Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tech Tips Tuesday

I thought that today I would mention the tech tools and resources that I called on in my first week back at work. One of my challenges has been remembering what some of the online tools and resources are called, and after that finding that they have changed since I last used them! Some of the resources below were already being used by the teachers in the classrooms I share.

Information sources:
Talking Textiles - This contribution from "The Children's University of Manchester" provides interactive activities and quizzes that help students to develop an understanding of textiles including how they are made and decorated.

How the Body Works - This Kids Health site has movies, quizzes, articles, word finds and activities to teach students about the body systems. I used this with the Year 5/6 students who will be writing explanations of the respiratory system later this week.

Behind the News - This ABC program was used in both Year 3 and Year 5/6 to expose students to recent news and to create opportunities for discussion around current affairs.

Study Ladder - (previously Smart Kiddies - and wow, what an upgrade!!) I used this resource for interactive whiteboard activities for Maths lessons, but there are now activities in a great range of learning areas. Study ladder is free for all my purposes, but for more information on costs see the pricing chart.

Math Drills - I used the free black line masters for fractions to use with my Maths class.

Classroom Organisation:
Super Teacher Tools - I used the Group Maker tool to create random pairings of students in my Spelling and Maths groups.

Lesson Design:
When creating interactive whiteboard pages for my lessons I returned to the Flickr Creative Commons for images to bring the pages to life.

Back to Teaching

I've been back at work a little over a week now and my world hasn't fallen apart. My little one hasn't cried as I've left to go to work, and while he is happy to see me when I get home he doesn't seem to be concerned that I wasn't there all day.

I've been enjoying the company of my colleagues and given the collaborative nature of my school, I haven't actually had to do much planning yet. I've been surprised by how many things are second nature to me. It felt almost as though I walked out of the classroom on Friday and back in on Monday.

Just a short post today as it is my day with bub and it's time to get him up from his morning nap!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Countdown

So, my little one has just had his first birthday and my maternity leave has drawn to a close. I have just four days left before I walk back into the classroom and begin it all again. For the remainder of this year I will be working three days a week - one day in Year 5/6 and Year 4, one day in Year 3 and one day in Kindergarten or relief teaching.

People have been asking me how I feel about going back to work - whether I think I will cry, whether I'm ready, or whether I'm keen to get back into it. I'd have to say that I have mixed feelings. I'm pretty sure I'll cry, but I'm looking forward to seeing all 'my' other kids again, and I do think I've reached a point where I feel ready.

I have been very fortunate to have enough maternity leave, annual leave and long service leave to have seen me through a whole year at half-pay. It has been a luxury that I've taken full advantage of. I've enjoyed spending time with my son - going for walks to the park, swimming at the pool, meeting up with other mums and bubs, visiting the library, playing with toys, rolling around in the backyard having a wrestle... It has been a pure delight to watch him change from a teeny-tiny baby reliant on me for EVERYTHING to an active, playful little boy with a mind (and will!) of his own. And while we probably won't be able to enjoy such a leisurely pace in the future, we will still enjoy many special moments together.

I look forward to getting back to work in time to see my Year 4s from 2009 as they graduate to high school. I look forward to catching up with my Year 1/2s and seeing how much they've grown and changed in the last year. I look forward to the mental challenge of teaching and the companionship of other teachers. My passion for teaching is as strong as ever - it has just been dormant for the past year!!

So, am I ready? I think so. I've ticked off most of my to-do-before-I-go-back-to-work list. Now it's just a matter of doing what I can to take the pressure off the first week - things like cooking up a batch of baby casserole to freeze, packing a baby bag for babysitters, and trying to get the place looking pretty clean and tidy.

I'd like to say that I'll let you know how it goes, but I think I will be a bit preoccupied for the first few weeks. We'll see...