The Australian Curriculum Lessons website has been around for a few years now and has built up a wide range of free lessons and programs for teachers which are linked to the Australian Curriculum. This is a great resource particularly if you have limited experience in a subject or want to refresh an old program with new ideas.
Teacher resources can range from one off lesson plans to complete 6 week programs with detailed lesson notes. All resources needed for each lesson/program are provided at the bottom of the lesson/program outline.
Check out these examples and explore the website to find lessons and programs from your subject area.
I’m not discounting general praise statements, for some students it is exactly what they need. I could have however been providing my students much more specific feedback/praise to reinforce the cues I had asked students to focus on when they were catching, throwing and dribbling. For example – watch the ball (don’t look away), when you catch the ball have your arms outstretched not by your side, have soft fingers and big hands, use the tips of your fingers to bounce the ball not your palm and so on. By saying well done I am not acknowledging the specific learning the student has applied, for example, that was a great catch because you held your arms out in front of you. The child is much more likely to hold their arms out in front next time because I have positively reinforced that specific behaviour.
It is not new to me that specific/targeted feedback is more effective than general praise but that has not stopped me from defaulting to a natural response when a child does something well. During a fast paced and busy PE lesson it is easier to revert back to a natural response than it is to identify clearly to the student what they are doing well. It took a video of my teaching to remind me of that.
Have you ever seen or heard yourself teach?
What do you think you would discover if you did?
Looking for a formative assessment response tool that does not require your students to have an iPad, PC or laptop? Looking for a tool that still allows you to collect and collate students responses quickly?
Plickers does not require students to have their own device only the teacher. Students need a paper response card to hold up for the teacher to scan using their phone. The paper response cards are free and downloadable from the Plicker’s website.
Below is a Plickers student response card. You will notice that when you set up your classes in Plickers that each student is assigned a number. It is important the student has the correctly numbered card. The card below is card number 1. After a question has been asked the student holds the card up with the letter that they think corresponds with the correct answer at the top. On the card below the letter ‘B’ is at the top. The teacher walks around and scans each card collating all student responses quickly and seeing which students answered correctly or incorrectly. Card sets can be used with multiple classes for example card number 1 can be used across four different classes for four different students.
The videos below shows how to set up an account, classes, questions and scan response cards as well as demonstrating the use of Plickers in a classroom.
Plickers Tutorial 2016 Formative Assessment Tool
See how a teacher uses Plickers to identify students pre knowledge about a topic before beginning a unit of work
I was listening to a PE Geek Podcast the other day and came across a great resource for junior primary teachers that gets kids moving using stories as a basis for those movements. The stories are produced by BBC School Radio and posted to their website. The idea is that students listen and as part of the story the narrator instructs students on different movements that connect with the narrative for example, stomping through a forest, sneaking into a dragons cave or clanking around in a knights suit of armour. I tried one with my R/1 PE class today and they absolutely loved it! The story we listened to was called Knights, Castles and Dragons.
Knights, Castles and Dragons – the students loved it!
Click here to view all the available BBC Let’s Move podcasts. Each podcast can be downloaded to your computer so internet access is not required when you play the file.
Keep in mind that these are just audio files. The next time I use one of these with a class I am planning to make up a slide show of images that relates to the story so the students also have something to look at while they are moving and listening to the story.
“After a high profile career as CEO, Pierre Pirard decided to redirect his focus and became a teacher. Working in Brussels’ most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, he discovered that these children — usually portrayed as troublemakers — are able to rise above this negative image. He believes that these kids are the future of our society and that we should care for their education, no matter what their socio-cultural and economical background is.”
Being open to improvement and accepting feedback is an important part of being a teacher. There are a number of ways we can do this:
Peer observation: Meet prior to discuss a focus and meet after to discuss what was observed and how it can be used to develop practice.
Video observation: Video a lesson to watch and reflect on practice. You could also sit with a peer and discuss your reflections and ask for their input.
Observe a peer: Sit in on the class of a peer you respect, has the same subject area or a similar year level to you. Have a focus for your observation and spend time discussing what you observed with the teacher.
Student feedback: Ask your students what they think of your teaching. Have a focus and be specific with your questions.
All feedback can be valuable but student feedback provides a type of feedback that the others cannot. What your students think is important, it will impact directly on their attitude towards you as a teacher and how much they are willing to listen and therefore learn when they are in your classroom.
Be open with your students about what you would like to improve. For example let them know that previous feedback has identified that you talk too much during lessons and you would like help to reduce teacher talk and increase student engagement.
Give students time to develop their ability to provide feedback. Clearly explain the purpose of the feedback understanding that it may take some practice on their part and continued explanation on yours to ensure the feedback is useful. Provide students with clear and specific questions. This will support them in providing you with quality feedback. For example:
What’s one thing I should keep doing [during instruction, when giving directions, etc.]?
What’s one thing I should stop doing [. . .]?
What’s one thing I should do differently [. . .]?
What’s the most annoying thing I do [when lecturing, when assigning homework, etc.]?
What’s the best thing I do to help you learn [. . .]?
What could I do to give you better feedback [on your writing, on your quizzes, etc.]?
What did you like about the assignment I gave last night?
What did you dislike about the assignment I gave last night?
“When you ________________________, I usually stop paying attention.”
Use the feedback provided by students. Ultimately this is why you asked for the feedback in the first place. Try to look at what students say without justifying or explaining away the feedback. Try to find patterns in student feedback to match your own reflections or feedback from peers. Future feedback will be taken more seriously if students see you have used previous feedback.
The Grattan Institute acknowledge student engagement is a problem in Australian schools and while the causes of that disengagement are varied and debatable they identify that an immediate solution is to build the capacity of teachers to create classrooms that improve learning. By asking for and using student feedback we are utilising a powerful resource to make this happen.
This video is taken from the Splash ABC website. Listen to Zeina Chalich answer teacher questions about STEM.
“Zeina has teaching experience in primary schools and university. In her role as Leader of Learning & Innovation, Zeina leads ‘disruptive’ change in digital pedagogy and personalised learning. In 2015, Zeina was awarded the CEC Br John Taylor Fellowship research prize for her research exploring design thinking in a makerspace through a STEAM curriculum. Zeina writes for the Website Education Technology Solutions.“
This video is taken from the Splash ABC website. Listen to Kelly Tagalan answer teacher questions about STEM.
“Kelly is a California native who came to Australia as a tourist, then decided to make it her new home. A year later, she helped a plucky do-gooder Annie Parker of Telstra, start Code Club Australia.
Kelly worked in non-profit education for ten years before coming to Australia. Through Code Club, Kelly hopes to build a vibrant and buzzing enthusiasm for ICT education among educators and children alike.