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Archive for August, 2009

Term 3, week 6

Today I tried a one-off problem solving/thinking skills activity with my Y9 students, as a break from the novel study they’re doing. The task was the brainstorm problems at school (of which they came up with a multitude, obviously), pick one, and then solve it. The agreed upon problem (with a bit of nudging from me) the the lack of lockers/amount of stuff they needed to carry round, so they designed a bunch of potential solutions. There was some quite high level thinking going on, particularly from Alex and Miro.

Clare and Milton happened to descend on my class during this lesson. They seemed pretty amused by the whole process.

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Term 3, week 5

My Y12s are editing. My Y1os are editing. I am showing Noir films to my Y13s. My Y9s are beavering away with their novel study. It’s actually pretty peaceful at the moment.

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Term 3, week 5

Today I went back to the University of Auckland College of Education to be part of a panel of first year teachers talking to the current cohort of teacher trainees. It was funny seeing them all, and remembering how stressed out I was this time last year – not having a job, and not even knowing if I could do it or not.

In terms of advice, there wasn’t much I could think of, other than it’s not scary or difficult, it’s just lots of hard work. Still, I told them about the all the good/funny stuff too, and hopefully reassured them that the reality of their first year of teaching may not be as scary as they think.

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Term 3, week 4

Did I point out that I’m still exhausted from the flu that I had LAST TERM?

School is moving along nicely thi term, despite the fact that I’m feeling utterly rotten. My Y12s are now happily editing their horror films, and seem incredibly engaged with the process. My Y13 class seem to be (mostly) liking or at least tolerating the noir films we’re studying. My Y9s are coping well with Private Peaceful, and my Y10 class are beginning to shoot TV ads for the Kickstart Breakfast Make a TV Ad competition.

Life is, generally, good.

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Term 3, week 4

Today was my Y12 class shoot day for their horror productions. From 9am ’til 3pm, the school was filled with axe-murderers, serial killers, bloodied corpses and the like. It was great fun, although obviously a little stressful. For a class that can derail very easily in the classroom, I was very impressed as to just how seriously and well organised they were today. Shooting schedules and location guides were (mostly) adhered to, and I didn’t receive a single complaint from a staff member about students running rampage in the school.

Generally, I’m starting to feel much better about this class. There’s been a huge buy-in since we’ve started on the horror stuff. I talked earlier in the year about not being too emotionally invested in the material you teach. I have zero interest in horror, but these students clearly love it, and it shows. I’m generally the one spouting on about films they’ve never cared about, but now the tide has turned and suddenly they’re talking to me about a host of films I’ve never heard of.

Looking forward to seeing how this all comes together in the edit suite.

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Term 3, week 3

My Y9 students are currently studying the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Murpurgo and this week they’re making propaganda posters. I still really struggle with group work in that class – for every class that works well (Gary, Mark) there are some students who just use any non-structured time for mucking around, talking etc. I am not sure whether I should just not care, or whether I’m doing something wrong. (Or, perhaps more to the point, whether there’s something about the dynamic of that particular class that just makes it difficult.)

I am getting some buy-in with film noir, especially with some of the more stylish girls in the class, who really dig the whole femme fatale look. It was the school ball at the end of week 1, and Rose looked totally noir with her cocktail dress, pale skin and dark hair. Fantastic.

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