Sunday, 10 March 2019

Over Halfway Through Term 1!

To make time for my mental and physical health. 
To carry out all my roles (teacher, HSA director and Across Schools CoL) to the best of my ability. 
To support staff wellbeing. 
To actively maintain a positive personal outlook.

  • Visits to the gym this week: ONE! Starting a routine now on Saturday mornings. I hurt my back hitting a PB on my squats though :( 
  • McDonald's eaten: well... there's $4 coffee there (any size!) until the 1st April so.. lots. 
  • Casual sports games played this week: 1 sad, sad game of touch that knocked us out of the semi finals. Going to start winter touch in Newmarket soon though.
  • Books read: I'm not really enjoying Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls to be honest. I can see why boys and men enjoy it with it's fabulously rebellious and active content, but the writing style is so.. simple. Too many short sentences, and reiteration of thoughts far too frequently.  
    • Teaching highlights: 
      • Trying out a reading comprehension activity with Year 12 after the PD Mark and I ran - mostly Mark ran, to be fair - on Tuesday. I was just the intro to the session, where I presented data to explain WHY reading comprehension is important for us all to be working to improve. Then Mark used the rest of the session to show HOW we can all do that. 

        • First, I made this reading. In the case of Year 12, this required very little manipulation of the text from - I just added one little paragraph of extra biological information that is relevant to their upcoming internal standard. 
        • Then I made these activities to go along with the reading. The first activity, the prediction, happens before even giving the reading out. Students had to write their best guess about what the article or 'story' would be about. 
          • Year 12 appeared to enjoy the reading comprehension activity. I made sure to explain to them why I get them to read out loud in a group ("people may be able to help you out with any unfamiliar words - and sometimes you can help them in return! Plus you just get to listen and read along for some of the article.")
            • Some Year 12's have been struggling to meet my expectation of being on task for a full 45 minutes or a full 95 minutes. Some have proven unable to even make it past 10 minutes. But with this activity the 10-minuters made it to about 20 before having to be refocussed, and a 60-minuter made it to 80. Progress!
          • I also tried an almost identical series of reading comprehension activities with the Year 9's to less success, but still moderate success. The activities were similar, but did include "asking questions" of the text before reading it again.
          • The Year 9 class has two different reading levels - higher and ESOL.
          • I also recorded myself reading the ESOL reading out loud so they could read along with me. 

      • CoL things: I sat with Brenton for an extra hour after staff PD on Tuesday to help adjust a Year 11 PE student task. Alex nicely agreed to act as a Year 11 PE student to trial what our instructions led him to write. I also spent a few minutes talking to Andy before staff briefing one morning about 1 page student tasks, and then 3 hours today leaving feedback on his first draft:

      I left feedback as both a student reading the task for the first time and trying to work out what I would have to do (this was easy because I have zero electronics knowledge and very little technology knowledge) and a teacher.

      The feedback was on the task and the marking grid.

      This was my attempt at simplifying the marking grid, but Andy will definitely have to check that it aligns with the standard completely!

      This is the format that biology (and three Year 11 science standards so far) gives student tasks in. 

      Here's an example of a Y12 biology standard task and marking grid that students receive. The tile isn't the standard title - it's a general title of what to expect overall! Then there's a little blurb describing what they'll be doing. Then (because the assignment is a report) there are headings with word counts and what to write about beneath them. 

      The whole idea is that there's no mystery for kids! We're not trying to trick them! 
        • HSA things: We had the opening launch for the HSA! 7 students and 5 of their families came along. The launch was a great success with everyone on board, and we shared food and set expectations and chatted together. 
        • Teacher well-being support: we played Bingo this week - Katrina won $12 in the first round and Graham took home the $14 kitty in the second. 
        • Gratitude emails sent: none, again. I will re-focus on this during this week.

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