Missed Opportunities

I went for a walk along Manly Beach this morning. I recognised a face on the beach; a young dad enjoying some quality time with his kids in shallow water. It was Joel Parkinson. The Australian Open Surf Championships began on the weekend. It dawned on me I had missed a fantastic opportunity. Sometimes you get caught up with meeting deadlines and other administrative duties you fail to see the forest for the trees.

This was a fantastic excursion opportunity for PASS and SLR students, who are currently studying Event Management at my school. It certainly would have addressed all the dimensions of the NSW Quality Teaching Framework. Significance: having an event such as this near your own back yard immediately creates a connection with the students. I believe that “significance” is a critical ingredient. It could be the key to engaging students in a task. Quality Learning Environment: rather than having to create mock activities, watch videos, or rely on our own school carnivals, there is an actual showcase just down the road, where the students can experience firsthand. Intellectual Quality: where do I start? Addresses all the meta language from the syllabus/program.

There are often programs, activities and the sort happening within our communities that we are oblivious to. They provide perfect opportunities to support the education of our students and maybe spark their engagement to the task. Getting students out of school is always a good thing. Understandably there are always school protocols and systems for organising excursions so that planned activities do not interfere with other planned activities. In my school excursion forms have to be in at least two weeks before the excursion. However, there are exceptions for every rule. Maybe I haven’t missed this opportunity.

There are many aspects of the championship for the students to analyse: the venue, facilities, display of the draw, role of the announcer, advertising, merchandising, sponsorship, security presence, amenities, accommodation provisions, food, the list goes on.

Police Presence

One thing that impressed me, and I’m sure the students would revel in, is a game the sponsors have set up to involve/engage the community/spectators. Sponsor representatives distribute ID cards that individuals scan at various booths around Manly – opportunity to win prizes during the day. The major prize each day a Blackberry playbook tablet. I won a pair of sunnies – woohoo!

ID Card Booth

Just imagine what some of our students can come up with in a venue like this: the photos, recorded interviews (with spectators, organisers, police, competitors, Joel parkinson), sample merchadise, win a major prize, an excellent analysis of a major event, enthusiasm for my subject.

Oh, I also bought a T-shirt. $10 of the $30 price goes to Surf Aid.

I better get that VOR (variation to routine) in for tomorrow.

Is anyone doing anything creative about the London Olympic Games? How often do you take your students on excursions?

First lesson with my year 7s

I’ve been pretty excited about th opportunity to use my Agile Learning Space throughout the holidays. I thought I’d take the easy option and capture on film an introductory lesson with my new year 7 class.

I always start by going through class rules and assessment expectations with any class at the beginning of the year. I folded all the flip tables and wheeled them to the perimeter of the room. Students sat on the carpet as I introduced myself and explained the special features of this learning space.

They sat attentively for 20-25 minutes listening to me ramble on. I thought it was time to move. I asked the students to set up the tables, where they wished, around the room – and that each table would accommodate 6 students. After the tables were set I distributed their workbooks, and instructed them to write my name and theirs on the spaces provided on the cover.

I presented a short introduction of the first health topic: “Changes and Challenges”. I wanted to find out what they’ve learned about PDHPE in primary school, so we had a brainstorm activity. You’ll see students bring butchers’ paper to their desks for this task. It was great to see the students engaged and collaborating with this simple activity.

To share their ideas we moved all the tables to the centre of the room and spread the butchers’ paper on top of the tables. We walked around the tables and I remarked on the common themes as well as the differences between the groups’ ideas.

We finished off the lesson by packing the tables away. I wanted to show them the video clip I had just taken, using the iMotion app on my phone. When the tables were packed away, the Year Adviser requested if she could distribute time tables and convey a brief message. The students did get to see the video clip bellow. It was a nice way finish to the lesson.

I would love to hear of any group activities you feel would work well in my Agile Classroom.