Of Tattoos and things…

You know how I talked about crossing things off your bucket list last post? Well, I crossed another thing off.

I got a new tattoo.

tattoo

Yep, it’s an origami stegosaur with a splash of water colour.

I now have three tattoos and this is the most visible one. I love it but it is also so new that I still haven’t really come to grips with the reality of it. (It’s on my left forearm in case you were wondering).

I’ve always loved tattoos but have always been apprehensive of getting them in overly visible places. However, I have been through a lot this year and I decided that I wanted to control the next visible change to my body. I have so many scars from various surgeries that I’ve had no choice in receiving (and I don’t regret them at all, let me state that up front right now) so I wanted the chance to control the next “scar” that I got. I mean, my scar from my gallbladder removal is shockingly huge… Not that I really need to justify why I got this… just wanted to explain some of my thought process…

So, I got a dinosaur. Those who know me, irl, know about my obsession with dinosaurs. Heck, I wanted to be a palaeontologist all the way through primary school and then most of high school. Unfortunately, money played a huge part in my decision to go to uni in New Zealand. No regrets though.

So, another thing crossed off the bucket list.

Also, I start a Post Grad Course next month. It’s all to do with Digital and Collaborative Learning.  It’s  done through Unitec and The Mind Lab. It also counts toward 1/3 of a Master’s Degree.

Not to mention that next month is NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month – where the aim is to write 50 000 words in the month of November. I’m managed to successfully achieve this for the past five years.

So, all in all, I’m setting myself up for a busy few months. I’m looking forward to the positive changes.

Oh – and I’m still going with the whole #31daysofhorror – and it’s getting a little tedious but I am still loving it.

Until next time…peace and pancakes.

Also, question: Do you have any tattoos?

What goals are you setting yourself for the last two months of the year?

Giving Students Choices

At school we are working on Teaching as Inquiry with each teacher looking at their teaching and choosing an area to focus on.

 

teaching-as-inquiry_referenceTKI Teaching As Inquiry (Where I sourced the above image and more information)

The basic idea is that we identify the outcomes we want for our students and then we look at different teaching strategies to help our students reach this outcome.

I think that the majority of teachers do this instinctively but we don’t always think about the whats, whys and hows, which is actually a great way to look at your teaching and look at the needs of your students.

So, my first inquiry of the year is looking at how to give students more choice within my classes. I want to focus on improving the self management of my advanced students while also allowing all students in my class find their own success.

I want to know if giving them free choice improves their self management and results.

I am focusing on my Year 10 class which is also a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) class and my form class – which is actually rather handy because I get to see them a little more than an average teacher would. There are 26 students, more males than females, and a mixture of Maori and NZ European students.

My intended outcome is to have students be able to choose from a range of differentiated tasks during our study of Romeo and Juliet.

The base data that I am starting with is the tracking sheets I have compiled that shows their Year 9 results (including eAsstle results), my goals for them and other baseline data.

I have also created groups for the students based on their Asstle scores – they don’t sit in these groups but it enables me to help with my differentiation.

We have finished reading the play and they are currently working on a Tic Tac Toe activity – there are nine different activities ranging from creating a wanted poster for one of the characters to writing a series of interviews with characters within the play to creating an alternate ending to the play. The students have to choose three in a row – though they have already tried to ask if they can do the three they like the most.

When I first introduced the task I had them move into 9 small groups and I gave each group one of the tasks. It was their mission to figure out what the task was asking, what the success criteria could be and see if they could find exemplars or explain what would make an Excellence, Merit or Achieved. Most of the students fully engaged though there are two that I may have to create more individualised tasks.

The first completed task is due this coming Thursday.

I’m still developing the ins and outs of my inquiry and thanks to the people who have helped me frame it so far. (You know who you are…) But, so far, the students are engaged and they are re-reading the play to get ideas about why certain characters might be wanted, or what songs would be on Juliet’s playlist, or, what would happen if Romeo received the letter in time.

And, they are helping each other, giving me a lot more time to sit with those that are struggling and giving immediate feedback to those who are looking to raise their grades.

I will provide more information as I continue to explore and develop my hunch…

Until next time.

xJaime

 

What are my goals? Classroom Edition

goals

As week three hits I’m already well into deciding what goals I have for myself and my students. These are not to be confused with the goals I have for my self care and looking after myself – rather, these are with regard to my students. The ones that I see in front of me on a day to day basis.

This year my timetable is a little different but I still have individual goals for each of my classes.

My timetable is roughly this:

Level 3 Internal – One main class and 2 one hour relief lessons. (So 3 level three classes in a way.)

Level 2 General

Level 1 Advanced

Year 10BYOD

My goals for each class are as such:

L3 – Critically engage with written and visual texts in order to make meaning with the world around you. And, think about the impact that you have on those around you.

L2 – Think critically about how texts can manipulate you. Think critically about your place in the class and in the world.

L1 – Critically engage with the world around you and think critically about the texts that we study.

10BYOD – Build on your general knowledge and expand your vocabulary in order to improve deeper level thinking.

These goals are all very similar but each is actually very important. I think the overall skill that I want students to improve on is deeper level thinking. There are so many connections in the world and I’d hate for students to miss out when we have a wealth of information at our fingertips.

In order for me to help the students meet these goals I have started a class weebly that the students and parents can check on to see important information and weekly updates. Although it may seem that I’m doing extra work I’m actually hoping it will cut down on unnecessary time spent sending letters or emails – but we’ll see how that goes.

My personal goals in my classroom include:

Regulating my voice more. I don’t like raising my voice and, although I very rarely shout, I have a tendency to fall back on a loud voice to get attention.

Focusing more on my teaching rather than everything else that I need to get done. (To Do lists are my friend.)

Allowing students more time to discuss and develop their understanding. I want them to build their growth mindset and I have to continue to build mine in order to help do that.

As for my self care – if I am honest I haven’t been as good to myself as I could be. Even as I type this I feel as if I haven’t done enough, though it is just Monday. This is something that will always be a work in progress.

What goals do you have for your classroom? Life? Day?

Five Thoughts – A Quick Post

Thought One – Teaching is emotionally draining. When I started teaching I didn’t realise how emotionally exhausted I would feel after everyday. So many things occur in a classroom and the act of being a teacher it very tricky. Plus, today was a rough day so I need to reflect on it.

Thought Two – I am now living by myself. This is a good thing and I am enjoying the freedom of being in my own space and being my own person.

Thought Three – I really need to get my life sorted. I mean dividing my time more equally between teacher me and actual me. They are two distinct people I feel and one is getting more time than the other…

Thought Four – I really need to get a new vacuum cleaner as my old one isn’t cutting it. (This thought came to me as I glanced at my carpet…which has seen better days…)

Thought Five – I am going to San Diego Comic Con and I am really super excited about this and am trying to think of costumes. I was thinking Velma from Scooby Doo as I kinda have the glasses and the hair and the body shape. Also, yes this means that I have to fly a long way for a short amount of time. I really don’t mind…cause nerd reasons.

This is a quick post segment which might become regular. Due to various events at my school and in my own life over the last few weeks I haven’t found the time or, more honestly, the energy to blog. I am reminding myself that I am a work in progress. So Five Thoughts might become a regular thing. 

The One Where I Try To Organise Myself

Welcome to my afternoon plans…#teacherlife #lessonplans bring it on

A post shared by Jaime-Lee Coffey (@jaimeleecoffey) on

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The holidays went by rather quickly and, although I did a lot of prep work during the break I still started the term feeling a little lost. Due to situations out of my control I’ve had to have a change of class so I have picked up a new Senior class. I’m not too worried about the change and it’s a relatively small class at 18 students but it’s still a change and, like most students will tell you, they hate change. They get annoyed with me if I change the desks around and they get annoyed with me if I don’t. This does amuse me more than it should and it also gives me some valid insight to the student mindset.

Anyway – I thought I would use this post to help my organisation progress.

I have five classes:

9BYOD – This term our focus is Tumatauenga and, looking deeper, we will focus on conflict – namely human vs human, human vs nature, human vs self and human vs society. We started by reading Ray Bradbury’s short story “All Summer in One Day”. We will then look at poems from WW1 and maybe even some short stories as well.

10ENG – This is an advanced class so we are doing two things at once. We are looking at the same short story as above and the same ideas however I have adapted an Independent Novel Study that has seven activities that they must complete. I have told them that they can choose any novel that has a form of conflict in it. Once student has already asked if he could do Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and I am super excited to see what he does with it.

11ENA – This is my big class with 32 students. We have started looking at a semi thematic unit surrounding Conformity, Rebellion and The Teenage Condition. Carrying on from last terms film unit, where we studied Pleasantville we have dived into Catcher in the Rye. I am creating a prezi that sets up every lesson for the student and it works on them figuring out several key techniques and going through the text closely to find their own understanding. Today we focused just on Holden’s hat… This is on of my focus classes this year.

12ENG – This is my new class and, for this term, we will be studying excerpts from The Things They Carried and looking into the context of the Vietnam War and what was happening in New Zealand and the rest of the world at the same time. I’ve started them on a scrapbooking task that will take a lot of the term – they have to research the context and create a virtual study guide – they can use pinterest, prezi or, if they aren’t computer savvy, they can even make a scrapbook. While doing this they can start framing a research project, do some independent reading for personal responses, building on their general knowledge and, most importantly, learn how to write an analytical essay for the external exams.

Finally I have my 13ENI – this class is my smallest with 16 students of varying abilities. They are not sitting externals so are focusing solely on internal standards. We are finishing up our Close Scene Analysis – this is where I got them to analyse two different crime procedurals and talk about how the represent or misrepresent certain groups in society – most focused on how mental illnesses are represented in the shows. Next we will move onto Connections Across Text.

So there is my general overview for this term.

Next are my goals for this term. If you look at my colleague’s blog here you will see how inspirational her organisation is to me. My other colleague has also done a beautiful piece on goals which you should totally check out as well by clicking right here.

So goals – scary thoughts that I am putting out in the world. Okay, here goes…

Small: Time management – I’m really trying to focus on using my time wisely – in class and out of class.

Medium: Up-skilling both in my curriculum area and my technology skills area.

Large: Still working on this because there are so many that I want to focus on…

My question to you is what do you find helpful when trying to organise yourself? What goals do you have for school or for your personal life?

Peace and Pancakes

Jaime

*I know that this image is from 3 months ago – I just like it…