Good ol’ Queensland Cursive

While considering my blog posts to undertake this week, I happened across stellaedc3100‘s blog, Pre Practical Work Experience Nerves, which really resonated with me.  I, too, get ‘butterflies’ when I think about my next practicum.  Don’t get me wrong – I love ‘pracs’.  Apart from being so tiring, and some requiring a great deal more work than others – ahh, the memories of my first prac, where the expectation was predominantly to observe.    

While I am super-keen to get my teeth into teaching, I do get nervous about being up to my mentor’s expectations.  For me, one particular aspect I worry about is being able to write using Queensland cursive.  Although, the only time I have needed it was in my first prac with a Year 1 Special Education Unit.  Subsequent prac mentors have declared it the least of their worries, particularly in a Special Education school environment.  I wonder how my next mentor will prioritise it.

Stella is not alone in having pre-prac nerves, and I am certain we are not alone! 

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Resources to develop learning experiences

Can you imagine how many ‘hits’ Scootle and the Australian Curriculum have received over the past couple of weeks!  Just for our course alone there must be oodles (not a website, just an old fuddy-duddy word).

I note fellow student, Bridget Elizabeth, has included both of these resources on her concept map to help her determine which resources to use for the development of her learning experiences for a Year 6 History UoW.  I, too, used these websites +++. 

However, located independently from these two sites, yet, interestingly enough, also included in them, is a resource that I think is AWESOME – ARKive.org.  ARKive.org has so many links to interesting information – particularly for my Geography UoW. 

At the commencement of my UoW, I thought about what I know about endangered species and what was significant enough to share with Year 4 students.  Voila – I happened upon ARKive.org and thought WHAT A FIND!  Then, to validate the site, I noticed it is also included in Scootle.

I am that enthusiastic about it that I even signed on up to their blog!  I’m an ARKive.org junky!  I recommend you look at it.

Pedagogical Framework of choice

Kiera Hamling recently penned her preference for the use of a Multiliteracies pedagogical framework in her next ICT assignment.  Interestingly, her words reminded me of previous courses I have undertaken where I was first introduced to the term Multiliteracies.

Kiera’s blog resonated with me, as I was reminded of the need to ensure all students are adequately* catered for.  [*Adequately – I don’t know if that word is ‘enough’ of an expectation really.]

Anyway, recently I used the 5E’s pedagogical framework for a Science assessment.  I considered using it again, as it is something I am now familiar with using.  However, was too intrigued by the aspects of the Integrating Socially planning and inquiry model framework to not use it in my Geography UoW.  To me, this framework was very clear and explicit: tuning in, preparing to find out, finding out, sorting out, going further, making connections and taking action.  A perfect way to set-up Year 4 students’ learning.

I am glad I used it.  I now intend to put some serious time into considering the use of this framework during my next practicum in May.

Sharing my “Curriculum + Assessment”

My course instructor, the infamous djplanner, has requested a posting outlining some key decisions made toward completing Assignment 2.

  •        What is the context?
  •        What are the learning objectives?
  •        What are the assessment criteria you’ll use?

Now I have much work to do to get to the completed status for this assignment, but as it stands, the following are my responses the djplanner’s request:

Year 4 Geography/English context

Formative

  • Students will create a trading card to synthesise understanding of what is an endangered species and conservation status.
  • Students will prepare persuasive website to ‘draft’ one week prior to the due date to receive explicit written feedback.
  • Student will provide peer assessment using a checklist to determine if all necessary information is provided in persuasive website.
  • Student will proofread and edit website content as self assessment.
  • The teacher will make observations and anecdotal notes during class discussions for student understanding throughout the unit.
  • Observation of student engagement during field trip to Hervey Bay Discovery Sphere.

The teacher will make observations of engagement and responses given, when class discuss responses to field trip questionnaire/quiz.

Assessment criteria:

Knowledge and understanding

Interconnections between people, places and environments; and the importance of the environment and different views on how it can be protected.

Clear and supported interpretation of literal and implied meaning by connecting ideas in a variety of texts; and considered explanation of how text structures are used for different purposes and effects.

Considered explanation of how text structures are used for different purposes and effects.

Understanding and skills dimensions

Considered selection, organisation and synthesis of a variety of relevant ideas and information for different purposes and audiences.

Considered use of text structures for different purposes and audiences.

Summative

Utilising prior knowledge and new learnings, students will demonstrate their skills and processes in a meaningful way by creating and publishing a persuasive webpage to promote a course of action: What would you do to save an endangered species?

[Students have previously learnt how to create and publish a webpage in Technology.]

Students will demonstrate effective methods to source relevant information for inclusion in webpage.

Assessment criteria:

Understanding and skills dimensions

Interpretation of geographical data to:

  • draw reasoned conclusions
  • propose alternative individual actions in response to a geographical challenge
  • explain the expected effects of their proposed action.

Considered selection, organisation and synthesis of a variety of relevant ideas and information for different purposes and audiences.

Considered use of text structures for different purposes and audiences.

I am not sure if this is indeed what is being asked.  Are we allowed to include constructing and transforming criteria in both the formative and summative assessment?  I’m not sure!  However, I am certain about one thing: I am very, VERY keen to read Week 8 information and head off to my next lecture to find out if I am on the right track or not.

Fingers crossed …

Assignment 2, you have my undivided attention

Finally, Assignment 2, you have my undivided attention.  I know, I have watched you from my peripheral vision, sitting quietly on my desk, urging me, to stop and flip the pages (yes, I still print copious amounts of pages to read the notes posted in our ICT course).  Your words are truly tempting,

“Just have a look at the curriculum for a minute, just consider what you might like to initiate for assessment.” 

Alas, I have not succumbed to your charms – until this moment.  However, I have done so knowing now I can give you my undivided attention. Isn’t that what you want?

Hmmm.  The first page I turn to discusses preamble.  That’s cool: Unit Topic, Length of unit, Year level, Context.  Yep.  I can do this. … but what is with “Special Events”?  This is the first time I have had to contemplate what “Special Events” might be happening at the school when conducting a unit of work. 

Hmmm.  Let’s see what Uncle Google has to say about “Special Events”.  Well, as luck would have it, Uncle Google provided me with a couple of options to peruse to help me get an understanding of the “Special Events” schools have throughout the year.

For Your Calendar contains over 50, yes over 50, “Special Events” that schools may or may not include in their calendar year – WOW!  This site even stipulates if the event is Australian or International. Fabulous.  This website appears to be pretty resourceful – check it out!

As I continue my journey through the UoW process, I may well use fellow student, Prasadpratima62 descriptions of short/medium/long term planning, as a guide.

Curriculum + Assessment = Undecided

As part of the Community and sharing sector of Week 5’s abundance of information received to assist with the completion of #EDC3100 Assignment 2, I am required to outline the following in a blog:

  •          What is the context (especially year level)?
  •          What are the learning objectives?
  •          What are the assessment criteria you’ll use?

Right now, I am unsure whether to go with Year 4 Geography or Year 5 Science.  My thoughts keep bouncing from one to the other – too frightened to miss any benefits one will have over the other. 

But why have I selected these to make a decision from?  I have already completed assignments, which include formative and summative assessments, on these two learning areas.  Will this assist me with my workload or preparation and understanding of the subject?  I am yet to find out.

Interestingly, Kathleen McCallum has elected to focus on Year 5 Science for her UoW.  She states in her blog that she started yesterday, from the simple task of selecting year level, learning area and curriculum.  Today, Kathleen has developed both her formative and summative assessment ideas.

Although my focus is intending to be a different aspect of the Year 5 Science curriculum, thanks to Kathleen, I have the impetus to work towards making THE decision: Science or Geography.

Off to the curriculum site to research my options!  It is time to weigh up the pros and cons …

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Storyboard THAT!

Major influences on (appropriate) participation for students with special needs are social stories.  Time and again social stories are raised as a valuable tool to assist students to understand and undertake what it is they are required to do, be it eating avocado before a sandwich (a story fellow student GOannnaa verbally shared with our class last night), or using the toilet facilities in an appropriate manner. Storyboard THAT! appears to be an easy to operate resource which may suit the purpose of creating social stories for your classroom.  It has premade characters, settings and text adding facilitation.  In line with GOannnaa‘s enthusiasm for phone apps, it even has an app to install on your phone!

But seriously, social stories can help so many students to participate in class; inclusion of all students is a key aspect to teaching and successful learning.  Resources such as Storyboard THAT! benefit students in a mainstream classroom, special education unit or special education school.

Storyboard THAT!