Seymour College: Wednesday 13th September 2023, 1:00-4:00pm (3 hours PD)
Mingxia Wei- Head of Languages & Director of International Programs at Seymour College
Trish Tynan- EAL/D Specialist at St Peter’s Girl’s School & IPSHA EAL/D Coordinator.
It was a lovely afternoon visiting Seymour College and having the time to listen to how the EAL/D programme is delivered in their setting. It was particularly interesting to hear about their enrolment processes and how they specifically cater for new arrival students. Many parents prefer to have their children join the mainstream classroom and receive additional after school tutoring and EALD classes after school. There were many teaching and admin staff available on site to assist with translations and adapting to Australian school and community settings, which are quite different in comparison to Chinese settings. It is always a great insight and pleasure to learn how programmes are run in varying settings across Adelaide.
LEAP Level Moderation Activity:
How often should we be doing LEAP levels? Twice per semester using two samples of writing genres. This means four times per year, which can be a challenge, the levelling process takes a considerable amount of time and many of us (EALD Teachers) are doing this alone, we do not have a team and classroom teachers have not been trained on how to do them.
So, how do EALD staff manage to do this LEAP levelling in their own times/ non- teaching times? Some teachers request release days to LEAP level, others use their NIT or take lessons to do assessments with students each week.
In this session we were given three writing samples from Year 2 students and were asked to level the samples. This was a good opportunity for us to analyse samples of writing and look at the writing leap level rubrics to identify specific indicators to accurately level these students.
Using the Writing rubrics gives you a snap shot to quickly identify the LEAP level, however, it is important to use LEAP Evidence grid to identify the specific areas where students need support, their writing focus areas to further develop their English writing skills.
See attachments of the LEAP text type rubrics below and the LEAP evidence to inform teaching and learning grid.
Today, there were many rich professional discussions around how we cater for the needs of our EALD students in our own school settings. As always it was a pleasure to attend the IPSHA EALD Collegial Group Meeting.
Thanks Trish Tynan and Mingxia Wei for hosting us this afternoon.
Presented by Trish Tynan (St Peter’s Girls), Arasmia (Ari) Hanna & Julia Procopio EALD Teacher’s (St Peter’s College)
Today I attended the IPSHA EALD Collegial Group Meeting at St Peter’s College, presented by Ari Hanna , Julia Procopio (EALD Teachers at St Peter’s) and Trish Tynan (IPSHA EALD Collegial Group Coordinator from St Peter’s Girl’s College).
Here is the PDF for the presentation and some of my notes and key take aways from the presentation.
Family separation, father’s/ mother’s still in China or working abroad.
High and varied expectations at home from school
Lots of co-curricular or additional tutoring.
Sleep issues, exhaustion from translation and additional processing
Counselling- change of culture, adjusting to Australian culture and expectations
School wide activities, making sure these are communicated and translated
Celebrating events from their culture
Suggested strategies to support EALD families wellbeing:
Translation resources, digital resources with subtitles, printed newsletters with translation options, WiChat groups, Seesaw translation. (We already do this at St Andrew’s, but there is always opportunity for improvements in some areas)
School liaison officer to oversee community inclusion, parent morning teas for EALD families sharing stories
Intensive English Language Programmes being included like LOTE lessons not as a learning support role.
Parent Interview Booking system with an option to select or provide a translator.
Celebrate mother tongue, celebrate our differences and acknowledge in whole school events. (We do this well at St Andrew’s)
Refection for my school setting: I realise we have a great focus on student well-being in general, but how are we specifically catering for EALD student wellbeing? These factors are very much a concern for many children in the EALD community. What can we offer as a way of further supporting wellbeing for our students and families?
Mother Tongue Classes: St Peter’s College have begun a programme to support and foster mother-tongue language within the community. Teacher: Shelby Baker: email@example.com.
These classes assist in these areas:
Students can be proud of their own identities (both EALD and Non-EALD)
Limiting or removing a deficit view of any student regarding their cultural background
School wide activities to bring everyone together and break the language barriers (food, music, dance…)
Whole school celebrations Eg of Chinese New Year, to highlight the significance and importance of celebrating everyone.
At St Andrew’s we have Mandarin lessons as the additional specialist language being taught, however, we do not provide a mother tongue class, this is so much more than language learning. I wonder if there is an opportunity for such classes to exist in our setting as a co-curricular elective, with a pure focus on celebrating and learning about our community’s cultures.
Trish Tynan Presenting:
EALD students and NAPLAN: Parental permission of student exemption, students can also be withdrawn, parent consent and awareness. These assessments can be such a challenge for our students, if their parents wish for them to participate, we need to ensure they are given enough support and considerations leading up to these tests.
Start a OneNote for EALD plans and sharing lessons, photo content etc.
Legislation: Entitlement of every child that they can access the curriculum. Inclusion and equity. If our school doesn’t have a programme for these students, we are not compliant. Are we providing enough support for these students. We are mandated by the AITSL Standards: 1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and economic backgrounds. 1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 7.2 Comply with legislative administrative and organisational requirements.
Early Intervention for EALD in the ELC.
Polyglot students, a person who speaks, writes, or reads a number of languages.
Enrolment processes, international enrolments via zoom. Trish has one day a week to do enrolment processes, she has at least three enrolments on these days every week at St Peter’s girls.
St Peter’s Girls Setting:
EALD Support usually begins Week 4, Term 1, after all assessments and letters have gone home to parents. (We have a similar system at St Andrew’s).
The EALD team has three staff members and a coordinator. EALD teachers have teacher assistants to support and create resources.
The EALD coordinator has one day a week to simply focus on enrolment interviews and assessments.
EALD is a subject, not just a support programme. It is a language, it should be offered during language learning times (Mandarin). St Peter’s Girls, it is a subject which is advertised to parents as an additional area to get families in. As a subject, it is assessed and reported on.
Parents agree to enrol students into EALD subject as a condition of assessments prior to beginning.
Early EALD Intervention Programme in ELC. (This is something I would love to explore and bring to St Andrew’s setting).
When are EALD assessments (LEAP Levels) due in Independent Schools? Leadership in independent schools are not collecting this data or placing value on it. In DECS schools, this data is mandated and monitored. Functional Grammar, consistent approach across the school. You can use the LEAP levels with all students.
Are your staff aware of LEAP Levels? LEAP levels should be known across the school, classroom teachers can be using these documents across the board, not only for EALD students.
Is the student just EALD or is there something more going on? The information shows that there is an overlap between EALD & DLN (Diverse Learning Needs). We had discussions about how we address our suspicions with parents about students needs beyond EALD concerns.
Next EALD Meeting: Wednesday 13th September, Term 3 Week 8.
As always it was a pleasure to have professional discussions in the area of EALD learning with passionate teachers across the independent school sector. It was wonderful to attend St Peter’s College for this meeting. I was also fortunate to be able to catch up with an old friend and colleague (Paul Huebl) who gave me a tour of the school grounds. What a delightful afternoon!
PD Hours: 1:00-4:00pm Presentation Time, and additional hours for creating content for this presentation, research and preparations.
Trish Tynan, an EAL/D specialist and IPSHA Network Hub President, from St Peter’s Girls School and myself, Jade Peartree, EAL/D Teacher, from St Andrew’s Primary School, have collaborated to present at the 2022, IPSHA EAL/D Collegial Group Meeting.
Please see the agenda attached below. We presented about all things EAL/D in the Independent School Sector including:
Data Collection and Assessments
Enrolment Processes for EAL/D families
The Teaching & Learning Cycle
Quality teaching and assessing using LEAP levels (Learning English: Achievement and Proficiency) and ACARA National Literacy Learning Progressions, using Moderation Benchmarks.
Sharing Digital Tools and Resources we can use with EAL/D students, including examples like Seesaw, Lexia, and Humanoid Robots.
This was my first time presenting to the EAL/D community. I have had previous experiences running professional development opportunities about digital technologies but this was different. I have been an EAL/D teacher since 2020, I am new to this area of teaching and learning and Trish Tynan has been my mentor for the last few years. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to collaborate with Trish and gain insights into the EAL/D profession. I have learnt a lot from Trish, especially in regards to our school processes for enrolments and the importance of data collection.
Whilst the PD itself was only 4 hours, there was a lot of behind the scenes work. Trish and I had multiple Zoom meetings to go over the content for the presentation. We created the Google Slide together and discussed the areas we would cover individually. Time was allocated to go over our own documentation, provide samples and evidence ready for the participants to view and engage with. We also set up digital files for our participants to have access to once the day was over, including assessment tools, the curriculum documents like the ACARA National Literacy Learning Progressions and the LEAP Level documents.
The experience for me was reaffirming that I am developing and building a solid EAL/D Programme within our school context. The feedback from my EAL/D colleagues was positive and supportive.
Below is the link to the LEAP Level documents which we use in the EAL/D Programme, and I have also attached the assessment tracking sheets. My next goal is to share these documents with all teaching staff at my own school. These would assist with planning, teaching and assessing for the benefit of our EAL/D students.
Presented by Fiona Howat, Literacy Coordinator, EALD Teacher R-6 at PAC.
The IPSHA EAL/D Hub Group meet twice a year. Fiona Howat from PAC hosted our meeting this September, 2021. It was lovely to reconnect with EAL/D colleagues from varying school settings across the state. We had the opportunity to discuss how our EAL/D students and families have been handling the pandemic and ways in which we have supported them in our schools. This is especially significant for the EAL/D community as many family members are overseas and being heavily effected by COVID. The inability to travel, visit their loved ones and the separation many families are experiencing is immense. We had important discussions about student well-being and mental health as well as discussions around the mental health of family members and teaching staff.
In table groups we brainstormed the following: Challenges for our EAL/D Families during COVID: International Community, Challenges to learning, for schools and teachers, challenges faced by students and EAL/D families. This was a great way to see different perspectives and look at ways we can assist people in our schools with the current issues being faced.
We also had the opportunity to read one of the attached articles and discuss our thoughts in groups. I have attached the articles here so I may go back and read the ones I wasn’t assigned on the day, they may be an interesting read for you also:
Vocabulary: As educators and specifically EAL/D teachers, we understand the importance of building vocabulary. What’s useful for EAL/D students is useful for ALL students. Refreshing and exploring words to understand our world and our learning is critical in making connections and expressing ourselves.
Today we looked at the “3 Tiers of Vocabulary” by Christina DeCarbo. Her website outlining the tiers is below.
We were all give a word from this attached document: semantic gradient .docx We were asked to line up from the lowest sounding word to the loudest. This demonstrated the way in which words can be perceived and how that can change in different contexts. I loved this idea and would love to do something similar with my students, see photo using colour paint cards from hardware stores. You can use this strategy in many ways, like creating a list of words more interesting than ‘said’, or writing synonyms.
Fiona set up a EAL/D Hub Meeting group on Google Docs to share valuable resources from our meeting. One of the tasks around building vocabulary involved us looking at picture books and targeting specific words within the text to assist students with connecting with the text and making connections with other texts. Here is an example from a book called “The Paper Bag Princess” by David Munsch
I attended this PD on the 12th of August as I am currently working with Reception EALD (English as Additional Language or Dialect) students who are developing their English language skills. This PD gave me some insights into the progressions of language and literacy development, as well as the opportunity to engage with other professionals and share resources.
These are my notes from the PD, I wrote these as a record of my own learning but also to share with colleagues, teachers and parents who wish to understand more about how students learn and what we can do to support them.
Expressive Language vs Receptive Language:
Receptive language means the ability to understand information. It involves understanding the words, sentences and meaning of what others say or what is read. Expressive language means being able to put thoughts into words and sentences, in a way that makes sense and is grammatically accurate.
Language & Literacy rich environments: What can we see/ hear in these environments?
Conversations between teachers and students, students with their peers.
Sharing of ideas, verbally, visually.
Vocabulary, opportunities for new words to be used and displayed in multiple languages
Curiosity around language, exploring languages through play, inquiry methods
Student voice, how do children contribute to the language rich environment, when are their voices heard? Class meetings, sharing time, student storytelling time, role plays and performance, audio recordings etc.
Setting Goals in these key areas? Form, Content & Use
I found it interesting to note that the main reasons for language delay are middle ear infections in early childhood that have gone untreated or a family history of learning difficulties.
How can we create flexibility in the use of vocabulary in the classroom? Routines in the classroom can sometimes be limiting as we tend to have repeated dialogue, which leaves less opportunity for the use of new vocabulary. The same language, same instructions, same responses from students continue. So, let’s try to change our routines a little, change the guiding questions during sharing times, use different vocabulary each week to begin your sharing times. Story times could be read by the teacher, an audio book, by a student or visitor/ parent.
The Screen Debate:
It’s important for families to spend time together, parents are the first people in a child’s life who influence their lives. When we talk about children developing receptive and expressive language skills, this starts at home. Every interaction, conversation, instruction, routine etc impacts this development. As we know, parents and their children are using screens more often than before (television, iPads, tablets, phones, laptops, computer games etc). This has meant that families are having less interactions and conversations, children are not developing those receptive and expressive language skills to meet milestones as they are having less opportunities to do so.
I am a parent, my son is almost 3 years old and he will watch videos on my phone or iPad, he also watches television and movies. Sometimes I will watch these with him and talk about what we have watched. I also like to watch a show or film that relates to a book we have read and then we role play and play games related to that book afterwards. I am fortunate to be working part-time this year, so I have the time to create activities and play with my son. I am not Early Childhood trained, but have been an educator of young children for 16 years now, and I know the importance of play with children and how much learning occurs through play. I believe it’s a balancing act, we will have screens in our lives and it’s how we use them, when we use them and how often this occurs that matters.
To give you some perspective on my experience, I woke up this morning at 6:30am with my son bright eyed and ready to play. He has played with his toys, we have read 2 books, eaten breakfast, which he helped me to make (banana pancakes, yummy). Now I am blogging at 8:30am whilst my son is watching nursery rhymes on my phone! It has given me 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted working time; I am guilty of using a screen/device to babysit so I can get some work done. I won’t finish this blog post today, it’s likely I will post it in a week’s time after 3 attempts to complete this post (EDIT: On my third attempt I finally finished)! Parents face this battle of finding a balance and sometimes screens help us to find some balance. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but I think being aware, mindful and balanced when it comes to our use of screens is extremely important. We don’t have screens at the dinner table, we have outdoor play times, inside play times and varied activities to keep my son engaged. I do worry about my son’s obsession with the iPad and my phone, I limit his time as he gets really upset when I take it away, I use a timer and verbal warnings so he knows that his time on the screen is almost over, this helps. This could be a whole blog post on its own, to be continued… drop me a comment if you feel this needs to be explored further.
What are Language Development Tasks?
Tasks that assist and encourage language development. You need to know the stages of Language Development to know where to begin and what stage to teach for your child/ student. Stephi was reluctant to use age-based milestones to show the stages of speech and language development, as this varies so much for students, however, as a parent and an educator, I like to know what typically should be achieved at a certain age. I found this website with a graphic that I think is useful:
I need more hours in my day to explore these hierarchy graphics. I want to understand them in more specific detail and how I am prompting my students through their learning. I am also interested in the language processing hierarchy, starting from the bottom, I understand the stages but would like to provide examples of how students do these things and demonstrate where they sit on this graphic.
The Essential Ingredients to ensure student language and literacy development:
Relationship, building connections with your learners
Fundamental Skills of Communication
Bloom and Lahey’s model:
Zone of Proximal Development: pitching learning at the right level for that child’s learning ability and progression.
Intent and Motivation for learners
Other personal notes of interest:
As educators we need to be careful not to assume the prior knowledge of our students.
Fine motor skills are not assessed or found in the curriculum, it’s an assumed skill, not being able to use scissors, draw a circle, use of screens, not knowing how to draw or hold a pencil etc. If a child cannot do these things they cannot begin writing, they need to develop their fine motor skills, pre-writing skills.
Learning to read and then reading to learn. Focus on comprehension, purposes of reading, for enjoyment, finding information, learning a skill, history, art appreciation etc. Too often we are focusing on word recognition, decoding strategies and reading words on a page instead of our purpose for reading. There is a place for both, obviously, but we need to teach all skills to assist with students seeing themselves as readers.
Early years. Spend time exploring our reality/ our environment. What can you see, hear, smell? Talk to me about what you can hear, see, smell? Etc. Model and provide alternative vocabulary when describing what you can see, hear and smell etc.
Language is not just about what we say. Explicitly teaching body language, eye contact, facial expressions, body gestures, hand gestures, posture. Awareness of self, then awareness of others. Social stories.
Resources to explore further:
Casey Caterpillar for fine motor development, kinaesthetic process.
To assist St Andrew’s Staff with current world events and dealing with the very likely possibility of remote or distance learning, I was asked to present information for teachers about how to explore, set and create learning activities that their students can access from home. I ran 3 Professional Development training sessions about the use of Seesaw Activities.
I became a Seesaw Ambassador in 2017, and have just updated my Seesaw Ambassador Training. I have been given great resources that I am sharing with you now.
Please note, our school setting has been using Seesaw for the last 4-5 years, this is a platform that is already familiar to our teachers, students and families, (the whole school community), which is why we have chosen to continue utilising this platform. We have mainly used Seesaw as a means to showcase student learning, like a digital portfolio.
I am aware that other online resources are being used to suit the needs of our teachers and students such as Edmodo, Showbie, Google Classrooms etc. Use what works for you.
Here is my PD Powerpoint presentation in a PDF format for my workshops. You can access all of the video links to assist you with exploring, assigning and creating your own Seesaw activities: Seesaw Activities PD 25:03:20
Next year I have been given the role of the EALD Teacher at St Andrew’s. I attended the EAL Hub Group Meeting at Pembroke Junior School today to gather some resources and learn about how the EALD program works within the Pembroke school context. Here are my notes from my professional development today.
Thanks Nikki for sharing your practice and hosting this hub meeting today. I look forward to attending the next hub meeting.
Initial Assessments for EAL Student:
Good resource: Oral Test: Book “You Choose” by Nick Sharrat.
Conversation about the images. Record conversation on iPad, receptive and expressive language assessment.
Written Test: Starting at Year 1 do oral and written assessment. Yr 2-7
Documentation: Areas of Success, Areas of Concern. Assessment sheet after conversation.
Use the Levelling Language and Literacy Levels Folder. PDF links below.
Traditional Grammar vs Functional Grammar. Look into this and make a decision within our school.
2 EAL sessions per group, per week. Students removed from class during literacy or LOTE lessons.
Building Teacher Capacities, supporting within the classroom instead of student withdrawal. Classroom teachers have more opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the children they have in their classrooms, supporting these teachers, literacy underpins all learning areas, showing them by leading sessions within their classes, modelling how to support their EAL students.
ELC & Reception- Oral activities, Games, Sorts, Songs and Stories
Speech Pathologists are a great resource
Apps: Toca Boca- Pronouns, Sago Mini- Pronouns and Prepositions,
Australian Apps: Play School, ABC Kids, Reading Doctor Apps, Hearbuilder Listening and Following Directions, Smashing Grammar, Padlet, Borrow Box (free just use a public library app to listen to audio books), EPIC (Free online audio books on app and website).Listening to audio books and hearing English at home makes a difference.
Schools are People Places: Building Trust is Essential
By Steve Francis
Today we had a staff professional development day about the importance of building trust in our work place and finding a good work life satisfaction and balance. I really enjoyed today’s PD and found it quite useful to have time to reflect on our current skills and what we could do to improve our individual situations. We also spent time unpacking effective teams and how to work efficiently and collaboratively.
Here are some of my notes and take aways from today’s session:
People Skills vs Technical Skills. In our profession you require people skills to be successful.
How do we build trust relationships?
Having credibility in other people’s eyes. 4 Cores: Character & Competence
Integrity (Do you do what you say you’re going to do?),
Intention (What they think our intentions are, assumptions about our intentions),
Results (Do we deliver, do we follow through with what we plan to do?)
Building Trust Relationships, 13 Behaviours
Talking straight- balance between sugar coating and addressing issues
Create transparency- no hidden agendas
Confront reality- address issues
Rights wrongs- when we make mistakes, own it, apologise
Listen first-be a good listener and understand what other people’s concerns are
Get better- strive to be our best and improve
Keep commitments- delivering on the promises we make, following through
Show loyalty- talk about people as if they were present
Deliver results- do the things that matter, that make a difference
Extend trust- trust others, we are a team
Parents see moments of truth and base their trust about ourselves and school in these moments of truth. These can be simple things like the way your classroom looks, the atmosphere in the yard before school, how a teacher greets people in the morning, what their children say about their day at pick up time etc.
Why work as a team? Lightens workload, shared experience, develops relationships, working to our strengths, feels good to be part of a team and feel trusted and to trust others.
Efficient, Effective and Consistency of good practise. Gives people a sense of connection and belonging.
Challenge others and ask them if they are living above the line of life. Below the line, we see blame, excuses and denial. Above the line we own our decisions, are accountable for our own actions and take responsibility in the role we play in our lives. I found this quite useful, and thought about applying this concept to student thinking. I have discussed the “Blame Game” with my students before, this could link in nicely.
How to respond to change: 3 choices
head in the sand
complain and deny
Stages of Change/ Concern
Information: What is the change, what do I need to know?
Personal impact: how will this impact me and my workload?
How to implement this change: what will we need to do to get this going?
Impact concerns: What impact have happened since the changes have occurred?
Collaboration: How do we work together to manage the change?
Refinement: Redo something that we didn’t do before, tweak and refine things.
You get to choose your attitude!
Attitudes are contagious. Is your attitude worth catching?
I loved this. It’s all a state of mind and how we deal in any given situation. I find that when I get into a negative headspace, feel pressured or stressed, my class picks up on my mood and we end up having a more challenging day. I want to bring this to my students’ attention. All of our attitudes are contagious, act with kindness, be treated kindly, act with anger, receive anger etc. Something to think about.
7 Steps to Successful Change
What would I need to accomplish today to feel good about the day?What is the most important thing for me to do now?
Email warning: Email Survival Rules
4 D’s: Delete, Delegate, Do it Now Or Decline. Deal with it, Decide and move on.
7 Tips to Increase Work Life Satisfaction
Monitor your self talk
Stop Feeling guilty about what you haven’t done
Stick to your golden rules (Own family rules that suit needs of all, create with partners)
Use your time well
Keep perspective: in a year from now, will this matter?
Look after yourself: self care routines
Avoid DHS (Deferred Happiness Syndrome)
Overall, I had a great day. I had time to reflect on my personal work life balance and satisfaction and identify the areas I need to be more mindful of. In particular, I need to think about self care, exercising and having some me time. All very well and good however, I find excuses or busy myself, especially when I’m working/ teaching full time, have a 2 year old and two teenagers at home, am planning our wedding (happening this Saturday!) and running a household cooking, cleaning, etc. Luckily I have a great partner at home and we support one another. Both of us being teachers, we understand the pressure, workload and needs required to be successful and manage.
The point from today is, we are all busy and we need to prioritise what’s important, address what needs to be done first and don’t sweat the small stuff. Make time for the important things and use systems to be efficient with our time. Teaching is a demanding and highly rewarding profession. I get great work satisfaction as this is my passion, however it can also be draining and mentally challenging. Finding a healthy balance is key.
Here’s to a positive start to Term 4, starting refreshed after a holiday, excited about our wedding this weekend and looking forward to a strong and rewarding finish to a wonderful year back with my Year 3’s.
Professional Development Monday 16th September 2019
My team and I attended this professional development today with the intention to learn, develop and build positive mindsets in our students and in our school community. Here are a few of my notes from today and the key messages I am taking back with me.
Healthy Relationships: Essential Goodness, every person is born with goodness, try to see this and harness it in every child. No one is going to learn from being constantly criticised. We build connections, see the child for who they are and their essential goodness, then build from there. Children won’t learn from people they don’t like. Developing good, trusting and healthy relationships is key.
Emotions are contagious. Be mindful of the emotions you bring to the room. Talk about this with your students, be aware of the moods we bring to the classroom.
Compassion: In moments of sadness, you are not alone. Building communities that want to care for each other. Compassion is crucial for the thread of society. Compassion starts with Self-Compassion. Self care and self forgiveness. Compassion doesn’t come naturally to everybody and this can be learnt.
What are the things that you do for yourself that make you feel good?
Empathy: It isn’t all about you! How are other people feeling? Can we care about other’s feelings and put ourselves in their shoes? We teach this by being empathetic beings ourselves, model this for our students.
App suggestion for meditation, gratification practise and set an intention for living: Buddhify: https://buddhify.com/
Taming the Inner Critic: What does our inner critic say? Is this true? How can we challenge that inner critic? Write down 5 nice things you can say about yourself. Inner Critic vs Inner Hero get into the healthy habit, don’t believe every thought that comes into your head. Reflect on your inner critic comments. Are those thoughts true, are they helpful, would you say it or think it about someone else?
Using EQ and Disagreeing Gracefully: It is hard to disagree with others, and usually when we disagree we have big emotions, so our thinking is low.
The Fixed Position: Letting go of the need to be right. Meeting people half way.
Respectful disagreements framework.
Win-win:The art of compromise.
Optimism: Rational Optimism. Try to find something good and rational. We are born with a negative bias. Brains were designed to look out for problems or dangers, the fight, flight or freeze mode. These are good indicators of how we are feeling. If you don’t feel right, it’s probably not right. Trust your gut instincts. Tune into your own feelings, are they rational or irrational feelings?
Top 3 things to be happier and more resilient:
1. Gratitude Practice
2. Identify 3 things that went well in your day/ life (This improves levels of optimism)
3. Swapping the phrase “Have to” to “Get to”. “Do we have to do this?” to “Do we get to do this?” I have to go to school today, I have to clean my room, I have to eat my dinner, I have to do my homework, I have to hang out the washing etc These are negative mindsets about our day and the jobs we need to do. But if we changed the dialogue to “I get to” then it becomes “I get to clean my room, because I have so many toys to play with, I get to eat dinner, some children don’t have food to eat, I get to do my homework because I’m lucky to receive an education, I get to hang out the washing because I have clean clothes to wear” Etc.
Being productive and capable in hardship. Children need to feel capable, because it’s the opposite of feeling insecure, less confident and hopeless. Is there anything you can do to turn this around? What actions could you take to make things right again? Moving past the victim mentality. Teaching children to think: I am hopeful, powerful and capable.
Problem Solving and Decision Making through Agency and Self-Efficacy:
Strengths. Self-Efficacy and Poise. How to weigh things up. Every time we tell our children what to do or solve their problems for them we do not allow them to wire up their thinking to solve problems for themselves. What are you going to do to solve your problem? Give them ownership, don’t jump in to solve their problem. We won’t be there to solve their problems in all situations, we need to let them feel disappointment, be upset, experience pain, so we can learn how to sit in those feelings and be okay, and then work out how we could solve or work on the problem for next time. To become a good decision maker as an adult you need to have experiences, make mistakes when they are little to learn from them.
Poise: If you are angry, upset, overwhelmed etc the BEST thing you can do is to not do or say anything at all! Wait until you are calm and can think clearly.
Group Meetings, Family Meetings, the importance of getting your group together regularly to meet and discuss how things are going. Structured and safe opportunity to catch up and discuss how your group is functioning. All groups/ families have problems, normalising this and giving everyone the opportunity to enter a discussion to address these problems. Once a week is ideal. Give children the opportunity to share their opinions and suggest ways to solve their own problems. Student voice, we all function at our best when we have a voice. The goal is to solve the problems together, we don’t solve their problems for them. Student ownership.
Challenging Feelings: Emotional regulation, in order to get good at handling your feelings you have to know yourself well and you have to be compassionate towards others. Acknowledge the feelings, name them. What is it you’re feeling? Accept that feeling. Do not resist that feeling. Key lessons to help us manage and deal with our challenging feelings: Gratitude Practice, Movement, Laughter, Music, Acts of Kindness, Watch what you watch (video games, social media, television programmes and movies that desensitise us to violence, negativity, it will leave negativity within you and decrease your empathy), Mindfulness, breathing & presence.
What can we do to help you with your wellbeing? Always ask the students what they want/ need to feel okay.
Meaning and purpose in everyday things and life. Help children to tune in to who they are, what is your purpose?
Fun for the sake of fun. Flow, knowing how to enjoy your life and lose yourself in the moment.
Choose who you spend time with, sleep, fire to wire.
Turning on your happy hormones:
Dopamine. Set small achievable goals. When we set a goal we give ourselves a sense of achievement, a reward.
Endorphins: Movement, exercise.
Oxytocin: Trust and receive trust, improve your social bonds.
Serotonin: The “one up” feeling. Have an awareness of this, self-confidence and self-esteem is impacted by this. Comparing ourselves to others and feeling we are “better” than others.
Here are a couple of videos from today I thought were worth sharing with students about their minds and acts of kindness.
Sentis: Neuroplasticity Clip: Our brains change based on our choices of behaviour and what we feed it.
Random Acts of Kindness: Colour Your World With Kindness
Smiles are contagious. Activity 1 minute smile with a partner, try not to smile. I will be doing this with my class. I found it so challenging not to smile when someone was smiling at me. Smiling is contagious and so are our moods. Come to school with a positive mindset.
I often remind my students that I do not have all of the answers. Teachers are not the keepers of knowledge and we are also learners. A good teacher learns with their students, demonstrating the traits of a good learner. I thought I should blog about my recent learning journey and what I feel are traits of a good learner.
As I’ve been on school holidays, I’ve had the opportunity to put myself in the shoes of the learner in an area of personal interest. My wonderful partner (Andy Peartree) gave me the BEST Christmas present, it was a full day Watercolour Art Class, taught by Karan Hudson (http://cmla.org.au/pdf/Karan_Hudson_Artist_Bio.pdf )
Before the class I was quite nervous, especially as I hadn’t been to an art class in many years and I wondered if I still possessed any relevant skills. This helped me to remember that my students this year may be feeling rather nervous on their first day of school or at the start of a new lesson. I will keep this in mind and try my best to put their minds at ease.
Karan Hudson is also a primary school art teacher and she believes in play based learning and inquiry methods, something I also believe and practice in my own teaching. Karan began by sharing her knowledge and experiences, directed us to gather the tools we required, and then allowed us time to set up, explore and play with the watercolour paints, various papers and brushes. I loved having the time to play and explore.
At first I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to paint, but I didn’t feel pressured, I was given some guidance along the way and then it all just happened. Before I knew it the day was over, I felt completely relaxed and in the pocket of learning. I was applying new techniques, seeking guidance from my teacher when I was unsure, experimenting, making mistakes and learning from them to enhance my next attempt. It was such a wonderful day and I left with a sense of real achievement, reconnected to my love of painting and creating.
Here are some of my paintings from the day:
My pear, for my partner Mr Peartree. I wet the page without paint, outlining the pear first so that the colour wouldn’t run, then I added the colour gradually, blending all of the different tones. The Poppy painting was created using leaves to print with. I quite liked the effect.
Landscape experiments, I loved how the paint moved and spread on the paper, it created wonderful natural lines.
The rock salt creates an effect on the paint, drawing the colour to the salt creating darker, grainy patches. I used the splatter effect by flicking the bristles of a brush on the page for the crashing of waves on the rocks. I also loved learning how to use glad wrap to create the lines on the rocks.
Glad wrap method.
A photo of the class at work. Everybody was so engaged and busy creating. I loved the opportunity to stop and wander around to look at what everybody else was doing. Not one painting was the same, we were all using the techniques taught but we were all creating our own uniques pieces. I often saw what someone else was doing and became inspired to try what they had done. I have used this technique in class with my students, it is a great strategy, especially for those who are a bit lost, need inspiration or if I want to share something that someone in the class has done as a good example.
Enough about my lovely art class!
Here are my Top 5 Traits of a Good Learner:
Curiosity/ Inquirer: Someone who likes to explore their world, asks questions, tries new things, plays and investigates.
Risk- Taker: Someone who is willing to learn, make mistakes and learn from them.
Persistence: Someone who isn’t afraid to experiment with learning. Someone who tries something, fails, learns from their mistakes, then tries again.
Open Minded: Someone who has an open mindset and is willing to try new things. Being willing to have a go, even if it’s something you’re not feeling confident about.
Reflective: Someone who thinks about their own learning. What’s the point in learning something if we don’t reflect on what it has taught us? Share what you have learnt with others, teach somebody else a new skill, take the time to appreciate your own efforts. Most importantly, use what you have learnt to make connections with new learning.
Before I finish, I want to point out that I am aware that my Top 5 Traits of a Good Learner are some of the IB Learner Profiles. I believe in the IB Philosophy and have seen these traits in my students. I like to help my students identify these traits in themselves throughout our year together.
Also, if you haven’t put yourself in the position of a learner in a while, I challenge you to take a class, be a risk taker and enjoy the ride. Lifelong learning makes living worthwhile.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you found it interesting.