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Encourage them to talk effectively

This week CPD, we had  sharing about teaching effective talk. It was more on how we encourage students to communicate more often during collaboration. In my class, it seem to be easy for some students as they speak good English but those with problems speaking English its too difficult, which then may lead them to be demotivated towards certain learning activities. There were few methods that I use in my class , for example giving them a clear guideline by writing on the board how they can start (Good morning, teachers and friends today I will be presenting etc), as for students who do not refer as much on the board I use questioning technique where they are able to answer what they know from their understanding. Moreover, it helped some students where I used the repeat sentence method where I use key words and they repeat then they will eventually continue to explain the rest of their content. Not only that, to enhance this type of learning I have also used another way by using the library them. Students will choose their favourite story and then present to their peers what they have read, then during the brain food time we have sharing story time where they can share about the story they read to the rest of their friends who are done eating while waiting for the others.

mspearline@myclassroom6

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Different people with similar goal

This week in CPD, we had a sharing about Teaching Collaboration. We shared about the benefits and the challenges of collaborative learning. I believe that collaboration simply means a work that involves many different people with different point of views to achieve a shared goal. I think it’s a best tool to make students work with others in order to learn something more than what they are suppose to know or learn. When it comes to children it is quite challenging when students do not know how to accept other ideas or the way it is presented, this is where teachers play a role to prepare an organised activity which allows everyone to take in charge.

It’s quite challenging when you allow all of them to share what they know. All my students are very smart at giving their ideas or opinions; therefore to ensure a fair activity I give each one of them in a group a role. A leader will be given the advantage to decide what he/she wants to do then. By doing it, students will be able to complete the task in time and it can then teach themselves how to accept the other ideas without arguing. To makesure they are right on track we use reflection time where we correct each other. Collaborative learning works quite well in my class as I have many students who have difficulties in writing and they are more comfortable to share it through communicating. It builds their confidence level since they take the risk to voice out their opinions. As a teacher, I always listen to their ideas and motivate them with praises and ask more questions that will allow them to think about how they can make adjustments or improve in the areas they can control the next time.

mspearline@myclassroom6

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Too much to do? – Teaching Organization

 

In the recent CPD, we had a sharing about Teaching Organization (Approaches to Learning) by Ms. Ranjana and Mr. Nicholas. The objective of the session, were: to understand the meaning of organization, the benefits of organization, the challenges of organization and skills needed to enable successful organization.

I believe organization simply means a systematic strategy to establish various tasks set that are achievable. As a Grade 1 teacher, there are a lot of tasks that we are required to do. The time seem to be really short and to ensure that I reach my objective of the day, I have to speed up my lessons without making any errors. Therefore, in order to avoid the mistakes I always prepare my worksheets, lesson planning and tasks to do for the day before hand. I have different ways in organising myself, in school, home and personal time. Its really important for teachers to keep up professional attitude in work and I believe organizing time plays a crucial part, this skill will be then followed by our students as an example.  I think I need to improve in taking note of the things I have to do as soon as I get instruction so that I will not forget. Therefore I am taking an action to keep a small note pad to write my tasks for the day. Its really good looking into this as a part of our professional training, as I needed reminder to ensure my work is up to date.

mspearline@myclassroom5

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No more frustration

 

This week (CPD 4) we had a professional presentation about lesson plan by Mr. Majid. I had a chance to learn about the importance of a lesson plan:

Some lesson plans may have limited elements and that makes things harder, therefore he emphasised on basic key elements that a good lesson plan should have

The KEY ELEMENTS in a good lesson plans are:

  • Objectives
  • Outcomes
  • Equipment/Resources
  • Timing
  • Explanation of organisation
  • Assessment tools
  • Differentiation

The most interesting part was the way questions asked to assess students understanding. The use of (snowball questioning technique), it appears to be a fair way to obtain answers from students.  This technique may start with a short question such as: What is the key element that is the most important part in a lesson plan? Why do you think so? What about other elements?These questions will start with a short answer and continues with a longer answer, which  will eventually allow students to think using higher order thinking skill. At the same time, it allows other students to be alert during that activity.

Not only that, I personally think that teachers should spend some time to change or modify their lesson plans that can be used effectively in the future. I agree that a lesson plan is important; it makes me think how can I make the activities more challenging and achievable.

There are a number teachers disagree to use lesson plan, as they think that they know what to do for their lesson and there is no need of a lesson plan. I felt the same way when I first stepped into teaching line, but I realised how boring my lessons were when I do not spend time to widen my ideas. Of course, sometimes I had to change it when my students do not engage. Well, this is when I get to reflect and make it better the next time. Now, I love my teaching and my students are always excited to know what are they doing everyday! It does make a difference.

mspearline@myclassroom4

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Kidblog & Diorama

ImageThis week (CPD 3) , one of the teacher shared with us about the use of kidblog for our classroom use. It was mainly recommended to the higher primary level students.  According to the teacher, it helped students to use their free time to go on this and comment on a subject that they are talking/discussing about, also a way to socialize, correcting grammar, vocab and etc,

As for the lower grade, i personally think it would be a great idea to keep one account for the class. This can be optional for students to use and it can be a tool to share resources with parents at home in order to improvise certain areas or the particular unit that we are teaching at that period of time. It can be videos, worksheets, pictures and others.

Besides that, we had a sharing about Diorama. This particular teacher used it in her art lesson and shared with us the way students can make their art work creatively , she also collaborated with the ICT teacher to do a research on this lesson.

The main concern was, after making a Diorama?

WHAT DO WE DO AFTER ?

1. Using the diorama in English lesson – Making a story

2. Finding vocabularies from the story

3. Newscasting

Math lesson

1. Measurement of the box/ or the images/ objects used for diorama

2.  Create a bar chart on how many different colours of paper used

pearline@myclassroom3

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We need help too teacher!

 

On the second session, there was a sharing about special educational needs from one of our expert in school. As a part of my teaching and learning for the past four years I have observed and taught a large number of students that has difficulty learning at times. My question is: How do I help this child?

It is very challenging to find out their abilities rather than the weaknesses. As a teacher I needed a deep content of knowledge on why certain students react in certain ways. I am still learning as I have quite a number of students who needs special needs.

As a part of the school, my main concern is about the support resources available through school. It is very crucial for a school to first implement a SEN department, dealing with a big number of students who are SEN students. This is because , they have a professional training working with children with learning and behavioural disabilities. By this, teachers with many questions may seek for their successful strategies.

Apart from that, the process of information for differentiation activities in class. When teaching a particular unit, teachers shouldn’t rely on one particular book, there should be modifying activites and assessments. I personally do not agree a standard assessment for all students as this group of students are special in showing their content of knowledge. By this, students from this group will not feel frustrated or having the thoughts that ‘ I cant do this’ or ‘this is impossible’.

The I.E.P. resource can be another successful resources, it is called the individualised education plan where there is a list of very specific goals and objectives for the student and it often includes strategies to help the child succeed (IDEA,2004 ). This will eventually help teachers to know how best to meet the needs of particular student.

pearline@myclassroom2

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Think! Think!

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Figure 2: Phases of teaching thinking skills

From the first session in CPD, I learned that all students have their own gift for learning with their own curiosity to find out about something they always want to know. As teachers we need to understand our students need and use variety ways of activities to enhance students thinking skills.

In “How to Create and Develop a Thinking Classroom“, Mike Fleetham (2009) writes:

“In our evolving world, the ability to think is fast becoming more desirable than any fixed set of skills or knowledge.  We need problem solvers, decision makers and innovators.  And to produce them, we need new ways to teach and learn.  We need to prepare our children for their future, not for our past.” This explains clearly that new strategies should be introduced to students to ensure we develop individuals who think critically in order to solve problems. 

Since I am a Grade 1 Homeroom, I find it a little challenging to encourage students to practice this. However, these could be the possible ways I would want to introduce in my lessons. As a first grade student, they definitely require higher attention in order to process the information and think. As a start I think this activity would help students to capture attention,

eg: TALK strategy – This strategy teaches students to manage their ‘ talking and listening’ process to promote students understanding which then leads to an effective lesson. (http://www.brainboxx.co.uk/a3_aspects/pages/ThinkingTALK.htm) – Please click here for more activities on thinking skills

Activity name : Listening triangle

Objective: This activity helps to develop speaking and listening skills and raises students’ awareness of what constitutes both a clear explanation and active listening.

Description:

Students work together in groups of three.

The SPEAKER explains the topic (or expresses their opinion on an issue) as directed by the teacher.

The QUESTIONER listens carefully and asks for clarification or further detail.

The NOTE-TAKER observes this process and provides feedback to both “speaker” and “questioner”.

A “numbered heads” approach can be used to allocate roles – and these roles can be rotated (either now or subsequently).

As for a start in my first grade classroom I would encourage my students take the first step by exposing to the ‘tools to use’ as I have mentioned earlier this helps students to pay closer attention and be a good listener/observer. Once they achieve the first goal, then I may slowly begin with the ‘questioning technique’ which allows them to find out the answer or to solve a problem. I personally think the phases of teaching thinking skills (figure 2) can be used as great tool for teachers in making questions.

Nevertheless,  I find that Six Thinking Hats which I think will perfectly fit in English lessons – Debate, but I think this may be best to use in higher primary level. Choose a  topic and six different groups with six different hats, different opinion, different ideas,  sounds cool!

Lastly, I personally think that schools should use the ‘Blooms Taxonomy’ by making their own rubrics for each grade level since some grade level students may not know the use of it. This will give a good flow in transition, as they move to the next grade the vocabulary/instruction/questioning technique gets more complex and challenging.

Pearline@myclassroom