My Pond of Knowledge

A portfolio of classroom learning, both students' and my own personal.


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All we are saying….. Is give peace a chance.

War! What is it good for?
Absolutely Nothing!

That’s what the song tells us, and in real life it is also true.

I feel like I am waging war on every flank. I walk from my car, along the path and I feel like I am going in to battle. Against my ideals, my plans, some of my students with their interesting behavior and needs, against the help from Admin, against Departmental expectations, against the constraints of my classroom – it feels like Kellie vs The World.

And on Friday I could not come up with a game plan other than this:

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Yes, just before lunch I started to dismantle my lovely table groups. Now, I didn’t rush to this point – I asked colleagues for their opinion. And in a scary turn of events they were unable to come up with an argument against the move.
‘We’ have trouble interacting appropriately with each other, and try as I might, I am not able to provide the opportunities or guidance for this to improve.
I’m not sure if it is a generational change (please, please, I hope not) or a product of circumstances- a Kindy with super large numbers in sessions, a room with no direct access to outside (and yes, I have asked to have a door put into the wall- but seems that the land we look out onto is owned by the Council and not by the Department), a class with a large number of parents who work and travel away a lot and for quite long times (and we’re kidding ourselves if we think this doesn’t affect the 5 year olds, or the 35 year olds who remain at home as the single parent).

I walked out on Friday in disgust. It was a knee-jerk reaction, but I felt I had to gain some “control” since I often feel that “our room” is rolling away from me, what I want to do and where I want it to be. I can see so many cherubs who need “help”, who need me to sit and listen to them… and the rolling room doesn’t allow this.

So, last night I took another look at my programme. I have rejigged my Literacy Groups – making them a whole lot smaller.
Today I went in and realigned the tables. They are still not back in groups😦 but they look a little bit friendlier (thanks Karen for the suggestion- and all the other support).
I started Organising the cupboards- since I have a few who just grab any thing at any time, and empty containers and repack without sorting. I also turned these cupboards around- not something that I usually do, but I can either say it 1000 times and become frustrated or be in control of when equipment is touched and used.

I’m not saying it is ideal. I’m not saying that I am happy, but I am in need of a game plan so that we can all work together and start traveling on the same path.

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I asked another colleague if experiences like this are like childbirth- that we simply forget about the pain and suffering once it has passed. I’m hoping so.


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So, what’s been taking all this time?

Yes, I am aware that this poor blog site has been incredibly neglected…. It has almost been a whole term, Term 1. And there’s the answer.

Term 1 is that crazy, busy term. In every classroom, not just in my small cabbage patch-(yes, a whole room of very green cherubs).

And why?

Because it is the term for building relationships. From the simple… knowing their favourite colour to offer it to them before they ask, chatting to the younger brother or sister who comes into the room in the morning, checking out those wobbly teeth (and predicting how many days it will be before it comes out)

Establishing trust with a new group of parents. For they entrust their precious people into our room.

I spend most of Term 1 showing MY three jobs:

Yes, I need to tell the cherubs that these are my jobs, but I hope to SHOW them that these are my jobs through my words and actions.

Here are my “jobs”

1. My first job is to keep ‘you’ safe,

2. My secondj’job is to LOVE ‘you’,

3. My third ‘job’ is to help ‘you’ learn.

And that is it!

It’s simple really.

But it is more than words….. and that takes TIME.

So, that is where I have been.

What about you?

Is Term 1 emotionally draining for you too? (please say yes, please say yes).


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Whose room is it?

I’m about to share a photo of an area in our classroom. Years ago it wouldn’t have even looked like this for more than one day, if it actually did at all.
I certainly wouldn’t be sharing a photo of it then….. but now, older, wiser and far more mellow (Clare, thanks to you my gorgeous one) I can share and want to share. I LOVE this area the most:

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Here is a close up:

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This was is our Word Wall. A tad bit unconventional.
Let me share the story….
This word wall was set up, firstly as a linear display of the sounds that were learnt each day during Term 1. When Term 2 started the cherubs entered to these sounds in alphabetical order, neatly placed under the pretty letter cards. The ‘reward frogs’ were under the letter which corresponded to the child’s name and some of our sight words were included into this alphabetised display.
As the term progressed and more words were discovered I handed them out and the cherubs placed them in “the correct” spots.
Then, one rainy, long day in Term 3 one of the cherubs started tidying it up. I watched….. almost said something, but decided not to. Instead I watched for a bit longer.
Cherub 1 was soon joined by Cherub 2, 3 and 4. When the day was finished and they had all left for the warmth of their homes this is how the wall looked.
Do you know I nearly started reorganising it. Thank goodness I didn’t.

This is their room. This is how they wanted it. It made sense to them. Of. course it did since the words are introduced in colour blocks: gold words, red words, etc. And in interviews in Term 1 I love to celebrate that they are able to point to a word and say “that’s a green word” even if they can’t recall the actual word.
They love this wall. They use this wall. It now makes sense to them. Alphabetised suits me and may even impress a few parents but it is NOT where and how my cherubs work and operate.
So, THIS is how our wall is and will stay.
At least until the next long and rainy day😉


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Where is the love?

Like many, many schools we have examined the results our students achieved in the NAPLAN testing. Now I’m not even going to go near, yet alone stepping onto my Standardised Testing Soap Box……… but at one point when we were analysing our Reading results we had an epiphany…..

“Where is the Love?”

Have we gotten so bogged down in Reading “Programmes” which give students a limited list of appropriate texts? – which have been selected by a modern-day Dexter I assume. (from Perfect Match – not the serial killer of recent tv fame).

When did it become a ‘challenge’ for a child to read 12 books between February and September?

Why aren’t there more Libraries which celebrate books – new and old – every week, nay every day? Book Week should not be the only week a Library – I dislike the term Resource Centre – is visible and the hub of all activity.

I remember when new books were presented to us on a weekly or fortnightly basis. The illustrations were shown, the story line discussed, sometimes even read to the class. They then went onto a display shelf for 1 week and we were able to have our name placed on the RESERVED list. Oh how we waited for it to be our turn to have those pages in our hand! We quickly devoured the pages to share with our friends who had already borrowed the book, and to pass it on to our friends who were awaiting their turn.

We read it carefully because we were interested in discussing the book. We met the characters and felt like their neighbours.

We read for comprehension because we WANTED to, not because we were told to and then answer a multi-choice question.

We read books that we wanted to, which interested us. Not because they were in a certain ‘range’ and part of a publishers list. Not because there was some online true/false style quiz which could earn us points.

We read because we loved to.

Where is that love now?


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Boys…. there is a difference

I’m a bit passionate about supporting Boys with their learning. There are books, hundreds of books which tell us that boys learn in a different way than girls.

I have a son and a daughter. I work in a classroom. I’ve read the books – but I didn’t really need to to know that it is true.

My son is 10. He has had an “assignment” for a few weeks. The brief is to select an electrical appliance and explain how it works.

Sounds good.

He has had several lessons where he has been able to research on the computers. He has to produce an A3 poster with his research.

Yep, he’s disengaged already.

At school we are submitting our preferences for 2013: teaching year levels.

I love teaching 5 year olds, and it is still my first preference… but I have also asked to work in Middle Primary – because sometimes hands on is best practice, regardless of your age… and especially if you are a boy.

This is a video of my son explaining how the toaster works. I tried to record his first “meeting” with the toaster – it was great to catch his excitement and realisation that he had a great deal of knowledge already – based on experience….. however, my daughter’s iPod had no memory to store the video.😦 So this is Take 2 – so you can at least get the idea.

 

 

Now, we just need to fit it on an A3 poster…..


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What is my sentence?

I love it when days after a Professional Development session I find that I am still mulling thoughts and ideas around in my head. It may be part of an elaborate procrastination to slow me down from writing “the cherubs'” reports, but I prefer to look at it through rosier glasses.

So what have I been pondering here in The Pond?

“What is my sentence?”

It’s a big thing. Like a tweet in length but as crucial to your existence as what is written on your tombstone.

I haven’t quite got it to a single sentence, but I feel like I am well on my way…..

about.me/kelliegrady

What do you think?

What is your sentence?


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eLearning: Twitter

I remember when I was on my 3rd year prac. I collected every extra worksheet I could. I brought them home and filed them in my apricot laminate filing cabinet. There were 4 drawers and numerous hanging files. They had many specific tags and titles and within 2 years they were jam packed of “stencils” – yes, several purple tinted (the gestetner was still hiding in a workroom of most schools).

These pages were later transferred into lever arch folders – by sub-school section, and as these too grew, by topic.

Today the discussion with my student teacher revolved around the words ‘Twitter‘, ‘FaceBook‘ and Pinterest.

Up until last week I would have come home and jotted down a list of my favourites on a piece of paper and handed it to her. Now, having embraced the ‘Challenge from George‘ I have come home and decided to write a post with some of my favourites.

So, here it goes…..

Twitter

Angela Maiers

Early Childhood

Early Childhood Tech

Bethe Almeras

Cate Heroman

Edna Sackson

Todd Whitaker

Steve Box

Education Week

Bruce Ferrington

The Teacher Page

and, of course, George Couros

 

I love that this is ready to pass on and use – I hope that you have noticed the links *fingers crossed that they work and lead you to the right place*

Having said that, it has taken over an hour to compile just this short list so the FaceBook and Pinterest links will have to wait for another day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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