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My Facebook Education Group Recommendations: Australia Writes (with Steve Peha) and Building Better Writers with Angela Stockman.

I’ve been using Steve Peha’s resources for many years and am delighted to be an administrator with Steve of a Facebook group: Australia Writes (with Steve Peha). 

We now have 419 teacher members with the group growing daily. Steve is putting together resources for the group and  Steve, Miss Margot and I are here to help too.

An opportunity! Steve will skype sessions with students and teacher groups and is already doing this in Australian schools!

I’m also a member of another amazing Facebook group which I’m loving…

Building Better Writers with Angela Stockman. 

Cheers Nina

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Learning to See, Unlearning to Judge – Instructional Rounds: The ‘By-Product’ and ‘Inner-Think’!

This post has had many reads recently.

Nina's Arena-Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom

Today was my last day as a member of an Instructional Rounds Pilot group. It’s been a great experience and has given me an enormous amount to reflect upon in terms of my own practice. I have been very fortunate to be involved in this pilot, and as a classroom teacher, it’s the by-product of Rounds that has made me have aninner-think’into my own practice.

To read more about Instructional Rounds please visit and join http://instructionalroundsineducation.ning.com/ 

Instructional Rounds follows a strict set of protocols. Look down, not up! It is about the practice not the teacher.

Identification of a ‘Problem of Practice’ by a school.

The term ‘Problem’ explained – not negative

The term:’ Problem’ – refers to a scientific problem to observe

 ‘Problem’ is a neutral term.

The Problem of Practice – must:

Focuses on the Instructional Core (student- teacher – content: Interaction)

Be…

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Successful people have certain behaviours: The IB Learner profile and its conection to the traits of a successful people. Year 1 and 2 students explore and respond!

This post is read a lot…

Nina's Arena-Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom

Recently I was introduced to the traits of successful people compared to the traits of unsuccessful people. Having reviewed the traits myself, I decided to introduce this document to my students. My students are in Year 1 and 2 in Australia and very capable of looking at and discussing this document. My school is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. The IB introduces students to the Learner Profile so my students already have an understanding of what being a successful learner and person encompasses. We are now unpacking the successful traits and connecting them to the IB Learner Profile and attitudes.

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Link: http://www.workingmomsonly.com/2011/07/25/eliminate-the-jealousy-factor-and-success-will-follow/

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My students discussed the traits and were given one trait to respond to and make connections to their life.

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This is what I call thinker’s writing. The learners aren’t using a set genre and have to structure their own response. Many made connections to their own life. These…

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Simply talking about compassion is not enough: An article worth reading!

A new study from Harvard University reveals that the message parents mean to send children about the value of empathy is being drowned out by the message we actually send: that we value achievement and happiness above all else.

What message are we giving as educators?

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/most-kids-believe-that-achievement-trumps-empathy/373378/

Cheers Nina

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When a school has and owns its culture…

There is so much written about schools and culture, but do schools really develop and nurture the culture they vocally support?

I’ve just finished teaching at a school which has and owns its learning culture.

The culture is driven, valued and student centred. This school knows who they are and their purpose. Yes, it’s an IB school, but not all IB schools have moved this far on their journey. It takes special courage to hand over a large amount of responsibility to students and it does not happen overnight either.

What makes me say that?

The students at this school are inquirers. They inquire across the curriculum with opportunities to inquire in all learning experiences. Inquiry is not a timetabled event three times a week, it is embedded deeply into the ethos of the school and its curriculum delivery.

This doesn’t mean that the curriculum isn’t planned, in fact it’s the opposite. The curriculum and documentation is highly developed.

What I know

We need to look further than students standing patiently in lines. We need to look at what’s happening in the classroom and programs in our schools. This school really does enable students to learn from their successes and mistakes. Both are valued as learning experiences.

Below is a student reflection. This student was new to the school this year and his reflection has a powerful message!

At …….. you can work where you’re at and not feel bad. If you are struggling you can still have fun and learn. I didn’t want to go to school last year and now I really want to. You are not as controlled and can choose and I choose to make good choices.

 Cheers Nina

 

 

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Behaviour Management & SHIFT- One teacher’s perspective…

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I’m frequently asked questions about behaviour management by graduate teachers. This is a huge issue for teachers and always has and will be. This post is not about students with disabilities.

There’s a lot of pressure placed on teachers to have students beautifully behaved and quietly working. 

Remove this from your mind and think long term because there is no such thing as the perfect student, perfect teacher or perfect classroom.

However, a teacher does need to have a strong set of values or beliefs about student behaviour which is supported by the school philosophy and that’s the reason I love working in IB schools.

Most classrooms are made up of students of similar ages but this does not mean they are emotionally or socially at the same stage in their development. As teachers, we know this! Classroom management is about knowing each student as an individual, including their background. Behaviour management is part of each student’s learning plan and there is no one method which will work with all students.

One size will not fit all!

Equally students need to be given opportunities to learn from their choices, even if those choices are not the best. Understanding this means you can start thinking about your impact as a teacher.

It’s also about the individual and not the whole class. Many students are managing themselves well. Identify those students and make sure they know that you know. This group may feel forgotten and they can be your greatest support.

Once you’ve identified those students who require support with their behaviour management you can start developing your strategic plan. I look for the behaviour which needs immediate changing first and this means you may have to ignore some other behaviours, but never ignore aggressive or antisocial behaviour.

My goal is for students to change their behaviour for themselves and not for me.

If it’s just for one teacher, it’s not sustainable change. The impact is low. Students need to own their behaviour and change their behaviour because they feel benefit and need. Changing their behaviour themselves will improve their self-esteem.

The Shift…

When a student’s behaviour starts to change I call this the SHIFT.

The shift is when the student starts to make appropriate choices in their day and this is when your quiet personalised feedback has impact. Making  note of any behaviour change or good choices made by a student is important for targeted  feedback to the student. This shows the student that you are really seeing the positive from the negative.

Behaviour change is slow, however, if you want behaviour change to be ongoing, sustainable and owned by the student, you need to be prepared for this.

It’s said that it takes six weeks to change a behaviour and form a new behaviour so don’t expect long term change overnight. It’s also much easier to establish this at the beginning of a school year.

What I don’t do…

  • I do not use stickers nor do I have a bag of goodies. I use feedback.
  • I do not put a misbehaving student’s name on the board.
  • I avoid disciplining the whole class.
  • I avoid keeping students in at recess.
  • I do not give learning tasks as a punishment. 

What I do and am…

  • I plan teaching and learning to meet the needs and abilities of individual students.
  • I do put a daily quote on the board and this might be something a student or teacher has said. It does not have to be a famous quote. I don’t draw attention to the quote but it always amazes me that the students do read them and comment. They will remind me if I forget to write one.
  • I do give feedback to students about their behaviour choices.
  • I have students set personal goals.
  • I am very resilient and patient.
  • I am an observer.
  • I am by nature a positive person. I believe all students can become responsible for their behaviour with support.

Cheers Nina

 

 

 

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Working with Mark: Mentor Text- Be a Better Writer by Steve Peha

be-a-better-writer-2Last year I started working with Mark and I have to say working with a Year 11 student has been an opportunity to explore the secondary English curriculum. I chose to use Steve Peha’s Be a Better Writer as my mentor text. Steve’s book can be used from early primary to adult despite being recommended for Ages 10 to 16.

I’ve been working with Steve, who has shared many amazing resources with me which I have shared with others. Steve would like me to co-write with him as he believes this is the kind of book/paper teachers want. Wow… I consider myself a teacher not necessarily a writer but if I could contribute something to a paper which actually changes how a student thinks of themselves as a writer and reader then I should.

One year ago I started working with a very bright student who struggled to get his thoughts on paper and I am so pleased to share these results one year later.

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I’ll be catching up with Mark next week to start breaking down Steve’s chapter on Better Sentences.

Cheers Nina

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