Tuesday, 15 October 2013

About Those Goals I Shared...

I just realised that I never checked back in to report on the goals I set myself last term and we're already halfway through the first week of this term. Oops.  Better late than never.

  • Linking technology with our numeracy program: I've read, and I've surfed, and I've played with a whole bunch of apps BUT I still don't feel particularly confident in this area. The best numeracy lessons in which technology has played a part have been ridiculously simple. (Not that simple's bad, it just feels like I'm letting the team down by not pushing the boundaries more.) One lesson I gave the class free rein to use the computers to create a 3D shape and demonstrate their understanding of that shape. There were triangular based pyramids hand drawn in MS Paint, there were rectangular prisms built in some Lego programme I wasn't even aware was on the computers, there were videos created on Scratch and a whole range of other offerings.
  • Reflection during maths lessons: The whole class is regularly explicitly reflecting at the end of lessons. I either ask a specific reflective question or simply ask the students to reflect on their learning (and because my co-teacher is much better at this reflection caper than I am, and has been doing it all year, the kiddos are pretty comfortable with it). There is something incredibly satisfying to hear the students identify the strategies they've used and make links to other strategies and contexts. Sharing their reflections is such a powerful activity: it's almost possible to actually see the  links being formed in their brains as they listen to it each other. I. Love. It. 
  • High quality assessment tasks: I may not have blogged about the development on all of these goals but I did a blog specifically about this one. You can read it here.
  • Number sense development: I haven't had terribly much practical progress on this goal at all. I've been reading a pile of papers and articles but I'm still trying to synthesise the information into something practically useful. Some of the articles I'm reading give rise to other questions; for example this article by Heike Weise which links number development with language which set alarm bells ringing as I considered the literacy development of the students with weaker number sense.  I also found a not-insignificant school of thought that claims that number sense can't be explicitly taught, but "is a way of thinking that should permeate all areas of mathematics teaching and learning" (Reys 1994 quoted in Berch's 2005 article on Making Sense of Number Sense) which is both reassuring and terrifying. *sigh*  I think my challenge with this goal is related to the age of the children I'm teaching and my perception. I need to keep looking and learning. In the meantime I'll keep reinforcing basic number sense through all of our learning activities.  (As a side note, I did a great problematised situation - with a grade 2 class a few weeks ago - that demonstrated place value wonderfully. I can't take all the credit for it, as I 'borrowed' the idea from Ann Baker, but I will say that it involved over 2000 popsticks and less than 20 children counting them. I'll share photos when I get a chance.) 
  • Explicit teaching during guided reading: I've been linking specific teaching focuses from our literacy genre and using Sheena Cameron's Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies work to guide my planning and teaching. I've been linking my texts to our history and science topics which has really helped as well. I'm still not super confident in this area but I'm improving. 
  • Improved use of resources during writing activities: With my assistance the students are each creating their own Writers' Tool Box to use as they write. In a folder (that they keep in their desk drawer) they are compiling pages of helpful words and tips: synonyms for said/went/good/bad etc., lists of conjunctions and contractions; challenging spelling words and... Anything else we identify as useful. I encourage them to refer to their toolbox instead of asking me for help when they need writing help. It has some value, but I'm sure we'll keep refining it.
  • Edublogs: You can read about that saga here. It's an ongoing challenge.
  • Proofreading:  Um. Yep. Can't say as we've progressed at all here... *sigh* What c
    an I say? Watch this space?
So. Not an all around success but certainly not no progress either. I'm constantly learning. There have been a multitude of other new areas of growth over the last term alongside these goals I identified. I feel like I've grown and am eager to keep going.  Next steps in my learning?  I want to learn how to use ipads/tablets in the classroom in a meaningful way; I want to reflect on my planning process; I want to become conversant in the new geography curriculum; I want to learn how to be intentional about work/life balance... The list is endless really.  Anyone have any suggestions to help me prioritise?

I worried a bit about my priorities in this blog so I 'wordled' the text. (Did I really just turn a noun into a verb... Ugh! Ugly ugly ugly. Sorry!) Pretty relieved by the result though... I think the emphasis is in the right places. What do you think?

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 6.1 Identify and plan professional learning needs
Standard 6.2 Engage in professional  learning and improve practice
Standard 6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice
Standard 6.4 Apply professional learning and improve student learning

No comments:

Post a Comment