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This week has really tested my commitment to blogging once a week! Our first full week back at school and things are really in full swing, meetings each night, all specialist classes running, EVERYTHING!

The Learning How to Learn program, which runs for the first two weeks of school, aims to set up our expectations for the coming year. This includes students’ expectations of me as a teacher, of each other as classmates and the expectations I have of them. We run through these for all subject areas, the way we expect to behave during a literacy lesson might be very different from a Performing Arts lesson, for example.

I also use the time to give students an idea what they can expect for me as far as the types of learning activities I will facilitate for them. I am very conscious of the fact that hand on activities are almost completely gone from the Level 3 and 4 teaching at my school and I am aiming to bring them back. As the ICT Coordinator for the school I am also tasked with trialling new tech ideas so we are starting out using a few new programs (more on this in coming posts).

Along with the lack of hands on learning in areas such as maths, we also have a focus on creative thinking. An activity I love, which I do every year and have shared before, is a great insight into the creative thinking of my students. There are two girls who always ask to look at the class example to ‘get ideas’ when what they really want to do is ‘copy ideas’ – I know this is something I will have to tackle. I also have 3 or 4 who rush to be finished to move on to something else, showing very little pride in the standard or quality of their work.

I also wanted to make a start on our first Genius Hour ‘projects’ but was not sure how it would go. I have never attempted Genius Hour with students so young, but I think that their initial ideas show promise. We are finalising our first proposals this week and I will write more about the process in a coming post.

 

 

Creative Paper Animals on PhotoPeach <iframe width=”445″ height=”296″ src=”http://photopeach.com/embed/v3suho” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

As I wrote about earlier, I met most of my new class on our Orientation Day last year. However, even after completing the first week of classes, I am yet to have a day with ALL my students present. I was also luck enough to have twins join my class on the first day of school. bumping our class up to 24.

I really enjoy this time of the year, getting to know the class, the friendship groups, the interactions between different students, and getting to know them as individuals. I have already seen those who rush to be first finished, those who labour over the smallest task and are always last to finish, those who have something to say about everything and those who only contribute when called on.

The activities we complete over the first few weeks are part of our “Learning How to Learn” program and center on setting goals and expectations for the class. We think about the type of classmates we want, and what makes a good teacher. Unfortunately, one of my students may have a hard time coming to terms with the amount of hands on work that happens in my class!

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Some of my favourite activities from the week were:

Guess Who Is Missing – a simple game where one student stands at the front of the room, back to the class, while another students silently ‘hides’ somewhere out of sight. The student at the front then has to name the missing student. We work our way up, is it a bot or a girl? What grade are they in? What is their name? Lots of fun and helps students get to know names.

Monster corner bookmarks – a must for Independent Reading!

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Name monsters – for decorating and personalising the classroom. Students wanted them displayed facing out into the playground so everyone would know who was in our class

name monster

What do Good Readers Do? – We do this for each of our subject areas, I really liked most of the responses on the padlet that I set up for this activity.

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The thing that stands our the most after the first week of school, especially not having taught full time since September, 2012? SO TIRED! (Click to see just how bad it is!)

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Classroom 2014

Click to view =]

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Back to School letters

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My 2014 class

I always love hearing about other teachers’ classes, so thought I would share a little about mine for the coming year. It will also be interesting for me to check back at the end of the year and see if anything has changed! I have 22 students in my class (will be amazed if this [...]