Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thursday 18/08

Today's most interesting lesson was with the year 8s who had attempted to teach the rest of class their games. It was enjoyable to watch the students teach their peers, because they were unaware of everything that goes into first planning and then implementing a lesson. Both groups quickly became aware of this and I could tell that they now have more respect for what it takes to get up in front of a class and lead a lesson that flows effortlessly from activity to activity, and also of the importance of giving clear, concise instructions. I look forward to seeing the changes these two groups make for next week when they attempt teaching the class again.

Tuesday/Wednesday 16/08 and 17/08

These two days I had off from regular school days. On Tuesday teachers met with students and their parents in ECP meetings throughout the day/evening discussing their recent progress in school and their plans for the following year regarding picking out electives and which classes best suit their interests. Wednesday was a school holiday for both teachers and students so I didn't have to go into school.

Monday 15/08

This morning my year 9 health class worked on a reading and handout with fill in the blanks, but the class was cut short by a school assembly relating to their ECP interviews. For the year 8s later in the day they continued to work on their group assignment, creating/teaching a game. The class worked well on average, with some of the groups finishing their game, but the problem with this was then those students became bored and began to be disruptive. This was frustrating because these were the groups who worked hard and got their work done and now they were becoming distractions for those students who were working more slowly and less on task as a whole throughout the lesson. So now I was disciplining the "good students" who did as they were told.  I felt as those I should have planned to have more prepared for the students who did finish early as this would have kept them busy. The majority of the students worked much slower and I had to continuously stop side conversations and get students to fill in their assignments by literally taking out their worksheets for them and putting their pen in their hands. This was discouraging for me, as I would have thought year 8 students would have been able to have more discipline.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friday 12/08

Today my host teacher was away on a Japanese Excursion so I was with a supply teacher for my morning lesson with the year 8s. I played multiple game with them as we discussed the necessities involved in teaching a physical education class. One of those guidlines was having the students sitting down quietly with their backs to the sun before beginning instruction. One of the games we played was Chuck the Chicken which the students thoroughly enjoyed and had them running all over the oval energetically participating in the game. I also had them try Toe Jousting and a game called British Dodge ball which they played for the remainder of the class as they also enjoyed this game and desired to play it through the end of class. I was very pleased with this class and only had one minor behavior problem from a student to deal with. The class was well mannered and showed great participation in the activities I had planned for them.

Thursday 11/08

This mornings lacrosse lesson with the year 11s was more enjoyable than usual as I had a few added students along with their prac teacher in class helping out for the second half of the lesson. My students warmed up with a few passing drills, then got into a small game like activity, and lastly played in a game with the students from the other class, myself, and the other prac teacher. As I've noticed in the past when the other prac teacher and myself participated with the students, the overall energy increased throughout the lesson and game. I enjoyed playing, officiating, and managing the class in this way and look forward using this method again because not only are the student usually more apt to participate harder and longer when I join them in the game, but I also enjoy it as well, and from speaking with the normal teacher of this class, he was very pleased with the participation of the students. The following lesson with the year 12's was a considerable drop off in energy and participation from the students, which is discouraging. During these lessons I try to focus on those students who are being active in the lesson and help them modify their dance routines so they are best prepared for their final performance. I do give the other students attention who continually sit on the sidelines doing nothing, but taking the advice from my host teacher, I have told them that their grade is dropping as they continually refuse to participate, and spend more time with those students who do care about their grades.

Wednesday 10/08

The year 12's today were slightly more active, but the lesson was cut short by a school practice lock down followed by fire drill, in which we had to move the class to the oval and take roll. Compared to similar procedures back home that I remember in high school, I would say the students here were more unruly and were joking around more than what would be allowed from my high school. Which coincides with the overall disciplinary issues that I have noticed since beginning here now 5 weeks ago. I still find this interesting in that students have the rigidity of wearing a school uniform to school each day and get monitored daily to make sure they are wearing the correct clothing, but when it comes to students acting out and being a disturbance, I have found that more is tolerated here than what I believe would be so back home. After lunch was sport with the year 9's in the student center playing basketball. This was again an enjoyable experience for me working with students on developing their basketball skills, although I still find the lack of gym space annoying as its difficult to run a practice session while sharing half a gym with the year 8 team as well.

Tuesday 09/08

Today's lessons went well, especially considering my host teacher was away sick.  I was most impressed with my year 8's who worked well in groups creating games that we will eventually have to teach to the class in a 20min lesson. I gave out the information in a handout form and the students worked diligently for the majority of the lesson with only a few students causing any problems. They worked up until the periods end completing all of the work that was planned for them. The lesson after with the year 9's didn't go as well as the year 8's. There was a large group of students whom didn't come prepared for class both bringing a hat and a proper change of clothes. However, for the students who did come prepared I had them try a few passing drills for Gridiron, and then get into a game of Ultimate Football, which they worked very well in played up until the end of the lesson only stopping once or twice for a water break. During class I was approached by a soccer coach who needed a referee for his game after school, I was a little hesitant at first because of my lack of familiarity with the rules of soccer, mostly with offsides calls, but he assured me it would be easy enough and I agreed. Mountain Creek ended up getting flogged (crushed) 10 - 0 by their opponent, so there was definitely no question of bias in the officiating, and as an official I thought it went pretty well, except for the exceptional difference in skill in both of the teams. Both sides were helpful and good sports which made this experience much easier as well.

Monday 08/08

Today was the conclusion of the Regional Carnival Track and Field events. Today was a much nicer today with clear skies so it was much easier to be outside all day keeping time and officiating the races. Mountain Creak was in 2nd place for the majority of the day and eventually took second in the competition following Beerwah School which I was informed has won the comp for the past 11 or so years. This is most likely due to their emphasis on sports at this school focusing majority on Track and Field events. This led to Beerwah taking first place in the majority of the track events. Overall this was better day than Friday and the overall spirits were higher of all the teachers helping out officiating. It was again nice to chat with other teachers from surrounding schools talking about NY education programs and comparing them with the policies here in Queensland.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Friday 05/08

Carnival day - Today we were at the University of the Sunshine Coast for the regional division of the Sports Carnival (Track and Field) events for the surrounding schools. Myself and a few other prac students from the my school and others were put to work keeping time for the many races that took place today. It was an just an alright day due to heavy showers that rolled through the Uni that caused some of the events, including the high jump to be canceled. It was nice to chat with other teachers from surrounding schools as they asked about NY and our education system and schools, and we asked about their schools and we discussed the benefits and consequences of each of the different systems. The ending point was that kids will be kids, there will be good students and not so good students everywhere no matter in America or Australia. This is something I have come to firmly agree with dealing with both types of students in both countries, it is unfair to base ones judgement on a student because of their nationality, race, religion, etc., kids will always be kids.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thursday 04/08

Today I had lacrosse with Yr. 11's in the morning followed by Yr. 12's doing dance aerobics and since today was the welcome ceremony for the program we left early from school to make it by 4pm at the Uni. I finally allowed the Yr. 11's to play in a 5 v 5 game which they enjoyed but there was an apparent need to work on their fundamentals as the lack of stick skills was evident. I also plan to work with them on strategies and tactics so they have better methods to move the ball to teammates. Overall this lesson was a success though and I enjoyed myself and I believe the students did as well. The Yr. 12's were more engaged today as they only had 30 min to practice their routines before being recorded for their draft grade.  From viewing these recordings it was evident that the students did not put in enough time into preparing there routines and that there is considerable room for improvement.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday 02/08

Today was a full day starting with Yr. 12's in theory, Yr. 11's on the oval with lacrosse, Yr. 8's with theory, and finally Yr. 9's had the period with the school youth nurse for sex ed. I was most pleased today with my Yr. 8's in the classroom working on their theory component. For the majority of the lesson they were quiet and I only had to move a couple of students to different desks to stop them from furthering disrupting the class. I have found that this is a good way to stop students from misbehaving. I was used to assigned seating in classrooms in high school, but I have continued with my host teachers method of letting the students sit where they please and this can lead to some disruptive behavior but for the most part student work fine. Today's lesson was on fair play and I had the students take a minimal amount of notes and gave them time to work on skits showing both fair and unfair play situations, which they seemed to enjoy. They also were introduced to their assignment for the term in which they have to, in a group or by themselves, create a game to eventually teach to the class. This is an activity in which I'm looking forward to working with them on and seeing where their creativity leads.

Monday 01/08

      Today the Year 9's were in the library filling out information related to their future - picking out classes, listing potential career paths and filling out surveys to inform then on which path may be the best fit for them. This was funny for me because I remember doing the same type of thing back in high school.
      I also had my troublesome Yr 8's today for theory. I used a revamped version of the powerpoint presentation I had used the week early and this version went much smoother. There were still some disciplinary problems with the class however, and I had to at times raise my voice at the class and particular students to get control of the class again. I also gave students lunch detention for continually talking when I was talking and not taking notes. This is still a little new to me and I feel that I have to be firmer with this class so that when I give a warning I follow through with the punishment if they break the rules again. I also think that issuing consequences greater than lunch detention would be beneficial in deterring disruptive behavior, and this is something I plan to talk with my host teacher about. I also think that rewarding students who do follow the rules and stay on task would be beneficial, and I do walk around the classroom thanking students for working diligently or being quite when I'm trying to get the attention of the class. This is something I found to work well, because this way I don't have to yell to compete with those still talking, but rather the students being quiet usually get on the cases of those still talking.
      Marley and Diane from SUNY Cortland and Brockport also stopped in today to say hi and ask some questions. It was nice to see a familiar Cortland face and to catch them up on what I've been doing for the past 4 weeks and to how I've adjusted to teaching in Australia.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Friday 29/7

Today I had Year 8's for a Gridiron lesson. This lesson went well and was more successful than the previous days' Year 8's in that we got to Ultimate Football. I was initially thinking of introducing this group to Flag Football, but my host teacher suggested that one more day with Ultimate would be beneficial for the students as they continue to learn the necessary throwing and catching skills of football. One thing I noticed during this lesson was that when either my host teacher or myself joined one of the teams during the Ultimate game, the students instantly became more involved. Understanding this I began to participate in the game, officiate the game, manage the class, and help struggling students. This was a little much at times, but I think with more practice I will be more successful at carrying out all these important jobs, which is something my host teacher does quite well. He later mentioned after class that he regularly sees an increase in students effort when he participates in the games, so this is something I wish to work on as I continue to develop as a teacher.

Thursday 28/7

Today I taught a lacrosse, dance aerobics, and gridiron. The gridiron lesson stood out the most on this day as being most successful. This is because this is my most unruly class and for the majority of the lesson there was participation by everyone in the class. The students enjoyed running different routes as their peers, myself, and host teacher took turns being the Quarterbacks. I was prepared to stop doing this activity and break to begin playing Ultimate Football, but since, as I said, the majority of the students and myself were enjoying this activity I choose to stay in this activity until the end of class. I thought this was the best idea for the day because usually when I have to stop this class to begin a different activity students loose interest or become a distraction to the rest of the class. Knowing this I decided that by the time I stopped the current activity, switched their focus on Ultimate Football, explained this game, and got them going there would be minimal time for the actual game. I was still pleased with this class even though we didn't get through my whole lesson, because we ended the class and the day on a good note.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Weds 27/7

           I had the Year 12 doing Dance Aerobics today. This is an interesting class, like most year 12s there are the students who are still involved with their academics and care about there grades, but then there is a heap of students who don't care how they do as long as they pass, and then there is the few who really could care less about their grades. This is very discouraging as a teacher because how is one supposed to motivate students who don't care about their grade and would rather take their low marks and sit out of class. Some of the students stay engaged throughout the majority of the class and I try to use them as an example to the other students as to what they should be doing. It is also difficult because I remember being in their shoes with a similar case of "senioritis" and the thinking that I was ready to be done with school after I had been accepted into college, but many of the students don't have plans to go to University. Instead I would say the majority of the students I talked with planned on beginning apprenticeships or taking the year off to work or travel. So I will continue to try and motivate the students to work in class, and reward those students who do show commitment building and improving their dance routines.
        After lunch today was sport, where my teacher coaches the Year 9 boys in the Student Center. This was enjoyable for me, to offer my basketball knowledge to the students. I still am discouraged with the facilities here, their gym is a quarter of the size of my high school gym, and with 4 teams in there for an hour its hard to get much accomplished. But, the teachers did a good job managing the students by having strict guidelines for them to follow in an effort to provide each student with the most opportunities to practice their basketball skills.

Tuesday 26/7

       Today was a full day starting with theory in Year 12, then my mixed Rec class with Lacrosse, followed by Year 8's  with theory, and lastly Year 9's with Gridiron.
           In theory with my Year 8's I presented a lesson on different types of games which included, indirect and direct interceptive activities, aesthetic activities, and performance activities. My powerpoint presentation had a wealth of information however I needed to display this information in a more inviting way. My slides were too full of information for the students to take down in their books (notes) and they continually complained at the longevity of the notes. In the future I will have to incorporate more activities for the students to break up the note taking time. It would also be beneficial to break up the information into more slides with more bullet points than the longer paragraphs I used. Looking back on this lesson I think I could have prepared it better to suit the students capabilities, and I will change it for future reference. This was a good learning experience though as I found out how a class can grow restless and become off task when the lesson is dry.
       My last lesson of the day with the Year 9's went well for the most part, but I did have to discipline a couple of students. This was my first time raising my voice at a student in a disciplinary situation, but I knew something had to be said. I saw one of the students wind up and throw a football at a student in the back of a line so I scolded that student and told him he must get out of the current activity and sit out. Later in the lesson during the game, which this students was excited to play before class started, he approached me asking if he could be allowed back into class. I told him he had to sit out a while longer but I ended up letting him play for the last five minutes. After class I approached the student again and asked if he understood why I kicked him out of class and he understood that it was because he was "mucking around" during the activity. I felt good after talking with this student that he knew why he was removed and not allowed to play in the majority of the game, and I believe that this was a good learning experience for myself and him. I also feel now that I have more confidence dealing with disciplinary issues in class, which is something I previously hadn't had to do.

Monday 25/7

       Today we didn't have any classes as it was the Athletics Carnival at the University. This is a track and field day that would be most similar to a Field Days back home. Each sub school competed against each other in  each event and all of the students were required to be there but not all had to compete. There were sign ups for each event during the previous week, and the students were bused over from school. The day was similar to a school day in that the older students events were in the morning and then they left when the younger students arrived later in the early afternoon. I was an extra for the day so I went were I was needed to fill in, so in the morning I filled in on the clocks for the races, and in the afternoon I helped with the shot put and again with the placing in the races before helping clean up. This was an enjoyable day as we were outside all day and it was a welcome break for the students from their typical school day. I gathered from this event that this was the only event that the whole school was involved in, in an athletics way. Whereas back home the majority of the school would come out and support their sports teams, especially on a day like homecoming at a football game. There was a very large display of sub school spirit however, which was nice to see, as I hadn't seen this before from the students, during a typical school day.

Day 4 and 5

Thursday 21/7,

      Today I taught my first lesson of lacrosse which went over very well with the students. This is an interesting class, the majority of the students are international and I was told that they continue to get new students regularly. We worked on the fundamentals after first talking about some of the lacrosse basics; we went through picking up ground balls, passing, and catching. I was impressed at the majority of the class who seemed to pick up these skills quickly. I also enjoyed the fact that the students were interested and engaged throughout the lesson making it tremendously easier to teach.
       This was a class from a different teacher, not my host teacher, and he said he would like for me to take this class regularly from now on, which is something I am more than willing to do. The equipment they have for lacrosse is minimal so I will have to work with what I have to put together engaging lessons for the students. He said they will be ordering lacrosse balls, we used tennis balls, and they don't have goals, so we will have to find something else to use when it comes time to being shooting. The sticks they have are the typical metal shaft with a plastic head. Overall this was a great lesson and I enjoyed teaching it as the students enjoyed themselves as well.
        My next class today was with my Year 8 students and we were supposed to be outside, but out of 26 students only two had remembered to bring their hats, so we went into the classroom instead. This was just the start to a terrible class. My host teacher took control of this lesson, and had the students copy notes from a powerpoint presentation from a different unit but with ideas that relate to personal well being. The students were miserable throughout the lesson, a few students had to be removed from the class and many others were continually obnoxious. I sat in the class observing the students and my teacher, and I felt almost disgusted at how rude and obnoxious these students were acting, they seemed not to care about anything but acting out and getting attention. I am glad that I will not have to teach these students on Monday due to the Athletics Carnival, and I know that I will have to work on a lesson that will keep the students engaged, while keeping the class under control. I plan on being very firm from the beginning next time I teach this class so the students get the idea that this behavior shown today will not be accepted.

Friday 22/7,

Today I taught Gridiron (American Football). I taught this lesson to my other Year 8 class, not the disruptive one from the day before. I was pleased with house this lesson went, we started by talking about the correct way to throw and catch a football, then I had the students in groups of three practice just that. I walked around through the students giving feedback to each one on ways to improve their fundamentals. After providing feedback I noticed that the majority of the students improved greatly, which I was pleased to see. I then picked three of the better throwers to be Quarterbacks for my next activity. I had three different lines and introduced two routes, the button hook and post. The students spent a lot of time in this activity and I had to stop a few times to correct students routes as a whole, but for the most part students were on task which was good. While this activity was going I handed out jerseys to half of the students and then brought the class in to talk about our next activity, Ultimate Football. Most of the students had played Ultimate Frisbee previously so they had some understanding of the rules which helped. So after explaining all of the rules for the game I had the students begin playing, and they really enjoyed this game and didn't want to stop when we were out of time. This was a great lesson and I felt good about how the students continually improved and how they stayed engaged for the most part throughout the lesson.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 3

Today I only had one class to teach and my teacher and I split the teaching duties. The class was a year 12 Dance Aerobics class and today's focus for the students was to find a partner(s), pick out their music, and to being piecing together their routine. Most of the students sat listening to their ipods for the entire period not engaging in the activities that were presented. A group of students did complete the chart that was given to them at the beginning of class, but once that was done didn't do anything else. However, there was one group who did follow instructions completely, they worked together to pick out a song, then they began practicing different movements to see which skills could accomplish and what they needed to work on. It was good to see that some of the students were interested in the activity and this made me happy, but I was dissapointed with the majority of the group who didnt participate effectively and would make lame excuses why they couldnt. I am taking this class tomorrow and will continue to work on their dance routines, but I will definitely need to make some changes to keep more of the students on task and working on their routines. We also had sport today for a block in which the students who made the team from last week tryouts were meant to be in the Student Center (Gym) to begin practicing, but they were busy placing all of the other students who didnt make a team in Enrichment classes in the Student Center, so instead we all watched film of previous school team who did well in years past. I was surprised to learn how well my school stands compared to other schools as teams have went far into playoffs even reaching the final national game before losing and recieving 2nd in all of Australia.

Monday, July 18, 2011

First/second day teaching - 17/07 and 18/07

Day 1

My first class I taught was year 8 Tactics and Strategies. Tactics and Strategies is nothing new for me, but teaching in a classroom was. I had to pull my information gained from Cortland and use my presentation skills to put a lesson together. I went into the lesson feeling excited and a little nervous as to if I was prepared enough, as I never have had to prepare a 70 minute lesson to be taught in a classroom. The lesson went well I suppose for being my first and I have since made a few changes in the powerpoint presentation and my style of delivery. (The next class went much better.) I was also a little shaky in my classroom management skills, as the style of discipline differs from what I have been accustomed to in the States. Most of the students kept on task or only needed to be reminded once or twice to get back to work, but there were multiple students who simply would not do their work even if I was standing over them, I would literally have to open their books for them, put their pens in their hands, and babysit them in order for them to get anything done, which was something i wasn't ready for. I then took them outside for the last 20 minutes to play a blindfold tag game which incorporated Communication which was a focus in the Team Skills aspect of the lesson. I thought this game would run smoothly, but it actually took much more work than I thought would be needed to try and get all of the students on the same page. So overall this class was challenging for me but I did learn a lot about myself as a teacher and things that I need to work on to improve in the classroom for myself and for my students.

Day 2

Today went much smoother than yesterday. I was teaching the same lesson, but revised, to a much more mature year 8 class. There were definitely still problems that arose like student getting off task and being distractions during the lesson, but I used tools that I learned talking with my host teacher after yesterday's lesson and they definitely helped. Some of these tools were, precisely laying out what the students needed to do at each and every moment during the class, so they had less down time to be off task. Another tool was simply remaining silent until I had all students attention or using students names when asking a question rather than simply asking the entire class. I still had some trouble with the blindfold tag game, as the students had a hard time controlling themselves when they were blindfolded and began to act goofy and not follow directions which was annoying, but I will try to change this game and how I run it in the future.

I also taught "Gridirion" or football as we would call it for the first time to year 9s. We went over throwing, catching, route running, and ended with a game of Ultimate Football. All of the students were very involved for the majority of class, the only time I noticed multiple students getting of task was when I was setting up cones and jerseys for the game at the end. The students were captivated by the sport though which I thought was great and made teaching it immensely easier. I felt much more "at home" outside on the Oval teaching than inside in the classroom. However, I believe this is something I just need to develop, and I see the Theory aspect of Physical Education here to be great, and something that we could implement back in the States to legitimize PE to many nonbelievers. Overall today has been better than yesterday and I hope to continue to say that as I progress through this teaching experience which seems to be flying by.