Department Meeting 7/9

Today’s PD  we  begun with a discussion about what we have learned in PE and Sports Team which lead into a discussion and a review of of our Year 9 & 10 PE programmes. The answers from the members of the Department can be seen below.

Following from this we looked at ‘different modes of assessment’ which can be seen to the right of the image below. We then identified modes of assessment which we wanted to know more about as indicated by the ticks. This is helpful for my teaching as it was useful to consider different forms of assessment and how evidence of learning can look different to traditional or current ways of doing things. I then tried an example for myself; I decided to draw pictures such as like the “7-days” activity called “This is my picture” where kids explain the picture that they have drawn. Similarly, I commentated what the images and drawings that I included meant using a voiceover. I found this to be meaningful and engaging because, in the process of translating the buzz words to images and thinking how to draw them it made me think more deeply about the topic. This style of assessment would suit a visual or verbal type learned.

Following from this we had a small quiz on the purpose of the Junior PE units that we currently teach. This related to the revamp of Ako Orewa around the questions of the learning process, environment and tools & skills that enhance learning. For teachers it was useful to reflect on our own knowledge of the purpose and intent of each Unit. In this activity, I found that I was easily able to explain the purpose of each unit. The challenge now and furthering from this is whether or not I have communicated this with my students and if they could answer what they are learning and why.

Once we had done this we looked at the current Units we do in PE and how we could create themes for the Term. It was mentioned that we need the input and voice of the students to inform us in this planning so, I volunteered to create a Google Form which we can use to hear the point of view of students eg what they enjoy, how they learn best, what they have found difficult and so forth. I will create this form and share it with the other teachers so that any tweeking we make is based on the needs and feedback from students.


Google Classroom

As my professional development, I have begun using Google Classroom with my Year 11 Health Class.

I have found this to be a useful platform for a number of reasons. I am able to instantly share files, questions, youtube links or assignments with the class. I can embed Google Docs into a post and assign a copy for each student. I find this helpful because, I am able to monitor the work of the students as they write. Also, students are able to refer back to useful resources and lessons we have used in class. I find that Google Classroom is straight-forward and easy to access.

Another way that I have used Google Classroom is for an internal assessment. I assigned each student a copy of their assignment and they worked on this in class. The advantages of this is that the students could ‘turn in’ their assignment at the end of the lesson and I could see who had submitted or not submitted. I find this beneficial as I can easily share with the other Health teacher for moderation and all the documents are stored electronically.

For my next unit, the students are writing action plans for goal-setting and they are doing ongoing blog entries. I can access their Google docs and I will leave comments and feedback for the students. I am also able to checkpoint the students and that they are keeping up to date with the work. The advantage of Google Classrooms is accessibility.

I have also assisted another teacher to use Google Drive and we share a folder to coordinate our classes. In this folder, there are NZQA exemplars and resources and a live Google Doc in which we put our teaching lessons and activities.

So far, I have found Google Classroom and Drive to be useful tools for collaboration, accessibility and feedback.

Student-teacher PD; insights after 1.5 terms

On May 31st I was involved with a discussion with the student-teachers currently in the School. I was asked to share insights from a Term and a half of teaching. We gathered in the boardroom and begun discussing what it is like as a first year teacher and how to ‘survive’.

The insights and words of wisdom that I passed on were;

Avoid taking things personally. Teenagers are complex individuals and there are 1000’s of reasons that a student may respond to something in your lesson. Remember that each individual has their own background, values and quite often, their reaction is unrelated to anything you are doing. Be reflective, but don’t take it personally when things don’t go as well as you would hope.

Leaving University, most are full of passions and visions of how Education can change the future and with ambitions of being an impacting teacher. Hold on to this passion and energy but also, be patient. It will take at least 3 years to become the teacher you want to be. During this process, make mistakes, experiment and hold onto the vision for Education.

You are important. Students would rather a energised teacher who has had sleep then a teacher who is immaculately prepared. Get sleep, it is vital for so many reasons. Make sure you schedule relaxation time. Don’t feel guilty for not doing work on the weekends – try and get it all done during the week. Find things that energize you. Teaching is a giving and serving profession and constantly considering the needs of others takes it toll. Ask yourself frequently; what are my needs? And do something to meet them!

Get marking. Often, it seems like this scary mountain that needs to be climbed. And it is unfamiliar terrain. Assessment schedules? Moderation? Criteria? Exemplars? Get started. The more you mark the more that the schedules make sense and the patterns of achievement emerge. Side note: make sure you read all this documentation before you begin teaching the Standard so that you are confident with what and how you are teaching.

You will get used to the feeling of not knowing what is going on. To begin with everything is new and this can be overwhelming. You may feel like a fraud with a set of school-keys and classrooms of students calling you their teacher. This feeling may not fully go away but, you do become more familiar and comfortable with not quite knowing what is going on. Even experienced teachers feel like this. The students do not know that you are making final preparations 10mins before  you see them. The students do not know that you are only a lesson ahead (if that) and that you are revising study guides and content. Fake it til you make it. Related to this though is be honest. If you are unsure, rather than waffling an answer, tell the student that it is a great question and that you will find out about it. Then, do it. Follow-up on finding the answer and then, tell the student next time you see them. They will respect your honest and follow-up.

Critical thinking in Health

As I was reading, an article caught my attention. It was titled; “Campaign for gay characters in Frozen 2 continues.” I proceeded to click the article and read that there was a social media campaign based on the slogan #giveelseaagirlfriend. This was the perfect springboard for a lesson with my Yr 10 Health class on the topic of Sexuality.

I decided to do a critical thinking lesson around whether or not Disney should have a gay princess. I knew that this topic would cause controversy and a range of opinions. I therefore introduced my lesson around the idea of “diversity is intelligence” and that listening to different perspectives and opinions as well as challenging your own beliefs is a necessary and helpful tool. I made sure that I emphasised the importance of different opinions and looking at issues from numerous persepctives. With this in mind, I asked my class to be open-minded to other’s thinking and respect differences.

After some prior history, looking at historical revolutions and considering events in history. I wrote on the board “Disney should have a gay princess.” Around the room, I placed signs saying “strongly agree, agree, meh, disagree and strongly disagree.” I asked students to think about their gut instinct to the statement and move to the label which was closest to their opinion. At the label or different station I asked students to write down on small pieces of paper what their thinking was that lead them to their position. The reason that I did this was that it allowed students who are more sensitive to still have an opinion despite confidence-issues to voice it. These are the questions I asked my students; “Write down a sentence or two explaining your thinking and why you have moved to that spot. What has influenced your thinking? What was it based on?” At this point, I moved around the room and had small-sided conversations with students, asking them open questions and challenging their viewpoints further. 

Continuing from this, I asked my students to share with someone nearby them at the same label why they had placed themselves there and what their reasoning was. This was the starting opportunity to hear different opinions and perspectives. From here, I asked to hear from the different parts of the room, the responses of the people. As those at the “strongly agree” section of the room begun answering, hand shot up around the room with counter-argument. As students answered, I was careful to listen to what they had said and then summarise their answers. I think this was important so that students felt that their opinions were validated and valued. I made sure that I gave opportunity for every part of the room to share their responses and opinions.

As the discussion was occurring, I could see students scrawling down further arguments and discussion points. It was remarkable to see students have their assumptions challenged and look at their own viewpoints critically. One student from the “disagree” section raised a very relevant point. She said; “I disagree because, I don’t think that Disney movies, for kids should be focused on relationships, regardless of the type.” This was a powerful statement and received agreement from across the room. A second student built on this saying that the theme of Disney movies shouldn’t be on relationships anyway but about fun, family and adventure. This is an example of students thinking critically about relevant, everyday subjects.

I think that this lesson demonstrates a sensitivity to student’s needs and allowed them a platform to express and hear opinions. I was pleased with the way that students responded and how students saw the value of empathy and the tolerance for difference. I think the lesson was also meaningful because it was relevant to their lives and something that they could grasp. I felt the lesson was successful as I could see but how well the students were respecting each other, listening and responding with thoughtfulness that they were engaged. As, I was clearing the board to leave, I had numerous students walk past me saying; “thank you Miss, this is such an important topic to talk about!”

The idea for the lesson came from a Department Meeting in which we talked about the use of continuum and challenging assumptions. It was a useful tool to learn about and be able to put into practice.



Health Education Visit to MAGS

On the 10th of March the HOD of Health and I went to Mt Albert Grammar School to learn about their Senior Health Programme.

A useful tool that we learned about was Google Classrooms. I will follow this and present it to the other HPE staff on a Wednesday PD session. The way that MAGS uses Google Classrooms is to check ongoing student work. Google classrooms allows the teacher to see when the work was last accessed and edited. Also, feedback can be written as a comment straight onto the document. When the internal needs to be handed in it can be exported to Turnitin. The benefits of this system are that the work is on one platform and does not require chasing up work  or losing paper. This is something that we will look at trailing for Health Education at Orewa College.
More uses

Following up on this discussions with the other Health Teachers, I will develop and the Level 1 Health 1.3 Unit. This includes checking NZQA Clarification documents and collating all the resources.

Other things that I learned  was around giving student-choice in their research topics. This is particularly relevant for Senior Health. A suggested way that this is done is to teach half/half. One half is introducing three possible research topics and teaching the content and structure for about 1-2 weeks each .Then, the students are able to choose one of the three topics that interests them the most and spend the other half of the time for the nit researching and writing their reports.

Twitter: ongoing learning

As part of my ongoing learning this year, I have signed up to Twitter. I will use this as a platform to learn new, integration of technology in Education and to input new ideas to my own pedagogy and innovation. I am following a number of Physical Educators from across the world and also, tweeters who specialise in technology in education.

A post that I recently read was titled “The Technology Revolution in Physical Education.” The author of this post shares about how technology can revolutionise PE . An app that I learned about in this blog post was called “Team Shake.” This app allows you to randomly select teams in PE. As a result of reading this blog, I downloaded a similar app called “Team Pick.” This allows me to randomly select teams instantly without previous traditional methods of picking “Captains” which can be humiliating and degrading to students with lesser abilities. I have loaded all my classes onto the app and I am able to select the number of groups/teams that  I need. I am also able to rate students on their ability and create mixed-ability groups which is more inclusive of different abilities.