Monday, 16 September 2019

Whānau Pride - A Student Motivator

Throughout the year I have been sending home 2 Miss D is proud certificates per week, as previously blogged about hereTo check in how they've gone so far, I decided to ask 8 students the below key questions about the certificates, to use their feedback to reflect;
How did you feel when you received the certificate?
- How did your caregivers respond?
- Have you had any positive things sent home like this before?
- Do you think receiving the certificate affected how you were in Health/PE afterward?
- Would you suggest I continue to send these? Why/Why not?

Although I have 5 major classes, I have only sent one certificate to one Year 13 so far, so decided to focus on my Years 9-12 for feedback. Alongside are some of the key comments the students made, which left me thinking further (and feeling warm fuzzies!).

When I went through the students' responses to the above questions, the common words which appeared were good (8/8), proud (5/8), happy (4) and recognised (4). The overall consensus was that students felt good or happy they had been recognised for working hard in Health and/or PE, and their caregivers were proud of them. This is great news, because this was the intent of the certificates - to increase positive messages and connections with whānau and to spend some of my time acknowledging the incredible things the kids are doing (as opposed to the time needed to spend chasing up students who have been off-task or not self managed for example). Many of the students also spoke about how the certificate started positive conversations with their caregivers about their school successes!

Between this feedback and my own observations, I have noticed how I have begun to look forward to Friday morning when I sent home the certificates. Although some times I struggle to narrow them down to only 2, and other times struggle to think of 2 people who have gone above and beyond, it is a great feeling spreading positivity home to the students and their whānau, making me more excited and passionate about my teaching in hope to send more home!

Another interesting statistic and observation, was the difference in student responses within my class, after the students had received the certificate. 4/8 students explained  that receiving a certificate did positively affect how they were in my class after, 3 Juniors and 1 Senior. Some commented it motivated them to continue to succeed, and others said it made them feel special I had recognised them, so they wanted to give their best to continue to be recognised. The 4/8 students who said the certificate did not affect how they were in my class afterward were interestingly all high academic students, who already want to be successful and I don't think the certificates made a direct difference to their engagement or work ethic for example (as identified by the other 4). Though, the certificates possibly strengthened my relationships with these students. In conjunction with these stats, I have observed the students who are in Years 9&10 are generally more positively receptive to the idea than the Years 11&12. Possibly the Seniors feel the certificate is childish, so I may need to reconsider what to do next year for my Seniors. But I will definitely be keeping the certificates going - particularly as my Year 11s have now started calling it a club that only some people are part of!

A couple of further comments/suggestions from the students I will consider further;
- Tell my classes at the beginning of the year, so the students know they may receive one if they go above and beyond. (This year I've kept it on the complete down-low, and sent the certificates directly home, without discussing them or who received them with my classes). BUT students may feel disheartened if they know about it, but don't receive one.
- Have a board of all of the 'members' and/or the 'ex-members' of the 'club', so we could strive to get onto the board.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Integration: A Different Lens

In our school currently, there is one Year 11 integrated Sport in Education class. The class was pioneered last year and continued this year. This year there is one PE teacher integrating a class with one Maths teacher. Sport in Education was designed as a pedagogical tool to increase engagement and learning, using sport as a platform. Recently I was grateful to attend the Auckland regional hui for the current schools implementing a Sport Ed model/class.

Throughout the day, facilitated by Celia Fleck, we heard synopses of the school programmes as well as the challenges they have faced throughout the process. I really enjoyed the day, as I could relate a lot of the discussion to our current PLGs as we develop our 2020 integrated units (see here for more info about my group). Some of the key points/things that stuck with me were;
  • When creating integrated units, consider how you can embed the school values within the unit, so can easily refer to the values.
  • If possible, have incentives for lower level/lower motivated students.
  • Look into the use of other assessments (i.e. achievement objectives or internals), that are outside of your curriculum area (such as sports psychology within Senior PE).
  • When assessing against the A.O.'s, ensure the rubric is the same for all students, and thus all teachers. Split the students and try have the teachers marking for all curriculum areas, and then moderate some together.
  • Know your why - what is the purpose of the unit?
  • Don't refer to the courses as the subject names, or the teachers as the PE teacher for example, because it continues to reinforce the silos.
  • It is important to have regular meetings and open communication with your co-teachers.
  • If the links aren't there, don't force them!
  • Have a skill versus content drive - what skills would you like the students to develop throughout this unit as opposed to what content would you like them to learn?
We had one discussion about trying new things; teaching methods, resources, activities, and how this can be nerve-racking - especially when few or no people have tried that thing before. But, it is important someone begins the movement to implement new things, to get momentum on that - just like the dancing guy below! I'm looking forward to being able to develop more of our 2020 unit, implement it next year and share our process with others, just like the school's did at the Sport Ed hui.