This place looks awesome to work. Talk about student driven! I think I have just found my dream job AND a way to be thrown right out of my comfort zone. And even if you aren’t quite as convinced, it provides some great examples of ways to promote success, student driven learning, child agency and develop great human beings. Imagine if this school’s curriculum became that of the nation!
Before I begin, I have woefully ignored this blog this year. I have just completed part time uni studies for the year, as well as recently introducing play based learning (with the rest of the teaching team I am in) into our classroom curriculum. More posts on this to come.
Today’s post is a notes summary. It comes from the text:
van Wijk, N. (2008). Getting started with schemas: Revealling the wonder-full world of children’s play. New Zealand Play Federation: Waitakere, New Zealand.
What are schemas?
At the simplest level, schemas are repeating patterns in children’s play. More specifically, a schema is a thread of thought which is demonstrated by Continue reading
I am very aware that I am not currently discussing research. That is on my mind, and I will get back to that presently.
Regardless – Cave teaching.
I come to the end of my two weeks teaching in the cave. I have thoroughly enjoyed this. School activites are settling into a more normal routine as I am sure they are around the country. The students at my workplace are beginning to get a handle on the concept of coming to the cave for teaching in their groups. Our wonderful, skilled teacher aide has been assigned four groups to take during whole class times (although I generally do the planning).
Initially I walked away from most sessions considering my pedagogy a joke. I considered myself hauling students out, chasing them up to get them there and then rushing through a lesson so I could ‘tick the box’. Some sound advice from my team leader and team mate helped immensely. I began getting through less groups, well, and being extremely specific about the routine of coming out to see me.. As those routines have become more established I have felt less like a shepherd and more like a teacher.
I have been using modelling books with the students. With all three of us taking turns in the cave as well as a teacher aide taking groups on alternate days, these are allowing communication between the teachers. Students are also able to take the modelling book through with them to the clearing/the glen to work with. As I have an apple TV in the cave I do most of the session sung the app Notability, printing it at the end of each day and sticking it into the modelling book. This allows me to capture evidence from our whiteboard table and mini whiteboards rather thn getting students to squish around scrapbook.
The planning itself is on a google doc (colour coded of course).
Larger groups can be taken for each subject, with a much higher quality lesson taking place. I am really thrilled. Additionally, as the cave teacher, there are less behaviour issues to deal with. Those are the domain of the other two teachers (generally) so groups can keep having their deliberate learning.
I have found that I have to be constantly on the ball, but I have more thinking energy at the end of the day. I discovered that I still dislike worksheets considerably, but can see the value of them.
As per normal the term has gotten away on me already! I encountered my first issue (and really it was a need to be flexible+tired teacher+small change = issue). It was a case of me needing to adhere to a sudden change to the afternoon rotation pattern. I misunderstood, was unncertain and became rigid and inflexible. The changes stood. We moved forward.
As I later understood it was less to do with others making the change decision (because it had to happen and I was on duty-they did fill me in) and more to do with me feeling out of control of the situation. Frankly, I am disappointed in how I responded. The afternoon of course continued and students learnt. Not the end of the world.
It was an important occurrence though, highlighting a big weakness of mine: control – I need to feel in control of what is happening.
This is the biggest challenge that I have found, and is not one that I was expecting to be a problem, is that I have less control over what is happening. I work in a team with two others (both amazing, talented teachers, one of whom is the team leader). As such we all need to be on the same page. Continue reading