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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Putting It Together

It has been a really challenging yet a heart thumping week. Having Zubaidah and Rini over was really helpful. At least I do not have to get dressed and leave the house…and it was a pleasure having them over! We not only learnt a lot from each other..we learnt a lot ABOUT each other too. We each have our strengths and we tap on that to get this assignment completed.

We discussed on our approach. How do we want to present the powerpoint slides. We encountered some technical problems and fortunately Rini managed to get some help. It’s really important to have connections in times like this…hehehe.

I learnt something new from using Ulead software..similar to Moviemaker but it has more features. To be IT savvy comes in handy at this time! We encountered other glitches too, finding an appropriate background music and downloading it and even converting the files. Wow..a real eye-opener! But I am glad we were doing it together! All for one and one for all!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cooperative Learning Strategy at Work..

We decided that the best way to get through this is to strategize – Divide and Conquer! We divided our work and my task was to find out as much as I can about Thinking School Learning Nation (TSLN) and Teach Less Learn More (TLLM) …and also about the Allied Educators. We were supposed to surf on the net and gather as much info as we can.
I have always been a little bit fuzzy about TSLN and TLLM. It used to be the buzz words a couple of years back..before PETALS and PERI came about.
Now then it is clear that TSLN was the very first initiative before TLLM came about. TLLM is a subset of TSLN…more like under the umbrella of TSLN.
“We’ve got to TEACH LESS to our students so that they can LEARN
                       PM Lee Hsien Loong
                       National Day Rally Speech, 2004

Even though, PETALS and PERI are going to be the IN-thing now, I realize that where we are today, is a result of TSLN and TLLM initiatives because they were the building blocks of our current achievement. These initiatives had given the direction and drive to all stakeholders to move forward!

So…looking forward to my next meeting with my group members and can’t wait to share! I’m sure we will be experts in the initiatives assigned to us and will be sharing to the best of our knowledge!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2nd Reflection

Second Reflection

            We eventually met on the 15th of Sept for our group discussion. Feeling anxious and overwhelm with the task ahead! Being a full-time teacher and mother, each and every one of us have our constraints. But there is no doubt that we were all excited. After all, this is our very first assignment in the pursuit of a Bachelor of Education. It’s like our baby!
I must admit that we were kind of groping initially. We didn’t know where to start. The internet was our saviour! We googled and came across loads of information on the initiatives in the Singapore Education system. We were drowned!
            We spent close to 2 solid hours on the internet and putting things into perspective. When we had identified the all the initiatives between 1997 to date (we hope we are on the right track!), we decided to divide our work fairly so that each could go back and be an expert on the initiatives allocated to her and return with as much info as possible to be shared. We hope to put together a team product by contributing a piece of the puzzle.
            Every one contributed her ideas and the discussion I must say, was a productive and fruitful one. Cooperative learning, beyond any doubt, promotes learning and fosters respect and friendships among us. We took turns, accepted and even negotiated with each other’s ideas. No idea was too small or too little. We plan to meet in a week’s time and hope to consolidate our findings. Till then…
On reflection, I personally felt that it is easier now to work as a team as compared to back then when I was doing my Diploma. I guess that it comes with age…hehehe!

We hope to complete our jigsaw as we race against time!

1st Reflection

First Reflection

Invigorated! That’s how I felt once I stepped out of the room…out of my AKM101 class that is. I felt energized and refreshed..mentally..just as I felt after one of those spa sessions.
The Tangrams activity was like an appertizer. I have not been teaching Maths for two years so I was kind of out of touch..a little bit intimidated as well especially when I stepped into the class, everyone was busy at work. Initially it sounded like a mahjong session. When I was given the tangrams set..ahhh something familiar! Frustrating but still entertaining. When I was young, I was introduced to tangrams as a free form activity, just making shapes of rabbit and boat out of it. But of course over the years tangrams kept popping up now and then ratios, areas and geometry lessons. It was a good trigger and engaging activity and I must say that I enjoyed it!
When the lessons progressed to the Mathematics framework, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I have always been in the Science Department as long as I can recall. Nevertheless, Dr Yap’s delivery of the lesson was light yet packed with information that I found myself nodding as I was trying to absorb and register the salient points. The lesson unraveled things which normally most of us would not stop to ask ourselves- simple questions like why do we need Maths in our lives- which we as teachers sometimes forget to ask our pupils.
  I began to understand and appreciate the initiatives in our education system. When TSLN was launched in 1997, it was the buzz word and I was just following the flow..then when TLLM came about, I remembered we were all happy thinking that we would be cutting back on the content. Finally sitting there in the room, with my other 16 course mates, I realized that the initiatives have not just changed but metamorphosised over the years for good reasons. We want to nurture and mould our pupils to be equipped for the future challenges and have a globalised outlook. Not just exam smart!
Hmm..finally when Dr Yap rolled out his expectations for his class…GULP..blogging is something that have not caught up with me…or more accurately..I have not kept up with! But somehow when I have started on my reflections, I felt that I could not stop..probably I was intimidated with the use of IT..not being IT savvy is something I must admit.
Nevertheless, I really do look forward to my next Maths-Spa session and meeting my group members for the group work! Teaming up with Zubaidah and Angrini would be fun..Maths-Spa with the ladies!