Monday 31 July 2017

Planted by streams of water

Welcome all to Term 3! Yes that's right, in about six months these students will be the big kids on the Primary block.

I always enjoy the start of each term and the energy and wonder new topics always brings. This term is no exception.

I like to start each term with an overall learning objective and explore this with the students throughout the term. This term my inspiration came from Psalm 1:3.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

I'd like to see students be 'planted' on a concept for longer periods of time this term. By spending more time hearing God's word we will develop good spiritual fruit, similarly, by spending more time reflecting and going deeper, I hope to encourage students to see themselves as learners with unlimited potential.

Austin's Butterfly

I had students sketch a tree and then watch this video about critiquing and feedback.

Students then formed critique groups to encourage feedback and growth in their next attempt.

It was uncomfortable for some, however, after a bit of practice, students placed their pride to one side and took the advice on board.

We will finish this activity with a wall display as the term progresses.

Feedback is a great tool for improvement, do you know of others?

Sunday 30 July 2017

Why Homework?

Take a couple of minutes and search the pros and cons of homework for Primary aged students, and you might be surprised to see that you could form a convincing argument for both sides. There are a few things, however, that most agree upon:

  • Homework without purpose or choice is extremely unmotivating
  • Practice makes progress
I often tell students in class that homework might not be compulsory at school, however, it is in my home. I believe that homework can be a useful tool for a few reasons and, therefore, take the time to design meaningful tasks for the students I teach. 

Reading is a must. It has been well documented that students who read often perform better at school. Encourage your child to talk to you about what they are reading. Ask questions like: 'What did you like about how the author wrote this story?' and 'How did the characters change throughout the story?'

The Mathletics tasks that are assigned are not the same for each student. I take the time to regularly assess where each child is at and assign tasks based on: what we are doing in class at the time, students abilities and what I think they might need more practice on. 

To supplement our learning in class and to develop information technology skills, students will often be given a research or online task. These tasks are based around what we are learning in class and will serve as an extension activity to deepen the students understanding. I will also be asking students to complete these through Google Classroom, which students know how to use, so as to increase their computer competency (plus it's more interesting than doing it on paper).

You can see an overview of homework by selected the 'Homework' tab at the top of the screen. 

I'd be interested to know what has been the most memorable or worthwhile homework tasks you or your children have completed?