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My Engagement with PYP

Growth of IB Student in School

Image found on akshararbol.com

Where did that three weeks go! Although initially I had reservations about going to an IB school following the PYP (primary years program) for my prac, I found it a great experience! IB (International Baccalaureate) schools follow an inquiry based approach that focuses on development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and outside of the classroom. The behaviour management and reward system was very effective and the boys receive signatures in their books when they are displaying attributes listed on the above tree. I was impressed by how well the school prepares students for their future lives, by way of interviewing for house and vice captain roles and preparation leading to their exhibitions. All in all an insightful prac with a great class and mentor. A whole new and invaluable experience for me teaching two classes (42 boys) a lot of the time, and one that I will take with me on my future teaching journey.

 

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Wacky Wordle!

English_notebook_cover

I recently came across Wordle while researching ideas for my practical placement. I love this idea and the students used it to create title pages for their presentations on a unit of inquiry we were doing. You just add words related to your chosen topic and Wordle does the rest!

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The Pedagogy Wheel – A Blooming Great Idea!

blooms apps

I came across this site which has a diagram of the Pedagogy Wheel. It aligns different iPad apps within the Samr Model and Blooms Taxonomy to enhance classroom activities. The creator of the Pedagogy Wheel said he….

 “wanted a model that could be applied to everything from curriculum planning, development, writing learning objectives and designing student centered activities”.

At the centre of the wheel is immersive learning to engage students. I thoroughly recommend checking out the site to learn more about the Pedagogy Wheel, The Samr Model and Blooms Taxonomy for a digital age. There is also a link on their site or you can follow by clicking here – to a seminar which gives ideas of the latest use of the Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy and how the iPad can serve the pedagogy. It has reference to 62 apps with 18 video based tutorials.

 

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Blooming into the Digital Age

blooms taxonomy for ipad

I came across this site a little while back but thought I would share on my blog. It provides some great educational iPad apps and categorises them into each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. A great one to add to the teachers toolkit!

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The Week That Was

Phew! Whole weekend lesson planning for the second week of prac and still no time for my other assignment. This is in part due to the high standards I set myself on prac to be highly prepared and deliver engaging lessons.

So week one down and I have to say although I had feelings of trepidation for having an all boys Year 6 class, I have been pleasantly surprised. They are a great group of boys and I have a very organised and helpful mentor. As it is an International Baccuratele school they do not use the c2c, rather they have a UOI (Unit of Inquiry) that they explore each semester. I arrived right at the beginning of a new UOI all about ‘Where we are in place and time’. First day of prac I was responsable for the first inquiry lesson which was on Women’s suffrage in Australia. Hmmm… how to engage Year 6 boys in a topic that I was sure they would not be the least bit interested in. I decided to do up my lesson into a Prezi to make it more interactive for the boys, combined with other activities within the lesson to get the boys moving around, such as group work and think pair share. The boys responded well to the Prezi and my mentor was also impressed as it kept the lesson flowing well. I went on the following days to teach about The White Australia Policy and Refugees and the boys used their time in the IT lab to do further research on the topic and create a presentation. The workload is huge as it usually is on prac and particularly more so this time, as I have had to re-research the topics from scratch.  I have found it really interesting though and have learnt some new information along the way. My mentor is so pleased with my lessons he said he is happy for me to takeover and teach the whole UOI while I am there. So week two I am teaching about Aboriginal history and rights plus some more maths – which I have also had to re-investigate and refresh on.

My only disappointment from this prac I would have to say is the lack of good ICT resources. I had lots of great ideas that I wanted to do and use, to no avail. Partly due to lack of resources and partly due to a teaching culture that just doesn’t use it that much.  This is reality for a lot of schools I guess and probably more of what I will strike when I am teaching.

Interestingly the staff meeting on my first day by the head of the school was all about ICTs and the need to get on board. They are looking at implementing more by way of each student having an iPad next year and for teachers to do PDs to get up to speed more! Great news!

I will say though they are using a program called Mathletics, the boys love it! A great way to engage them with maths and for them to keep track of their own progress. To learn more about this great resource, check out the blog of Miss H.

 

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Prac Looms

Well prac is looming and I am quite nervous about this one. Whilst I relish the experience of prac, it can be a trying time for me. As a single parent with no family nearby, there are added pressures of trying to arrange getting my son to and from school and arrive at my site early and be able to stay back late if need be. Then there is the element of having to take time off from my current work with no pay, which affects my ability to keep up with my mortgage and somehow get my son to sport commitments after school, plus squeeze lesson planning in there somewhere. The joys! But it will be all worth it one day when I am finally teaching!

This prac I have been allocated a Year 6 class, which is the highest year level I have had thus far, hence the nerves. Equally adding to my fears is the fact I am at an school which uses the International Baccalaureate System. International Baccalaureate schools do not use the C2C but rather, the Year 6 class I have are using the PYP. It is more an inquiry based pedagogy. This is what is causing me some anxiety as it is so foreign to me, having only taught in a state school system before. However, it will be an experience which can only make me a better teacher in the long run.

I met with my mentor last week and he was extremely helpful and organised setting up a google docs for our communication leading up to and during prac. I am still however, overwhelmed by the task ahead. He has asked me to do a maths lesson on my first day and provided me with the unit of inquiry we will be covering called Where we are in place and time, relating to human rights in Australia both in the past and today. We will be exploring the White Australia Policy, Women’s Suffrage and Indigenous Rights. I also found out that while they do have an IWB in the classroom it does not work very well and so he says to not factor that into lessons. The hardest part for me at the moment is lack of time due to working more days than usual to get some extra money, rushing trying to catch up on study and other assignments, which is leaving me with mental blanks when it comes to lesson plan ideas for prac. Hopefully they will  come soon.

It will be a very busy 3 weeks and I hope I have the chance to enjoy it and learn a lot. I gained some solace by reading other students’ blogs who also have Year 6 such as Bec and sfaulds who provides a great link to lesson ideas which I will b e checking out. Hopefully we can support each other with ideas.

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World Book Online

WBO

 

My son’s school encourages students to use World Book Online when researching a topic. It is an excellent resource that allows students to explore any topic and save their research using the World Book tools. It has timeline templates to allow students to create a digital timeline and is suitable for all ages. I particularly liked the ‘Surf The Ages’ page which theorises – What if the Web had existed in ancient times?…allowing students to dip into imaginary news sites from ancient times, medieval times and modern times. 

There is so much to explore… it is well worth a look!