Killing Creativity

My last post post about the Raw Art program and students creativity got me thinking about a TED Talk episode I watched by Sir Ken Robinson titled “How schools kill creativity.”

In this presentation Sir Ken Robinson talks about children being prepared to give something ago, but as they get older they begin to fear having a go for fear of making a mistake.

He emphasises the importance of the arts including art, drama, dance and music as being just as important as Maths and English and I have to agree that educating the whole student seems to be a better than only catering for the academic students.

I highly recommend watching it.

RawArt

The school recently participated in a program called Raw Art. I thought this was a great concept… Allowing the children to express their creativity through art. I thought that the children would be provided with some materials and guided by Art Enthusiasts to create a unique piece of art, a piece of Raw Art!

However I was a little disappointed as this was not really the case. Yes, children were provided with materials and to create art. However all students were required to follow the instructions and make the same item. Here is a list of options to choose from. The only variations were the colours of the materials provided and if the students made an error in following the directions (which was then pointed out by the art enthusiasts as a mistake and the student was also informed that they didn’t listen).

I did not feel this was RAW art and I certainly did not feel that this process allowed students to be creative or see that differences are okay and acceptable. I felt that this style of art class focussed on the end result and encourages students to compare their work to that of their peers.

I wish this program was more freely structured for the students to show off their RAW talents.

S.T.R.I.V.E

The school uses a program called S.T.R.I.V.E – Structured Tier Two Robust Instruction of Vocabulary Experiences (and it must be a fairly good program as I believe many schools are implementing it). But I needed to find out more…

I organised a meeting with someone at the school to assist in providing more information on this program and received some very informative literature relating to the program and the evidence behind the success of the program.

The program is designed to improve speech language pathologist and teacher collaboration. It is meant to improve the students interest in tricky words. Tier Two words are defined as High frequency / Multiple Meaning Vocabulary according to this Handy Handout

Don’t re-invent the wheel

My mentor wants me to teach a Maths unit from start to finish and carry out the assessment for the unit as well. I am up for the challenge however I am a little nervous about marking their assessments. I have to allocate marks according to the guide to making judgements and use this guide to ensure fair marking across all students. The guide to making judgements is the equivalent to our rubrics. When looking over the guide to making judgements it is a little different in the sense that an “A” does not indicate that you do something better than you would if you were to get a “B” or a “C” but it was related to specific questions on the assessment. For example the criteria set out to achieve an “A” might be related to question 7 on the assessment task sheet and so on for all questions.

Here is an example of a English assessment with a guide to making judgements located on page 16

I was meant to type into the guide to making judgements my allocation of the questions to suit each particular criteria. My mentor does this process for most assessments. However this time I was unable to type into the guide to making judgements. After a few attempts for my mentor to show me how to do this, I said I would look at home and if need be re-type it. My mentor told me not to “re-invent the wheel” as that was wasting time.

I spent many hours that night trying to working it out and even got my very tech savvy Husband to complete the job for me. But a very time consuming and time wasting process. Imagine if a teacher had numerous tasks like these to complete each week. How much time would be wasted?

Tired and Warn Out

We are all in full swing of Professional Experience and it is certainly taking its toll on me. In my efforts to be the best that I can be, I am spending hours at the computer researching and perfecting lesson plans ready for the following day.

Whilst I realise that experienced teachers will probably not complete lesson plans as we are required too, but what about teachers in their first few years of teaching. What level of planning do they complete and is there a possibility of burning out early in their career.

After doing a little research into this matter I came across this article containing 25 tricks to stop teacher burn out. Admittedly it was the picture at the top of the article that first made me giggle and then read on to discover some tips to reduce the possibility of it happening to me. However is this list really enough…. most teachers want the best for their students and will do just about anything to help them succeed. Some teachers may even see their students grades as a reflection of their teaching practices and not take into consideration factors that may make achieving those successes seem impossible.

I hope that when I am teaching in the future I am able to find a balance of being the best that I can be, best outcomes for my students and the ability to unwind when it is needed

Observing and First Lesson Jitters!!!

I spent today observing my Mentor and getting to know the kids in the class. I thought it would be best to make a seating plan of the room, so that I could learn the children’s names fairly quickly. However the school participates in Spelling Mastery program and their Maths classes are designed around students ability levels. This played havoc on my seating plan as the students can sit in any desk during these lessons and students from other classes come in as well.

So now I know some names of the students and have a good idea of the teaching style used within the classroom and an idea of how to get through to some of the students who may try and push the limits a little to far.

Tomorrow I start teaching….. and I am super nervous. I will be teaching my first ever lesson of Maths in front of the Principal. As if I wasn’t nervous enough but to add in the PRINCIPAL and I feel sick in my stomach!!! All I can do is put my game face on and plan to teach the best Maths lesson I possibly can (and learn from the feedback I am given).

Preparing for Professional Experience and the C2C

I have meet my Mentor and have discussed professional experience requirements. My mentor tried to put herself in my shoes and got everything organised for me that she thought I would need for my placement.

C2C is used at the school and my mentor has loaded all of the lesson plans on to a USB for me to look over and use for planning lessons.

This is the first time I have seen the C2C. It is not quite what I was expecting. I had painted a picture in my head based on other people’s opinions and explanations of the C2C. One thing that had always bothered me about the C2C is how it is a national curriculum but each school still seams to be worlds apart.

After viewing the C2C I can now understand how schools seem so different. The C2C is a guide for teachers to use and improve on in their own way and to best suit their students. It is not meant to be the bible of teaching (well that’s what I understand anyway).