Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Reflecting on Reflecting...

I'd say I am a pretty reflective teacher. I think about my lessons and what happens during them and analyse what I'm doing during class to ensure I get the best out of my students by being the most effective I can be.

Sometimes my lessons are transmissive, others are fully facilitated and supported with students learning and teaching each other, other times my lessons are a mixture and even still further some lessons just don't seem to work as well as I'd hoped.

I'm still thinking about last week's opportunity with having a real-life activist speaking with us about her journey towards saving one of most special mammals in the world from extinction. I asked the students for comments afterwards and they made the point that if we were to do something like that again then we'd have to have solid questions organised. I'd actually planned for this but we never got the chance to write some for her in class prior to yhe Skype session as we were working on a new assessment. I'd set it as homework instead. Which wasn't done by all students.

Part of the issue was the timing of the session but I'd booked it months in advance and it just so happened to fall on Freedom Challenge week which seemed hectic and not as well organised by me as I would have liked.

I feel like I can prepare solid lessons in advance for relievers or for classes that are in desperate need of saving like I did today.

The problem is that I actually think my students are doing okay. Some need indepth help and others need motivation. The real issue though I think is that I don't offer enough opportunities for students to reflect on their learning or what they'd like more of from me as their teacher.

I also like to think that on average - I do an okay job. I've attempted the less paper is better mindset this year and while it's been better for the environment - I've been slack at updating 'Evolving at Heights' which basically makes it redundant. Also not all students have access. I want to make more interactive worksheets and developed ideas but need the time to think and process and create these.

I want to ensure my students are getting a fair and equitable learning opportunity and develop a better classroom organisation because at present while I can get around the class quickly - I'm circling and I'd like to be able to be more direct and sit with my students rather than stand by/over/beside them as their isn't much room nor table space especially in my bigger classes.

I've discussed the desire I have before about a more effective learning environment - to me that means less desks and more comfortable focussed ares. My students work collaboratively but the furniture we currently have sometimes impedes the ability to do this.

I saw an awesome video on the Edutopia site with these desks and chairs that were on swivel wheels and it would be awesome to have more moveability. Even if the blue desks (that I'm slowly changing into whiteboard desks with the whiteboard laminate sticking sheets) stayed then having swivel wheels would help to ensure moveability and quick group changes.

I get frustrated when my students get used to sitting in the same space all the time. They're habitual. Though I think this has been trained into them. They refuse to move outside their comfort zone and don't want to work with others. This I think is a main concern. If we aren't teaching them life skills like relating to others from our KCs... then what are we teaching?

Lastly... before I fall asleep. I bought another tablet from TradeMe. It was smaller than I'd thought. But will do well in class as another option for students to do their work.

Oh really lastly - the three whiteboard tables that are in use have quickly been commandeered by my students and they love using them. I just hope that the two other classes who use my room don't wreck them or put permament marker on them...