Bee Bot Geography

Well, I am very excited to be doing a geography lesson tomorrow with the Bee Bots. My Mentor has made up some large world maps for the Bee Bots to navigate their way through. I have done up some little cards for the students to follow directions from. This should be interesting…

I will let you know how it goes.

Morphed!

I just read this blog by a fellow student, who had linked to one of my blogs because they felt the same anxiousness about teaching unfamiliar content. I am relieved that other students have these same experiences… I am always wondering what everyone else does and wonder if ‘I’m doing it right’. I think the most important thing my Mentor has taught me is that there is no ‘right’ way to teach and you need to be flexible. Flexible in the timetable, the plan for learning and flexible in your delivery. I guess the students dictate the delivery, because if they aren’t ‘getting it’ than you have to adjust your delivery.

I am not sure if anyone else does this but I sort of feel I have morphed into my Mentor. I have started to sound like her, use the same behaviour management techniques and way of teaching. I guess I am trying to copy her so I feel like I am doing it ‘right’. Crazy!

Trying out Educaplay

Tomorrow I am going to try out Educaplay in the classroom for teaching the Year 2 students how to add one digit numbers to two digit numbers. The students have been rigorously practicing facts to 10 and hopefully this knowledge will see them adding bigger numbers quicker in their heads.

I plan to start the lesson using concrete materials like MAB and following I do, we do and you do approach. So I will model an example on the whiteboard using drawings of MAB. I will then put forward another problem which we will work through together using MAB and then I will ask them to have a go using Educaplay and making it a game.

I am going to highlight a sum on one side and the first student to raise their hand and give the correct answer – including an explanation of how they got the answer will get a point for their team.

I am hoping the competitive spirit I have seen in them, motivates them to use the taught strategies to add quickly. It also will model this style of online activity which can then be used as an individual task using the iPads maybe in future lessons for further practice.

Moderation

Sitting in on moderation today was a fabulous opportunity. I was loving being in a room full of so many teachers and just hearing them talk about their units, tasks and criteria sheets. After moderation, I sat in on an in-house professional development on report card writing. This was equally beneficial. I am grateful to have met some great teachers today, who were more than happy to share their expertise.

The biggest thing I learnt today was that when it comes to assessment, it is all about the criteria you are marking against. There was one task in particular that was to write a procedural text. The students were to write a plan for the text and then write the text itself. The plan for the text was not marked and didn’t count towards their result. This was a bit sad because the student did a wonderful plan but didn’t transfer all this to the actual text and got a D. I think what didn’t sit well in my mind was that this student was obviously capable of the standard but didn’t show this in the text that was marked. It brings me to the point of ‘what is the point of assessment and reporting’, because in truth this student was capable but on the test day she fell short.

The other thing I learnt is how important a criteria sheet is and the breakdown of results. It is very important to be very explicit in what you are judging and not leaving it too subjective. It was also noted that the task set has to allow students to achieve the A and B standards. There was a set task today where it became evident after in depth discussion that it really left no opportunity for the students to advance to this type of level.

A very interesting day to say the least!

Teaching Conundrums

I am having difficulty teaching…

Just like Amy  I seem to have a lot of trouble teaching something I know well myself. I guess that is because you don’t really think about it – you just do it. I am having trouble breaking things down into the tiniest of steps on how to do something.

I am also having trouble remembering things I would have learnt a long time ago… like writing cursive, some grammar…like what is an adverb? I was teaching the morphographs able and ness the other day but I had to do my research before the lesson development just to re-teach myself this information. I can do that for every lesson that is not the problem. The problem is when you are ‘on the fly’ in the classroom and you should be recalling this stuff. My Mentor has explained that if it was my own class I would know all the things they had learnt like comprehension strategies etc so I would be able to stand up and refer to these on cue as she does. It just makes me feel incredibly dumb in the mean time!

The other issue I am having is finding conflicting information and then not really knowing which I should be teaching. Like last week I did a lesson on 2D shapes. However, there is conflicting information as to whether a circle has a side or not. So, I told that to the students and explained that some people think one way and some people think another and explained the thinking for both. I then would except either answer. This week it is 3D shapes and the problem with cylinders and cones and how many faces they have. Some say like this dude on YouTube that cylinders only have 2 faces because the rectangle that joins the two faces is curved and therefore is not a face. He thinks faces need to be flat. Others say cylinders have 3 faces. How do you know what to do?

 

Class Control

The year 2 class I am in don’t do a lot of small group work. The class is mostly always together apart from reading groups. I would really like to try some maths rotations and see how it would work as that was in place at my last prac and I thought it was great.

The biggest concern I have is that because the students haven’t been doing any sort of small group rotations they will struggle to adhere to the expected behaviour. I think behaviour is alot to do with practice. Like when teachers are teaching students to line up in two straight lines…they do it over and over and then the students are capable of doing this at the snap of a finger.

I have been reading Amy’s blog and she is looking into apps that may assist with noise levels in the classroom. She also provided a handy tip that was given to her of playing some soft music and if the students can’t hear the music they are being too loud.

I found this app which may assist. I will have to speak to my mentor tomorrow about whether she feels this could be an appropriate tool to use in her classroom.

My Bee Bot Lesson

The Bee Bots were a great hit with the students. They loved them. I did not get through my entire lesson… actually I only got through what I thought was going to be an introduction activity. Eeeek! But my Mentor has advised not to worry so much about the time and if it takes another couple of lessons to get through one lesson plan, then so be it!

The task was for them to find out for themselves what a Bee Bot could do. They could brainstorm and write down all their ideas and then when we came back as a group they needed to tell me 3 things they found out that they thought no one else might have. In my lesson plan I had 8 minutes for each person in the pair to have free time with the Bee Bot while the other member of the pair wrote down ideas. The 8 minutes each was not enough.

The students were so excited about using a Bee Bot and so fascinated by what they could do, to stop them exploring in 8 minutes would have just been cruel. So after 8 minutes they traded places and we did this twice, instead of just the once. There were students kissing them, there were students attaching bits of paper to the back and towing with them, there were students seeing if they could ride over pencils and there were students convinced they were voice activated and had secret spy cameras in the eyes. It was exactly what I wanted them to do. They explored, they used their imagination and prior knowledge to really think deeply about what these Bee Bots could do.

When we came back to the mat as a group we discussed the answers and I explained a few very basic functions. For example on student thought the Bee Bot was voice activated but just didn’t like her so that is why it didn’t always do what she said. So, I explained that the Bee Bot followed instructions using the buttons on the top and that if you already put an instruction in and didn’t delete it… you have just added to it, then it will do the first bit all over again before it follows the next command. There were definitely some ‘ah ha’ moments when I explained this.

So, I am looking forward to another lesson next week where I will act as the Bee Bot and they will instruct me around the classroom using commands. I realise for ICT3100 this lesson plan won’t be a good example as it is a Digital Technologies lesson but once the students understand how to use them I will then incorporate the Bee Bots into our Maths and English lessons and use these lesson plans as part of my assignment.