Checking for understanding

I like to think of myself as an organised person who strives for perfection and the best learning opportunities for the students. However, it is always difficult when you discover your planning wasn’t perfect and there were flaws in your lesson delivery. But, tomorrows a new day and you just have to go into next lesson taking on board what the mentor said to try and reconfigure the students understanding. This was the case for myself in one instance when I discovered mid-lesson I didn’t give my explanation and discussion the weight it deserved for the students to gain the full picture.

This was the first instance when I discovered just how vital a visual representation is for the students. Which is really quite obvious as I am one of the most visual learners I know. The momentary slip of judgement meant students were still producing the lesson objective to a high standard, however the further explanation and display of an example is indeed so necessary.Furthermore the school I attended has a funky tool called show-me-boards which is a quick and useful way to gauge student understanding, engage them in questioning and answer strategies and always has full involvement. I think the momentary get-away from their books is refreshing and establishes knowledge of their learning, which furthermore emphasises my teaching and learning strategies I put into place with my classes.

For further development of lesson plans – take a further look at this article for inspiration. Abi’s blog also highlights her struggle with not getting every lesson PERFECT.

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Digital technologies in school

As our practicum was ICT based it was important that I took careful note of the ICT’s being used/ implemented over the past 3 weeks. ICT throughout the practicum, included:

  • Interactive whiteboard use – to demonstrate examples, show working, record results, keep students on task (students would have to submit the parts of their assessment they would complete each lesson so the teacher could look a them and provide feedback – exit ticket form class to see name on board: excellent use for formative assessment)
  • Power Point presentations
  • ClickView
  • YouTube videos
  • Video scribe  – A great way to engage students/ 15% better to have your message remembered (This was used by Yvana Jones in her presentations for PD)
  • Scootle
  • Apps on phone

By using a variety of these ICT’s in a lesson with students or even in the staff meetings it was evident that it assisted the engagement of the students and other educators, as well as reinforced the importance of ICT’s in enhancing teaching and  learning.

I would definitely recommend taking notice and applying Yvana Jones High Impact Teaching Strategies if you ever get a chance because these were what challenged me to change my thinking of strategies that I used to engage the students. Gaby’s Blog is fantastic and useful to revisit as we were both placed at the same school, so its interesting to hear her experiences also.

Reflecting…

The past three weeks have flown by. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed my prac, I had a very knowledgable mentor with a wealth of experience. In the time I spent there, I was given many opportunities to try new teaching techniques, behaviour management styles as well as participate fully in the aesthetics of the HPE staff room and other teaching staff.

I attended 3 staff meetings while on professional experience, which included two professional development sessions one performed by Yvana Jones – Consultant of Education Impact. The focus of this PD was High Impact Teaching (HIT), establishing and further reinforcing the lesson goals we have for our students as an educator. In order to establish an effective and engaging lesson that enhances students knowledge and understanding  we must make sure our lessons are:

  • Unambiguous
  • Step-by-step
  • Engaging
  • Effective

In order to do this we must have a clear learning intent that focuses on –

Planning -> Lesson -> Students participation -> Feedback

I found this session to be very useful to further reinforce my pedagogy and teacher direction – as this was the model that the school structured and scaffolded the learning for their students.

Check out Elly’s blog for some useful insights into how her school used ICT’s in their staff meetings.