Friday, November 26, 2010

Professional Development Lesson 2

Apparently I was on Medical Leave on 23rd Nov. Feeling weak but apparently was more concerned about missing out on valuable info during this very last meet-up class session with my wonderful fellow coursemates...not forgetting Dr Yeap of course!

Fortunately, great friends of mine took down some notes and was able to read up on Lesson Study and its characteristics. Quite a bit of reading and digesting required. Well..nothing beats being there in the class myself!:)

On reflection, I feel that the trip down to NTU has been well worth it...and there will be many, many, many more of that trip...hehehe! Feel energized and recharged!( Mentally..)

Many thanks to Dr Yeap for the invaluable lessons and the time you spent in preparing and designing all the interesting and fun activities for us! Learnt a lot I do hope to try them out in my classes in 2011! Look forward to attending your classes in the near future!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Professional Development Lesson 1

v    Professional Learning Community

PLC…the IN-thing… interesting! Having read the article on PLC, I found it to be familiar in a couple of  ways, to stuffs that many of us  have been practicing. In the name of sharing and learning, we call it. The culture of collaboration has long been practiced by many, though they are others who would prefer to remain quiet in terms of ‘sharing’. The fact that one of the features is to ‘make public’ what used to traditionally private, is a welcoming and refreshing element of PLC. It captures the real essence of sharing since everyone in the team “has access to the ideas, materials, strategies and even talents of the entire team.”  Everyone will benefit , teachers and pupils. It’s a win-win situation! :)
3 essential take-aways…
1) Focuses on learning
2) Instills culture of collaboration
3) Accountability for results

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Initiatives in Assessment 2

Marching out of our classroom…to measure the height of a pillar!!! Dr Yeap gave a simple instruction – measure the height of the pillar using whatever way  we can. We brainstormed amongst ourselves…little laughter was heard once in a while…probably laughing at our unorthodox ideas of trying to find the height of the pillar! Very interesting and entertaining indeed…

Eventually back in the classroom, we shared our different approaches and Dr Yeap put in down on the whiteboard for discussion and sharing. From the direct measurement method to those that are beyond direct measurement. Some methods were rather sophisticated and enlightening to know that they are workable. Great work guys..really learnt a lot that night!

Dr Yeap reiterated that assessment is tool that must be emplaced – whether is a formal, informal, formative or summative- assessment is a must! Assessment is useful to help a child develop further. The challenge for us teachers, is to identify the most important things which we want to assess, prioritize them and craft an activity or the traditional pen-paper test to measure what we intended to measure.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Initiatives in Assessment 1

The topic that night circles on the purpose of assessment. It was amazing to see an ‘interactive’ lecture carried out by Dr Yeap. He did not plonk the contents of the lecture to us, rather he elicited the contents from us. From a blank whiteboard, it was eventually loaded with information, very nicely done on a flow-chart or something to that effect.
 The discussion centers around matters such as why do we need assessment and the tools for assessment. In general, assessment is needed to check for understanding as it gives us essential information and feedback as to whether what is intended for learning has been learnt.
We also discussed on validity and reliability of the assessment tools. Then there was data collection and what do we do with them, that is the purpose of  the data and how do we interpret them. It was an enriching discussion I would say, coz it clears my doubts and refreshes my understanding. No doubt that learning was taking place ( we need to recharge ourselves!!!)  and I think all of us agreed that we enjoyed Dr Yeap’s classes very much! :))

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Initiatives in Teaching and Learning 2

Quite a bit was discussed on Metacognition.
The emphasis is not so much on the answer itself but how the answer is derived. What were the strategies and methods used, what questions were raised in solving the task given. When a child asks questions, a lot of thinking is going through his mind. Before he pops the questions, he had to go through a bit of internal or self-questioning.
When Dr Yeap asked us to share aloud our methods or strategies, he is asking us to think about ‘our thinking’. Then he would encourage us to look into any other ways to solve the problem and then reflect on them, as to whether they are appropriate or not. In our sharing to solve the tasks given, we were actually practicing “Metacognition” even without us realizing.
I truly enjoyed the problem-solving questions on Tiles. We were given the conditions to draw a 4-sided figure on the matrix dots/geoboards which would give an area of 5cm². We came up with all shapes of 4-sided figure but the most interesting part was to explain and confirm that the figure has an area of 5cm². That was the challenge…but that was what, that made the activity interesting!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Initiatives in Teaching and Learning 1

Yipeee…we are back in class after a long break…well not exactly a break coz we were tied down with completing our first group assignment! An unforgettable experience indeed…trying to juggle between work, family and studies!!!!!

Dr Yeap had this on his easel-
1)     Salute
2)     Card Game –Magic Touch
3)     Take 1,Take 2
4)     Multiplication

That’s what in store for us among many things. I must say that I enjoyed and looked forward to the many maths games which Dr Yeap had prepared for us. These games are hands-on and require us to work in small groups. The concept of addition and multiplication is integrated into the design of the maths games. We asked each other questions and that actually is the essence of an inquiry-based lesson but done in a fun way. Putting myself in the shoes of my students, I feel excited though sometimes a little bit overwhelmed. Now I can, not only see but feel how hands-on tasks can benefit students.
But the best about Dr Yeap’s class is the TONE of environment. No answer is absolutely wrong and even though if it is not quite right, nobody feels hesitant about sharing his or her opinion. That takes the pressure off us and that enjoyable learning atmosphere is important to learning itself.
True to the initiatives which we had read so much about, I saw TLLM and PETALS being incorporated in our class activities that night.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Final Reflection for Group Assignment

Was constantly getting in touch with each other before the final submission. We went through the slides once again and spotted some things which needed correction. Finally after a couple of changes, we decided that we were satisfied with what we have. Though we feel that there can still be room for improvement, we were happy coz we felt that the entire process itself was an enriching learning experience. We learnt many new things and were excited somehow. I’m sure our course mates felt pretty much the same!
Now I feel more confident to embark on the next assignment – the individual task! Feels daunting though..the fact that it is an individual effort! But I bet I am not alone! My friends will always be there for me in as much as I am here for them! J