jueves, 16 de agosto de 2012

Have a look at it, you won't regret it!

A friend of mine, who is also a teacher, shared this video with me and I felt like sharing it with you as well.
Hope you like it,
Miss Ceci peg leg 

miércoles, 8 de agosto de 2012

More food for thought!

More food for thought!
This time I’ll focus on lesson planning and how I feel about it.
To be honest, when I started working in Newlands I thought: “What a burden! I’ll have to plan every lesson step by step!! I was not used to doing it because I did not have to hand in any lesson planning at the school where I worked before. Despite the fact that I did plan my lessons in advance with my mate who taught the same year, I just wrote notes for each day in a copybook which belonged to me and which nobody else read. Despite the fact that I carefully thought about what I did and I reflected upon my teaching and the progress of my students, nowadays I feel that I am becoming a much more reflective teacher than I was before. Having to think about every step of a lesson in order to write it down and having other people read it makes me think even more about every detail, reflect upon the different alternatives I have and, most importantly, set a USEFUL GOAL for every activity or move planned. Having to think of the learning objective and having to give myself a sound reason for including or leaving something aside makes me say to myself: “Will my students learn from this?? Will they enjoy it? How can I improve this/ that???
Besides, I find that comments made on them can be really positive and can make me see things from another point of view, appreciate some aspects which I might have left aside or make some useful changes.
Many times when planning I think that I have to cater for too many things at the same time (phonics workbook, circles, activities, rehearsing, helping students who are behind, correcting copybooks and booklets + all the steps from an ordinary lesson) and that I have to make too many areas fit in a short period of time but, well, I always try to do my best in order to comply with them all, though sometimes, it’s a bit complicated and I have to leave things aside and establish priorities. 

domingo, 5 de agosto de 2012

Some pending issues.

Vivi: Here you’ve got some lines…

Assessment for learning:
We set learning objectives for every project, which we share with the students. As they are very young, we do it trough brainstorming what we already know about the topic, what we would like to learn about it and throughout each project we come and go to that and reflect upon what we’ve learnt about it. Moreover, the teacher gives feedback to students systematically. Talking to students about their strengths and weaknesses is part of the learning process and we constantly go over their pieces of work, they attempts and any type of production (written and oral). Many students, after these short talks with the teacher, agree on the fact that they need some extra practice on a certain aspect and we set special activities to strengthen those points. Motivating them making special emphasis of every step forward they make is also extremely important for them to believe in themselves and feel eager to go even further.

We use the net-books in the classroom in every project and we do intense work in computing lessons. Every project has activities done through the use of technological equipment: we’ve listened to songs and watched videos since the beginning of the year. During the first part of the year, students created their own superheroes and described them using different software and web pages, they worked on plants and their habitats through interactive programs on the computer and could do “virtual hands-on-experiences”, like checking what happens to a plant if you water it excessively or if you keep it in a dark room, they did on-line quizzes and labeled pictures and created electronic leaflets with text and images about plants and the environment, which were uploaded to the school’s blog, among many other activities.

Bilingual Project: Plants
We’ve worked on this topic in parallel with Spanish teachers. There were many areas which we introduced together and which were worked on at the same time, like the parts of the plats and their function, processes such as photosynthesis, how plants adapt to the environment, what they need to grow well, etc. We did different hands-on experiences and experiments so as to give children a wide variety of activities. In the morning, they worked more on different types of plants, their descriptions, the types and shapes of leaves, the autochthonous plants from our country, etc., while, in the afternoon we worked intensely on literary elements, language and writing.
Working on this project together with Spanish teacher facilitated learning in our students A LOT!! Having some background knowledge in their mother tongue had a great positive impact on comprehension in the foreign language. Most students got excellent results and transferred what they learnt in one class to the other in both directions. It was a deeply nourishing experience!!