Hi and welcome to those of you who are reading this. Well this week has been another busy one, and one of major frustration.
My Year 11 Music class this year is a lot smaller then I am used to, but the quality of student is quite high. I have been lucky enough to have taught all of these students, with one exception, since Year 7, so I know them all quite well. When I knew the class make up at the end of last year I was very excited, because I knew I wouldn’t have to start at the very beginning with this class simply because we had been working together for a long time already. BUT this has proved to be more of a downfall. These students know my very high expectations, know how I operate in the classroom and know that I will give them the support that they will need when they need it. With this familiarity has bred a sense of complacency as they think that they can still work at the level they were last year! They haven’t quite stepped up to Senior school yet, and that is what is frustrating me!
My Year 12 HSC Music 1 class last year were amazing. They had a very strong work ethic, liked to do extra performances and would complete all the homework I set—I was a little spoilt. This class was the very first that I Flipped, and the results at the end of the course were brilliant—we got the best class average in the school AND we Value Added!!!! This of course has made my Principal and the Deputies very happy. So on the back of this success, I worked really hard over my break to be set for this cohort. I improved the course structure, content, resources and programs so that this new class would be just as successful. BUT they are not getting it!!!!!
In my Flipped classroom, like so many others, the students are asked to watch videos of course content prior to coming to class. I did all that I could to set them up for success—I taught them how to take notes, showed them where to access the videos—both on Youtube and MOODLE, showed them how I would like them to set out their work and even gave them access to the Power Points that accompany each video. Each video lasts no longer than 12 minutes, and most are approximately 5 minutes in length. Each video explains one musical concept, or shows them how to structure an answer OR even models an answer. But it seems no matter how much I am encouraging them to watch the videos, they simply are not. Now the roll on effect of this is that I am wasting time in class catching them up on what should already have been completed at home. Their pace is soooo slow, and it really needs to pick up.
So last Thursday, after they had not completed their homework, again, I just ploughed through what I had prepared for the lesson, and this is when the tears started to fall. My students were feeling overwhelmed, under pressure, not coping, etc…. At this point I calmly stopped the lesson and had a little chat to them. I was expecting this, I was actually waiting for it to happen, I just wished that they could have had their little breakdown sooner. As a teacher we often see where our students are going wrong, and despite the advice, they don’t always listen to our efforts to help them. I knew that I had to let them fail a little bit, in order for them to ask and want the help to succeed.
It was then during this lesson we got to the nitty gritty of how they were all travelling—and essentially not well. Most had no idea of what they had to do, how to study ( even though this was in my second lesson) or even how to manage their time. Now that they could articulate this, I could give them the tools to help them. So on Friday’s lesson we went through a Time management Activity and how to use the Term Planner.
The Time Management Activity is a simple one. The students list all of the activities, and the approximate time, of what they did either that day ( if an afternoon lesson) or the previous day ( if a morning lesson). After this they colour code each activity with RED – activities not helpful in meeting their goals; ORANGE—activities that cannot be avoided; YELLOW—time spent planning or thinking; and lastly GREEN—activities that help them achieve their goals. This was a very eye opening experience for this class—they could see very easily where they were not on task, wasting time or that they needed to cut back on some other activities. I always tell them that they do need time to just relax, and that it is very helpful to do so, being on Social Media however does count towards relaxation time!
After completing this I then gave them the 10 Week Term Planner. I asked them to write down all of their classes at the top and even activities that they do each work— work, babysitting, family commitments, etc.. I then asked the students to give each activity a colour. After this they simply had to colour in when Assessments were due, the days they worked, even which week they had with which parent. This again became an eye opener for them as they could see when they had Assessments due, where clashes were and when they had some break times. I tell the students that they need to put this up somewhere very visible and USE IT! It only works if they then plan the time to work a little each day to get towards their goals of completing assessments and the like.
These products are available for free at Teachers Pay Teachers, and there are even videos and screencasts available for your students as well.
10 Week Term Planner available for FREE here.
Time Management Activity available for FREE here.
Study Skills Graphic Organisers available for FREE here.
Youtube video on Tools for Success available here.
Youtube video on How to get the best out of a Screencast and Cornell Notetaking Method available here.
Until next week
Have a great one
Julia from Jooya