Monday, February 22, 2016

Play - Word for the Year

Source: Flickr

Play is my word for this year.

You can:

Play with words
Play with ideas
Play with numbers
Play with friends
Play with science
Play with music
Play with drama
Play with colour...

The list goes on.

I chose the word play because it was a word I could also share with my students.  I wanted it to become their word too.

The word play has injected life into ideas. It has created a classroom culture where through the idea of play, children can become the experts. An environment that values play also values risk taking, challenges, creativity, fun and laughter.

We all know how to play right?

And for me as an educator it allows me to play with my students. To see learning through their eyes. To have fun and encourage creativity.

Tests have become Spongebobs and P.A.T's have become Patricks. It's okay to fail! Actually it's awesome if you you #failfaster (a key element of successful game design and one that promotes risk taking). You can learn through playing games, you can even learn from designing games to play. Take peoples offers and add to them. Take part in drama games and release your inhibitions.

Play in our Year 6 classroom is compulsory. Is it in yours?

Monday, February 15, 2016

QLC: Managing Learning Assistants

Source: Pargon

My reflective question for today's Quality Learning Circle (QLC) was around managing learning assistants in the classroom. The purpose of the QLC group is to be asked questions to further reflection and perhaps solve the problem or come up with possible solutions/outcomes.

My current class has one ORS student and 2 students with identified learning needs. I currently have 2 different learning assistants 3 times a day.  I have found the last two weeks rather awkward having to juggle getting to know my class with planning for the LA.

My overall goal is to create an inclusive classroom that meets the needs of ALL the students, not just those with identified learning needs. I hope to use principles from Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to help me accomplish this.

Reflective actions:

  • That I need to meet with my LA's to give them information about what underpins the culture and learning in my classroom. I hope that by doing so they will realise that my decisions and actions are not arbitrary. I need them to understand that I am constantly observing and collecting information on those students that helps determine their goals for learning. I do not rely on previous documentation to inform my actions and that my focus right now is building relationships with my students. 

  • One of the particular ideas that I want to communicate is that student voice is very important and that I put a lot of thought into how to balance the power dynamic between myself and my students.

  • To be effective, long term, my LA's would know what there role was and would come in a get on with the job.

  • That a particular goal would be to decrease the amount of support the specified students received therefore adopting a model in which the LA's time was used to assist all students.

  • I may ask all of my students to reflect on what they think the LA's role should be in the classroom therefore identifying what the students see as being useful.

  • As we move towards more collaborative teaching, the LA's are going to need more specific training about how to work in that environment and understand the thinking that underpins the teaching and learning.