Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Challenge That Lies Ahead

challengeSo as a new term dawns after Easter, I am once again in charge of 24 eages year 7 students who are attempting to make meaning of the world that they live in.  They were are so eager to get back to school (I had students emailing me during the holidays telling me that they had found this blog and it was to 'wordy' for them to read!) and it was great to see that they all are eager and as engaged in their learning after the holidays. 

But a number of significant challenges face the class (and me!) over the next term.  The biggest challenge that we have to face is the hot topic in education at the moment - NAPLAN!  For those who have been out of the loop, please check out this article.  This is not really the forum for to be outling my personal views on this topic, but I will still be preparing my students using various resources such as this one so that they can achieve the best possible results that they are capable of. 

In one of my previous posts, Joseph Perkins left a detailed and thought provoking comment.  He stated:
What are your goals going to be for Term 2? What do you hope to achieve by the end of the year? How do you know when you get there?
He also went on to say:
There is so much you could focus on, perhaps it’s best to really drill down into one aspect of eLearning (in alignment with what your vision is) and get that right.
This detailed comment (and I really thank him for it!) really got me thinking.  I feel that during term 1 we did a lot of things really well but we could have done certain things better. 

For example, in the last two weeks of term 1, we worked really hard to provide students with flexible learning opportunties that put them in charge of when they did things.  They need to engage with various forms of digital content, work offline, work together and work through simple board work 'drill and practice' tasks.  This concept, whilst simple in nature, really blew the kids away.  I told them that it really doesn't matter what order they do things in, as long as they get the job done. 

Another aspect that I want to drill further into is the concept of flexible assessment.  Our major piece of assessment this term requires students to produce an educational resource on their favourite SOSE topic - government.  You should have heard the groans when I told them that we would be doing it.  Last year, some of my students produced some great assessments showing their understanding of concepts covered throughout the unit.  I think the students from this year will take it a step further.  I have already had a number of kids ask me if they could produce a podcast (watch out for my next blog entry on my podcast obsession) or design webpages.  I am looking forward to what they are going to produce.

So I guess that the fun has just begun!

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