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February, 2014

  1. Friday Afternoon

    February 9, 2014 by Mrs Hurley

    As my first full week back in the classroom drew to a close last week, I was enjoying my Thursday morning APLT (Applied Planning & Leadership Time), ironing out the last couple of lesson for the week when it suddenly dawned on me.

    Friday afternoon. The kids will be in the classroom. I’ll have to plan something for them!

    This might sound a little crazy to you, but I’ve never had to plan for a Friday afternoon in the classroom before. For the past 3 years, every Friday afternoon has been 5/6 Sport, which means I’ve had to supervise and coach sport teams but I get to run around with the kids and really wear them out.

    This year, I have younger students (Grade 3/4) and am still learning about how they learn best and hat they’re capable of.

    I got away with it as we had a little bit of “finishing off time” (which I hate) and then we did some Zumba and Just Dance in our classroom. (It was also boiling hot outside so we couldn’t really venture out there). We then had reflection time in our closing circle.

    So, PLN, I’m asking for ideas & suggestions.

    What would you do on Friday afternoons with 8-10 year olds??

  2. Tall Poppy Syndrome

    February 9, 2014 by Mrs Hurley

    How can a school encourage and foster a sharing culture properly? Can it even be done properly? Will there always be those couple of ‘old school’ teachers in there, ready to chop down any “new” ideas?

    I was asked recently to present something short at a staff meeting after my AP had walked into my room and saw my kids doing Teach/OK as part of us working on Whole Brain Teaching this year. She was really excited about it and, to be honest, so was I because my kids have been fantastic with it so far!

    So, I enthusiastically brought along my ideas to staff meeting. I was shoved to the end of staff meeting as more pressing admin matters needed to be discussed. I get it. Anyway, I was told I had 30 seconds to present as the meeting was almost overtime.

    I gave my hurried explanation and despite my time restrictions, I feel as though I was still able to convey my enthusiasm about Whole Brain Teaching and what it can do for students.

    I was then spoken about behind my back in the staff room because I’m not the only one who uses WBT in the classroom. Nor did I ever claim to be.

    The point is, this happens far too often. I’m asked to share something (whether I already do it or I’ve learned it on a PD day), I’m really enthusiastic about it, I try to ramp it up to whoever I’m sharing with and I get shut down. Or, at least, no one shares my enthusiasm.

    I went to a Handwriting and Spelling PD because I really had no idea how to run a spelling program. I came back with many ideas, shared them with a teacher and was told “Oh yeah, that’s been around for ages!”

    How can we encourage a sharing culture in schools? What things are essential for new teachers to know? How can they get this information so that 3 years later, they’re not still looking for it?

  3. First Days Back!

    February 2, 2014 by Mrs Hurley

    Students at my school started back on Thursday, after I had already been at school for 2 days. Staff spent the first 2 days doing team exercises and team planning for the term. We also looked at our whole school unit “Myself as a Learner”.

    My teaching partner and I have started a shared blog together. I actually went to primary school with Kate and it was a complete coincidence that we’ve ended up in the same workplace, working in the rooms next to each other this year. Please head over to our shared blog to see our room reveals! We’ve both put in a lot of effort for our new classrooms but Kate’s just blows me away.

    I’m also starting Whole Brain Teaching this year. I will endevour to post more about it once it’s up and running in its’ entirety. If you are not familiar with Whole Brain Teaching, the idea is that when students are using all of their brain to learn, they have no room to daydream or become distracted.

    So far, I have introduced; Class/Yes, Classroom Rules, Teach/OK and The Scoreboard.

    Normally, I would make the class rules with the students so that they have ownership over them etc. etc. but I wanted to try Whole Brain Teaching as prescribed before I made any alterations. The kids are aware of this and also of the reasoning behind each of the classroom rules. I explained briefly but we’ll go into it more when we look at the brain during our whole school unit.

    I did, however, change one classroom rule. The 5 rules are:

    #1 Follow Directions Quickly
    #2 Raise your hand for permission to speak
    #3 Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat
    #4 Make smart choices
    #5 Keep your dear teacher happy

    If you haven’t picked up which rule I changed, it’s number 5. Mostly because it sounded really American and a little wanky to me. I changed it to “Respect yourself, respect others & respect your school”, which is a variation I have come across somewhere on the internet during my research.

    Anyway, more about WBT later down the track…

    So far, I am really enjoying my kids. I think they’re a little overwhelmed by me but one thing I LOVE about teaching a younger year level is that THEY THINK I’M FUNNY!!

    How did your first days in your classroom go? Are you trying anything new this year? Have you ever done Whole Brain Teaching before?

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