Expect the unexpected

While chalking out my programa nd session plans I thought fo what could be the elements that could throw me off balance while teaching and so I got my answer . Therefore I am preparing more than what I will need in case an activity goes more quickly than anticipated giving students too much free time - which is a danger. Another aspect is that during brainstorming and other such discussions I should be
prepared for any divertions as students might divert from the lesson plan. I need to also plan how to guide the class back to the lesson plan. So I have to plan extra and think about distractions and one of the toughest thing to do is to keep tabs on the timings. To make sure that the classes move smoothly I need to plan content accordingly otherwise I might make a hash of the timetable .

Planning with clarity

I have spent time reviewing my plans again and again . I have solved many issues . My plan now has activites that are married up neatly to the aims and objectives . Every session has specific objectives and the assessment tools like rubrics , graphic organisers , self-checklists etc are part of the formative assessment . What I have done is that for every Write trait I first teach and introduce the concept and then have them display their understanding and then take a formative at the end of that topic . There are altogether 6 write traits so I also ahve planned activities that combine two or three write traits . The 6 write traits are Ideas , Voice , Word choice , Organisation , Sentence Fluency and Conventions . Conventions is a fancy name that comprises of Punctuation , spellings and grammar .
Why did I choose write traits ? Well Since the IB course is thematic and my teaching practice is temporary ( spanning 12 sessions ) , I had to adapt my lesson plans in such a way that it doesn't clash with the existing Lesson plans of the school . Earlier I was trying to integrate Language with the thematic module but now I have found the best solution . I would like to do something that can support the existing curriculum and facilitate new learning through Language and to make the students comfortable I can set a few activites in their theme . So although my program plan is different from that of the School it still has partial thematic elements namely Child rights and responsibilities is the unit of inquiry for 4th graders . I decided to come up with the most basic of skills . To teach them the writing process . The Writing process has 6 write traits . This way I am encouraged and motivated to step out of my comfort zone , teach new concepts that mind you will be the right crutch for Langauge effectiveness and whatever they learn it will help them apply their ideas thematically as well . I am also nervous , anxious , excited all at the same time . I find Lesson planning gives me a mental image and I can visualise how my class might progress . But then again - visualising and day dreaming is one thing and putting this plan in action is quite another story ! Keeping my fingers crossed .

I am a new comer and I am very excited I can share my views with like minds.

After attending my first session, I was little apprehensive about sharing my views but after a little push from CIDTT team Bangalore, Ms Asha I thought I should post my realizations.

While doing the topic multiple intelligences, I realized that I have intrapersonal intelligence, whereas I was with the impression that my logical intelligence will be at its peak. My second realization was my musical intelligence to which I never gave a thought.

Hence, reflecting back, I think just how I was not aware of my intelligence, the children may not know about their strongest point of intelligence. Hence I should design my classes keeping in mind all these intelligence because you never know what may click with the child’s brain.

And by using these intelligences, I may help a child to identify with the topic.

Planning the program

I have changed many parts of the rough program and session plan as I found that the activities didn't always end up achieving the objectives that I had in mind . Plus the end-of-the-course skills were not really clear and concise . This brought about a whole new approach and I decided to start planning backwards . So now I am thinking of the whole aim of my program plan and what are its sub objectives . What do I want my students to achieve at the end of my course . It could be that I reinforce already established skills or I help teach new ones . In English if I want to develop their usage of the English language to a better level then I need to have one part of the components of the language - for e.g Writing traits as an ongoing skills - both formative and summative . Within this bracket I can build in difefrentiation and ask them to write paragraphs , essays , do note taking , fill up graphic organisers etc . Having planned these outcomes then gives clarity to shared goals from the point of you of the teacher , that's me and those of the students . Sharing objectives is very important as it I assume encourages the students to put their best foot forward and give me their best work . This then brings me to devising good assessments and also check learning and understanding . So then I design feedback forms . Once I ahve put these factors into place will I then make my lesson plan where I categorise the unit into topics and look at how best can i deliver and convey the concept of that particular topic . In English language I feel its a good idea to also share old stories and then build upon their understanding of the Blooms taxonomy levels . I am encouraged by this CIDTT activity and I think its a good idea to use it to make students aware that such a thing like high order thinking exists . I wont use the terms but I can always challenge the students who I feel are advanced and keep the low order questions for those who are yet to reach new levels . This will also be an indicator of my learners needs . I am just processing all these thoughts of mine .

My roles & responsibilities

As a future primary teacher I am thinking along the following lines about my roles and responsibilties .

1. Planning, lessons that cater for the needs of the whole ability range within the class

2. Organizing the classroom and learning resources to create a positive learning environment.

3. Working with other colleagues to plan and coordinate work and tally time tables .

4. Preparing formative assessments to facilitate positive pupil development and recording of pupils' developments in a summative assessment at the end of the practice .

Thinking about my future learners

Having already visited the school and observing the future 4th grade students has encouraged me to do all the spade work . I am not copying the current schools ways of identifying learner needs . I am thinking on how I can do that on my own . I am making a list of my own resources . I think whatever work I do will be honest and will be tallied with the current school program but it will be separate . I found a very good document on the internet which tests multiple intelligences . http://www.classroomtech.com/SCOE/05%20MULTIPLE%20INTELLIGENCE%20(old%20doc).doc
I am ofcourse looking at Reading fluency tests and vocabulary quizzes etc . The idea is to find out as many things as I can . I think one thing which went rather well was understanding the school system so that I can devise and design my own lesson plans . So what if they have given me the theme . Everything else is my own effort . I am very particular about ethics and for me the greatest challenge is to make lesson plans that match the overall aims of the school program but at the same time have a total different interpretation . I am trying to make a list of interactive activities . The language development has to take place simultaneously . I don't think the English language can be divided into Oral , writing and Reading distinctly however I plan to concentrate on developing one aspect during the sessions . This will also help in the summative assessment . The aims and objectives have to be clearly defined as per the language development that takes place during the activities . I am not sure if I can manage to take formative assessments all the time but I will try and take them at the end of a topic every now and then . Here the feedback forms will help me monitor progress and will aid improvement .

Age no bar

I have an assignment of  show casing my school's football team , and the accolades they have won. This is in lieu of the Football world cup coming up. I was browsing for a couple of things to go along with my video and stumbled upon this great piece.


This is part of the BBC school  website and you will agee with me when you watch the video that age, is certainly only in the mind and does not affect learning at all. A very inspiring video and kudos to the coach who took the challenge. Enjoy and experience learning happening although not inside a classroom , or with books, but something that has seriously made a difference to the learners and mostly to the teacher who took the challenge.

The Impact of CIDTT

I am so proud to say that there has a been a huge impact of the ways and methods that I have learnt to conduct or even for that matter plan a class because of  CIDTT.
Since  my school re-opend for the 2010-2011 academic session the past week , I have been working on  Art and Craft module for classes 1 & 2. Although these would not be my classes that I would be handling through my course work, I have been given the task of planning the Art and Craft curriculum, syllabus and even the way the classes need to be handled.
This was an additional practice, that I think I got before I stumbled into my CIDTT course work. Its been a lot easy a task to make my schedule, curriculum, and the syllabus , because of all the training I got from the classes.
It did take me a bit of a time to explain what I was excatly doing to my collegues ,who have not been so fortunate to be associated with the amount of work that needs to be done to have a great class work.
I am sure there would be a lot of changes once my teachers go into the class room , especially since I cannot dictate creativity of another teacher to be routed through my flow of thought.
CIDTT surely gave me the insight to plan into the minute details , and now I am hoping and waiting for the classes to begin so that I could share a few reflections with all of you. Although it would be a  bit off the course and the purpose of this blog,  I think acknowledging the impact the course has had is very important to me.

My growth as a teacher

My new batch of Phonics and Language coaching will start from Monday and I am all set for it. I have been teaching preschoolers for the last seven years, where I have used the blend of Montessori Method and Nursery training. It was mostly material and observation based, taking into consideration individual need of each child. Thanks to CIDTT, my entire thought process has been enhanced. While planning the program for my classes, now I am thinking about many more aspects like MI, differentiation, effective use of blackboard, use of energizers, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and different teaching strategies for active learning. I should be able to post many more exciting experiences as I progress.

Identifying my learners needs

There are some key questions that have been given in the CIDTT guide . I have phrased a few of my own .

For e.g -

What kind of activities do they like or don’t like ?
What kind of “intelligences ”are popular ?
What are the cultural distribution levels ?
What kind of technology based instruction do they prefer ?
What are the ground rules in general ?
How are the classrooms arranged ?
Do they work in specified groups ?
How much freedom to they have in choosing their working styles?
Do they like groupwork / teamwork ?
What levels of Grammar have they already attained ?

I took this checklist today to the school . I met the 3rd grade teacher and interviewed her and I also met all three Grade - 3 classes . The students will be all mixed up when they come back after the holidays . I didn't want to waste anytime and so I rushed off to meet them . Some might leave and new ones may join but its comforting to know that some of them atleast would be my future 4th grade students .
Keeping that in mind I wanted to familiarise myself with everything that I could .
I talked to some students . I observed the classroom settings . I have so much information . I viewed their work through the past files . I took pictures . I will be teaching English so I also took a glance and jotted down on all the levels of grammar that they are already familiar with . I spoke to other 3rd grade teachers who generalised and then specifically to the coordinator and future 4th grade teachers . Ofcourse I will do all of this again when I get a specific group after the holidays but this kind of work done now which i refer to as spade work can enable me to make a fair program and session plan . The idea is that whatever objectives and aims I set should be appropriate to the level for whom I set them for and also I can take into account activities that are already popular and I can find ways to vary the levels of learning in a much more informed structured manner .