Changes in time and a look at them goals

Well, this year has been super hectic! Our school has made the move from 52 minute periods to 75 minutes, meaning that some of my lessons have shrunk by 29 minutes (from a double session to a single) and some have grown by 23 minutes. At first I was a bit hesitant about the change as I've loved the lesson length of 100 minutes for practical lessons and 52 minutes for Health classes but 75 has proven to allow me to "trim the fat" from my practical lessons and to think smarter about what I really want to see my students achieve in all classes. It's been a steep learning curve this year as our school goes through an array of changes including the structure of leadership roles, class locations and the time length of classes and planning time allocation.

At the moment I can't help but feel that the goals I set myself at the start of the year have turned out to be fairly ambitious given the pressure I feel at the moment to keep up to date with the work load I'm under (I'm sitting next to 3 different piles of assessment tasks to correct). One goal was to create quality feedback and to be timely with my feedback to students. I still want to do this and in some regards have been able to do this already, however it is still a skill I've yet to master. Some things I've learnt however are:

  • Set yourself an achievable standard. Don't get excited about marking and returning everything in a very short period of time. Whilst it's great, it does set an expectation that you will always be able to do this (when the reality is often very different).
  • Video feedback is time consuming... I really wanted to film students performing a skill that they want to develop. I filmed them, then found it hard to find a way to provide them with a copy of the video, let alone the time to sit with each student in class to go over their video. I'm still trying to find a best practice for this method of feedback.

I'm currently happy with my tiered lessons, though I'm now flirting with the idea of differentiating some tasks, but will need planning time to plan these out well, before submitting them to my colleagues to see if they're interested (we all do the same "report assessment tasks").

As for my goal of continuing to work with technology, this year I've decided to set up a website for my Yr11 VCE class and I've been very happy with it's progress so far. I've used Weebly (free) and so far the students and I have gotten some great use out of it! The most important aspect of the website has been the blog where I can outline everything we study as we study it, making it a handy revision tool come exam time (next week). 

Oh and I've started playing around with making videos... look out!