Done and dusted

It’s all done and dusted – how time flies when you’re having fun! I’s sad to say goodbye, but glad in a way that it is over.  Haylea writes how she has had the hardest semester so far and I am in the same boat!  With three assignments to go though it certainly isn’t time to party just yet. However I can celebrate the conclusion of a very successful third last prac – and celebrate I did! Two corona’s and asleep before 8:00 pm just call me the life of the party, but I am so drained from prac
 “Get used to it” they say
Anyway as a quick reflection more for my own sake.  I generally really dislike uni and sometimes I find myself wondering “did I make the right choice?” and I am happy to say I did. This prac I was in my element. Prep is my comfort zone.
Plain and simple – I really loved it. It is so very reassuring to feel this way, and I hope it’s enough to get me through another three semesters.
*Cue edited end of day prayer*
Dear God,
Thank you for a lovely three weeks. Thank you for my mentor, and thank you for my preps.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Playing with sentences

This week we worked on sentence structure. There was lots of rearranging, creating and reading sentences, focusing on upper case letters and some punctuation.  We did writing and cut and paste activities too.

I decided there must be a way to integrate ICT into this learning, so for my last lesson we did small group laptop sessions using a great online program sunshine online. It is a fabulous interactive language and literacy site that the kids really enjoy.  The students first listened to a sentence twice, then were able to recreate it two ways and choose different animals each time.

Sun sets for the last time in 2005 by Pandiyan, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  Pandiyan 
The program has frequented my lessons especially as an introductory tool.

The week that was (week 2)

Like Saranna, my second week was over in the blink of an eye! Though she has been doing a lot more teaching than I have, I feel really positive about what I have taught.  My feedback has been quite good, however I need to work on my objectives a bit more.  I found a few little tips from this website, but just talking it over with my mentor has helped. However I haven’t been able to view examples from her which I will endeavour to get next week! I think that will help more.

This week also saw the Eisteddfod performance we had so been looking forward to (well me more than my mentor – I just love that kind of thing!). While we didn’t win – the kids practiced hard and enjoyed the performance and watching their peers perform, probably as much as the bus ride back to school!

I can’t believe we only have a week left! As I don’t have prac next semester, I have already organised a volunteer morning in my prac class, it’s safe to say I can really see myself as a prep teacher!

It’s all about timing

Parliament Clock by Aldaron, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Aldaron 

Timing for me has been one of  the trickiest parts of prac so far.

I tend to lose track of how long I have been running the lesson. Perhaps I need to follow my lesson plan more closely. Perhaps I just need to stop enjoying my time with the class so much! I find it hard that each day has a different daily schedule, What I think I should do tomorrow is keep an idea of start and finish time and aim to finish 5 minutes early.

This article explains some great ways of managing your time.  It didn’t help me very much, it might for you? I know I just need to keep an eye on that clock! My mentor assures me it will get better with practice. So as they say – Practice makes perfect!

Positional Language

This week I had to prepare a lesson for maths on positional language. My prac school has an excellent resource for Maths called the Mathematical Activity Guidelines ((MAGS) p18 of report).  It is very informative and extremely helpful in understanding the expectations and sequencing of lessons.

My task this week was to run and plan a lesson to be repeated with each group of 6 students.  I created an egg carton game in which the students had to follow directions such as “place a green egg below the pink egg” and place a blue egg two spaces to the right.  Following this we used our bodies to move around a grid and think about our own position in relation to others, which the kids grasped very quickly.  Though I didn’t use any ICT, the kids have really seemed to understand the concepts so far and have some fun while learning.

1st week wrapped up.

Well the end of the best first week I could have asked for. It’s great to see that others like Kristyl and Natasha, have also had very positive experiences!

I am feeling truly blessed that I have such a great class of kids, VERY minimal behaviour problems in the scheme of things, reading other peoples blogs I think I’ve got it pretty easy… But I am happy to take it! Though I will say I am also grateful for my background experience with children and the confidence in behaviour management that comes with it, and so is my mentor!

Random Letters by Thomas Hawk, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  Thomas Hawk 

This week I did all of the teaching and planning around the Sound waves program which I am finding very insightful.  We have chants for our letters, workbooks and scrapbook and craft activities focusing on the letter of the week.  I am really enjoying learning about phonics and spelling, as I am yet to do a uni course on Language and Literacy, so I am taking it all in!  I have used the IWB as a teaching tool so it’s great to get some more experience with that up my belt!

1 down, 2 to go.

The perfect ‘Nn’est

Today I had my first planned lesson. We started off very easily and I did story time and a follow-up activity.  Our letter of the week is ‘Nn’ so I decided to focus my lesson on the book “Mr McGee and the Perfect Nest“.  Though not one of my favourite Mr McGee’s, it includes a lot of rhyming which is also another big focus in the class at the moment and quite a lot of use of the letter N with a mixture of upper and lower case used.

Green grass, orange umbrella 1 by Joybot, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Joybot 

I love Pamela Allen books and in this radio interview she talks about how she “doesn’t go for political correctness and thinks a good children’s book is a one that’s full of ideas and is fun to perform!” Which is right up my ally!!

Anyway the lesson went really well, which didn’t surprise me a great deal as reading books to young children is kind of my forte… But I was glad nevertheless to get through it all unscathed. Having a small follow up activity matching perfect nests was a good way of extending the students thinking.

Mentor meeting

Today I met with my mentor, Mrs M we’ll call her. I’ve mentioned briefly already but she was one of my teachers in Year 6.  It was reassuring to not have the entire pressure of meeting someone new and making a great first impression, though there certainly was a lot of catching up to do!

Another perk of living in a small town is that I also know the teacher aide who is the mother of an old work colleague as well as my sister’s friend.  A handful of the preppies I also taught in childcare, so I knew them and their parents already.  Long story short – there’s definitely perks to small town livin’.

The class seemed great as I observed the end of day routine, nothing special or ICT based like in Tracey’s experience.  We then had a chat about the students and their needs, as well as the available ICT.  The class has a Smart board that seldom gets used and the library has laptops and some other resources available for loan.

All in all, I think I’m really going to enjoy my time in Prep Red!

Oh me oh maths

Maths is one of those subjects that I never really got along with at school.  I wasn’t completely hopeless but it just never seemed to click like everything else did. To this day I don’t enjoy it nor do I have good memories of it.

This year one of the families I nanny for moved schools and as part of their maths and homework program they use a program called Mathletics.

According to the website:

•Students love Mathletics

• Students are engaged and motivated to learn

• Improved results

• Easy to use

• Students have access to Mathletics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

• Provides the perfect link between home and school, where results flow seamlessly

The girls really enjoy it and they are learning a lot while feeling like it is a game. I wish I had something as engaging and interactive at school to learn and practice maths skills and concepts, because rote learning of times-tables did absolutely nothing for me!

Prep for Prep

Having finished the week 11 learning path, which gave some insight into the use of interactive whiteboards, I realised that I may be a bit behind on understanding how it all works. I was able to use it briefly on my last prac but not nearly to the extent  I could have.

I thought however before I worry about that too much (I will meet up with my mentor this week hopefully and sort it all out) I have very little knowledge of the curriculum in the foundation year not even have I focused on prep for any assignments. So I went researching!

Here is the Australian Curriculum document tweaked so it includes just the foundation year learning areas of English, Maths, Science, Geography and History.

Here is the QCAA page that links to the Early Years Curriculum Guidelines, and this is a quick guide which is informative.

and in case you were curious this is the phase descriptors that explain how teachers will make judgements on student learning.

I thought maybe I should print these out, but I shared them to my diigo page and saved the pdf to my computer

Now for some more reading!