LAST EVER BLOG POST…

Well I have watched the lecture for the week and completed the learning pathway so I can officially say that I have covered all of the course content for EDC3100!!

This means that I just have assessment items to complete, which include:

EDX3270: ALL FINISHED

EDC3100: Assignment 3 due Tuesday

EDC2100: A little bit more study before I do Quiz 2 on Tuesday

EDX3280: Do practice exam questions, watch recorded exam review session, finish off readings, and STUDY for exam on Tuesday

So still a lot to do, but nearly there!

Thank-you to anyone who’s read any of my rather boring and rather lengthy blog posts!!

Time to smash out my final year and a half, and become a teacher!!!!!

Courtney H

 

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Assignment Three Expectations…

After completing the week fifteen learning pathway I was a little overwhelmed. In the first part of the learning pathway there was a section where we could calculate what results we would need on assignment three to get our desired overall mark for the course. Seeing these results I was determined to knuckle down and work hard on assignment 3.

However after continuing on to read the remaining books in the learning pathway I felt a bit defeated already. Like Bianca states in her blog post I feel like the expectations for assignment three are high!! I got a little confused as the learning path discussed the finer points on what was a success, not a success, factors, experiences, evaluations, insights, and everything else!! Like Bianca I also had a fantastic professional experience, however it can become a bit draining to reflect on it in such detail and preciseness. Oh well…

In the meantime here is some reflecting music to help anyone struggling with their reflections.

Courtney H

Week Fifteen…

Wow, I can’t believe that semester one is near its conclusion. Some parts of the semester have flown by (such as professional experience), whilst other parts have dragged on (assignment after assignment). I will definitely be pleased when I can finally say that all my semester one work has been completed, and I can start enjoying our small break!

Whilst working on the week fifteen learning pathway, I came across one of David’s blog posts which I found quite informative and interesting. In this post  David reflected on what’s been happening with the EDC3100 course so far for this semester. He listed a range of changes which have been made for this semesters offering of the course, which includes:

  1. New module 1 and assignment 1 design; to reduce student workload and focus on a few particular outcomes
  2. Assignment 1 as an Excel spreadsheet; to provide students with more experience of using an application type they appear not to have used a great deal
  3. The return of Toowoomba lectures, including live Zoom streaming; overall to improve student learning and results

Reflecting back on the course I would say that all of these changes have been positive for me, assisting to improve my understanding of course content and overall quality of my assessments.

  1. Assessment one which consisted of an ICT evaluation checklist and the learning journal was quite a small assessment item (in comparison to 2500 word essays and unit plans). As such, the reduced workload of the assignment allowed for me to have more time engaging with the initial course content
  2. As David suggested, I (like many other students I’m guessing) have not used Excel a great deal. In fact, I remember using Excel only twice before; In Grade 7 to complete a bar graph on something to do with our unit on politics and another time in high school but I can’t remember what for. Assignment 1 left me with no choice but to use Excel. At first I was a bit daunted by it but by the end of the assignment I was glad for the extra experience using the application, felt more confident and capable using Excel, and it was also relieving to have a change from the generic uni assessment of essays.
  3. Each week without fail I watched the recorded version of the Toowoomba lecture, so I was quite surprised to find out that they didn’t even exist in the 2015 offering! The lecture allowed me to consolidate my new learnings I had gained from completing the learning path for the week and provided me with extra guidance during assignment time. My only critique is that sometimes the lectures directly repeated the information in the learning pathway.

Well I’m off to continue work on assignment three! Bye for now,

Courtney H

Week Three Down! (Almost)…

Today, Friday 3rd June, was my second last day of professional experience. As the Fraser Coast Show Public Holiday fell during my placement I have one more day to go next week. I will be very, very sad to leave my Prep class and get back to reality…which is assignments, work, assignments, exam study, oh and more assignments.

In week three I taught and did similar things as I discussed in my ‘Week Two Down!’ blog post, such as PM Benchmarking, literacy and maths rotations, maths warm ups, explicit literacy teaching, story reading, etc. Each day this week I ran the class and taught for almost all of the day, with the exception of a 30 minute handwriting lesson which the mentor teacher opted to teach. I have also spent time this week ensuring that my ICT-based lesson plans for assignment three are completed (well, almost) and I have mentor feedback on all of them.

Today, a USQ Liason Officer came and paid me a visit. On my prior two placements with USQ I had a lovely liason officer who simply asked me how my placements were going and whether there were any problems… ‘all good and no problems’ were my answers. Today, I had a new USQ liason officer who came prepared with a list of about 30 questions!!!!! We sat opposite each other in a conference room, which was very formal, and I was extremely nervous! He asked me all of the questions and I had to provide evidence for each of my answers as he wrote down what I was saying!! It was very nerve wracking to say the least!

I hope everyone else has enjoyed their placements! Until next time,

Courtney H

Week Two Down!

My second week of placement was just as exciting and busy as my first week. I have learnt so much from my mentor teacher and have loved putting all of my new skills into practice. This week was also exciting as our classroom iPads were finally all set-up and ready to go. I had the students using the app ‘Reading Eggs’ which had them completely engaged and excited to learn.

Another key thing I completed this week was learning how to PM Benchmark. I got to listen to a number of students read at different levels, learnt how to correctly fill out the PM Benchmark form and how to determine whether the students needed to be tested at the next level or not. I have tested about 6 students so far and am getting faster each time, yay! I have also been able to assess students this week, which is something I haven’t really done much of before. I have assessed the students in their maths, letter & sound knowledge, writing and English.

Here are some of the things I have taught/done during week 2 of placement:

  • Explicit teaching of maths
  • Maths rotations
  • Explicit teaching of literacy
  • Literacy rotations
  • Songs/dances/rhymes
  • Read and discussed picture books; focusing on the story sequence and the students personal connections to the story
  • Observed a session with the oral language teacher
  • Used the Beebots in my lessons
  • Assessment; maths, letters & sounds, writing, English (retell)
  • PM Benchmarking
  • Used iPads, computers and IWB in my lessons
  • Ran the guided reading sessions

Hope everyone’s placements are going just as well as mine!

Courtney H

p.s At the staff meeting this week I learnt something which is going to have a BIG impact on schools, teachers, students, parents and us education uni students…. NAPLAN is going online in 2019!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Week One Down!

Week one of professional experience is done and dusted! Overall, I had a fantastic week in my Prep classroom! The students have all been very excited to have me as their teacher, and my mentor is absolutely amazing!

My mentor teacher has been teaching for fifteen years and is still extremely dedicated and passionate about teaching. She is incredibly organised!!!!! She has provided me with the unit overviews for the term as well as daily plans which are very, very detailed. This has made the planning process for me much easier than it has been on previous placements, which has made the experience much more pleasant and less stressful.

Throughout week one I taught mathematics and English, with a combination of explicit teaching and group rotational activities. Being Prep students, rotations are necessary to keep the students engaged and on-task. I have observed a number of specialist lessons this week including dance, music, library, HPE, health, and Foundation Q (which is an explicit teaching episode focusing on vocabulary lead by the master teacher). It has been highly informative as well as interesting to see how all the different specialist teachers approach behaviour management.

In regards to ICT I have been incorporating the IWB, computers and Beebots into my lessons. Ellen explains in her blog that she has observed her prac class using Beebots with a specialist teacher, however unfortunately she doesn’t have access to any within her class. I am very lucky as my Prep class has a class set of Beebots with a wide range of mats which you can use with them (letter mats, picture maps).

One more thing I must talk about before I head off is phonics. At my professional experience school the whole-school approach used to teach spelling and reading skills is the Sound Waves program. Sound Waves uses a sound-to-letter strategy which acknowledges that sounds can be represented more than one way in written form. Each day my class will sing a phonics song, engage in an explicit teaching episode which focuses on one particular sound along with the letter combinations which can make this sound, and finally complete activities during literacy rotations allowing the students to practise using the focus sound. I must say that I have become quite good at singing and performing the actions for the phonics song. This is the one that my Prep class uses ‘Sound Waves Chants and Actions’.

Even though this blog post is super long it only describes about a third of what’s been happening on my placement so far! School is a busy place, that’s for sure!

Until next week,

Courtney H

 

Meeting My Mentor…

This morning I finally got the opportunity to visit my placement school and meet my mentor teacher; who was extremely helpful, friendly and experienced. I also got to meet the 25 Prep students who I will be teaching come Monday morning. I interacted with some of the students during their play-time as my mentor teacher was on playground duty. I then got to experience the reading group rotations and took one group for guided reading. The Prep students seemed very eager and excited to learn so I cannot wait to start teaching them!

My mentor teacher and I also discussed the finer details of professional experience, such as; staff meetings, arrival times, lesson planning, the learning difficulties of some students, students who have special needs and require differentiation, current topics the class is learning about, and of course the use of ICTs in the classroom.

I am now aware of the full ICTs available for me to access whilst on prac;

  • 5 classroom computers (Generally used for IXL maths program, Rainforest Maths, Starfall.com and Reading Eggs)
  • Interactive Whiteboard (I was previously told that it was extremely slow, however I did see it in use so fingers crossed it still works well enough)
  • 6 iPads (Which have not yet been used or even set-up as the classroom only got their wi-fi connected a few days ago)
  • Bee-bots (Which I did not know about until today, but I cannot wait to use them)

I plan to research Bee-bots more before Monday, using this site. I also plan to do more research into implementing ICTs within the classroom, for this fellow student Steve suggested this video. 

Wishing everyone the best of luck on professional experience,

Courtney H

The Potential of the Interactive Whiteboard…

This week we were introduced to the CLEM acronym; Community, Literature, Examples, and Model. Each component represents an important focus for developing knowledge around how to effectively use ICTs to amplify and transform student learning. In particular, the learning pathway applied this framework to analyse the use of interactive whiteboards (IWB’s) in classrooms.

Studies such as Sad et al (2012), support the use of the IWB to positively impact student learning due to factors including; visualisation, contextualisation, effective presentation, text-based use and motivational factors. However, the study also commented that IWB’s were not being used to their full potential within the classroom, due to technical problems as well as limited teacher knowledge.

I would agree with both of the above statements. I believe IWB’s have the potential to engage student’s in their learning and create a more active learning environment which fosters collaboration between students. However, I also believe that unfortunately most IWB’s in classrooms are not being used to their full potential.

On previous professional experiences I have had the opportunity to use two IWB’s. I incorporated these IWB’s into my lessons to; display texts to the whole-class to promote a whole-class discussion, to present PowerPoint presentations, to view YouTube clips, and to play interactive games (addition games in a Prep classroom and time/clocks games in a Year 3/4 classroom).

 In my upcoming professional experience, I have been informed that the class does have an IWB, however the laptop that it is connected to is quite slow. My aim on professional experience will be to move beyond using the IWB to support didactic teaching, and instead use the IWB to increase student interaction, engagement and enthusiasm towards learning.

This page also provides some useful tips on how to incorporate IWB’s into lessons.

Courtney H

Recommended Screen Time…

In the week 10 learning pathway I was rather intrigued by the following information…

‘The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) has for quite sometime recommended that children under two should have NO screen time, and that children between 3 and 18 should spend no more than 2 hours a day on screen time’

In this digital age I believe that most children would be well exceeding these recommended times. Take me for instance, only 8 months ago I was 18 years of age. This would mean my recommended screen time was only 2 hours per day. You try doing four uni courses (never mind all my social media use) accessing ICT devices for only 2 hours per day! Instead I probably watched television for 2.5 hours per day, accessed my computer for uni work at least for 3 hours each day and went on social media using my phone for… well probably way too many minutes/hours per day.

It will be rather interesting in the years to come to see just how much this recommendation for screen time changes. My prediction will be that this number will definitely increase. In the mean time, this site offers some information for developing healthy screen time habits.

Courtney H

Digital Citizenship…

The learning pathway for week 10 is all about the concept of ‘digital citizenship’. So what exactly is digital citizenship? I now know that digital citizenship focuses on being able to use ICTs successfully, safely and productively. This page explains the concept further and states that digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use.

We were also asked to complete two quizzes this week and reflect on our results, my results are:

Quiz 1 (Bullying): 2/4

I got the first question incorrect as I believed that some bullies did suffer from low self-esteem, however I learnt that bullies actually often have an inflated self-esteem. The second question I got incorrect I was quite surprised about, just like Michelle states she was. Like Michelle, I thought that in this digital age cyber-bulling would be the highest form of bullying, not face-to-face bullying.

Quiz 2 (cyber-safety): 24/25

The question I got incorrect was a bit of a silly mistake on my behalf. I selected that it was not okay to share your last name, home phone number, school name and address online, which were all correct. However I said that it was okay to share your first name, nickname and email address online. The quiz deemed sharing your email address online unsafe so I got this question incorrect. Whilst my email address is online, I understand that for primary school students this would be unsafe as anyone could contact them.

Courtney H