C21Teaching Weekly: Term 1 Week 5

It is that time of the week again where I send out a summary of the articles that I have published this week over on c21teaching.com.au. There are big things coming, so stay tuned each Saturday or head over to C21 Teaching.

Recent Articles

  • FTPL – How to log in to Mathletics
    • This Flipped Teacher Professional Learning video was made by request and shows you how to log into the Mathletics platform as a student, teacher or parent.
  • Do we need to rethink our engagement with Twitter?
    • In this article, I reflect on the way that educators use Twitter and our role in society given some of the vitriol that occurs, asking whether we should be doing more to combat it after reading about why one journalist closed her Twitter account after suffering years of personal attacks directed at her.
  • Twenty-First Century Skills
    • A reflective article questioning why we refer to some these skills as being twenty-first-century skills and the implication that they are therefore newly discovered or hold a newfound important when they are not newly discovered and do not hold any newfound important.
  • Friday Freebie – Guided Reading Group Template
    • This week’s free resource is a template for tracking your reading groups which can easily be modified to suit any age or ability group of students.

The Light Bulb Moment

“There’s nothing better when something comes and hits you and you think ‘YES’!”
– Attributed to J.K. Rowling

From time to time in life, you experience an epiphany, that moment where the light bulb suddenly turns on and you get it, whatever ‘it’ is. I had this earlier in the week midway through a lesson with around note-taking with some Stage Three students, when I noticed they were struggling with the task that I had asked them to complete. I was attempting to discern where I had let the students down; was the task too difficult, had I not explained things clearly, and I suddenly realised that I had completely failed to model the task for them.

I am not sure how it happened, but upon reflecting back over the last few days of lessons I realised that I had done this a few times and that it was becoming something of a habit. I am working on breaking that habit, and have redone that session with the classes affected, and it has gone much smoother. I am still working on getting the flow smoothed out, as I am not particularly happy with that aspect of the session, but it is a work in progress. I went through the session in question with a Stage Three class this afternoon, and I am reasonably happy with how that went. I think that I have found a balance between talking and doing, and the engagement reflected that, as did their responses at the end of the session as we reflected on the learning.

On that note, I found it interesting how excited they got when I explained that they were going to decide on the top three ideas they had learned that session and post them on my classroom Twitter account. Students discussed what they thought were the three important ideas from the session, and then I asked a student to Tweet that idea out. When the first student hit the Tweet button for the first one, the room erupted into cheers and applause. Will they remember that session? Will they remember the ideas? I hope yes to both, and I will check with them next week when I see them if they remember what we talked about.

Thank you for reading, and if you are using Twitter in the classroom, please follow me using your classroom account, and I will follow back. I would love to make some connections nationally and internationally with other classes as a vehicle for talking about global issues, digital citizenship and other topics.

The Primary Teachers Journal Club

It may sound like some sort of advanced Breakfast Club, but it is actually a new online professional learning network, aimed at pre-service teachers, and those teachers wishing to keep stay involved in academic discussions.

I first saw hashtag some time ago, and was curious about the concept, so I followed the hyperlink to Charlotte Pezarro’s blog, where I read this”

In this section, I hope to present interesting journal articles for discussion by pre-service, newly-qualified and established primary teachers. I will be limited to articles that are accessible without subscription; but there are plenty that are worth reading and pondering. Along with the reference, title and abstract, I will post some questions to scaffold the discussion. These questions will help us to reflect on the article, but by no means are you restricted to responding to these questions; feel free to ask your own or discuss any other thoughts you had while reading the article.

The first article put up for discussion was a recent one written by Gert Biesta and published in the European Journal of Education earlier this year. The title, “What is Education For? On Good Education, Teacher Judgement, and Educational Professionalism” was one I was intrigued by, and the questions that were prepared for it were sure to generate some robust discussion.

Unfortunately, I ended up not being home to take part in the discussion (for reasons outlined here) and have had read the Storify of the discussion (available for reading here), and I wish I had been involved. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for the next one. I recommend that you have a look and get involved. It will be professional development of a slightly different nature.