“There’s a mindset of flexibility and adaptability that comes with us. We don’t mind hardship. We don’t mind somebody saying, ‘Go in and do this nasty job.’ Whatever the job is, we can do it. That’s why the nation has a Marine Corps.”
-Attributed to James F. Amos
The above quote may have come from someone talking to the context of the United States Marine Corp, but it applies equally to the teaching profession and the jobs that teachers do. This week, all year three and five students, and their teachers are undertaking the annual NAPLAN assessment. Wherever you sit in regards to the NAPLAN Debate, it has to be acknowledged that NAPLAN causes a large level of disruption to the whole school community, and for some students, is a highly stressful experience.
Yesterday saw two sessions of NAPLAN testing, and for me, personally, it was the cause of no small amount of frustration. My first class was unaffected, as it was a kindergarten class, however that was only the start of things. After the first half hour with the kindergarten class, I proceeded to a Year three and four composite class. I had been advised that morning that that particular class would consist of only the year fours from it and another class with the years threes from the two classes sitting NAPLAN in the same room. That is okay, I thought to myself, I can work with the year fours first, and then the year three students, as two separate blocks of students, cover the material needed and not double up.
Unfortunately, that didn’t work. When the session was finished, and I was packing up, I was told that the NAPLAN session had not yet finished and they needed more time, which was not really an issue, as I simply took my RFF (release from face to face) session then, and came back after that, expecting to have the combined cohort of year three students.
Wrong. I had the entirety of the class, both the year three, and the year four students I had previously had that morning. My initial thought was that this was a good opportunity to have the year four students cement their own knowledge, by peer tutoring the year three students on the skills I had just taught them. I did not have enough year four students for this to work properly, and then lost further year four students to errands that needed to be done.
At this point I decided that it was not working, and changed what I was doing with the students, and worked through some different topics using my store of videos, which allowed me to work through some different areas of learning with the class.
Today has been an even bigger mish-mash. My first session was as normal, with a year four class, I lost my entire second session due to NAPLAN, and then had technical issues with my third session. I was using myedapp.com with a year five and six composite class, which was also a BYODD class using iPads. I had created two quests that I wanted the students to undertake, the first being a fundamental computer skills quest, and the second a book study. The computer skills course consisted of a series of short videos, each covering one skill, with formative assessment throughout.
Unfortunately, the videos were not working, the upload file (for students) was only allowing photos or videos for the students, and when I tried to upload a video in place of the link, that also would not work. A quick message to the myEdapp team via their in-app contact button resulted in a phone call from Yohan, the CEO a few minutes later, for a quick conversation to let me know what the issues were, while I was live in the room, which was hugely helpful.
I have another year five and six composite class this afternoon, and I will be doing similar skills, however will be utilising the school bank of laptops, which unfortunately only have Internet Explorer loaded, a browser that myEdapp does not support. This means that as a workaround, I will be showing the videos on the class projector/interactive whiteboard, and we will be discussing the skills. This will not be as engaging for the students, however, I will be able to intersperse this with some practical hands on activities as well.
As always, thank you for reading, and I would like to hear from you as to how you have been impacted by NAPLAN this year, and how you are working around it.