit your classroom and learning abilities. It creates a platform for teacher to gain ideas and further their activities with the children.
While busily writing up my lesson plans and preparing activities for my students this week, I spent some time exploring other student’s blogs to gain ideas of what types of things they were also preparing for their students. I came across Chalkie’s Blog about creating crosswords for the earlier finishers.
I thought this was a perfect idea for a particular reading group of my high level learners. The activity I had planned the previous day they found rather easy and all completed quite quickly. I decided to use the book they were reading and create a crossword, but to try provoke their prior knowledge I didn’t write down their words they needed only the definitions (keeping in mind they are only grade one). I searched through the internet and came across a cross word maker on The Teacher’s Corner. I found this to be a great website for different teaching aspects.
I must say, this worked amazingly and kept them engaged for the whole time we were participating in our guided reading groups. I was surprised at how quickly they were able to complete some of the answers and struggled with other. I was more so amazed that at the age of 6/7 they had the thinking processes to find their reading books, reread them and complete the puzzle.
My challenge now is thinking of more activities to both challenge and engage. I am on a mission to search for ideas.
Today I accompanied my year one class to their ICT lesson and I must say I was more then shocked at the the expectation placed on these 6 year old children and they way they were basically ‘left to their own devices’ to search something about Australia. I have completed my cyber smart training and agree with Kahla that children must know that if something happens online they need to let an adult know straight away. But I personally think cyber safety has more to do with cyber bullying.
My personal concern was they why the teacher was at 1 end of the tech lab with one child, she had no idea what another child was doing at the other end of the room and more importantly what was appearing on the screen of ‘google’ especially when the children weren’t given specific words to search, all they had to do was think about something to do with Australia and then research it. When one of the children said she couldn’t read the information, the class was told to add ‘for kids’ at the end of the search.
Now Im sorry, but I do not think this was an appropriate use of ICT at all and not one child got anything out of the lesson bar having a great chat with their neighbours. I think this lesson was aimed at teaching them how to use google to find information, but when you have a class of 26 children with differing ability levels and some that are not confident readers, the children are not going to participate effectively and of course are going to become restless and talkative. I think this class was a perfect example of trying to make young children engage with ICT and technology that is too complex for their understanding and ability levels, I don’t necessarily think these is always a positive in engaging with ICT throughout the classroom.
This morning I was completely nervous and uncertain and I checked I had everything I needed for the millionth time! I don’t know why I was so nervous as all the communication I have had with my mentor and school have been amazing and extremely positive! I think it was more the uncertainty of the unknown, especially as this is my first ever practical experience and interaction with school age children.
As soon as I arrived at my school, I automatically became more at ease. Everyone I came into contact with was extremely helpful and welcoming. My mentor was so helpful showing me around the classroom, explaining the plan for the both the day and the week, telling me about the class and showing me around the school grounds. It is amazing how busy it was today getting to know all of the students, helping them with their work and answering questions. I agree with Mrs J P Finan’s blog that I feel exhausted considering I didn’t actually teach any lessons.
Today I was able to engage with the students and get to know them, their abilities, likes and dislike. I think this is a huge aspect of effective teaching as it allows me to create a bond with the students, develop a mutual respect and develop an understanding of their knowledge and abilities.
I am looking forward to school tomorrow, especially going to ICT with my class to gain a better understanding of the children’s abilities with technology and how I can incorporate ICT into my lessons. I hope everyone had a great experience with their prac and their learning opportunities have been as valuable to them as they have been to me.
Well tomorrow’s the big day! My first day of prac!!! Although my initial meeting with my mentor was amazing I still an very nervous about what to expect, how the day is going to go and how I am going to effectively teach a class of 6 year olds (i think its going to be very different to my class of 4/5 year olds!!!).
I have been busy ensuring that I have all of the resources, notes, lesson plans and questions I may need. I have been so busy trying to remember everything that I think I am actually going crazy. I began to read through The Daily Posts blog and all the comments about how to calm your nerves before a big day ahead. Some comments have some great ideas on how to relax and ensure you are ready for your huge day ahead.
I think personally, I will check for the millionth time that I have everything I could possibly need, have a big glass of wine tonight, get a great nights sleep and be prepared with a positive attitude to ensure my mind, body and spirit is all aligned and ready for my new adventure. Best of luck to everyone with their prac experiences!!!
This week I had the amazing experiences of meeting both my mentor and principal of the school I will be attending for prac. I must say, after my initial meeting I was some much more relaxed about the whole prac experience. She is great and was so helpful and willing to explain her teaching practices, methods and classroom management strategies in the short meeting I had with her. She even gave me her email incase I had anything I needed to ask her before my prac commenced. I am beginning to feel more confident and comfortable with the thought of prac.
After my meeting I have begun to compose a list of everything I forgot to ask her at our meeting. Its funny how the brain goes blank and becomes distracted when an experience different to how you thought it was going to be. Although in this case it was a great experience, I found I became distracted talking to my mentor about both our personal experiences with teaching and life experiences which led to our careers as teachers.
I am now looking forward to beginning my practical experience and learning as much as I can from my mentor. Hopefully prac will be as great an experiences as my first meeting.
As I am exploring the various information and resources that could come in handy during my upcoming prac, I came across Mel’s blog about an amazing website called ICT Magic. I am amazed at the endless supply of resources on this page. This page covers a variety of subjects and themes and provides a huge list of websites that are easily accessible for both teachers and students.
ICT Magic not only contains a variety of information on various themes but also provides links to a wide variety of websites that allow children to learn through engaging in interactive games and stories. ICT Magic is basically a massive online database of learning experiences and games for students and teachers.
I am so glad I came across this online resource before I started prac as I feel it will be an invaluable tools to find information, engage the children in ICT games and learning opportunities and provide a platform for incorporating learning for children who learn best through ICT.