The Creative Teacher Project

An NQT Bringing Creativity to the Classroom


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Monday Provocation #13

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This one is not just for inspiring our kids to have a growth mindset….but also for inspiring ourselves!

 

 

 

 

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It’s Not Going to be Easy, It’s Going to be Worth It.

Truth-for-Teachers-LogoThese are the final words that Angela Watson, of the Truth for Teachers podcast, leaves her listeners with each week. A former teacher and now educational consultant, Watson has become widely known for her management ideas for teachers, and especially for her (totally amazing sounding) 40 Hour Work Week Club. Her podcast is fantastic, and that’s why I thought I would share it with you today.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good inspirational podcast as much as the next person, but I do find that many of them are just that – inspirational, and not that practical. Sometimes when you’re looking for advice, or need a kick up the backside to even get in the car to go to work on a Monday morning, you need concrete suggestions on how to make the work week a little easier. Truth for Teachers is just that.

I’ve had episodes that have given me 9 Classroom Organisational Tips for the New Year, and even 5 Ways to Turn a Worksheet into a Collaborative Critical Thinking Activity. If these titles don’t get your teacher-nerd juices flowing, then I’m sorry to say, nothing will! It just happens to be incredibly handy that she posts a new episode each Monday morning, at peak “New week new me” time.

I encourage you all to go and have a listen, and maybe even a trawl through the archives to see if there’s anything that can help your particular situation.

We all know that teaching isn’t easy, but it’s podcasts like Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers that remind us that it’s absolutely worth it.

 

 

*This is an independent post and in no way affiliated with Truth for Teachers. I just love the darn podcast

 


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Te@cher Toolkit, by Ross Morrison McGill: First Thoughts

Teacher Toolkit - The Creative Teacher Project

Image credit to teacheretoolkit.me

I’ve worked out that at about week 3 of each term this year, I tend to have a little ‘I can’t do this, I’ve made a terrible decision’ freakout. I’m told it’s quite common. By week 4, I’m slowly recovering, and by week 5 I am feeling pretty amazing about this job of mine once again. With this being a 6 week term, the freakout forecast predicts a possible meltdown in week 2…..not good!

One of the things that gets me feeling good again in week 4, is going on a little Amazon binge (although I do try not to shop on Amazon for various reasons). I tend to find some good resources, and occasionally a little teacher help book. It was a few weeks ago now that I realised one of the teachers I follow on Twitter had written the above book.

I’m not going to lie – this baby was in my shopping basket the moment I read the strapline “Helping you survive your first five years”. This looks like the book I never knew I always needed.

Written by Ross Morrison McGill (the most followed teacher on Twitter), it seems to be a collection of general advice, mixed in with practical tips and suggestions of things that have worked for him. I find that I really enjoy his writing style, and his voice comes through strongly.

I’ve already got some ideas brewing about what strategies I might implement this term, and I’m sure they will become even clearer by the time I finish reading the whole book. I plan to report back once it’s finished, but so far – so good!

~

On another note – thanks for the great year guys, hope you see 2016 in with style!

Here’s to bigger and better teaching and learning in the New Year.


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Learning Difficulties and Disabilities

One of my core units this semester is Teaching in Diverse Australian Schools, which I thought sounded absolutely fantastic – but then again, I’m into that sort of thing! We have only had two lectures so far, but today’s was really incredible. Dr Lorraine Hammond came in and gave a really fantastic lecture on students with learning difficulties and those with disabilities, and gave us some core definitions to help us try and distinguish between the two.

Learning difficulties: refers to students who experience significant difficulties in learning and making progress in school, but who do not have a documented disability such as an intellectual disability. Graham, L., & Bailey, J. (2007). Learning disabilities and difficulties: an Australian conspectus ‐ introduction to the special series. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 40 (5), 386‐391.

Learning disabilities: a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.

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Have you ever had a lecture where you are just completely fascinated by what they have to say? Where they know their content and their presentation so well that everything just flows? It was like that. I was absolutely captivated by the topic – one which I have to say has really scared me in the past. I always imagined swindling my teaching load somehow so that I would only ever have to teach extremely talented, high achieving kids with a passion for drama.

Don’t laugh – I was imagining best case scenario! The further I come along with studying education the more I begin to realise how silly that fantasy was. Not just how separate it was from reality, but I have come to realise that I am actually looking forward to teaching disengaged kids, or students who have a hard time learning.

Something Dr Hammond said really struck a chord with me – in a classroom, the squeaky wheel needs the oil. But they don’t always get it. A significant amount of misbehaviour will occur because the students aren’t coping with the work or have some difficulty paying attention. To paraphrase the lecture, in a typical primary school classroom, 20 – 30% of students will need systematic, explicit and supportive instruction with intensive opportunities to learn. 30 percent! That’s huge. There is no way I currently have the skills to address those needs. I am just beginning to realise how vital it is that I get them!

I’ve said this before, but I truly believe that I am lucky to have drama as my content area – it’s a chance for kids to get up out of their seats and do some kinaesthetic learning, to muck around (a bit) and to approach learning in non-traditional ways. Our curriculum encourages it! That is absolutely wonderful in my book. While I’m upskilling in that area, it’s also key to remember how many other skills I will need to develop over time to be a truly creative (and effective!) teacher.

Some resources care of Dr Hammond which you may find useful if you’re interested in further research of learning difficulties and disabilities:

The Dyslexia Speld Foundation – WA based

AUSPELD – Australia wide foundation

Speech Pathology Australia

Learning Difficulties Online

Have a good one

Sam


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Taylor Mali: What Teachers Make

I may well be extremely late to the party here, but today in the library, whilst avoiding an assignment, I came across this video from the great Taylor Mali.

This is why I want to be a teacher. This is why I am so excited to be doing what I’m doing. I hope I can be one tenth of what this man describes one day. There’s more of his readings on YouTube. Check it out.