Saturday, May 31, 2008

Friday 30/05/08
Prac Block Day Fifteen

We cooked today for the final time this term. As it was the most senior Japanese group we were making tea as well, so I took my tea ceremony stuff to show them. The group were super efficient – they made yakiniku and stir-fry in twenty five minuets! This meant that we got to spent a lot of the lesson doing teaching and tea stuff. Pretty fun!

Afterwards I went to music where we learnt how to write riffs. I think riff writing could be the hardest thing ever. The students did pretty well though, especially as they got to sit around and play on instruments making their riffs – and it will be useful for their compositions. Again, the positives of having a small class shone through – I couldn’t imagine 20 students sitting around a class room working as effectively (or a school having enough resources to facilitate that anyway).

Something I noticed today was that one of the boys, (from Boat F) who isn’t so intellectually talented, gets to spend some of his time on Fridays with the groundsman. It’s really interesting to see the school facilitate and encourage hands on learning. The boy spent all morning with the groundsman doing a stock take of the schools desks and chairs and writing up the findings.

After morning tea we had maths with Boat D2. Most of the students worked fairly well, although there were a group of boys who were not at all productive. I separated one pair who continued to work together after I told them it was an individual task only to have both boys sit and do nothing for the rest of the lesson (one sulking the other talking to the other people around him).

Maths with Boat F was not too bad today. They were very noisy, but a lot of the students had finished their work and did other things. One of the boys who usually doesn’t excel at maths handed me his finished final task at the very beginning of the lesson! Hooray! I think it’s small victories like these that really make it seem worthwhile to be teaching.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday 29/05/08
Prac Block Day Fourteen

Ahh, another day in Boat C2. Today started with maths – a very disorganised maths lesson, where all the students – even those not completing the Money Games section, had a lesson in games. I helped run the billionaire, but it’s not one of my favourite things because the kids take ages to put it all together and hardly ever understand the writing each trade down.

After this, I walked around as the students did … man I totally can’t remember now. It would have been some kind of literacy though.

After this and morning tea, they had science. They have just started a new unit for science on Volcanoes. The lower group have to do basic volcano information and research, resulting in making a volcano themselves. The higher group have to investigate ways that volcanoes erupt and then, imagining that there is an active volcano in the area, come up with evacuation plans and road closures and general information about what to do when it erupts. They also have to present this information in any way they like – news reports, models, documentaries etc.

The students got into this fairly well, especially considering they are allowed to work in groups. The class had booked the school laptops for this lesson and I caught one of the students looking up volcano information on the Japanese version of Google. Man it’s great to be a language teacher sometimes.

After lunch the class had rich tasks and I stayed and watched the Bollywood dance group again. They didn’t do too much productive work, but they did plan out what they want to do with the performance of their song and have active goals for next lesson.

All in all a pretty standard day for school.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday 28/05/08
Prac Block Day Thirteen

Today started with music – we learnt how to play some bass guitar! Pretty fun. I love having the small class, because it means we can go really in deep with teaching stuff and everyone can have a go. There is no way I’d be game enough to give a class of 20 students all guitars and expect to be able to teach them as much as we got through in one lesson.

I then had maths with one of the D classes – not sure which – I always get D1 and D2 mixed up. Most of the students were working on their final tasks – I only had 2 students who were finished early who were playing games. It was their last lesson too, so that will be it for that class! New unit on Tuesday!

I sat with a group of students and tried to encourage good working habits by displaying them, but I’ve found it doesn't work so well. Even though walking around is a lot more effort – it produces much better results in the students’ work.

After this was Maths again with Boat E who worked well. It was their last lesson on the second unit, but about 10 students were already finished their work and were playing games. I sat with some students who were just talking and coaxed a bit more work out of a few of them. One of the girls though, kept making excuses for not doing work and saying she had left it at home or on the computer or on the usb or wherever. It’s disappointing because she was blaming others for her own failures.

The last lesson of the day was Japanese with the beginners. We did cooking. They weren’t as efficient as the second level students were, they were a little bit more boisterous and distracted. I reviewed their hiragana recognition, which was still pretty bad. Trying to think of ways to get the students to remember the characters is so hard! Ahh!!

At the end of the day, I ducked back to Boat E where I had accidentally left my folder in the previous session. When I was there, the music prac teacher asked me if I’d like to teach the piano writing lesson for the music class. Pretty exciting although I don’t know where to start!

I think now I need to write out some lesson plans – I always tend to be writing my lesson plans after I have taught the lessons… it’s a strange strange situation. Another cool thing though is that I get to mark all of the Money Games final tasks! Hooray! Exciting fun! I’m a teacher!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday 29/05/08
Prac Block – Day Twelve

Today we went out to interschool sports. For the entire day.

My prac teacher wasn’t down for a sport – so she stayed at school. I signed up for volleyball, and went with two of the other teachers and the prac teacher from Boat C2. There were twenty-five girls all playing volleyball against 3 other schools. The day was organised by the teachers (of others schools) but run by the students.

I was pretty intrigued, but when we got there, after organising the girls into teams and giving them their run sheets (that told them which rounds they were playing in and which courts and when to do court duty etc), the girls just took themselves off and made it to all of their games with no supervision or coercing from the teachers at all.

The students were allowed to roam around the venue (some big gym) freely and were expected to know where they were supposed to be for games and duty and did it. I was shocked however, when the teachers with me simply sat and did marking all day. They didn't even watch the games to encourage the girls. The teachers from other schools were there, some watching and some marking, but pretty much, none of the teachers actually paid any serious attention to the games they were sitting near, or made any active effort to encourage the girls playing.

As a result, the games were pretty shabby and the Kimberly College girls got down heartened a fair bit because they weren’t really pulling anything together. Some of the other schools suffered the same way while a few just had teams of girls who really didn't care at all.

I sat by the court that they grade nine’s were to play on and supervised the two year nine teams. One won two games, and the other only one. They had a good time playing after a while though.

Later on, I was talking with some girls and they were saying how they usually had some problems with the Shailer Park girls. Then one of them came up to me and told me that a group of Shailer girls had been teasing one of their school mates and had dumped soap on her while in the toilet. It was a pretty weird situation which we handed over to the Shailer Park teacher (who did a fairly good job of handling it all).

Back to school and we were back at about 2:10 – pretty early for a 3:00 finish. I snuck off to the Languages room to do some work and I walked in on the principle having a “serious talk” with one of the grade ten boys. I quickly vacated to the staff room next door only to find that too was inundated with students.

The reason for this all too soon became clear as the principle came back in, had a go at some of the students for lying and then telling them that the person they had been called up to the office to give information on was going to be expelled (it was his birthday and he thought it would be cool to bring some alcohol to school).

Ahh yet another expulsion. I wonder if we will have class talks about it tomorrow.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday 26/05/08
Prac Block – Day Eleven

Ahh Monday again! After the problems of making English sentences into Japanese ones I decided to begin this lesson by taking my kankyou group through deconstructing sentences so they would have a better grasp on it. Sadly this was not to be because they were putting in another building, and as the crane was going to swing the new building over the one we were working in and they didn't’ want any horrible accidents we had to go outside to work.

The lesson went fairly well, given that we were outside, but I still had to help a fair few of the students with sentence structures. One of the girls was getting a grasp of it before the end of the lesson though, so that’s progress! Hooray!

After this, we had maths, with class F. They worked fairly well on their tasks, but quite a few of the students just wasted time in the lesson wandering around and “looking” for their “lost” booklets.

The same kind of thing happened in E. I sat next to one girl who is notorious for not doing much work so that she would get on with it. She finished one part of her work, so provided she doesn't loose it between now and Wednesday – it’s ready to be handed in!

At the end of the lesson, we collected the money trail sheets and about four students had lost theirs. It is really appalling the state of the classroom etiquette. Hardly any of the students are organised or care much about their belongings. The amount of times I see students use a half a page and then rip it out and start again – wasting a whole page from their books – is just outrageous. Has no one taught them they need to start at the beginning and then keep going? As it is, most of the students go through books like rain – changing them every few weeks and then they wonder why they can’t find their old work – it’s in the “old” books.

Anyway, after this, I had music. It was a pretty fun lesson. The prac teacher played a game with the students to start with – dividing them into teams and playing a chord quiz. After this they listened to a song, which had a good example of the bass guitar – the focus for the week.

And that is all.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday 23/05/08
Prac Block – Day Ten

Today was the best day ever! Hooray! But I’ll start with Thursday, considering I missed it before.

Thursday I headed down to Boat C2 like last Thursday, I was there early enough to see the head teacher opening up the classroom and letting students in early. She chatted to the students fairly casually, and they helped her set up the room for the day. Then one of the students needed help with homework stuff, so she sat down with him to help him out. It was really interesting to see her interact with the students on such a casual level. It was clear that the students respected her and felt comfortable approaching her.

The first session of the day was Maths, the students worked fairly well. I’m getting to remember more and more maths by helping them out! Hooray! After maths, the students worked on literacy. During this lesson, a group of students at the front of the room continually chatted to each other and didn't get much work done at all. One of the teachers had a group outside, while the head teacher took a group in “the lounge” (the couch area at the back of the room). The other two groups worked on their literacy books by themselves.

At the end of this lesson, quite a few of the students took a long time to put their work away and sit down ready to be let go for lunch. The head teacher at the back of the room and her group of students watched as the rest of the class wandered around and talked and wasted time. Then, she dismissed her group and talked to the class.

After selecting specific groups of students who needed to stay back she let the rest of the class go. Then she spoke to the students either individually or in groups about what was going on. To a group of girls who were clearly friends she reminded them that they needed to not abuse the privilege of being in the same class together.

To another boy who was a drifter she asked what they could do together to work on fixing the problem of his disinterest. It was obvious that she really cared for each of the students, addressing their specific needs. She spent all morning tea talking to the students, not really with the intent of punishing them by not giving them a morning tea break, but with the intent of speaking to them seriously about the issues they each had with their directions and how to follow them better.

After morning tea, the class had science, which was quite a distracted lesson. The lesson wasn’t given so much to science as to catching up on work for the students portfolios (which included science work, but also their poverty reports, maths and literacy work). I sat with a group of students outside who were very prone to talking and not working. I tried to encourage them to work with minimal chatter, but they continued to have extensive conversations without doing any work.

After lunch, there was Rich Task. This was my first Rich Task session and I sat in on the “Bollywood Dance Group”. Most of this group were girls, although there was one boy – who was playing the drum. The girls had been working on a dance in the Bollywood style and were given the lesson to come up with their own moves.

It was a fairly productive lesson. The teacher sat with the male student and patiently taught him drumming patterns. It was so good to see this student (who is in one of my other boats for maths) who isn’t interested in school at other times, really apply himself to master the drumming patterns. It was also great to see the teacher take the time to really encourage him and work with him on something he could succeed at.

Friday started with Japanese – which I worked with my kankyou unit. The students are really getting along with their work. Most of the groups have finished at least 3 pieces of their final product. One of the major problems in this group was translating English sentences to Japanese. They find it very hard to grasp the concept that a Japanese sentence is backwards compared to an English one. I had to really focus on the sentence structure with the students. I really want to start the next lesson with deconstructing a sentence from Japanese to English with the whole group to give them a better grasp on how it works.

After this, I sat in on the Music class. They worked on their lyrics and how to set lyrics to rhythms.

At morning tea, my supervising teacher and I realised that the maths class we would have was away on camp and so we had a spare! Hooray!! I sat down and worked out a Japanese unit of work on school based on some literacy activities that I had acquired from C2 the day before. It was good to get a whole unit planned.

Lunch left us feeling very relaxed and peaceful because we had had the extra hour to work. After lunch we headed down to Boat F expecting the worst, but finding that the students were ready to work quite well. It was really good to see a class who was jumping off the desks last week settle down and get into work. I handed out final task sheets for the money games and then most of the students (except for 3 girls who still had a game to play) started on their game design. (One of the students, a boy, finished his whole game in one lesson, so I’m not sure what I’ll put him on next lesson, possibly another unit of work).

Because most of the students were fairly content and working well on their games, I went around and asked students to hand in their booklets from the last unit (it was due about 2 weeks ago). One of the girls I stopped at had only done one page in her booklet!! That’s all she had to show for six 70 minuet lessons of work!! I was shocked, and after asking her why (apparently she couldn’t do them but didn't ask for help) I sat with her for the lesson helping her out.

It’s shocking to think that some students just don’t do anything instead of asking for help!! AHH!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday 21/05/08
Prac-Block Day Eight

Today I started with music. The teacher had the students attempt the challenging task of writing their own lyrics. She used stimuli for the students and once they had something basic allowed them to try to fit these to their chord patterns.

Next I had maths with D1. Most of the students except for a group of six started on their game design this lesson. The six played one more game. Some of them have now only played two games, but they will still start on their final task next lesson. Other students have finished their activities and tasks already, so I can imagine they will be playing games next lesson.

At morning tea, my prac liaison came around and spoke with all of the Griffith students. Some of the students are worried about their observations and how much feed back they are getting. I only asked about weather or not my maths teaching can count and she said that it would be good to put on a resume – that I can take other classes. So that’s good.

After morning tea we had maths with Boat E who were about the same as D1 except that I had everyone designing games and no one playing them any more. I’m not looking forward to organising Boat F on Friday. The majority of Boat F should be up to designing their games, but I suspect that many of them haven’t done enough work playing the games to be able to move onto that.

Finally we had Japanese. There was an ancient History test being held in the Languages room, so we were relocated. Many of the students didn’t come to Japanese today, because they had their Rich Tasks, and also because two of the Boats are on camp. We only had 6 students in total.

First we revised the hiragana alphabet that we learned last lesson. Sadly, the students had very little recollection of the hiragana alphabet characters and we had to reteach them. After this, my teacher showed the students a scaffold of how to write a paragraph describing the people in your family and then had the students use it to write their own paragraph.

The lesson finished with another revision of hiragana.

I have noticed that the principle takes it very personally when things happen in his school. At the staff meeting this afternoon, Danielle, the music teacher, asked the other teachers if a list of students had been in their classes in the morning. All of the students were in the dance group who had an eisteddfod that day and had been out of class practicing when they shouldn’t have been. On hearing this, the principle said he would have a quiet word with those students, but recognised that the students in question were ones with excellent reputations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday 20/05/08
Prac Block – Day Seven

Today was another usual Tuesday. For Japanese in the morning we did cooking! Together we made Teriyaki Stir-Fry with Udon. It was pretty good, and I was impressed to see the students participating really well. At the start of class we ran through the names of the ingredients and some basic sentences in Japanese – clean, cut and cook.

Then the students had to wash, peel and cut the veggies while some other students set the tables with bowls and chopsticks and others boiled the Udon. After the students had cooked everything they served it up and we ate together. After this, they all washed up and packed everything away. I was so impressed at the efficiency with which the students worked together!

When they were waiting for things to happen (like when two students were cooking and the rest were waiting) they played Hiragana Snatch to remember their hiragana. At the end of the lesson I revised the words we used today for the veggies and the cooking. Then the teacher revised all of the hiragana they had learnt and introduced them to chon-chon pronunciations.

After this, we went to D1 and had a maths lesson fairly identical to the previous days. D1 worked really well on their games today. About 80% of the students were playing their third games and so I handed out their final tasks which they can start work on straight away next lesson.

Following morning tea was maths with D2 who were fairly similar to D1 although they had less time to play their games. The principle came to talk with the class again today about bullying and the use of mobile phones at school as a bulling weapon. He said that recent events portrayed in the media about mobile phone bullies have convinced him beyond doubt that mobiles should be banned from schools. He also said that if he heard of any of his students using mobile phones to bully others even on the weekend he would take those students to the police.

After lunch, I watched the two dance groups practice for their eisteddfod tomorrow. I then attended bus duty with my supervising teacher. Ice blocks have been banned from the busses and the principle has spoken to the tuckshop about selling them after the school day has finished. The students (although much fewer than last week) still bought ice blocks, but then put them in their bags to get them on the bus.

All in all it was an interesting day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday 19/05/08
Prac Block Day Six

Another day of teaching! Today I had a more relaxed approach to the classroom. Mostly because I felt like I had been quite hard in my approach last week and the students had responded quite well, I felt like it was time to relax a bit. Japanese was first up and I supervised and facilitated the kankyou unit. I also played a game of Kanji Snatch at the end (at the suggestion of my teacher).

Kanji Snatch involves putting the kanji cards on the table and then calling out the readings or the English meaning of the kanji. The students have to be the first to grab them. At the end you count who has the most – they are the winner! It’s a pretty fun and relaxing game that is good for kanji recognition.

After this I did Money games with Boat F who were better than they were on Friday, but at the same time, still quite rowdy. I had to start one of the students on other work because he continued to be disruptive and not wanting to work. Other wise the lesson was uneventful. Boat E was the same.

In the afternoon I attended the music class. The prac teacher who is taking the class had the students play their homework (making a 12 bar chord progression) on guitar. It was really interesting to see her challenge the students to put their theory into practice on guitar. It might have been better to have a keyboard or piano available for the students who were not so capable on guitar, but all the students had a go – which is an advantage of a small class!

After this we listened to The Land Down Under where we looked at the lyrics and other musical characteristics and how they were uniquely Australian. One of the students protested at having to study a song they didn’t like, but the prac teacher dealt with it really well by saying that to be a musician you need to understand all types of music, not just the genre that you play.

And that’s pretty much it for today.


These are my flowers - aren't they lovely! When Steve gave them to me I thought "... could this be happening tonight? ... surely not..." - in hindsight how wrong I was!

This is my shiny new ring! It's so pretty! :D:D

This is me trying to tell both of my sisters at once - at about 12:45 at night. :D

And this is me and Steve being over the moon that God has blessed us with each other and also being totally excited that we are GETTING MARRIED!! :D:D

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday 16/05/08
Prac Block Day Five

Had the best morning today because the day started with Japanese and was followed by Music. I took the advanced Japanese group and facilitated their solar system work. I was really happy with the work the kids did today. They seemed to enjoy having a set amount of work to do that they could choose from. Most of the students have now finished their first piece in the unit and are either started on their second or ready to start on it next lesson.

After this, I had music. The prac teacher took the lesson again, and I met the final two members of the class. It was a pretty fun lesson because after a rhythmic dictation we played Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil. Two of the girls had to learn how to play the chords, so I took the boys outside to practice. After running them through a few times and giving them tips and pointers, we re-joined the girls and we all played together. Homework is to write a chord progression for a 12 bar piece.

After morning tea I rejoined my teacher for Maths. Maths, maths, maths. D2 worked quite well with their maths – I ran the money games again. One group of boys wasted their time outside. Next lesson they will be taken off games and will have to do another activity. It’s disappointing when students are unable to follow instructions and abuse their privileges.

The final class of today was Maths with Boat F. Boat F was fine on Monday, but last session on a Friday they were not in the mood to do work. I continued to ask the students to do their work and followed through with behaviour management. At the end of the lesson however, I had to report to my teacher that some of the boys had not worked well at all and would have to be taken off games next lesson.

It really amazed me in Boat F, because there are only four or so boys who are continually being disobedient. The rest of the class is unimpressed by their behaviour. Being kept in after class at the end of the day continually requested for their fellow students to be quiet and listen to the teachers. It is interesting to see that even though they are not gaining popularity from their behaviour, they continue to display it.

I spoke with my teacher today about how much I should be teaching. She suggested that she give me ten minuet sections of lessons over the next week to do. It sounds good. I’m looking forward to doing more direct teaching in Japanese rather than maths.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sorry I didn't think about this earlier, but if anyone is interested here is how prac is going :D

Prac Journal

Tuesday 29-04-08
Lead-in Day One

Today was my first day at prac! A bit scary, but a lot of fun. I was at Kimberly College. It is about a half hour drive from where I live, makes me sad to be a commuter ☹ I wish there were someone I could car pool with, but alas, none have been found so far.

My teacher is Mrs Cheryl Johnson. She’s the Japanese, Maths and Multi-Strand Science teacher. She has three children who attend the school. I’m with her for Japanese, but sadly, there are only four classes a week! I’m a bit bummed about that, but it does mean I get to sit in on a load of other classes and see them, so that’s good.

Things I noticed on my first day: the 3, 2, 1, rule.

This rule consists of the teacher raising their hand and saying “Three”. Students know from this that they need to start being quiet. If there is still noise the count down continues. The aim is that students would know it is time to be quiet and the count down would not be nesscary, but more often than not, it is. Still, by the time one is reached, students are ready to be attentive to the teachers. It’s a fairly effective rule.

At Kimberly College, the students aren’t tested at all until grade 11, and classes are multi level. This means that quiet often group and individual work is stressed. In the maths class that I attended today, grades 8, 9 and 10 were in the room. Students had booklets of maths problems (based around a central theme (eg business) and at their level of ability) to complete. At the end of completing their booklet, they are rewarded with a “final task” fun activity. All of this is tracked by a “Money Trail” sheet, which is all stapled together (along with the booklet and final task) at the end of the period (three weeks in this case) to be handed in for checking and then students can move on to the next lot of work.

Because of this, students can work individually or in small groups and the teacher is free to move around the room. In this room, there was an English teacher, helping to assist in monitoring, as well as Cheryal and myself. Students are not sat in rows, but in clusters of desks around the room. There is very little teacher focus, but rather the teacher is a facilitator of the room and is free to give the students the attention they need.

I also noticed that the whole school works on a theme for each semester. This semester is money. Cheryl says this works perfectly for maths, because they can do all the business maths and finance that they wish. ☺ the other teaching areas (such as English) approach the theme from different angles. English, for example is doing a unit on advertising. It’s very interesting to see how everything is tied together, and the subjects are not separate.

I would have to say though, that Music and Japanese do appear to be separate to an extent. In the middle Japanese class, they are studying family. The class consists of about eighteen students from the grades eight and nine. Most of the students have studied Japanese before. There are about three students who are confidante with their hiragana, but the rest of the students seem to struggle with it.

At the end of the day, I did bus duty with Cheryl. She is respected by the students and able to converse with them easily. She also knows many of their names, despite not teaching them any more. She has been at the school since it opened in 2000.

Tuesday 06/05/06
Lead-in Day Two

Today I arrived at 8:15 to start another day of observation. I spent the morning helping Cheryl set up the classroom for the lesson and the school day started before I realised. Today, for the first time, I saw the 3, 2, 1 rule used in the Japanese classroom. The class is generally fairly quiet, but they did a lot of group and pair activities today which let some students get carried away with talking.

During the Japanese lesson, Cheryl split up the two sets of tables and had me lead one side while she worked with the other side. I had to take the students though the questions on the “who am I” card, and then monitor them as they played the game in pairs – ensuring that they were using Japanese. It was fairly easy and fun. The first time that I went through the card, and then listened to the students, I realised that they had some problems saying one of the phrases. When the students swapped activities, I spent more time concentrating on that phrase than I had with the last group. I noticed as I walked around that they had more confidence with speaking than the previous group had.

Other things that I noticed today: the Cancer Room.

This is the room that the students who don’t have hats to wear go during lunch times. I think it’s fairly self explanatory.

Everyone at Kimberly College participates in sport on a Tuesday afternoon. I went to watch the dance groups. They have tap and hip hop. Daniella, the music teacher, is very well liked by the students.

The Year 12 students have started their QCS practice already, and the grade 10’s were away on camp.

When students are disrupting the class, they are “put out” – which means they are sent to the office. There they sit outside at a desk and do their work with out their classmates. The vice Principle – Pauline Mundie – monitors this.

Something else I noticed is that there appears to be no set homework for maths, but if the booklet is not completed by the end of the three week period, it has to be either finished before the final day, or it will be done at lunch time until it is finished. I suppose the students are expected to understand if they will not be able to complete their booklets in class time and take the initiave to do it at home.

Prac Block Day One

At last – the block is here! Hooray! I’m excited that I’m finally getting into it. Today I arrived at school at a quarter past eight and set up the classroom for my supervising teacher.

We had Japanese first up. This was the first time I had met the “Advanced” class. They consisted of year 9’s and 10’s. The class is split and the year levels do different work. My teacher revised numbers with the year 10’s first while the year 9’s worked on a diagram of their neighbourhoods.

The year nines took a long time to do their work. Even with consistent prompting and supervision, the boys continually talked and made an effort to think up obscure stores and places to add to their maps. The girls were able to complete their work with some prompting in time.

After this, I supervised the year 10’s as they began their first lesson in the kankyou (solar system) unit. The unit is based on a matrix of activities founded on the “six hats” theory by Edward De Bono and the Multiple Intelligences theory by Howard Gardner. The students were excited about being able to choose their activities and the chance to work in pairs. Of the eight students, six opted to work in pairs while two students decided to work individually.

I was in charge of running this section of the unit, but it is fairly easy. A lot of this unit will be facilitating as the students do their activities and giving them the help they need. I think there is going to be a hard line to draw in giving the information and encouraging the students to find it on their own. The students seem to rely on charts and notes for a lot of basic knowledge like hiragana.

After this class, I supervised a group of maths students as they played money games. It was fairly standard supervising, although it was hard to encourage the students to actually fill out their sheets as they played the game.

After morning tea, I did the same again, with a different boat. This boat, even though they paid better attention in class, were distracted easier than the last boat. My supervising teacher approached both of these classes with a ten min introduction to currency exchange. This was the first time I had seen her do direct teaching. She has quite a few ways to explain the same thing, which was good for the students. After she had explained and had them do a few examples together and by themselves she went around and checked on those needing extra help while everyone else started their group/individual work.

In the afternoon I sat in on the music class. There are only seven students in this class – from grades 11 and 12. Today only four of the students were present. It was a small class!! The student teacher took the lesson on Australian rock music. She was very enthusiastic and passionate which engaged the students.

All in all I feel like it was a very standard teaching day. I’m ready for another five weeks and four days of it.

Thursday 15/05/08
Prac Block Day Four

Woah. The week is almost over! Exciting!

Tuesday felt like normality after Monday’s new experiences. We had the level one Japanese class in the morning followed by maths with D one and D two. In the afternoon I watched the dance groups – both the tap and hip hop are preparing for an eisteddfod next Wednesday.

At the beginning of the maths lesson, my supervising teacher started with collecting the section one booklets. Each section is for three and a bit weeks, and section one (on spending money) is now over, so everyone has to finish their booklets and final tasks to be handed in to be marked.

Most people started section two on Tuesday too. My supervising teacher spent the next ten minuets of the lesson introducing how to sell and buy foreign currency. She gave formulas and examples and then had the students do their own. After everyone knew what they were doing, the students were able to either finish off their section one work or start the section two.

The same format followed for the D two class maths lesson.

Section two for maths is buying with money. There are 5 different areas of study; Money games, Trade and Foreign Currency, Create your Own Business, Stock Exchange and… something else. Each area has different levels. For the students who are at level one or two, Money Games or Stock Exchange are the most popular choices. My supervising teacher has put me in charge of running the Money Games.

I think at first she only intended for me to supervise, but after seeing that I was competent with the first group, she has left me in charge of money games for all of the classes.

Money games involves the students playing games that involve money. There are four games; Monopoly, Who’s the Richest?, Billionaire and Pay Day. Of all the games, Billionaire is the hardest to explain so I generally work with that group the most. Each of the students has to play only one game per lesson and then swap for the next lesson. They have three lessons of playing games and three lessons of designing their own games. As they play the games they have to fill out a transaction sheet of what happens. For example in Monopoly they start with $200 and then if they buy a property they can take away money. All of this is recorded on their sheets.

Some of the students had trouble with the sheet initially, but after some explaining (and I think also the fact that by the time I got to the fourth class I had practiced explaining it four times so I had found a way that was understandable by most students) they got the hang of it.

I have about 15 students playing Money Games for each class in D one and D two. D one is better at playing the games and writing down their transactions than D two. I don’t know why.

On Wednesday I attended the music class again. This time I met an additional student, although there are still two members of the music class I am yet to meet. The lesson started outside, because there was no keys to let us into the building. Again the student teacher took the class and she did a good job. She ran through the homework outside until we were able to go inside.

Once inside she took the students through chords and building them. After this, she had them analyse the chordal structure of a piece of music. She had the students work in groups for this and paired the stronger students with the weaker ones which maximised understanding.

After this, I had 2 lessons of Maths with my supervising teacher in Boat D one and then in Boat E after morning tea. Again I ran the Money games. It ran well as both of the groups had already played the games before and were onto their second set of games. A group of boys in Boat D were of the attitude that they didn’t want to play the game properly or fill out their transaction sheet.

It started off when I sent them outside onto the deck to play Billionaire but they went around the corner where I couldn’t see them from inside. I went outside and asked them to move to where I could see them but then they complained about moving and being in the sun. I said if they listened to the instructions of the game then I would check the front area of the class room and see if there was room for them to play there. They didn't listen to the instructions at all and played the game badly.

After playing without writing down their transactions for twenty minuets they were called up to the office for some reason. Two of the boys were left. They had played well. Of the four boys that were called up to the office only one had written down their transactions.

When my supervising teacher asked me how things had gone I explained that the boys hadn’t participated well and she called them up at the end of class. They protested at the treatment and what not, but she was firm and simply said; “I want your attitude to change. If you are going to play these games you play them well or don't play them at all.”

In the end they were satisfied with that. It was a simple but effective warning. I really like my supervising teacher.

The last class on Wednesday afternoon was Japanese Beginners. The class is fairly big, but it has a few students dropping out because it is on at the same time as their Rich Task – which is a shame. The class is generally louder and more bubbly than the two other classes, but the students honestly want to learn.

My supervising teacher is currently taking them through the hiragana alphabet. It is interesting to see the characters being taught without any pictures, but most of the students have done this in primary school, so she doesn’t feel the need to revise them. It took longer than anticipated to get through the lesson content.

After this lesson, I attended the staff meeting, which was held in the science room (so crowded). The principle ran the meeting which was only about an hour long. Everything that was covered was related to the curriculum, at the end someone made a point about supervision and there was general comments about how staff meetings are for curriculum only.

The principle had some group activities for us to do, but as time ran short we didn't have the chance to do them. Most of the staff were able to make contributions to the meeting with no hesitancies.

On Thursday the day started with an assembly. The principle ran this, and often referenced students by name. My supervising teacher was away so I was put into Boat C2 with the two teachers there. Today they had Maths first up and for the first time I saw the same Maths curriculum taught by another teacher. This teacher took a half hour to do a quiz of ten questions. Then he told everyone they needed to do a final task (and handed them out). There wasn't enough resources so I ended up running off a few more sheets.

After this, the grade eights went out to a forensic science seminar that was set up on the tennis courts. The year nines left for their testing and the grade tens were able to do catch up work on their assignment tasks.

After lunch the class did science experiments. The class on the whole appeared to be in a fairly lazy/non-working mood. It was hard to keep all the students on their tasks and doing productive work.

Things I noticed over the last few days. I really do feel like a teacher, walking around the classroom and asking students questions. I do know that I have a lot to learn. I’m so thankful that my supervising teacher is really good about giving me feedback, and challenging me with supervision and teaching.

Also, I have noticed that the principle of the school is quite liberal with is opinions, weather they are accepted by the government or school bodies or not. I have also come to the conclusion that I would find it so hard to work underneath someone who’s ideals were very different to my own and voiced theirs as if they should be the only ideals a teacher should have.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Friends of mine made this:

for the Melbourne Comedy Festival Idioclips Competition - they got second place!!