Week Seven.

This week I was thankful to be in kindergarten again. The morning was a day dedicated to art! There was a range of activities I worked with; Mother’s Day cards, Anzac Day colouring in sheets and making their own story books. My favourite part about the story-books was that all the students had one topic. The topic was “My dad is, my dad like to, my dad has”. Despite the same topic, it was lovely to see all the different creations the kids came up with. The students described so many different occupations, interests and funny things thing about their dad.

Then we did maths. The activity I witness was structured around ‘counting by twos’. The teacher had the students sit in a horse-shoe, where she sat in the gap and she brought out the blocks. This straight away had the students engaged in the lesson that was set out before them. As the students were already quite frequent in counting by ones, counting by twos was the next step. She lay the blocks out in groups of twos and started counting, “2, 4, 6, 8, 10!”. She taught the method of ‘checking’ to the students. This involved then recounting the blocks by one to see if they reached the same numerical result.


Week Six.

This week I was with kindergarten. This age group is very different from year three! It really showed me how much development happens within those two years. The activities I was submerged in varied from reading to maths, English, art, scripture, science and free-play. One thing I noticed that left an impact on me was the w ay a group of students responded to free-play. I saw a group of boys on the iPads, others playing with play dough, dress-ups and Lego. The group that stood out to me was a group of girls who had sat at their desks and started to colour in. One of these girls pretended to be their teacher and would walk around the tables in the same upward stance that their teacher did. She would make comments such as, “good work!” and “you have five minutes left” It surprised how these students considered this as their enjoyment and play time but also how much they looked up to their teacher. It can be so common to think that students only learn skills and content from their teacher, but these little kindergarten girls showed me how they are shaped as human beings by those that surround them. Just the way their teacher gave positive reinforcement is what they consider to be worth repeating.


Week Four.

Mathematics has always and will always be such a low point for me. I have only passed very few maths exams in my life. This week, I was teaching maths! Despite it only being year 3 level where the content was all addition and subtraction, the method in which they did so was rather difficult to wrap my head around. I am not quite sure how to put it to words, but it was basically subtracting a small number from a big number by finding the nearest 10 based number and adding that number to the 1 based numbers. I was beyond confused and had to check my own work before checking the students. Later that day I was rethinking the math problem in my mind and found that it was a lot easier the second time round. This may as well have been a result of repetition but I also believe it was the result of not being under pressure from their teacher observing me as well as the student’s counting on me to teach them.

Week Three.

This week I was given the same year 3 class. Initially, it was easier as the students remembered my face and were happy to see me again. This time around I was once again going through the student’s stories and critiquing their work. My biggest challenge this time was that even though there were many grammatical mistakes within their work, they did not like to be corrected. I tried many different techniques to allow them to see the error, techniques like, and “lets have a look at this sentence again Now, I am going to read the same sentence out twice. The first time I will read it without a comma after this word and the second time I will read it with a comma after this word.” This was one of the few techniques I tried to allow the students to see the error without it being spoon-fed to them. It was a success in the sense that they saw the error, but they preferred it being wrong and thus refused to change it. Whilst this was quite comical to me, I did not know how to tell them they were wrong without being too harsh. But at least I have something to work on in the next few weeks to improve one area of my teaching application.

This week I also got to witness their teacher use negative reinforcement, “Charles, If you cant concentrate on this lesson there will be no Lego time after”. It definitely made Charles listen more intently.



Week Two.

This week I was designated to a Year 3 Class. As soon as I was immersed in the class I was already faced with a challenge. The students were set a topic of looking at a blank picture book (only pictures no words) and they were instructed to create their own story by first writing it down onto a piece of paper and then transferring it onto their iPad. The students also had to record their voices reading their stories to create an audio book.

I was given a student to work with by their regular teacher. The challenge I found here was that I was told to critique their work, that is, fix up any spelling mistakes, punctuation errors etc. however, I was faced with a new app on the ipad that I had never seen, I was told to look for specific sentence structures that I have not done myself since I was a year 3 student, and I was expected to work confidently with what was laid out in front of me with no prior demonstration. This was rather shocking as I didn’t expect to be a position to teach when I didn’t even know the material I was teaching.

This experience has taught me the value of lesson planning: to know what you want to teach so you don’t count the seconds dragging by when you’re stuck with no material to share.

One pleasant experience I encountered during this time was that the students didn’t want me to leave. I must have made some positive impact.

Week One.

My first week of community engagement was quite basic. I was introduced to some of the teachers I would be working with and I met some other students from ACU that have also chosen this school for their placement. The first week consisted of an induction. This included the values, vision and expectation of the school and training in their course MULILIT. A handout was provided to us with all the information we needed to know about the school. This included their mission and vision, school timetable, outline of the day, duties, staff list and expectations. MULTILIT training consisted of a PowerPoint slide that instructed us on how to properly go through these designated worksheets with the students. As this was the first week and there was no contact with any students just yet, there were no any challenges to be endured, despite form the new environment with fresh faces to recognise and new names to learn.

Summative Entry 2017 Semester One

It is surreal to think that exactly this time last year, I was writing my very first summative entry! I had just completed my first semester at University and now I have just completed my third. It has gone fast and slow all at the same time. During this course I have had three art gallery visits. The important lesson I learnt from these visits was the power of literature; that emotion can express itself through essays, paintings, poems, songs, stories, plays, characters, pictures, colours, music and more that I am yet to unravel. Throughout the first year and a half of my literature degree, so many texts have been read that have opened my eyes to see the power of communication between each other, society and ourselves.

This semester, I had the privilege of exploring texts that varied from poems, short stories, essays, plays, novels and paintings. These diverse texts were deeply explored through blog entries every week. My insights into these texts were greatly widened by exploring my personal views on each text on a weekly basis, as well as peer reviewing those that are in my class. Seeing the same text analysed through various perspectives also contributed to my knowledge of the text as well as enhanced my marking skills. These weekly entries were helpful in expanding my knowledge and developing my analysis skills when critiquing a piece.

Over the course of the semester I submitted a total of nine blog entries and eight peer reviews. Throughout these nine blogs, I have expressed my opinions about poems by Wordsworth, characters in Jane Austen’s Emma and cities in the language of Charles Dickens included in his novel Hard Times. I have written about 19th Century art in the Australian Art Gallery, analysed Matthew Arnold’s poem Scholar Gypsy, written letters to characters in novels and even written from the perspective of being trapped in a snow storm. My last blog for this semester was written about the importance of names and the impact they can have on one’s life.

One of my favourite blog entries that I wrote, and the one I would title as my most creative blog was blog eight, titled Snow Storm. This week’s question was to picture yourself in a snowstorm and to describe your reaction. This entry took me about half an hour longer to write than any other of my blogs. I really wanted to challenge my mind to enter into the mindset of someone who was alone in a snowstorm.

In order to captivate emotions upon the reader, I set the story with a family camping trip. The persona of this story had an eye to travel and see the world but was utterly broken when the very thing he loved seeing – nature, took his family away from him. Additionally to this, another reason why I this was my favourite blog to write was because there were no rules! I created a story without any external pressure, only adhering to my personal goal of creating it to be emotive and moving to the reader. This blog challenged me as a literature student to put my ego to the side and encapsulate the emotions of someone else. I have never been in a snowstorm, nor is it likely that I will be considering I live in this heat we call Australia. It takes steady focus to truly become a different character. I enjoyed this challenge and I believe it will help me in my future literary studies to understand the text and author’s intent more deeply.

The blog I would describe to be most critical is my fifth blog, which details my visit to the Australian Art Gallery. The piece that stayed with me after I left the gallery was John Glover’s, ‘Natives on the Ouse River’. Not only was this my most critical piece, but also it was the painting that changed my perception on literature. I always thought literature was found in poems, stories, and essays… basically anything covered with words. Through the use of Glover’s painting I discovered that literature could be communicated through art, too. I have read many books that have educated me on European culture, but I never thought a deep analysis of a painting could educate me all the more. The meaning I found throughout this painting was the connection one has with the land. At first, I saw a crocodile in the water. When I had then gone home to study the painting further I came to the realisation that the crocodile was merely a human swimming. This communicated to me that although we live in a digitally run world, we can choose to be still and one with our natural land.

This blog was my favourite piece to critique for two reasons. Firstly, the face value compared to a deep analysis. At first I saw trees, fires and water. Later, I realised that the initial perception of the large tress dominating the civilians was actually the protection they received from the trees. The fire was the natural land keeping its people warm and the water provided enjoyment and hygiene. Critiquing this piece meant comparing and contrasting the perception of face value to the revelation of deep analysis. Secondly, this piece also critiqued my mindset. This is the piece that broadened my perception to see that literature can be found in almost everything. Literature is a powerful avenue that cements a foundation of our originality that is so easily camouflaged in today’s chaos.

If I had to finalise my literature experience this semester in a short paragraph, I would say that I am not the student that completes their assignments with ease. I struggle to understand texts, I often lack in motivation and I do not enjoy a lot of the tasks over any subject across my degree. But in all honesty, these blogs have been significantly helpful. I have enjoyed rather than endured this assignment. I appreciated the freedom to analyse texts in a relaxed environment that isn’t too severely critiqued, I have progressed from the feedback of other students and have discovered how to read a text through peer reviewing.

See you next semester!