Category Archives: Graduate Professional Experience 1

Effective Group Work

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

Element 4; Aspect 4.1.4  Use student group structures as appropriate to address teaching and learning goals.

Click here to learn about using Voki in the classroom.

Implementing group work effectively in the classroom can be challenging for many teachers, however if implemented successfully, group work can be extremely beneficial to students in many ways.

Group work is an effective learning tool as students are not passive recipients, prior knowledge is activated, complex and real world tasks can be worked on, communication is encouraged and problem solving, critical thinking, co-operation and team work are involved. Students are also motivated and less reliant on the teacher (constructivism).

As a student teacher I have seen group work used and students asking “why can’t we do this on our own?” and exlaiming “I don’t know why we have to work in groups!”

Teachers need to remember that group work should NOT be used when students can achieve the outcomes working by themselves.

While group work can have limitations, such as unfair distribution of workload, group acceptance, unequal contribution and pace, they can be overcome with some preparation by the teacher.

It is important to plan ahead when using group work. Students need to be prepared for group work, a basis for forming groups will need to be decided upon, resources need to be collected, detailed guidelines need to be given to the students, the issue/problem needs to be introduced and groups, student roles and rules all need to be established.

I have created six group role cards which may be distributed to each group member prior to group work (click on images to enlarge).

Click here for a printable word document of the six group role cards.

It is the responsibility of the teacher to control group dynamics. The teacher needs to ensure that the group sizes are appropriate, all students are encouraged to participate, group cohesion and communication is fostered, disputes are mediated and group leaders are provided with help in order to be effective.

Teachers can encourage maximum attention from each member with various strategies, including; not identifying who will be called upon to answer the next question before it is asked, avoiding focus on one student within the group and also avoiding being predictable.

Teachers need to keep the groups on task by helping them define their position and refocus on the task, prompting students to contemplate a new train of thought, providing students with information, asking students to provide specific information, providing opinions and assisting students record the results of their learning efforts.

Essentially, group work allows the students to learn from each other and exchange their opinions, thoughts and ideas to expand their knowledge and challenge their perceptions, and as a result, creating well rounded individuals.

VOTE HERE

How do you use group work effectively in your classroom?

References

Alarm Clock [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2011, http://www.faqs.org

Bregani, M. (2008). Assessing the benefits of group work in a school setting. Retrieved from http://www.helium.com/items/1180416-benefits-of-group-work-in-classrooms

Children [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2011, http://www.behavioralproblemsinchildren.com

Circle of People [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2011, http://www.canstockphoto.com

Group Work. [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved 8 May, 2011, http://sg.theasianparent.com/articles/grab-math-by-the-tail/

Konza, D., Grainger, J. & Bradshaw, K. (2004). Existing Models of Behaviour Management. In Classroom Management: A Survival Guide, (pp79-100). Social Science Press

Long, J. (2000). Lecture 5: Group Work [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from http://blackboard.acu.edu.au/webct/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct

Multicultural kids group solving problem [Image] (2011). Retrieved 8 May, 2011, http://images.vonadatech.com/Education/Elementary-School/4695536_bp3vo/1/270925112_MM6xK/Medium

New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. Retrieved 4 Februray, 2009, from http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/Main-Professional-Teaching-Standards.html

Pencil  [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2011, http://www.faqs.org

Student [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2011, http://www.jupiterimages.com/Search/Image

Students Working Cooperatively Together On  A Group Project [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved May 8, 2011, http://www.uniqueteachingresources.com/reading-resources.html

Teamwork Kids. [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved 9 May, 2011, http://www.canstockphoto.com/images-photos/children.html

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Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Resources, Teaching Strategies

Teaching Strategies & Resources

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

Element 4; Aspect 4.1.5 – Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

In order to be the best teachers we can be we need to reconsider our methodology. As educators in the 21st century, we need to learn to communicate in the language and style of our students.

This DOES NOT mean changing what is important or redefining good thinking skills.

It means that teachers today need to be adapting materials to students of the 21st century. This way of thinking can be applied to all subjects. It is no longer a question of whether to use ICT and other technologies, but how to incorporate them in order to benefit our students.

There is no reason that a generation can memorise over 100 Pokemon cards and yet cannot learn their multiplication tables or fractions in maths and how power stations work in science.

It simply depends on how it is presented.

If we want to reach every single one of our students, we need to change. It is easy to shrug a shoulder and stick to the usual routines, but is that the kind of teacher you want to be?

ICT and other technologies can BRING CONCEPTS TO LIFE and ENGAGE STUDENTS, which leads to GREATER UNDERSTANDING.

It’s all about being the best teachers we can be for our students and helping them reach their full potential.

I have created the following ICT resources about perimeter and area, with the help of my sisters. It is resources like these that can foster interest and support learning. It doesn’t need to be time consuming, the following are easy to create and can be kept for future use.

IWB RESOURCE – PERIMETER (click on the images to enlarge)

PHOTOPEACH – PERIMETER AND AREA (click on the image)

 

Click here to start using PhotoPeach.

VIDEO – AREA

GO ANIMATE – PERIMETER AND AREA  (click on the image)

Click here to learn about GoAnimate for schools and educators.

These resources can be placed on a class blog where students can freely access them to reinforce their learning independently and in a fun way. Homework activities can also be designed to incorporate revision using these resources on the blog.

Get creative and share your ideas, you just might be surprised with what you can come up with!

References

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon. 9 (5).

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Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, ICT & Technology, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Resources, Teaching Strategies

Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

Element 4; Aspect 4.1.2 Demonstrate a range of questioning techniques designed to support student learning.

In observing my teacher, it is evident that teachers spend a significant amount of time asking questions and responding to answers. Research confirms that teachers can ask up to several hundred questions each day.

Questions can be used in order to stimulate interest, summarise important points, promote discussion, inspire higher cognitive level thinking, monitor class progress, routines and behaviours, uphold attention and assess learning.

Evidently, good questions are very important and require planning.

When we provide our students with higher order questions, they are required to think beyond simply remembering; reaching higher order levels and developing their thought processes. Different types of questions involve the use of different thinking skills.

My observations confirm that this is not an easy task as higher level questions are not being used often, if at all, in my current classroom.

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a multi-tiered chart which classifies thinking according to six cognitive levels of complexity. As teachers, we can use these levels, which can be seen in the butterfly poster below, to support our students to reach a higher level of thought.

Two of the most difficult skills in teaching refer to effective questioning and responding to answers. When planning questions, it is important to ensure they match the main points that are to be developed. Questions which focus on insignificant facts that do not focus on the material that needs to be covered need to be avoided.

Questions can be divided into two broad categories: fact and higher cognitive. Fact questions derive from the first tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy, while the higher cognitive level questions derive from the other levels. Independent thinking is encouraged via the higher cognitive level questions, with the amount varying according to the level of taxonomy.

Take a look at this Storybird I made, which provides some examples of applying Bloom’s Taxonomy in your classroom (click on the image).

 

 

Click here to learn about using Storybird in your classroom.

Among fact and higher order questions, teachers ask procedural questions pertaining to the routines and procedures of the class. Research states that 60% of the questions asked by teachers are fact, only 20% are higher cognitive and 20% are procedural.

This definitely needs to change.

Our students need to be provided with more higher cognitive level questions if we want to foster independent thinking and support our students in reaching a higher level of thinking to support their learning.

References

Alford, G., Herbert, P. & Frangenheim, E. (2006). Bloom’s Taxonomy Overview. In Innovative Teacher’s Companion, (pp176-224). ITC Publications.

Ball, M. (n.d.). Developing Thinking Skills. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from http://curriculum.na5.acrobat.com/thinkingskills

Barry, K. & King, L. (1998). Developing instructional skills. In Beginning Teaching and Beyond, (3rd ed.), (pp144-167). Social Science Press.

Forehand, M. (2005). Bloom’s taxonomy: Original and revised. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/

New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. Retrieved 4 Februray, 2009 from http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/Main-Professional-Teaching-Standards.html

Storybird. (2011). Collaborate Storytelling. Retrieved 18, April, 2011, from http://storybird.com/

Suki Husain. (2009). Bloom’s Taxonomy Poster for Elementary Teachers. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from, http://blog.learningtoday.com/blog/bid/22740/Bloom-s-Taxonomy-Poster-for-Elementary-Teachers

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Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Web 2.0 Applications

Using Technology To Support Learning

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

 Element 4; Aspect 4.1.5 – Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

Today, I observed a teacher revising fractions with the year six class as they had performed badly in their pre-test. She went over the test on the whiteboard while the students were at their desks. While the teacher had good intentions, she;

– Moved through the questions very quickly

– Did not give the students enough time to answer her questions

– Did not rub off the writing on the whiteboard once moved onto the next question

– Did not provide much praise to the students

– Did not allow the students to write anything in their books

– Did not allow the students to use concrete materials

– Did not use the interactive whiteboard

Unfortunately, it seemed that the majority of the students took very little, if anything, away from that math lesson.

We need to acknowledge that our students have changed radically. The educational system wasn’t designed to teach today’s students.

Today’s students represent the first generations to grow up with digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century. During their entire lives, they have been absorbed by computers, videogames, digital music players, video cameras, mobile phones and many other digital tools and toys of the digital age.

As educators, we need to be thinking about how best to teach our students of today. We need to invent new ways of teaching, but not necessarily from scratch. Adapting materials to the language of this generation has already been done successfully, in particular the creation of games which help teach the content, even the most serious.

I can only imagine how different that lesson could have been if the interactive whiteboard had been turned on. Instead of the students looking out the window, hoping not to be the one chosen to answer a confusing question next, they could have been excited, engaged, learning and participating in a visual and interactive math lesson.

The below YouTube video demonstrates how the interactive whiteboard can be used for a fraction lesson. Get creative and become inspired!

I have also created a Prezi, ‘Learning in the 21st Century and Beyond’ to further encourage educators to grow with the change of the 21st century.

 

 References

Leonard, L. (2010). Fractions – understanding using visuals [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ6UGZ_p0U4

New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. Retrieved 4 Februray, 2009 from http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/Main-Professional-Teaching-Standards.html

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon. 9 (5).

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Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Web 2.0 Applications

My First School Visit

“If you want to feel secure, do what you already know how to do. If you want to be a true professional and continue to grow…go to the cutting edge of your competence, which means a temporary loss of security. So whenever you don’t quite know what you’re doing, know that you are growing” – Madeline Hunter.

I decided to open with this quote because I found it in the opening pages of one of my book of readings and it has stuck with me ever since. In fact, it is now on my study wall providing me with motivation and reassurance.

My first, of six day a week visits, arrived without delay and that morning, I nervously made my way to my allocated school.

I found my way to my allocated year six classroom and was relieved beyond belief to be greeted with a welcoming teacher (yes!). She proudly showed me a box of posters, bottles, lanyards and stickers she ordered from a health organisation promoting drug and alcohol awareness, which we organised into groups for each class.

When the bell rang, the students poured inside. A smile spread across my face as soon as I saw their happy faces, and I knew it was going to be okay – that I could do this.

The teacher welcomed them and introduced me as a prac student who deserved the same amount of respect as all other teachers which was quite nice, however I wished she had let me say hello.

My first day was quiet as the students completed tests for the majority of the day. I was able to walk around and help those with their hands up.

The year six teachers have split up the subjects of health, HSIE and art, with my classroom teacher focussing on health. Today, the teacher displayed posters advertising the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. It was difficult for the students to see the detail in them from their desks. On reflection, to improve the lesson, the teacher could have divided the students into groups, each group having a different poster, and answer questions which could be presented to the class at the end of the lesson.

All in all, it was a good day and I left the school feeling positive.

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

Element 4; Aspect 4.1.5 – Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

Wordle is a great engaging resource that can be used in your classroom. It is a fantastic word cloud generator that the students can use in many different ways for many different purposes. Click on the image for 51 ways to use Wordle in your classroom.

 

Today, I will leave you with my own Wordle, reflecting my thoughts and feelings about my first school visit.

References

Feinberg, J. (2009). Wordle. Retrived 4 February, 2011, from http://www.wordle.net/create

New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. Retrieved 4 Februray, 2009, from http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/Main-Professional-Teaching-Standards.html

Tanti, M. (2011). EDFD529 Effective Teaching and Professional Practice (Primary). Australian Catholic University Ltd

Warner, M. (n.d.) 51 Interesting Ways to Use Wordle in the Classroom. Retrieved March 30, 2011, from http://www.ideastoinspire.co.uk/wordle.htm

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Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Web 2.0 Applications