Understanding Health Concepts

In my 12 Health class I decided to try something new. We had been doing a lot of learning around the Health concepts. I knew that some students had grasped different things because in my “do nows” I asked students to write “3 things they remembered, 2 things they were unsure about and 1 question they had.” Through this I learned that students were very different in what they had learned. Also, I had a mixed-ability within my class as some students had taken 11 Health and others had not taken Health since the Junior years. This meant that there was a wide range of knowledge and understanding.

In response to this I decided created resources that allowed students to pick a concept that they needed to understand further and then, do activities within that. This can be seen in my slides “What do I need to know more about?” For each concept there were corresponding activities which catered for different learning styles eg students could read and write notes, explain to a friend, draw pictures or create a quiz.

I was unsure how the students would react to this. However, I was very pleased with how the students responded. I told the students that everyone learns at different rates and that each had grasped different concepts and that they were responsible for their learning. To have some accountability I asked students to write their “Names/Concept/Activity” and what they were doing to learn it. The students knew what they needed to do and immediately picked what they needed to learn and begun writing on the board.

I think this was beneficial for many reasons; it allowed students to choose what they needed to learn which required reflection. I think the differentiation allowed  for different learning styles.

 

1st Year Teaching Reflection

With just days left at Orewa College it feels so recently that I arrived at School fresh out of Teacher’s College, wide-eyed, nervous and excited. I have developed so much personally and professionally and this blog entry is a reflection of both; things I can improve in my professional practice and a few personal points.

The biggest thing that I have learned is to be prepared (I have also learned that being under prepared is not completely awful but, I’ll discuss this later). As a Beginner teacher (BT) the achievement standards and everything was new to me. This meant that I had to do a lot of background reading; exemplars, clarifications, AS documents, explanatory notes and study guides. In the future, I need to make sure that I access these documents far before a Unit begins so that I have time to assimilate the information and have opportunity to ask questions. This will help me feel more confident at the start of units and that I am more certain of where the unit is going.

Marking is an area that I have become much better at. I did not really trust my marking ability because students’ work and grading was a very new process to me. I have learned that the best thing to do is taken from the Nike slogan “just do it.” Once I have reread the documents, made a few points of things that I am looking out for it is much easier to just begin. Image result for nike just do itAfter, I have marked about 5 I found it helpful to check these with someone else to gain some confidence that I was marking accurately and not be time-wasting having to remark them. Another helpful thing that I have learned is to “chunk them.” This means that I break down how many assignments I have per class and the time that I have to do them. I allocate a certain time for and a target number I want completed. This works for me and I will continue doing this because I know when I should have the marking done by and it improves my quality of marking because, I don’t get bored marking the same thing.

Something that I will continue to do is to ask for student-feedback on units. This includes asking the students their “barriers” (things that stop them learning) and “enablers” (things that help them). This informs my teaching practice and helps me to modify my delivery depending on the needs of the students in that class. By doing this I learned that for some students, their lagging devices and ipads were actually a hindrance especially if they were slow at typing or it was outdated. I changed my teaching in the following way. I still created their task on a Google Doc but they did not have to type their answers into it. As an option, I provided felt tip pens and blank paper for students to write their answers. They answered on this paper in brainstorms, lists and other ways. I found that I got far more productivity doing this as it helped me realise and then minimise a barrier to learning. This is one example of how it was useful hearing students feedback.

I strongly think that learning is students’ responsibility but, I have learned that students need to have their work/deadlines scaffolded or steps broken down with them. so they can see practically what they need to do to achieve. For some students, they need more guidance with this process and I would introduce more strict checkpoints that had to be reached. I think this would help students who have tendencies to fall behind but also, students who are aiming for higher grades so they can receive feedback on what they need to do to keep them motivated. In my goal setting Unit for Health there was a large amount of self-management of writing, implementing and reflecting on their goals. If I did this unit again I would have checklists that they have to meet or come back at lunchtime to catchup on. Similarly, I would have liked to have been more on top of the students’ work for 1.1 Active Participation which required ongoing blog entries throughout the year. In the future, I would like to avoid having a backlog at the end of the Unit. What I did do well in this area was provide the students with all their entry dates and get them to checklist themselves. This was an effective way to do it but, it would be more accurate for the entries to be done immediately as the participation occurred. Next year, I will be stricter with checkpoints (like small steps) that students have to meet so that the students don’t fall behind and hopefully by reaching checkpoints they are motivated to keep going.

This year, I tried some new things that I have never done before. This included the Flipped Classroom and verbal assessments which I would definitely do again but, quite differently. Firstly, the flipped classroom felt very experimental. The hardest thing as a teacher was to change the locus of control from the teacher to the student. As a teacher, I found it difficult not always knowing exactly what each student was doing. It was a high-trust model. A method that we used to keep students accountable to their work was having them write on small whiteboards what they were doing and then remove it when they had completed it. I was to take a photo of it at each stage to see where they were at. This is an area that I would do differently because, it was tricky knowing. Instead, I may make a small task as “proof” that they had done it. However, when I received feedback from the students they enjoyed having this onus even though at first it seemed daunting. I would do the Flipped Classroom with more structure and checking of the progress of learning.

Verbal assessments was another area that I used this year. I think for a number of students verbal assessments were really well-suited to. I found that some students were able to articulate their answers really well in conversation and with some probing but, were unable to write it down. Also, when these students were being assessed they often were quite kinesethic and were further able to show their understanding through their movements. An area that I struggled with verbal assessments was that if sometimes meant that I was 1 on 1 with a student which meant that the rest of the class needed to be on-task. I often found it hard to concentrate on the student I was assessing because I could hear the other students. This would have worked better if the students were playing a game on the field, for example and  I could pull them aside and assess them. Some students were also very nervous about verbal assessments so some more preparation for them would be helpful. Verbal assessments are something that I would like to do again in the future.

This year has also strengthened my philosophy on Health & Physical Education. For me, my success story is of a girl who was toxic at the start of the year, forgot her gear very often, was riddled with anxiety and refused to participate. Throughout the year, I have contacted home, empathised with her and been very patient. Even though, this approach is sometimes emotionally tolling the long-term results are far greater. This same girl got Excellence in her Health Assignment and recently, came bowling into the PE office asking if we could play touch in PE. She is also taking both Health and PE next year. My subject is more often than not not about the loud students who are successful at Sports and confident but those or are quiet but perfectly articulate, not confident or aware of what their bodies can do. It is the small gains for these students that will be lasting and make teaching worthwhile. I would like to make sure, in my classes in the future that I hear from everyone, not just the students who put up their hands first or shout the loudest. It is for students to emphasise and understand that excellence looks different for everyone and outstanding for one person may only be ordinary for someone else but, it is vital to be respectful and celebrate the success of everyone.

Personally, I feel like I have built resilience and confidence this year. Teaching has the ability to consume you if it is not well boundaried. This year, I was very careful to make sure that I had adequate rest, playtime and sleep. I rarely ever did work at home because I liked to maintain it as a place to rest, relax and recover. Weekends for me were a real mindshift because, as a student I worked right through them including assignments and part-time work. However, this year I have reviewed them as a place to reenergise and have fun. For me, reflection and quiet time by myself is very important. I intentionally disconnect from technology, spend time in nature and do things that I enjoy. I have learned that self-care is vital as a teacher because, you are constantly caring for others but it is impossible to do so if you don’t look after yourself. It is important to do things that you enjoy.

Something else that has helped me this year is having a SMART goal of my own. This goal was to swim the Auckland Harbour on the 4th of December. For me, this was important because it gave me something tangible to aim for. My goal was a set distance and set date. It was progress and results were something that I could measure. Teachers can go largely unappreciated and results or the impact that you are having is often hard to measure and may never be revealed. I found having a goal which was measurable meant that I was experiencing success and it was rewarding.

 

 

Twitter Chat

Following on from my early Twitter post called ‘Twitter; ongoing learning” I have become active in using Twitter. I have increase the number of pages or people that I am
following and I am finding Twitter a valuable source for ideas and activities. An example of my increased involvement is on Tuesday night I was part of a chat which was organised by two of my classmates from University for BT teachers in NZ. This chat can be seen here https://twitter.com/_NZBTchat?lang=en
I contributed a number of answers and it was helpful hearing the perspectives of other students and structures in other Schools. To the right is an example of the questions asked. I think that Twitter is a valuable platform which I will continue to use. twitter-caht

Fitness Feedback

For each unit that I teach I like to hear student-feedback and responses on what they enjoyed, found meaningful and would change.

In a Yr 10 Fitness Unit I created a Google Form which the students could answer. As is seen in the form here I asked the students what they found interesting, which lesson they enjoyed the most, recommendations for the future and what grade they think they deserved and why. This sort of information was very interesting to read and informs my teaching for the  feedback. It was also very useful to encourage reflection for the students and for me to read the responses, to read how they learned and gained such different and unique things from the unit. For  example; “Try your hardest because that’s all that matters” and “I have learnt about all the different types of fit and that there is more than just running fit” and “how all the muscles function and the muscles that are used for each different exercise. Also I will take away the different types of training and what they are such as circuit training etc”

fitness-response

Recieiving feedback from the students is a part of the NZC’s “teaching as an inquiry” as depicted in the image below. The information feeds the “focusing inquiry” as the students’ responses can inform me as a teacher with what is worth spending time on. It also helps with the “teaching inquiry” as feedback on the activities informs how to teach. All these things help me be a reflective teacher and help improve outcomes for my students.

Teaching as inquiry model.

Tataiako PLG

During our full staff meeting tonight we discussed the school-wide procedure for Priority learners (PL) and the Tataiako Cultural competencies for teachers of Maori Learners. This can be seen in the agenda items here.

  1. ERO defines priority  learners as;

“groups of students who have been identified as historically not experiencing success in the New Zealand schooling system. These include many Māori and Pacific learners, those from low socio-economic backgrounds, and students with special education needs”. (ERO, Aug, 2012).

At Orewa College we identify who our Priority Learners are by there ethnicity on Kamar. My example of the Priority Learners and notes on them is attached here. In this doc, I have firstly identified my PL and then written some short statements on how they learn. Following from this I have had PL meeting with each of these students on their goals and how they learn. This is outlined in the “Priority Learners at Orewa College” doc.

2) The Education Council explains Tātaiako as the following:

“Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners is about teachers’ relationships and engagement with Māori learners and with their whānau and iwi. Designed for teachers in early childhood education (ECE) services and in primary and secondary schools, it will support your work to personalise learning for, and with, Māori learners, to ensure they enjoy educational success as Māori.”(https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Tataiako.pdf).

Each Professional Learning Group (PLG) was assigned a different a competency and then had to fill in their section on a Google Doc. The attached document is  summary together based the groups’ responses to thier Tataiako Competency which the specific things that teachers can do to increase Maori student engagement and maximise chances of them achieving to higher standards. plg2-summary-kahikitiastrategies

Applying AKO

In this morning’s PD we were looking at the rebranded AKO and applying it to a Junior Unit of work. We had numerous activities to choose from and we had to complete 3. The ones that my group completed can be seen by the ticks on the photo attached.

We compared Craig’s golf swing to a professional and made points for him on how to improve. We discussed as a group that there may need to be more guidance for Juniors to analyse a performance as it is unfamiliar to them. We thought that having questions or what to look for might be helpful. For example, where is the ball placed, how is the person holding the club, what do their arms look like? What are their legs doing? Where does their swing start and end? This would help students learning to analyse performance know what to look for rather than it being completed open ended. Other than that, we thought it was a valuable and straightforward activity.

As a group, we enjoyed having the choice and range of activities to choose from. Having the links and QR codes and Google forms made it simple and very student centred. 

Project based learning in PE

In PE this term we have developed a new Movement Unit. This has included some of the existing content such as rakau, gymnastics and dance but with additional topics such as parkour. This had a focus on safety and the students were responsible for looking after themselves.We made QR codes which we printed as posted and placed around the gym and which sent the students to a Youtube channel on Parkour. The students scanned the QR code, watched a stunt and then, attempted  them. This way, students could work at their own pace and personalise their own learning. The focus and emphasis was strongly on responsibility, safety and working within your limits.

We did a number of lessons  on each movement category and then, the students could select a movement category or a combination to create a 1 minute performance for the final assessment.This is an example of student-centered, project-based learning. The groups within the classes did a number of different styles based on their strengths and what interested them. Each student could make decisions about their final performance, including how they worked and what they created. The group below did a combination of bollywood and gymnastics.

 

Formal Observation 15/9

jo-kennedy-observation-15th-sept

Above is the feedback I received from my formal HOD observation lesson. Something that I could have improved on is how to deal with students who are coming in late from assemblies. I somewhat rectified this by adding more detail to the overview of the lesson on the board alongside the learning intention.

I showed an interesting clip on contraception but it would have been more effective if I had found out the prior learning of the students first and then, explained the purpose of the video more and asked students for responses.

A positive was that my instructions were brief but clear and I also had them up on the screen for the students to refer to. I also moved around the room very well, asking the students questions to check their progress but also to make them think further. By doing this I was able to keep the students accountable for their work and check on work completion. Another thing which was a positive was that on the board I had a visual countdown of how much time they had remaining. I started at “15” and wrote all the way down to 1. This meant that the students were more focused with their research and there was a stronger sense of urgency.

Ako Level