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Posts Tagged ‘atoz’

  1. C is for Challenging

    April 27, 2014 by Mrs Hurley

    This blog post is part of a series of posts following an A-Z theme, as adapted from the A to Z April Challenge.

     C is for Challenging

    Challenging students who constantly challenge you!

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this to be a long, winded complaint.

    Having dealt with a variety of challenging students (and I’m sure others have had it much worse), I am curious to know about strategies that others have used that work with these students.

    I have had challenging behaviour students – those who want to argue every instruction, direction, suggestion, consequence and every piece of advice. (I did teach 11-12 year olds for a long time!)

    I have had academically challenging students – those who are so far behind in their learning that they’ve already given up. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, those who are so far ahead that catering for their needs within activities that the rest of the students are doing is impossible. (In the eyes of parents, anyway. More on this when we reach letter ‘G’) See my post A is for Advanced.

    I currently teach a student who refuses to do anything in the classroom, cannot sit himself down, cannot work independently, cannot begin work on his own. He has fallen so far behind and he can see this and constantly compares himself to the other students. His confidence is so low that he won’t even attempt anything for fear of failure. He cannot deal with looking “stupid” or different to the other students.

    I know that challenging students are what make a school and really, they are the reason why we teach – to be able to reach these students, to make a difference in their lives.

    But are we making a difference? Are we reaching these students?

    Have you experienced behaviour or academically challenging students? Do you have a separate program for them in your classroom? How do you make it ‘work’ for them?

  2. B is for Blogging

    April 14, 2014 by Mrs Hurley

    This blog post is part of a series of posts following an A-Z theme, as adapted from the A to Z April Challenge.

    B is for Blogging


    I have always wanted to learn how to utilise a class blog. When the opportunity arose to attend “Technify Your Teaching in 2013” as run by the team behind Tech Tools for Teachers, I jumped at it! Myself and my teaching partner attended both sessions run by Kathleen Morris and Kelly Jordan. They showed us their class blog and it was completely inspiring. I knew I had to begin immediately!

    I could sit here and re-type my journey since starting a class blog and my own personal blog but I think I covered it pretty well in this post.

    Instead, after blogging for a year and a bit with my class, I think I am ready to analyse the benefits of blogging in the classroom, as based on my own experiences.

    While there are many, many possibilities and benefits of blogging with a class, I have noticed improvements in;

    • Literacy
    • ICT Skills
    • Classroom Community
    • Home/School Partnerships
    • Internet Safety
    • Global Connections and knowledge

    Let me explain how and why.

    In teaching how to post good quality comments and demanding well written pieces for guest posts, these high expectations mean that students are determined to improve their literacy skills. Somehow, knowing that what they are writing will be available on the internet for everyone to see, students acknowledge that poorly punctuated and written comments are not acceptable. Nor should they be – in anything they do! I have seen dramatic improvement in writing – better use of punctuation and expanded vocabulary – and also in reading skills because there is a purpose for students.

    ICT Skills:
    Self explanatory, really.

    Classroom Community:
    Most mornings, we look at our class blog in our community circle. I can see the excitement on my students’ faces when they notice our ‘global visitors’ counter (Clustrmap widget) has increased. The students feel more connected as a class, and you can certainly tell by the amount of their own personal time that they spend on our blog leaving comments!

    Home/School Partnerships:
    Not only do the parents love having a window into the happenings of my classroom but so do siblings of my students! I know parents are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to see what we’re doing in class and participate in online conversations with us.

    Internet Safety:
    I love having the opportunity to teach my students how to be safe on the internet and create a positive digital footprint in an authentic setting!

    Global Connections:
    I have never seen my students so motivated as when they are collaborating with other classes on projects. We have worked with classes in New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia and Australia on a variety of projects. We have used Skype to help us form connections. We even had the chance to organise a day where my students met their blogging buddies in person! Not to mention the opportunities for my students to develop their knowledge of other places in the world. This is probably my favourite reason for blogging – flattening those classroom walls!

    Do you blog with your class? Why? Please leave your address in the comment section below!

  3. A is for Advanced

    April 9, 2014 by Mrs Hurley

    I am not completing the AtoZ April Challenge as I was too late to join. I hadn’t even heard of the Challenge until a day or two ago. But I like the idea of posting every day (except Sundays) with an alphabet theme. You can read more about it here.

    This blog post is part of a series of posts following an A-Z theme, as adapted from the A to Z April Challenge.

    A is for Advanced

    More specifically, advanced students.

    I have always had such a large spread of abilities in my classes. I know at my school, classes are formed based on a number of requirements; friendships, parent requests, gender and general capabilities. We try to spread across the classes as much as possible.

    Somehow, though, I always end up getting a class where a majority of the students require intervention in literacy, maths or both! Very rarely do I get to teach students who are quite advanced. I’m talking a year or more ahead of their peers in any area. Once, I taught a boy who had literacy intervention but could complete complex maths equations in his head in a matter of seconds. He was a brilliant kid who just blossomed in the 2 years that I taught him.

    But I digress.

    This year, I have a Year 3 student who is working at Year 4-5 level for both Maths and English. He is very similar to the Maths Whiz boy I once taught. So the challenge is, how do I cater appropriately for this child in my classroom? (Where I also have a students working at Year 1 level). I know this is the struggle that teachers have daily because differentiation is essential.

    I also have a Year 4 boy who, according to his December report, is working a year or two ahead in most areas as well. That being said, I can’t say I’ve seen enough to actually believe his previous teacher’s judgement. That sounds awful doesn’t it?

    I know I can pair these two boys up together to complete tasks, but I find that there is always more emphasis on “at-risk” students and that we, as teachers, have to be doing everything in our power to get these “at-risk” students up to scratch. Quite often, these advanced students get ignored as they are not the priority.

    I am planning on creating a rubric type thing for these boys for those times where I feel they are way above what is being covered by their Maths/Reading group so that they can go and complete an investigation or other task.

    Does anyone already do this in their class? Any resources or tips you can share to get me started?

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