A Week in 2G
2G is a busy classroom on the Gold Coast.
My class has 27 children, 14 boys and 13 girls. I have 2 children for whom English is a second language, 1 child who is in the process of being verified as gifted and very bright nonetheless, and a group of 7 other children who fall well below year 2 requirements and are receiving intervention support in the areas of numeracy and literacy with 2 of these children being assessed for additional support.
In all I have 7 different cultural groups within the classroom and another 2 students who have a parent from another country or cultural background. This mix makes for a very exciting class who know more about other countries' customs and geography than most other year 2 students. My children range in age from 7-8 years old.
Our school is a digitally rich learning environment. We have electronic teamboards in every classroom and a laptop/computer ratio of 1 device per 2.2 children across the whole school from Prep to year 7. This ratio means that the children are using ICT's daily and in a variety of learning situations. This has increased engagement in learning experiences and participation by all ability levels in lessons throughout the day. The bonus, as a teacher, is that all my planning, both daily and long term, is in adigital format with hyperlinked lessons that enable the children to really interact and be involved in their learning experiences.
Organisation in 2G
Class Jobs are much sought after positions within the class. Each fortnight, the children are rotated through a variety of jobs, including line leaders, chairperson (who takes over as the teacher during student lead discussions), messengers, tuckshop monitors, computer guardians and telephone answerers. Each child takes their job seriously and they are quick to remind others of who has what job.
Rotational Groups are used for literacy, numeracy and reading. After some rather amazing assessment last semester, I discovered that some of my top readers (reading on PM Benchmarks of 27+) were very poor spellers, with poor spelling strategies. So rather than basing literacy groups on spelling ability, I now run a reading program with Year 7 peer mentors twice per week and separate literacy groups based on individual children's spelling phase (using Words their Way Screeners).
I have trained the Year 7's in reading strategies, inferential and literal comprehension and text based activities to increase fluency, comprehension and understanding of textual features. They design and implement activities with the year 2 students twice per week which has shown encouraging improvement in both reading and comprehension for both year levels.
What goes on in 2G?
My thinking on education is that if the child enjoys their time at school, then learning will come more easily to them.
Early in the year I did an analysis of different learning styles of the children in 2G using the multiple intelligences. I discovered that the majority of my class were musical/kinaesthetic learners. As a result we use music and movement to support our learning, such as learning our times tables using dance moves and rap songs.
On a weekly basis our literacy program includes a grammar focus such as nouns, adverbs, pronouns etc, punctuation focus including speech marks and colons, reading and comprehension strategies, spelling focus, explicit handwriting, genre focus and speaking and listening skills.
In our class we often use our speaking and listening program tofocus on cybersafety (being a digital school) and social skills such as building resilience, inclusion, tolerance, respect and integrity.
In numeracy, we will focus on mental computation strategies, number operations and problem solving skills and a focus on a particular area such as money, volume, space, patterns or shape.
Every Monday the students complete a maths investigation around number facts and our focus for the week which also doubles as a formative assessment to see who understand all, part or none of the concept.
We integrate SOSE, Science, Technology and the Arts into units of study. Currently the children are studying Waterwise. In this unit, the children are learning about the water cycle, water use and waste, water conservation and how water gets from the rivers or underground to our taps.
While heavily focused on science, we have addressed several of the SOSE essential learnings, the children are building a water saving device in Technology and for Visual Arts the children designed and created a 3D water droplet character from paper mache.
As an added bonus, the children of 2G are learning Chinese. They are getting an introduction to the language and culture by our LOTE teacher who also provides a weekly additional lesson for my 4 bright children, to provide further learning opportunities and extension in a different way.
We incorporate our Smart Moves program into planning and use it to break up lengthy maths or literacy sessions. The children's favourites include 'Ship, Shark, Shore', 'The Gauntlet' and 'Magic Corners' (which they secretly don't realise is a maths game). Having mainly kinaesthetic learners, these sessions are the most popular of the day.
Our day finishes with a Student of the Day. This student has his or her picture displayed on the door, receives a certificate to take home and they wear a special lanyard the following day for everyone to see. This is used as a reward along withindividual reward points which can earn each student an iceblock on Friday afternoon if they have accrued 10 points throughout the week.
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