Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reciprocal Reading

This term we were able to buy some of the Connector series by Jill Eggleton, published by Scholastic. They are an excellent resource and I believe they are good value in the classroom. While I have long understood and known the ways reciprocal reading can enhance a reading programme in the classroom, it is only with this series of books have I felt confident enough to try it out.

The two groups of six that I have been working with on it are doing very well. I spent a few sessions introducing it to them and then let them organise it themselves with the guidance of the books. Jill has thought this out so well, and it works. I am not exhausting as yet all her suggestions but I do intend to work with more of her ideas next term.

The books themselves are very engaging. The students thoroughly enjoy reading and discussing them. Any interested reader can read more about them and watch her video which explains it so well.http://www.scholastic.com.au/schools/education/connectors/reciprocal.asp

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From Organised to Stressed in a Blink

All in a matter of minutes. I thought I was well organised, and then boom, I couldn't find the Australasian Spelling tests I was about to administer to a group of students. What made it worse was the students were to be out later in the day so the pressure was on.

So while my class did an assignment I searched. I felt really pressured. I know I had them yesterday. After 15 minutes of looking, I found them, put away by accident with something else. So in a flurry I started to gather the students who were sitting. The tests were at different levels, then I found I had more papers than students!! More panic. I tore down to the office and got the updated list and called in the final student.

Ah, organised at last. We got the test done and the class was sort of getting settled into normalcy. Test done.

My class had then gone off to do orienteering and while I was 'sitting' a younger class I did the checking on the spelling. ARRRRRRRRRHHHH!! I have mixed up the tests given the Year 5 tests to the Year 6's and vice versa. Some rubbing out, and now we will have to redo them.

Some days might start well, but they can turn to custard and slide downhill very quickly. I am an organised person but today I'm not showing up as organised. I could feel my self really pressured, I am sure the blood pressure I am trying to lower was way higher than it should be. I believe next time I lose something I will say to myself I will let it go for now and come back to it later. But I hate losing things.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Week of Professional Development.

Last week, four out of the five working week days I spent on Professional Development. The first three days I spent over in Masterton, the Principals and Directors of Religious Education of Wellinton Catholic schools were attending a seminar run by Elio Caprio, from Australia. The first two days were mainly about keeping the catholic character of our schools alive and having a sense of the sacred in the hurly burly of every day living.

To be truthful I don't remember very much of it, but I did come away from it feeling more enthusiastic. The presenter was Italian, although he has been in Australia for many years. What I particularly liked was his sense of humour and the many jokes and comedy videos he shared. He also had a appreciation of artworks and Michael Leunig cartoons. All of which made for a pleasant few days.

The third morning we had a different presenter sharing with us how to present the story of Zacheus in a million and one ways. Well it seemed like a million and one! Anyway it was very good and some day I hope I can use some of it.

Thursday I spent teaching. Trying to grasp where I had left off and where I needed to pick up! Glimpsing over what my relief teacher had taught while I was away, I was delighted to see it was so relevant and gave up any small guilt still lingering for being away.

Friday I attended a meeting for the local Deputy and Assistant Prinipals. They meet regularly once a term in our local area. The first presentation by a local DP was on dyslexia. She had attended a workshop run by Neil Mackay from England. Her summary of this workshop was excellent and I picked up some tips that were helpful. I came away more aware of little things that can help. Over the years I have had a number of dyslexic students. It is always a challenge to support their learning and it is something I enjoy doing.

In the afternoon we had J Allen from the Ministry of Education. She spoke passionately about focussing on student learning and lifting achievement. She also listened to the comments we had about the professional development we had had for the new national standards. When we voiced our dissatisfaction with it, she asked us to list them and send them into her. As she said they are putting in considerable taxpayer money (and that's me and you) into the professional development. Our last part of the day was spent doing just that.

Next week I have a full week of teaching!!! However it's week 10 and I feel enthusiastic. Normally at this part of the term I am wilting. With a good heart I spent 3hrs prep time this Sunday morning. A change is as good as a holiday.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Yard Duty.

Of all the aspects of teaching the one I dislike the most is yard duty. Just when I'm looking forward to a break from interacting non stop with 30 children and I'm wanting a break, it's yard duty time. Teachers envy those out in other jobs who can take a leisurely lunch break all on their ownsome.

Generally its pretty much a non event. However last week I had this interesting by play with a 5 year old. I saw him throw some very heavy punches into the solar plexus of another 5 year old. So I went over and told him I was removing him for some timeout. On the way to timeout he informed me that he hated me! That moved me not, this little individual had no personal relationship with me. Our first time meeting.

I sat him out, outside the office and said I would be back in 5 minutes and I would release him then. As promised I returned, I asked him to stand, so that I could speak to him. "Whatever", was the reply. Somewhat taken aback I went down on one knee and met him on his territory. "We don't speak to teachers at this school like that! And we don't punch people either". He looks up and says, "So this school isn't a boxing school?"

"It most definitely isn't" And I sent him back out to play. I wandered away bemused. A five year old with an eleven/twelve year attitude. I thought to myself I think I need to dig out some old "The Nanny" shows to brush up on technique. Its obviously getting harder if the 5 year olds are anything to go by!
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