PLAN FOR AND IMPLEMENT EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING
3.2: Plan, structure and sequence learning programs
3.4: Select and use resources
- Designing some great interactive lessons for Spinning in Space
- The children are engaged and wanting to go further
- You are really getting to know the children well.
31 May 2013
In relation to standard 3, I hold the following beliefs:
Attainable yet challenging mastery goals (Arthur-Kelly & Neilands, 2014), positively influence student learning (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010). Making goals explicit, such as Hester’s (2010) BHAGS’s (big hairy audacious goals) and referring to them often improves inquiry work (Peters, 2012). Thorough (ideally collaborative Musanti & Pency, 2010) planning of implementation of curriculum, materials, routines, assignments, activities and behaviour management (and a little flexibility – Shavelson, 1987) ensures good time management (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010). Teachers need to structure the curriculum so that all students are actively engaged in learning and are able to achieve success (Lyons et al, 2011). Using a strategy such as backward design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) is required to meet the individual needs of all students in the classroom and to prepare structured learning sequences. Within the planned lessons, a range of teaching strategies and appropriate resources including ICT should be incorporated to cater for the diversity of learner abilities and learning styles (Gardener 2006, Sternberg 1997, Wood 2010). With the help of resources, explicit instruction, multiple non-verbal communication strategies, student engagement improves. Family and carers should be involved in the classroom to create a culture of success and to encourage parents/carers/families to hold high expectations for educational outcomes (MCEETYA, 2008).
During my third practical experience and my internship, I planned (3.2), taught and assessed two ACARA Science units (ACSSU097 & ACSSU115) to a composite Year 6/7 class of 24 students. Located in a small urban school south of Brisbane, significant cultural diversity existed in the class, with 58% of students speaking languages other than English. Academically, apart from a few high achievers, most students were historically low to medium level achievers with a lack of engagement and behavioural challenges. The units were planned (3.2) using backward planning (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998) against a backdrop of productive pedagogies (Education Queensland, 2013): intellectual quality (3.1; deepness of understanding, higher order thinking, discussion capabilities), recognition difference (3.4; all students have individual needs, not just students with disabilities, encourage active citizenship), connectedness (3.4; integrating a range of subject areas, solving real world problems) and a supportive environment (engaged, on task, respective students with a voice in the classroom and say over their learning).
- Battery Cells
- Using acid (white vingar), copper and zinc we tested and deminstrated individual battery cells, measured the voltage produced by the chemical reaction and linked cells in parallel to create a larger total output to power lights and buzzers.
These circuit boards were constructed to easily attach wires to buzzers, lights and batteries to build simple circuits. Students also used the boards to test the conductivity of various other materials and to construct simple circuits to test and diagnose the completeness of other circuits (the skill tester).
The Skill Tester
This circuit is a game that could have been seen at fairs of yesteryear. The idea is to move the looped wire with handle along the path of the bendy course without touching it. If the loop contacts the course, a light and buzzer are triggered. Students diagnosed deliberate faults built into the game and suggested solutions e.g. the handle is wooden and therefore does not conduct electricity.
For both units I set challenging and achievable goals (3.1; Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010; Arthur-Kelly, 2005) during the learning cycle while relating goals to the curriculum (3A). Kohn (2008), proved that upper primary school students peformed better in science
where teaching centred around projects which allowed students to show a high degree of initiative (3.3) when compared to traditional worksheets and textbooks. Since student engagement and learning success are closely related (Lyons, Ford, Arthur-Kelly, 2011) and skills need to be seen as worth learning to engage students (Glasser, 1969) I wanted to plan (3.2) for authentic, real world activities and assessments for both units. This required new resources (3.4) that the school did not have. Instead of conducting lessons theoretically, I created electricity circuit boards for class use (3.3, 3.4; 3B: see above), to enable students to design, build and test simple circuits, conduct continuity tests (using a circuit they have constructed) and classify materials as either conductors or insulators in a table and draw conclusions about the possible uses of materials from their findings.
In the second unit I designed an activity revolving around water rockets to investigate the force of inertia. Students were shown what success looked like for each activity e.g. how a water bottle rocket looks through photos (3.1; 3B: see above) and my own built example and an example of what a successful launch looks like via a video (3.1). Students were provided with the steps necessary to achieve success via a water rocket “Launch and flight” Handbook (3.1; 3D). The student all successfully designed (3.2, 3.3; see photos
on left), produced (see photos on left) and launched (3G) their rockets during independent group work. I also employed ICT (3.4) via PowerPoint and student modelling of ocean tides via Glencoe Ocean Motion simulator and then tabling results and producing a graph of correlation between ocean tides and moon phases.
As can be seen from the photographic evidence and the video (video behind password protected page) the students were highly engaged in the kinaesthetic and exploratory nature of the units. In both units students scored high assessment results and in the earth and space unit all students passed including historically less engaged, “low” achievers. I was able to record some of the results on video and relive them in class to enhance their experience and highlight the learning from what they had achieved.
I plan to continue to use a wide selection of resources to engage students in authentic learning activities. I have a natural interest in ICT and presenting information in interesting ways with tools such as PowerPoint, Videoscribe, Powtoons, information graphics and Prezi and I am researching more online resources such as Scootle, Science by Doing, www.ndlrn.edu.au, http://www.safeschoolshub.edu.au and www.venompatrol.org. I also plan to learn more about setting goals for students in the future and will involve families in my classroom through a range of strategies including a class website (ourclass.com.au) , newsletters, ClassDojo, RemindHQ, parents as students night (Wiliam, 2010) and encouraging family members to follow up on current school work e.g. make recipes, keep journals or go to the library (Morrow, 1997).
Arthur-Kelly, M., & Neilands, J. (2014). Planning Effective Teaching Strategies. In P. Foreman, & M. Arthur-Kelly (Eds.), Inclusion in Action (4th ed.). Melbourne: Cengage.
Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: new horizons. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.usq.edu.au/login?url=http://library.books24x7.com/library.asp?^B&bookid=45450.
Glasser, W. (1969). Schools without failure. New York: Harper & Row.
Hesta, T. (2011) Classroom Management – Week 1, Day 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgk-719mTxM
Kohn, A. (2008). Progressive Education. Retrieved 5 September 2014 from http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/progressive.htm
Morrow, L. (1997). Literacy developments in the early years: Helping children read and write (3rd Ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Musanti, S. I., & Pency, L. (2010). Collaboration and Teacher Development: Unpacking Resistance, Constructing Knowledge, and Navigating Identities. Teacher Education Quarterly, 37(1), 73-89.
Peters, E (2012). Developing Content Knowledge in Students Through Explicit Teaching of the Nature of Science: Influences of Goal Setting and Self-Monitoring. Science & Education, 21(6) , 881-898. doi: 10.1007/s11191-009-9219-1
Shavelson, R. (1987). Planning. In M. Dunkin (Ed.), The international encyclopaedia of teaching and teacher education, 483-486. New York: Pergamon Press.
Sternberg, J. (1997). Thinking styles. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Wiliam, D. (2010). The classroom experiment.
Wood, K. E. (2010). Interdisciplinary instruction for all learners K-8 : A practical guide. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.