As this is my first blog allow me to introduce myself; I am Chris King (@chris1990king) currently studying towards a PGDE Secondary in Physics. I have been an avid but mainly silent follower of pedagoo for a while now, using it as a source of inspiration and ideas. However after some pressure, it’s time that I started to contribute.
In this first entry I hope to offer a summary of what I experienced from the #PedagooSunshine event at Joseph Swan Academy. Now I wasn’t always convinced that I was going to attend the event, like most Teachers and Student Teachers weekends are designated prep days. Since I am on my last placement I was obviously worried about sacrificing this prep. I would like to thank Tait Coles for offering me some sound advice and support in this dilemma and convincing me to attend. I would like to confess that I boarded the train from Edinburgh to Newcastle not with the most positive outlook, my previous week teaching had been hard and I feel that I had missed the mark on a lot of areas of my practice and was feeling really negative about myself. So turning up in Newcastle with the rain pouring down and getting soaked trying to find a bus that didn’t exist wasn’t the best start to the day.
A taxi later I was turning up at Joseph Swan and was glad for the warmth and shelter inside. Instantly my attitude started to change, I was thoroughly impressed by the staff and pupils alike. In addition I loved the ‘street’ inside the school with its murals and quotes; it must really encourage the pupils and make them feel valued.
Not long after people started to arrive, this is where I usually begin to feel anxious. Crowds of people, especially those I am unfamiliar with, make me feel very uncomfortable. However this is where the ethos of pedagoo shines through, it was really easy to approach people and there was such a relaxed environment.
From here the signs that this was to be no ordinary teach meet began to show as a steel band started to serenade us with ‘Walking on #PedagooSunshine’ (you can thank Alex Bellars for that pun).
During our welcome we were treated to some Twitter-Opera (from the talented @RachelOrr) and a lovely warm welcome from the Joseph Swan staff. This was followed by an introduction to Pedagoo from Fearghal Kelly: ‘What is Pedagoo?’ (Look closely you can see my name)
Off we went to our Workshops, to start the day I was with Jon Tait (@teamtait), having a rummage through his Digital Pick n Mix!
This was a great session with some amazing resources to use in class; I was particularly inspired by the use of both Skype and Triptico. There is much, much more from this session and I will try and blog about any resources that I get the chance to try out.
Fingers crossed I will get to use some skype in a class before my placement is over!
[Image Stolen from @fkelly]
Next up was ‘Cat’s tool box of attention grabbers to get them in and get them engaged‘ (@catalinelechat). This session was full of great ideas for those classes that make you feel like every day is a Monday morning. There was some great#poundlandpedagogy with lots of cheap effective activities/techniques to get them interacting and engaged. This session really emphasised that your ideas don’t need to be big to get a response; often the simple techniques such as balloons and costumes get the best reactions.
By this point the smell of roast hog was slowly making its way along the hall so we broke up for lunch. This really wasn’t any teach meet it was a Pedagoo Teach Meet! Hula-hoopers, Unicyclists and jugglers accompanied the hog roast, popcorn maker and the actual ice cream van!!
Discussion continued through the lunch over hog and apple sauce rolls.
Next up I was in with Andrea Kirton and Laura Fairhurst with ‘Off the map! Crazy things we do to enthuse our pupils’. This session was a series of workshops that looked at different ways to get pupils to interact with topics/questions. I was fortunate enough to pair up with a biologist to talk through each workstation and link it to a Science topic. Some were harder than others like having a Jeremy Kyle show debate. However when we thought hard enough together we managed to create an idea for every station! Once we had the chance to walk round all the stations we had a group discussion and in Pedagoo style managed to get even more techniques and ideas from the audience. Examples from this session varied from putting questions inside balloons and having the pupils pop them, to creating a money system where pupils can buy questions or explanations from the teacher. They were all very useful and have been added to my little book of techniques to use.
Nearing the end, everyone had a quick session with Jon Haines, looking at the use of online surveys, such Socrative. This was a short session but the message rang loud and clear about the use of this tool in school. If you haven’t checked out Socrative yet, try it and create your own quiz: http://m.socrative.com/lecturer/#lecturerLogin
Finally I had a session with Darren Mead about Project for Enhanced Effective Learning (PEEL). This session can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/DKMead/peelpresentation. I would highly recommend giving it a read as it discusses approaches to use in class to create a deeper learning which is more ‘purposeful, intellectually active and independent’. Really trying to get away from shallow learning and the copy notes from the board approach, it encourages pupils to question knowledge and think for themselves.
That was a quick run through of my sessions from the day, I will give a part 2 summarizing the second half of the day when I get the chance. I am so glad that I attended the event, if I hadn’t I feel that my teaching this week may have been as bad as last. But from speaking to people and attending the sessions I feel inspired to go back and strive to be better and I know that I have the support, both in terms of content but also emotionally, of the pedagoo community. Once again thank you to everyone who made #PedagooSunshine the event that it was!
I met some of the nicest people in teaching on Saturday and look forward to seeing them again!
When students cheat on exams it’s because our school system values grades more than students value learning – Neil deGrasse Tyson