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!!

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