Teaching Talia

Week One

Posted on: July 13, 2007

My first  week back at school has been interesting. This week I tried a new behaviour management strategy. A bell. I used it for rotations- so that the kids would know when to change, and so that I didn’t have to raise my voice. I had found, last term, that when we were doing rotations everyone would be really engrossed in what they were doing and sometimes not hear me when I would ask everyone to change. I would do the ‘clap, clap, clap’ thing, but I think that they might get immune to that if I do it all the time. I got the bell idea from Helen Kurtz- a supervising teacher I had last year. She was great.

All holidays I had a really terrible cough and am still not 100% over it. Because of that my voice isn’t very loud (it’s not really very loud at the best of times). So that was another way to combat that situation. I am finding voice projection to be a real issue for me. I have always known this, but is more apparent with the preppies, and also, the fact that Jenny has such an animated, and much louder voice, means that that’s what they’re use to.

On Friday I wrote down some notes about how I could work on that area, and my over all behaviour management, from observing Jenny with the kids. Here’s what I learnt:

Use lots of expression in my voice. This often gets the kids attention, and makes them interested in what I have to say.

Reward good answers and be positive.

I realised this week that I like plans. I like to know what I’m doing and where I’m going. Wednesday was a bad day for me. We were starting our play- new for the term. I thought that the children would give me some ideas of things that they wanted to play and then I would work with that to hopefully make it work with the ‘international’ theme that I was hoping to go with. But the children didn’t really give me what I wanted- they said lots of things that they liked doing, like face painting, and playing outside, and things like that, but no themes. Riley did want to do Australia Zoo again, but I tried to discourage that. Jenny eventually took over and worked it so that we’re playing ‘aboriginals’. I guess the problem with that, that I see, is that they don’t KNOW anything really about aboriginals, and while I know that they’re meant to be learning, it’s hard to hook them in, and to keep them interested if they don’t have any previous knowledge. I was relating it to the Australia Zoo play in term one, and the reason (I think) why that was so successful was because they had already watched Steve Irwin do his thing on TV, they’d already BEEN to Australia Zoo. They had the Bindi DVDs at home, and already knew about Wildlife Warriors etc. It was the finer details, things like how to milk a snake of it’s venom and create anti-venom that were the learning parts of the play- not the play focus itself.

I think that that’s why the museum wasn’t a huge success with the rainforest play either. They didn’t know what it was like in a museum, they didn’t know what to ‘play’. So that’s what I have picked up about play. From my experience that all is.

But what did I learn from Jenny taking over play planning? Apart from Prep being hard, I learnt that the teacher needs to have a pretty pivotal role in planning, even though it’s a negotiated curriculum.

Prep is hard. I am finding the flexibility issue a real challenge- if only everything could be planned and done to plan. This stuff is crazy. I like Tuesdays and Thursdays- rotations days. I like them because I plan what is going to happen, and then that’s what happens. I don’t mind so much if something unexpected comes up, or if something takes more time then I allowed for it. That’s all okay, because I generally have some sort of back up plan as well. My struggle is on play days when it’s so much more up to the kids. When they don’t know what they want, but I have to do something. I find it hard with the three sections that they’re in as well- three groups to manage, encourage and work with. It’s okay when there’s an aide, or when Jenny is able to help as well, but otherwise there is a lot of wasted time.

I am thinking of finding some youtube clips of aboriginals that I can show the kids so that they have a better idea of what they’re playing.

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Talia

Just finished my Graduate Certificate in Cross Disciplinary Art and Design with UNSW.

Love.

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