Professional Practice

Standard 3 – Plan for an implement effective teaching and learning

Focus area 3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs

Graduate: Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

 

Planning is fundamental in the structuring of an effective learning program. Planning is the process of careful, thought-out preparation, including attention to detail and the use of appropriate beneficial resources. This should be the backbone of every lesson which fits within the scheme of a unit of work with set goals and outcomes for students learning.

Throughout my university studies I have developed the ability to effectively plan, structure and sequence lesson plans in which I outline the content being taught, an understanding of the way the group of students best learn and specific teaching strategies used throughout. I have considered prior knowledge on specific topics and ensured that I plan learning sequences to build on this (Artefact – section from a mathematics prior knowledge lesson plan and assessment plan).

I have put my knowledge into practice throughout my professional placement by writing sequences of lesson plans which follow on from one another. My mentor provided me with sufficient feedback on my planning which allowed me to better prepare for challenges I may face in the classroom such as time management or the awareness that technology should not always be relied upon as it can be unreliable.

Lesson outline:

Prior Knowledge/Engagement Learning Experiences (s):

In this prior knowledge experience students will engage with using a variety of concrete materials to manipulate different patterns (Reys et al, 2012, p. 199). Students will sit facing the interactive whiteboard. They will view the Sesame Street video of Bert and Ernie playing a game called ‘Guess what’s next’. In this video the two characters explore patterns. Bert begins by creating a pattern and Ernie has to guess how to complete it. The well-known children’s show is sure to evoke interest and engagement in the students. The sing-along element of the video is also likely to resonate well with the young children. The video gives two examples of different types of patterns.

 

In the body of the lesson the students will also play the ‘Guess what’s next’ game in pairs although they will be using different types of maths manipulative instead. The teacher will create her own example of how to do this. The teacher will model two examples and choose a student to guess what’s next. The materials used include cotton pom poms, seashells, coloured tiles, pattern blocks, Unifix cubes or coloured counters. The first pattern the teacher creates will be a repeating alternating pattern with only two attributes, the second example will have more changing attributes. Before the student completes the pattern the teacher will play the song and encourage all the students to sing along.

 

The students will then be told to return to their tables where they will work with the person seated next to them. The manipulative objects will be located in boxes on the mat and students will take what they wish to use to complete their patterns. One student will create the pattern and the other students will have to guess what comes next. They will then switch and do the same. Student’s will be asked to describe the patterns to their partner once they think they have figured it out. If they cannot figure it out then the person creating it shall explain it. An observation checklist found in Appendix 1 will be used to assess student’s prior knowledge. The teacher will circulate around the room until each students has been checked off against the checklist.

Video Source:

Playrific 2015, Sesame Street – Guess what’s next, video, Playrific, viewed 11 April 2017 <http://www.playrific.com/m/1636/sesame-street-guess-whats-next>

Assessment:

What will you assess? How will you assess? When will you assess? & Who leads the assessment? How will you record your assessments? What forms of feedback will you provide?
Concepts:

Children create and extend patterns using various objects, drawings, sounds and movements.

 

Children show abstract thinking through problem solving and making predictions

 

Children classify objects into specific order and provide explanations for them

 

Thinking and Working Mathematically:

Problem solving

 

Reasoning and communicating mathematical ideas

Formative assessment:

Assessing student’s prior knowledge using an observation checklist (Appendix 1). This is deemed assessment for learning as it is ongoing and developmental (Groundwater-Smith et al. 2015, p. 295). The number of attributes and which of these have been used, as well as students ability to recognise, extend and describe the elements of a pattern will be assessed.

 

 

 

 

 

This assessment will be done during the learning experience. The observation checklist is a fast and easy way of finding out what students already know about the topic. The assessment will be recorded on the checklist where notes on specific students can also be recorded.  The key on the checklist in Appendix 1 indicates how marks will be recorded. This assessment will provide feedback to the educator about student’s prior knowledge. This will enable them to alter planning for the unit if it does not align with student’s current understanding of the concepts. Checklists are a useful tool when making comparisons between students on a particular subject area (Brady & Kennedy 2012 p. 61)

 

Focus area 3.5 Use effective classroom communication

Graduate: Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

 

Verbal communication refers to the words being spoken, whereas non-verbal considers body language and tone of voice. These factors both underpin the importance of student engagement which is fostered by effective listening skills.

In the classroom my mentor has worked to ensure students are using their active and assertive listening skills. The concept of verbal and non-verbal communication in the context of my professional placement surrounds the morning routine, which consists of students ‘sharing time’. This is a time provided every day for students to share something about the given topic for that week. Students are encouraged to wait for 5 L’s before beginning to share (Artefact – image of 5 L’s approach encouraged and displayed in the classroom). Listening is a skill that often underpins the development of positive relationships and respect amongst class members.

I attempted to undertake the 5 L’s approach when I noticed lapses in students attention, although also attempted to use non-verbal cues such as silence until all students show that they are prepared to listen and learn, or simply by using a hushed tone of voice so that they all had to tune into hearing me, distracting them from becoming disengaged.

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Standard 4 – Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.

Focus area 4.2 Manage classroom activities

Graduate: Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

 

Setting clear and elicit expectations to students prior to the beginning of an activity is fundamental in the organisation process. This allows students to gain an understanding of the aims of the lesson and is also likely to decrease the likelihood of behaviour management issues arising. This also ensures that students are taking their learning into their own hands, and that they are responsible for how this will play out.

 

I choose to begin all lessons with an introduction and explanation of what will occur throughout the lesson and what students expected learning outcomes will be. I also try to outline the behavioural expectations I expect, especially as it gets later in the day when students are becoming more restless and inattentive.  During specific lessons, such as Physical Education which is done in an extremely acoustic gymnasium, I prepare myself with either a bell, whistle or planned command so that students provide me with attention as soon as I ask for it (artefact – Physical education basketball bouncing lesson). This has proven to work effectively in all my professional placements and is a teaching strategy I intend on carrying through to my career.

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Focus Area 4.3 Managing challenging behaviour

Graduate: Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

Challenging behaviour is an inevitable aspect of every classroom, regardless of the socio-economic status of the school. These can cause educators unnecessary anxieties and impede the learning of the rest of the students.

 

Where possible my approach to managing behaviour is one of pretension, rather than intervention after an incident has occurred. In order to do this I attempt to set clear expectations for behaviour from the beginning of a school day and repeat these when necessary. I attempt to establish myself confidently so that students are aware that I am the leader of the classroom community. Within the classroom setting of my most recent professional placement we engaged in using a 3 step warning system. After these have been exceeded then students must enter ‘think time’, a space where they are required to think about their inappropriate actions. If they have continued with the inappropriate behaviour teachers refer to leadership for further assistance. One student in the class has an individualised behaviour plan, though the concept (red choices being bad and green choices being good) is used amongst the whole class (artefact – scanned copy of the challenging students behaviour plan reminder sheet).

 

Despite this I prefer to concentrate on the positive aspects of students behaviour. When a challenging student is engaging in the task and behaving appropriately I attempt to positively affirm their actions with encouragement to maintain it.

 

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Standard 5 – Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning.

Focus Area 5.1 Assess Student learning

Graduate: Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

 

Providing and implementing appropriate assessment strategies is crucial to the planning of future learning experiences which will guide students learning. I understand that assessment is the complex process of sorting children’s understanding of a particular learning area in order to assist and improve their knowledge and skills.

 

I have engaged in multiple strategies for assessment throughout my professional placement.

Formative and summative assessment examples from a mathematics unit are displayed below (Artefact – scanned written assessment notes on formative assessment and summative assessment rubric created to understands students abilities at the end of the science unit). Informal assessment opportunities also arose throughout everyday activities engaged in throughout the lessons. Throughout the lessons I monitored students ability to create patterns and referred back to the formative assessment I did earlier in the unit.

 

I don’t believe assessment should be considered a tool for making judgements about students learning capacities but as an opportunity to adapt and adjust planning to cater for different capabilities. From the results of the formative assessment and the informal assessments occurring regularly I altered the planned unit work to provide more opportunities for the students to practice creative and identifying patterns. This allowed them to become more competent learners of the topic, which resulted in an all round successful learning experience.

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Focus Area 5.3 Make consistent and comparable judgements

Graduate: Demonstrate understanding of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning.

Moderation improves the consistency of teachers decisions about student achievement and ensures that assessment processes are conducted fairly amongst a wide group of learners.

 

In my professional placement the educators at the school and I engaged in a professional development session with an educational consultant named Gail Holland from SLLIP (Senior Leader: Learning Improvement Program for the greater Gawler partnership) (Artefact – certificate of professional learning course). This session made particular focus on preparing assessment guidelines for problem solving in mathematics. The main focus of the session was for teachers to think about assessments they could create at different level standards (e.g. students who are consistently successful at C standard should attempt to complete B standard).

Subsequently all teachers at the school engaged in a half day release to work more closely with the consultant. This session provided a opportunity for my mentor and the other reception teacher in the school to prepare assessment tasks across the whole foundation mathematics curriculum. I engaged in this process and participated in implementing one of the assessments derived (Artefact- notes on D level assessment).

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