Co-constructed Unit: Yr 10 Health

For my Year 10 Health class in Term 3, we are doing “Teenage Issues.” I saw this as an opportunity to co-construct a half-unit with my class. Half the Unit is finding out and doing some activities about teenage issues and then, selecting one and doing an investigation and presentation into it. The reason that I wanted the opinion and input from the students is to make the class most relevant to them rather than, what I thought was topical.

The  first activity that I got the class to do was to just brainstorm “teenage issues.” They wrote their brainstorms and lists on the whiteboards. I then, asked the students to pick one of the issues that “stood out” to them and individually write “what it is” and “what the effects of it is.” All the students folded their paper in half and then we shuffled them. We sat in a circle and each girl read out one of the issues. After hearing each student’s issues the girls created a “top 4.” From the “top 4” the students then, wrote questions about “what they want to know.”

From here, I collated the questions which has effectively made the learning intentions for the next 4 lessons. My purpose of doing this was to give some ownership to the students and make the relevant to them.

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I will ask the students at the end of the unit how this affected their interest, learning and engagement in the subject.

Professional Practice.

Today I completed a “how are things going” conversation with my HOD. In this conversation we discussed the positives or what is going well, the minuses or difficult things, interesting points and suggestions for moving forward.

In my positives, I discussed that I thought that I was fitting well into the culture of the School and that  I am making a conscious to build relationships with staff members beyond the PE department. I also mentioned that I am working to be very student-centered and that I am enjoying the engaged and critical discussions from this. I also thought a positive was that I am delivering high quality, innovative lessons and I am challenging myself by working outside of my comfort zone.

Minuses were having to gain in-depth understanding of all the Achievement Standards in a short-time period. Marking and moderation has been new territory and this has taken some getting used to. I have learned and developed a sound routine to help with this; I download the clarifications, exemplars and criteria well before the Unit. This is beneficial because I know well in advance where the learning needs to be and what level . This helps improve my teaching as I am more clear in my mind of where the students are heading.

Interesting points was the balance between student-centered and teacher-centered. For example, after having numerous individual conversations  with students, discussing the process and careful questioning, I am still unsure how much following-up needs to be done by me and how much is student responsibility. Related to this conversation we discussed the different groups within a class setting (Photo 2). For example, there are the “Brains Trust” which are the students who are self-motivated and able to work independently. With these students they more likely only need spot-checks and shorter conversations. Then, there are the “struggle-street” students who are not as independent and need more directive guidance. We discussed how these students need check-points and more frequent follow-ups. This was a helpful discussion around how to manage and monitor students who would easily fall behind.

The final point of our conversation was around “suggestions” and how to continue learning as a teacher. We discussed how teachers can become territorial and experience a sense of judgement if they are observed by other teachers. Instead, we discussed how observing other teachers past “becoming a teacher” can help inform and improve our own practices and that it should be ongoing. As a result of this conversation, I will be formally observed by other members of the PE department but also, I will observe teachers in other subject areas. I think it is valuable to look at how other departments are doing things and get ideas from other areas of the School. I am going to observe an innovative English teacher and also a teacher in the Yr 7&8 area. I think this will help my teaching to get new ideas, freshen my practice and to continue learning as a teacher .

24.6 Meeting 124.6 Meeting 2

Assessment for Learning

As part of a school-initiative I have been involved with an Assessment for Learning programme with Cheryl Harvey from Team Solutions, Auckland University. This has involved numerous meetings with Cheryl and other beginner teachers discussing assessment for learning, assessment literacy, using student achievement data and teaching as an inquiry.

From this, I have been reflective on my practice and how I can do more inquiry based learning with my students. As a result of these meetings, I have made sure that I have been including learning intentions and differentiated success criteria every lesson. This has been a helpful outcome from these meetings.

I have attached my feedback from Cheryl OC Joanna PAC May 2016

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.