As you can tell from the time gap between my posts I have been pretty busy. Okay so I planned to casual at different schools for a bit but it looks like I am now an RFF teacher. Science mainly but I also fill in casually here and there, all at the one school.
So to catch you up I have taken a few photos of the alternative seating ideas at my current school.
Small tables with beanbag chairs.
Large beanbag style chairs for working on the floor. They use masking tape to outline where student work should be.
They also use the large tote tray holding cupboards as standing desks and have larger stools for them too.
To teach science this term I have been using the primary connections units. I have had to make very few resources to assist in teaching these units but I will share them with you all when I have completed teaching the units.
Also for literacy day I dressed up as cat in the hat. Got the hat at a bargain store, used an old bow from another costume, wore a white top, black pants, a black jacket and used eyeliner to draw whiskers. It turned out pretty okay.
Of course I had to pose with my cat.
Well that's all from me today. Hope this post gives people a few ideas.
Okay so I walked in with my tray of stuff I had prepared, met the office lady and principal. Then it was into the A.P to get my agenda for the day and the tour. I was assigned as support for the day and RFF for the last hour. So in short I didn't need anything except a pen, sunglasses, hat and as I learnt today a whistle.
It was fabulous. I spent most of the time working with groups of up to 6 students. I visited 5 classrooms and assisted in a fabulous budgeting maths lesson. The students did a quick quiz from https://mathsstarters.net/ then with a copy of the canteen price list, worked out what they would order for a week if they had a $50 budget. They needed to pick two items for recess, a crunch and sip item, lunch item and a drink for each day of the week without repeating items. It was a great activity and the students all stuck to their budget surprisingly.
Another surprise was the use of alternative seating. The students were allowed to select a work space but if they did not use it properly had to move to an allocated area. Some sat on exercise balls, some on stools (working on cupboards not the regular school desks), some sat on a sofa with a clipboard, others had areas mapped out on the floor with masking tap for them to lay on their stomachs to do their work. There of course were regular desks and chairs available too.
In the afternoon the class I was meant to take for RFF combined with next door to do some comprehension tasks from https://www.pobble365.com/ It provides the image and comprehension questions that are open ended. Through a lot of discussion and working with pairs it is quite useful to spark student creativity.
It was such a relaxing change from being on class dealing with parents, assessments and students with bad attitudes. I hope it is just as good when I go back tomorrow. I am lucky enough that the school has offered me the next 4 weeks as support and RFF. YAY!!! So that is all for today. I'll ask the staff if I can take some photos of their rooms to show the alternative seating here.
Okay so I got the call last night asking me to come in on Wednesday. YAY! For those of you who don't know I have been on class teaching for almost 7 years straight. I have only done casual work for a couple of weeks in my second year out of university. So that is why after the stress that has built up over the years, I have decided to work casually. Too many teachers suffer burnout and I fell like it has been ages since I did the fun stuff. Now of course casual work is not easy but I feel a break from being on class is just what I need right now in my career.
I am excited to be entering other teachers classrooms and getting new ideas. Not by anyone else's fault but my own, I have kinda been in my own little teaching bubble on class. I have only been in Kinder to year 2 classrooms over the past 6 years so I am really looking forward to seeing what others do with their classrooms. I am also excited to meet new people and experience teaching many new faces.
Am I nervous??? Yes I am. Do I have everything planned. I sure hope so. I guess many of the questions I have will all be answered tomorrow. But for now to make myself feel prepared I thought I'd share what I have in my relief teaching pack as I pack them.
Which is the following:
- marking pen
- notebook (to jot down all the important things)
- daybook/diary (to record any other days I am offered)
- note from Mrs Vergara (outline of the lesson for the classroom teacher)
- guided reading recording sheets
- packs of playing cards
- USB drive of interactive presentations and games
- bell (to get the kiddos attention)
- customised stamps for marking student work
- books for various ages (the dot, fox, the true story of the three little pigs, Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley, Charlie Cook's Favourite Book, Room on the Broom, The little Green Turtle)
- Only a Donkey (Anzac Day Book)
- Worksheets (maths, art, timefillers)
- tickets and ticket box (for prize draw)
I don't know what grades I am having only that I am RFF for the day so no idea if work will be allocated to me or if I just do what I have prepared. FUN!!! Okay now I am more nervous. Will post pics of work etc tomorrow and record how I go. Hopefully it all goes well and I get booked in for more days. Wish me luck!
So we got through week one. I think I have met almost all my students parents now. I've been busy testing and getting to know the class, going through the rules and expectations, introducing reward systems and building a rapport with the students.
They all have their bubbly quirks. Saw an episode of 60 minutes about the school system in comparison with Finland. Good stuff. It really resonated with me when they spoke about assessment stress for students. Growing up I literally vomited before exams because they made me so anxious. I wanted to get top marks so I didn't look bad.
How do I address this? Before each assessment I explain what I am testing and why. The why is always to tell me what you need to learn next. I don't believe in teaching you things you already know. We may revise what you know and practise things you almost know, but I use tests to tell me what I need to teach you next. I remind them to have a go and show me what they know.
Week 2 was super hot. Been having indoor lunch and recesses. Found the laptop station on Thursday. YAY! Unfortunately the smart board has died. Began TEN lessons, which have been super popular with the kids. They ask me when are we having TEN Time? Also demonstrated the word sort activities we will be doing in literacy groups throughout the week in addition to PEG. I am going to try to use PEG but so far I am skeptical that it actually will improve the children's spelling. They don't seem to be enjoying it and as far as I can tell so far it doesn't tell me much about the students ability.
We have completed my getting to know you pack activities. The kids loved them and enjoyed making a self portrait to go with our who am I activity display. Next challenge is getting them reading in reading groups. Others suggested I use reciprocal reading and will be using Literacy Pro with them. So I am off to program (they are due soon).
So I got through the first day with the kiddos without any dramas. Aside from not having a clock or bell to let me know the time, the day went as expected.
I began with a PowerPoint in which I told the students about myself, my pets, hobbies and favourite things. The students enjoyed asking me questions about my interests and if I know any Japanese. So I dazzled them with my basic introduction. In between slides I got them to pair up with different people in the class to talk about themselves. They responded really well to the activity and I feel it helped everyone bond.
Next I discussed our bare classroom and how it is a shared space. We are all here using the space to learn so we are all responsible for it. So then I shared my dilemma of deciding where to put the big bulky bookcase. To make the space the best it can be we need to share our ideas and discuss the best possible options of where things will go. I then gave them each a blank paper and told them to look at the furniture and draw where they think it should go. Design the classroom. The majority of them were pretty good and interesting. I am planning to use elements from their designs in setting up the classroom the rest of this week (mainly just the decorating ideas).
Then it was recess so I hit the library. So many books and a just take what you like system. YAY!!! I didn't want to look like a book hog so I just browsed today. Definitely will borrow books for reading groups during library RFF though 😁
And just like that recess was over and it was RFF time. Showed my supervisor the book study unit I worked on over the weekend. She said she was happy with it. Started plotting my first timetable draft... I am sure the first of many versions as always with timetabling. I searched and asked around for a clock to put in my classroom. Stumbled into the sports storeroom to discover witches hats, balls and hula hoops galore. If it ever cools down we are so doing PE games.
Then RFF was over and my stage had team time. One student in my class received a team token for her excellent behaviour. Woo Hoo we may win that class BBQ! It was hi fives all round once we got back to the classroom.
After that excitement died down the lunch bell rang and a BLACK LUNCH was declared. That meant we stayed indoors. Oh no extra duty! At least we had the air conditioner for comfort. Then I couldn't believe my luck the PEG spelling test arrived.
So the afternoon was spent doing 3 spelling tests in a row. Each 50 words or something like that long. Bribed them with the fact that we would play Murder Winks after we finish and not do another spelling test for the week. Little do they know Spelling starts next week so their are no extra tests to skip for this week 😜
So they packed their bags and after saying good afternoon they shot out the door. I put my jams on youtube and began room prep. Moved the furniture around and even managed to find a space for the book case. Tomorrow I will get them to start my getting to know you activities and introduce the behaviour chart. Hopefully everything runs smoothly and we breeze though the school rules.
So here are some shots of my bare room. Began putting up some behaviour management posters. Much more to come
Wet area (prior teachers things on the bench)
Front of the room
Back of the room (blurry due to me dancing to Move It Move It)
Excitement and nerves are rising in anticipation for tomorrow. Although I have been teaching since 2010 so I am no longer considered a beginning teacher I am looking forward to teaching Year 4 for the first time. I have previously taught Kinder (a year), Year 1 (5 years), Year 2 (a year) and a Year 5 safety net class (1 term).
I met my team on Friday and they all seem super nice and helpful. I have read the school policy document and found out I will be having the class for all of term 1. YAY!!! So to start out this blog I will be sharing my adventures with 4V.
So far I have selected Esio Trot by Roald Dahl for my first book study. I wanted something not too long for the kids to read or listen to in addition to their individual level books they will be reading in Literacy Groups. I found a unit based on a Year 3 class online and have began to combine ideas with my own. Adding cluster markers from the continuum and creating supporting IWBs, worksheets and posters. I want to incorporate CUPS and ARMS editing as well as the Seven Steps.
I was hoping to have the unit finished by now but unfortunately I think I will have to work on it as I go. Which means I will test it out and add my experiences teaching the unit here as well.
I had a brief look in my room and so far it is clean and practically empty. Just the way I wanted to start. I will definitely be raiding the Maths shed and Sports storeroom first thing tomorrow morning. As well as bringing in my posters, etc. Hopefully the students will enjoy my getting to know you Power Point and activities. I will definitely be posting here about them. Well that's all for today so fingers crossed tomorrow runs smoothly 🤞