Planning – it is taking over my life!

I don’t know about anyone else on Prac at the moments but I feel like every waking moment that I am not at my school teaching I am sitting at the computer writing lesson plans!!  It is taking over my life.

My task the last few days has been to take the Year 4 Geography assessment task and differentiate it slightly for the Group of Year 4 students who are struggling.

It is on Exploring Environments and Place so I decided the best way for me to write, teach this lesson and accomplish success for the students in the assessment task was to create a Webquest.  I had to include two countries being Australia and Africa.  Students had to display mapping skills, research a native animal and locate places and landmarks on maps.

I think I have accomplised this – but as it goes when teaching-I will find out tomorrow when I present this lesson and the Webquest to the class.

If you would like to have a look at my Webquest link – click here.

I love Webquests-especially with students who may struggle – all of the information in contained in the one place and while they still get to navigate the internet-there is less chance of failure .

One week down!…..

So what a week it has been in my first week of Prac – I am in a SEU-Special Education Unit at a primary school-we have about 40 students all together and I have been allocated a wide variety to plan lessons for.  Most night- at about midnight I find myself still up typing out those lesson plans!  My mentor is amazing and a wonderful teacher-she just likes to keep me on my toes and plan for all different ages, stages and different parts of the curriculum.  Like Sharaya wrote in this blog I too have had heart palpitations throughout the day and seem to wake up at 3 in the morning with a new idea I should have incorporated into a lesson!  Prac so far has really taught me how to plan a lot quicker – my first lessons this week took me hours!  I find myself now becoming an expert and finding sites that I never knew existed like this one directed related to   Autism that has so many great ideas.  Having such a vast range of students has also made me think on my feet and learn to think quickly if I feel that things are going pear shaped during a lesson.  Write more about my nervous breakdown – oh sorry-I mean Prac -during the week.


Thankgod for my iPad!

Like the blog Teaching with Fletch I too am excited, nervous and totally packing it about starting Prac tomorrow.  It doesn’t seem to matter how organised I think I am I don’t think anything can really prepare me for what I will really face.  As I have met my Mentor teacher and spent a day in the SEP where I will be for the next 3 weeks, I have 2 plans already written.  I am all ready to teach one or both tomorrow and am also ready for things to not really go as planned.  Due to the lack of ICTs in the SEP I am so lucky to have been able to borrow an iPad with lots of educational apps to help me along.  While completing Part B of assignment 3 I came across this study on iPads for Education that was done by the Department of Education  and they are a great tool for implementing the RAT model as well as being engaging and fun.   Lets hope the students think so tomorrow anyway!

Only 5 more sleeps….

As Jodi also mentions in her blog – Prac is fast approaching!  While I know it will be a wonderful learning experience the build up for me is really nerve wracking.  I work in a school but the thought of going to another school and teaching different students really does my head in at times.  After a visit to the school which does not contain a lot of ICTs in the unit where I will be placed I have managed to borrow an i-pad to take on prac with me. This will be a godsend as I see on a daily basis  how using certain apps, such as Bugs and Bubbles, can engage students in learning like nothing else can and especially for students with special needs.  Will continue to blog  next week once the Prac journey gets underway.

10 Tips for student teachers on placement

There is some great advice here-thanks for writing this.

Teaching the Teacher

I was recently asked by a reader if I could give my tips for surviving teaching placement, practicum, teaching experience. Having gone through the experience myself and having watched two sets of student teachers come into our school, I’m not too far removed but I also get the benefit of seeing part of the other side of the fence. However I’m not at the point where I have enough experience to mentor a student teacher so I can’t give the Associate Teacher’s point of view.

1. You are there to learn
Going into placement you have two what might seem like mutually exclusive goals. On one hand, you want to show what an awesome teacher you are to your Associate Teacher/School and get that elusive permanent teaching job post-graduation. But on the other, you are there to learn. Here’s my advice, stick with the former and the latter will…

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IWB versus Interactive TVs

Have just completed the learning path that dealt specifically with the IWB and read Jasmines blog which talked about her placement not having one in the classroom.  I work at a school and we have had an IWB in each classroom for about the last 8 or 9 years and I think they are great and really do believe they engage students and provide a wonderful opportunity for teachers.  Only thing is my school is now making IWBs pretty much obsolete with the introduction of Interactive Flat screen TVs.  I am not sure I really understand the justification of spending all that extra money on a new technology when the other one seemed to work really well to me but then I am not in charge or make decisions.  They do have some advantages like no shadows (but the newer IWBs didn’t either) and  the picture on the screen is amazingly clear as well.  This article discusses the pros and cons of both.

ICTs in a past professional experience

Reading through the last learning path that talked about the  IWB and technology we may encounter in our professional experience classroom bought back memories on my first prac, as Leslie wrote of in her blog.  This classrooms only claim  to technology was a projector (which I am not even sure  is classed as an ICT?).  The teacher could book time in the computer lab but due to the nature of the class (many students with behavioural or learning disabilities) extra help was always needed but not always available.

The reason for the lack of technology in this classroom was not something intentional but due to funding.  This class was put together at the last minute due to an influx of special needs students, be it behaviour, autism, etc, being placed in the school.  There simply was no more funds left for this class.  And you know what – it did not matter.  This teacher was simply amazing – he had those students engaged in learning and they all respected and listened to him-I was really lucky to have been placed there. I am sure he would of loved to have additional ICTs if it would of been available!

David mentions in the learning path that’ It’s not the technology that impacts learning, its how we teach and use it that can make a difference’ and I fully agree with that.What I witnessed is discussed on  this site written by a teacher talking about the use of computers at times in classrooms; ‘ Education is much more complex than that. It is about the trust and bond between a teacher and young person (and parents) that creates the environment where learning can occur and grow. Virtual learning simply cannot do that. I would argue that in a world now where young people are retreating more and more into virtual unreality, the teaching profession is more important than it ever was. It is teaching that keeps it real – teaching that keeps young people alive. In short, teachers and the profession will never die’.

While she is not putting down the value of ICTs in our classrooms, just the way we sometimes use them.  She further stated this about her time as a teacher and I think it is something to remember.

“In almost 40 years as an educator, I cannot think of one single occasion when someone has stopped me to recall fondly about an inspirational and influential piece of computer software. And yet I get letters from former students eulogising over a teacher who changed the direction of their lives and without whom they would not be in the position they are today. That is the result of trust, about a relationship between the teacher and the child.”

While I may not totally agree this really did get me thinking.



I love this Leslie! – As an aspiring special education teacher and in my work as a teacher aid for students with special needs I have seen the way ICT can enhance and transform these students’ lives.Non-verbal stu…

Source: ICT

Looking back on Week 10

This weeks learning path focused on “the issues and strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching”; and my Prac sites policies on this, etc.  My school has a great programme for students and implements ICTs (should I even say it like this – implements?) into the curriculum and each class is actually allocated a minumun of 90 minutes of computer lab time per week.  The schools policies on internet safety are available on their website for all to view and look something like this and this.

If anything, my planning for Professional Experience has not changed as I work in a school and am aware of the many rules, policies and blocks (that happen everyday) I will encounter.

What I am not ready to do is to use ICTs in the manner I know they should be – I don’t feel like I can create lessons that are good enough and incorporate ICTs to transform learning like what I have been learning about and not simply replace it.  I seem to be spending so much time trying to think up the most amazing lessons and when I come to write them I find fault after fault.

I read a blog by Anna who wrote of her need to develop strengths instead of always second guessing herself and I know that is the attitude I need to take.

Hopefully that inspiration will come this week as I really need to move along here and get started with assignment 3.

Week 10 learning Path and Prac

After starting the week 10 learning path I now know how careful I have to be when working with students the internet and computers.  It has given me an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching which will be very useful in my  Professional Experience for EDC3100.  A quick search of my Prac school internet site enabled me to read their policies and guidelines the school has in place to help protect students and what teachers must ensure that this happens.  This link also offers information on policy and procedures we, as teachers must follow to help keep students safe.