Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Tales after two weeks of being an NE teacher

I am now two weeks into being a New Entrant teacher and what have I learned?

I am bone tired shattered at the end of each day!!  Guaranteed I will have a kip in the chair in front of the telly each night and that I will come home full on Zombie-like due to the need to be hyper-aware all day.  My old principal Bob used to say, if you are not dead on your feet on a Friday night as a teacher, then you are not doing it properly.  But I am also going to say that after seven terms as a relief teacher, I'm not match fit for full time teaching yet; I need to rebuild my stamina.

As I stated in my blog two weeks ago, It's Term Four and I'm freaking out!!!, I am going with a play based philosophy in this class due to a number of children with low oral language and the need to build relationships.  There have been times when I have felt a bit redundant or fraudulent, and consequently I've had to push myself to make interactions with the children by engaging in play myself.  This is something I will need to make myself do more: get lost in the play.

I have found that this is also useful for when I have needed to do things one-on-one with students.  They are playing and I can call up the one I need and know that (theoretically) all the others are engaged meaningfully. 

After having the equipment for two weeks, I'm finding some students are getting 'bored' and so I have held back a couple of things and I will endeavour to introduced them over the next couple of weeks to re-inject the interest in play that is waning.

But I also think I need to introduce more structured play and some literacy and numeracy activities because I'm thinking some children may be needing more of this.  How I do this is my next big challenge.

Sometimes, at certain times, I feel like the Count.  And then other times I have them in the palm of my hand.  That's teaching!!

I also have a couple of lads who are challenging me with their behaviour.  One thing I did not miss as a reliever was the feeling of constantly repeating myself to the same students day after day for pretty much the same behaviour.  I am now working with the families to be able to report back about how this behaviour is being managed and how we will change it.  That's a work in progress that could be reported on in a future blog.

We have been successful with a few key things:

  • we are really good at packing up our toys and activities.
  • we are getting better at asking to go out to the toilet and to put things in our bags or to get a drink.
  • we are learning to read the shared big books together and do alphabet and sight words.
  • we are improving with learning the days of the week.
  • we all know that each hand has five fingers and thumbs and the Slavic abacus has five of one colour and five of another colour on each row and we are great at counting to 20 on the abacus.
  • we are making some awesome art
We made these awesome bears below because we were focusing on the letter B.  We also went out to blow bubbles for the letter B and wrote some stories to go with the photos.

We also made bees for the letter B.  First I cut out a bee shape from yellow card.  I cut up some back strips of paper and demonstrated gluing them on.  We used PVA and we put the glue on with our fingers because I want them to learn that paint brushes and PVA do not go together.  Then I hung them up to dry over night on the netting curtains.

The next day, after I trimmed the excess stripes and caught up an absent student, we tried to PVA glue on the pipe cleaners for the legs, antennae and proboscis.  Only one child was successful at getting them all to stick.  Not even I was successful.  So the next day I worked one child at a time to hot glue the legs, antennae and proboscis on.  This was more successful.

We have since glued on wings made of gold cellophane with the hot glue gun.  I've also made a big flower on some cupboard doors and the children have made painted hand prints to make the flower a bit more 3-D and frilly.  Eventually the bees will be buzzing around the flower.  There are photos to come.

Below are the letters we have focused on so far.  I get the children to brainstorm the words with me on the board and then I do them up for our big book to practise.  This sits along side our poem for the word.

A wonderful junior room teacher I used to work with, Ruth Foulkes, always taught even the smallest students big words.  So I am not shying away from big words.  As part of the letter A this week we have watched YouTube videos of acrobats and astronauts and anteaters (did you know anteaters can climb trees?  Neither did I until this week!).

For the letter A we had a big focus on "A for Apple".  I went to New World and purchased five different varieties of apples (which all cost differing amounts) and we spent some time looking at the apples and talking about what they looked like.

Then we sketched the apple with our pencils.  We talked about what colour crayons we would need and we coloured our apples in.

Full disclosure:  this was my picture.

I'm fairly pleased with our first go at observational drawing.

Before Morning Tea we sat down and ate the apples.  I cut them up so that we could all try each variety and see if there were differences and similarities.  We did discover some were more sour or tart than others.

After Morning Tea we made apples out of the lower case 'a'.  I got this idea off Pinterest from a Letter of the Week blog.

This one is mine.  I will do all the activities.  I always have.

This activity got them to focus on listening to and following instructions, looking at models, and the fine motor skills of putting on glue and gluing things down.  Learning how to put glue around the outside and then a cross across the middle is still a work in progress, but we are making progress.  Somethings these small skills are actually the biggest gifts we give our littlest learners - and that does not come through on a National Standard.

I'm going to love these going up on our wall.  Watch out in the next couple of weeks for a blog about our classroom environment.

1 comment:

  1. Loving following your journey Melaine!! Your students are so fortunate to have you at the start of their learning journey :)