Monday, October 29, 2012

Organising Field Events At A Primary School Athletics Carnival

Organising field events during a primary school athletics carnival can be fraught with safety problems. This is because you may have mass participation with many students new to the whole process involved especially in the throwing events. It is, therefore essential that the teacher sets up a process to ensure not only the safety of the students but also the efficient organisation of the event.
Included below is how I go about organising field events such as discus, javelin and shot-put.
Let me begin by detailing my safety precautions/rules. Many of these may seem petty and obvious but they can be overlooked. It is better to be over cautious than sorry later when a child is hurt.
Rule 1: No student is permitted in front of the throwing area except the student who is retrieving the discus, shot-put or javelin. 
Rule 2: No student will have a throwing implement in his/her hand in the throwing area when another student is retrieving an implement. 
Rule 3: The next student to throw waits behind the throwing area until the teacher calls him/her up to throw. 
Rule 4: No student will throw the implement until he/she gets the all clear from the officiating teacher. 
Rule 5: The student retrieving the implement will bring it back to the throwing area and place on the ground ready for the next student to use. He/she must not throw the implement back. He/she must then return to the area in which the competitors are sitting and sit in the correct position for his/her next throw. 
Rule 6: The students who are competing must sit down in the throwing order well away from and behind and to the left or right of the throwing area in full view of the officiating teachers. 
Rule 7: Students must at all times watch each and every throw in case there is an aberrant throw. 
Rule 8: Students who break the safety rules will not receive any extra warning and will face possible disqualification from the event. 
Rule 9: Teachers must constantly check the students to ensure that they are at all times acting in a safe way and in accordance with the safety rules.

Now let me discuss how I organise the throwing process.
Step 1: The students sit down in the area designated for them to sit while they wait their turn to throw. 
Step 2: The safety rules are explained. 
Step 3: The competition rules are explained, e.g. fouls. 
Step 4: The throwing and retrieving processes are explained. 
Step 5: The students are lined up and seated in their competing order. 
Step 6: Each student gets a practice throw and goes through the whole process of throwing and retrieving to make sure everyone understands the process. 
Step 7: The measuring process is demonstrated and the next student to throw helps in that process. 
Step 8: The teachers' roles are explained. One teacher will oversee the throwing area (fair and foul throws) and record the distances of each throw. The other teacher will organise the measuring point for the throw and make sure the competing students are seated in the right place watching each throw.

This process may seem to some people as "very military". (A parent described it that way to a school principal). However, it keeps the students safe and leads to an efficient organisation of the event within the time period available. It establishes that you are concerned about safety and the organisation of an excellent event.
Remember: It is better to be safe than sorry.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Beginning Public Speaking In Your Classroom

This procedure will work well in all year levels from Prep to Year Seven.
When you join a public speaking club such as Rostrum or Toastmasters, you would have to do a series of speeches to develop your skill. The first speech you would do would have the title: 'About Me'. It is regarded as the easiest speech to do because the speaker already knows the content and only needs to think about the delivery of the speech.
I always demonstrate the speech. I make sure my 'demo' is on the ideas I suggest they have in their speech and is as long as I want it. To get some interest I often make it a funny demonstration speech.
The length can vary from 20 seconds in prep to perhaps one minute in Year Seven. Thus the lesson will take from 30 to 60 minutes. I approach lower school classes differently to those in the middle school. Here is how I proceed.
Lower school:
I can ask the children to:
1. Come out to the front of the room and stand beside you. 
2. Introduce themselves to the class. 
3. Say how old they are. 
4. Mention their favourite game or their favourite food or even T.V. show.

Middle school:
1. I suggest that they talk on three or four things about themselves. These should be expanded on, not just stated. They, of course, introduce themselves if I don't have a chair person. 
2. Each child, after you have given the instructions, sits at their desk and writes in note form what they plan to say. (3-4 minutes only). 
3. Each child has a practice alone. (2 -3 minutes). 
4. Then students are paired off. Here each student does his/her speech with notes using the partner as the audience. Then he/she repeats the speech without notes. (Allow up to 10 minutes). 
5. Then the class becomes the audience for all the speeches. 
6. The speech must be delivered without notes. The teacher may intervene to help a struggling student by giving hints on what to say. Tell them that no one knows what they are going to say so no one knows if they have made a mistake or have made it all up. 
7. Remind them to look at and to speak to their audience and that everyone wants them to make a good speech (for them). 
8. For older classes, you should sit down the back of the room. 
9. It is also important to teach the class how to be a good audience. In other words, what your expectations are for the audience? 
10. In the upper grades, I might also have a chairperson. It is important to demonstrate the role of the chair by doing the first couple of introductions. 
11. In the middle years, you could also have a time keeper with a bell.

Teacher's Role:
There is a major development role for the teacher in this lesson. I always:
- Review each speech mentioning the good points first. 
- Offer advice for improvement. 
- Ask students in the class to offer the suggestions in the above points. However, they must be in a positive form. I, too, could add further points or clarify them. 
- Comment as I go on audience participation and behaviour.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Excellent Reasons To Send Your Child To A Catholic School

Most parents want to be able to send their child (or children) to a school that will stand them in good stead for the future. They want them to attend a school that will provide them with a sound education. Unfortunately, for many of these families, private schools are out of their price range, and they simply feel compelled to send their child to a public school instead. The debate over whether a private school is better than a public school is a hot one that has been going on for many years. The truth is that both have their advantages, but where do Catholic educational institutions come in?
Some parents will take on a second job just to be able to continue sending their child to a Catholic school. They will do so because they feel that this is the best place for their child to receive a quality education and where their Christian values will be reinforced. They have peace of mind knowing that their child is in good hands, secure, safe, and prepared for the future both academically and spiritually. But there are more compelling reasons why you should consider a Catholic school for your child. Let's take a look at a few of them:
1. Instilling A Catholic Identity
Catholic schools have a religious culture that is truly unique. The world is doing its utmost to remove God from our daily lives in every way, shape, and form. Nevertheless, we see a desire among the peoples of the world to return to the spiritual belief systems, be they what they may be. A Catholic school provides spirituality for its students, helping them to know God in a real and lasting way.
2. A Sense Of Tradition
Every family has its own traditions that are passed down from one generation to the next. It does not mean that you had to have attended a Catholic school in order for this to be so. After all, it is at a Catholic school that Catholic traditions are passed down to the pupils, thereby instilling in them a desire to continue in the future of the Catholic Church.
3. Financing Makes It Possible
The stakeholders in a Catholic school are made up of the students and their families, but also by the particular parish that supports the school. As the basic cost of living continues to escalate, schools are forced to find new ways of generating finances that will help to ensure that their doors remain open to all. Naturally there is much to consider when looking at the cost of tuition. For instance, tuition covers not just the child's educational requirements, but also other programs run by the school, as well as providing proper salaries for the staff we trust to care for our children. Thankfully, there are a range of different methods available that will help to secure your child a place in a Catholic school by providing financial aid.
In Closing
Not only do these schools understand that they are there to provide an academic education, but also to help ensure a well-rounded individual who is educated spiritually as well. Choosing a Catholic School for your child will provide them with a quality education to prepare them for the physical world, as well as a quality spiritual education in the tradition of the Catholic Church.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why Parents Should Consider Catholic Schools

Most people will agree that public schools don't have the same benefits that private schools have. There are crowded classrooms and the risk of drugs and alcohol. But while many parents will choose a private education, it doesn't mean that they are always going to be the best choice you have.
In fact, many parents are finding that Catholic schools are going to better suit their needs. Not only are these schools designed to provide teachers with more hands on learning with students, but they also help to teach faith values to your child. These courses include biblical studies and will allow children to spend time each day devoted to God and their education, both of which will help them to be more successful in life. Many of these schools will also give your child a chance to study for their first communion and even their first confession.
Another benefit of the Catholic schools is the fact that no child is going to be ridiculed for their beliefs. Instead, the environment remains positive for Catholic values and beliefs and children will find a sense of pride in the faith and the relationship that they have with God. Holidays will also hold more meaning as your child has a chance to understand the biblical significance of them, at a level that will be appropriate for their age.
Perhaps this is why there are fewer problems with children in these schools, when compared to public education. With violence down and the focus placed on an enriched learning environment, parents tend to feel more comfortable with their children attending courses in these schools. If a negative event does happen on campus, the administration will step in to solve the problem.
Relationships that the students create in private schools tend to be healthier. Since most schools do screen their applicants, you can feel more comfortable with who your child is spending time with at school. More importantly, you can have some level of assurance that they are spending time with another student who has good values and morals.
Your child will also have better resources available to them in private schools. Because they can limit the size of their classroom and use funding accordingly, these schools can afford better equipment and better learning experiences.
Of course, the education in these schools still covers the same lessons that are touched on in school. Children are still enrolled in Math, English, Science and History. However, the child may accelerate at their education on a particular topic, because of the attention that teachers can give their students on a smaller scale.
When you are considering the future of your child and the experiences you want them to have, it will be important for you to consider offering them an education that focuses on their beliefs. After all, your child has the potential to be more successful and have a better fundamental understanding of religion and life if they are provided with the chance to attend a school with a focus on Catholicism.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Benefits Of A Catholic School Education

Without a doubt, a child's education is extremely important to most parents, and rightly so. There are many people who struggle to find reliable employment after graduating high school, so parents want to offer their child everything they need to excel. They want to be sure that their child's education will stand them in good stead for the future. What a child learns while still young, and how they obtain that education, will either prepare them well, or it will not. That is the reality that all parents and their children have to deal with.
Private schools, such as catholic schools for example, offer an alternative to the public school system. Enrolling the child in the school is the first step and paying for it is the second step, which can present a problem financially speaking. Thankfully, scholarshipr can prove very beneficial for parents and their children. When the child receives a well-rounded and proper education it provides them with the opportunity to enter a competitive college upon graduating from high school. These days just obtaining good grades is not always enough to ensure that the child will be able to get into an Ivy League college, because they are a lot more selective than they were in the past.
When you enrol your child in one of the many reputable private schools you can know that he or she will receive the well-rounded education they require. It is true that this is a pricier alternative, with some catholic schools being more expensive than some private schools. However, preparing in advance is a good idea, even if this means applying for financial assistance.
Applying for financial assistance will necessitate that you contact that the relevant department of the school that you want your child enrolled in. They will assist you as far as the filling in of the necessary paper work. Be prepared to provide proof of your salary as well as your tax returns.
There are a number of different organizations that work alongside the Catholic Church in order to provide scholarships for kids. The school you are considering will also be able to provide you with information in this regard as well. Alternatively, they can assist you in applying for government aid also. Another idea you might want to pursue is to get in touch with the local archdiocese of your church. Very often they can also assist with options that you might be able to take advantage of.
Alumni organizations of many schools also offer scholarships. These are established by previous students who have since graduated and wish to provide assistance to future students. Bear in mind this is usually incumbent upon whether you were a past student of the school that you are interested in your child attending, however it is not necessary in all cases.
All kids deserve to attend a school that will provide them with quality education that will give them an edge over their peers. When you look for scholarships and other types of financial assistance you can be instrumental in providing your child with an advantage. Do not become discouraged but rather explore all the options that are available to you, even if this means approaching Catholic organizations that you can find online.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Planning Your School Excursion

Modern curriculum's in many school systems around the world include educational excursions as an essential part of the learning process. Educators believe that excursions offer experiences to our students that are closer to real life than we can simulate in the class room.
This is the first in a series of three articles on the organisation of an excursion and concentrates on what planning the teacher must do before the day of the excursion.
Poor planning can create a very stressful day for the teachers and students reducing the possibility of good educational outcomes.
What follows is a step by step procedure to organise that first excursion. It is divided into two parts. The first is the preparation the teacher needs to do to get the excursion 'off the ground'. The second part deals with preparing the students to get the most out of the excursion. This is in the form of a student briefing.
1. Obtain permission from the appropriate authorities in your school before you begin any major planning.
2. Plan early and thoroughly, first working out costs, itinerary, transport arrangements, educational goals from your work program or syllabus.
3. Read and follow closely your school's excursion procedures and its time lines.
4. Submit your planning for official approval.
5. Inform parents by letter of all details and gain their permission for their child to participate.
6. Organise transport well in advance and check just prior to the excursion date that the transport booking is confirmed.
7. Brief all students about the excursions including their responsibilities regarding behaviour, dress, safety and any school requisites they need.
8. Organise the collection of money, its banking and the payment of accounts.
9. Create a list of all students going on the excursion and a list of those not going. Give the list of non-attendees to your school attendance officer or the relevant teachers.
10. Organise, well before the excursion day, any cheques you need to have with you to pay for services provided during the excursion.
11. Organise work sheets for the students and have spare copies available.
12. Complete the school check list for excursions.
Pre-Excursion Student Briefing
The purpose of the briefing is to prepare the students thoroughly so that they have an educationally successful day, conducted in a safe and secure way.
1. Inform the students about the behaviour that is expected of them, including the consequences of breaking that code.
2. Explain the purpose of the excursion.
3. Discuss the itinerary of the excursion.
4. Discuss permission forms, costs, departure and arrival times and so on.
5. Discuss what they need to bring, do or find for the excursion.
6. Discuss any work sheets to be done as well as any follow up assessment tasks.
7. Issue safety and security instructions with a clear explanation as to why these instructions are to be in place.
8. Discuss the dress code for the day, the need for sun screen, correct shoes, hats and discuss toileting and food arrangements.
9. Discuss the buddy system and select the buddies.
10. Discuss seat allocation, roll checks, gathering points and a lost procedure for students.
11. Teach your students all the new skills/knowledge that they require for the excursion.
Remember to keep a record of your pre-planning, the agenda for the student briefing and any paperwork you give the students as part of an excursion file that you create as a record of what you did in organising the excursion. It will become the basis of the planning for next time you do this excursion.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Take the Plunge - Teach English in China

I was in a rut, bored, suffering from empty nest syndrome, getting close to retirement age and was in need of 'an adventure'. To have a 'real' adventure my husband and I decided to go to China and teach English.
This was totally out of character for us, we loved to travel, but even so, going to a country like China, which was basically an unknown, was seen as something rather radical. Nevertheless, we researched the possibilities and decided we would go.
We had no teaching experience or qualifications. So we attended a local TESOL college, studied for the next three months, passed our exams and were awarded our qualifications. This gave us access to work in thousands of schools and universities in China.
ESL stands for English as a Second Language. Another acronym is TESOL, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Even though our English was very good, we knew it was going to be a totally new ball game for us.
Both my husband and I were trained public speakers, confident, had raised five children, were well read and had an excellent general knowledge base. This, along with the training and teaching manuals we received proved to be adequate resources.
To find a suitable job, we searched the internet. There are many sites these days where recruiting agents advertise teaching jobs in China. But when we did this, in 2005, it was more or less up to us to find the jobs. However one of the websites was huge, with job boards for all the different Asian countries and we found thousands of teaching jobs advertised. Where to go was the next problem, after all, most of the names meant nothing to us; we didn't even know where these places were.
Eventually we settled on Longyan university in Fujian Province, where the weather seemed similar to our home town, and the city was not too big. We were a bit worried about getting lost in a huge city, when we couldn't speak a word of Chinese and we didn't know how much English would be spoken there.
We planned everything very carefully. We packed what we thought we might need, and with our heads full of dreams and ideas for teaching we had a goodbye party and took the jet stream to China. We planned to have four days holiday first, to get our heads around being in such a new environment.
Was it a good idea? It was a fabulous idea. Where there problems? Of course! The first major problem reared its ugly head as we left the airport having just touched down. Being super organised I had printed off the hotel's address in Chinese. We were horrified to find that none of the taxi drivers could read Chinese! If they couldn't read Chinese there wasn't much hope of finding English speaking people. After a long, frustrating and temper raising experience with several taxi drivers, a security officer, and a help desk lady that spoke almost no English, we made it to our hotel, only to find out I had printed all the instructions in Japanese! What an idiot!
Staff from our new university collected us after our four day holiday, and took us to our new home. It was about two hours from the coast, way up in the mountains. We had to go through endless tunnels on the road. Hot, tired, and with a monumental headache I arrived at the campus.
Students were delegated to drag our bags up the six flights of stairs to our apartment. There were no elevators here, and we got very fit going up and down those stairs several times a day. We puffed up after them to find ourselves in a three bed-roomed apartment with a view over the city to the mountains.
We were left to unpack and rest, with instructions that we were to meet the other teachers at the school gate at 6pm and they would take us out to dinner. 
We sat on the bed, my husband and I, and grinned at each other like school kids let out for the holidays.

'Well, we came for an adventure, we're going to get it,' my husband said. 
He was right. That year became a life changing experience, for us, and for the wonderful students we taught.

If you're bored, in a rut, can free yourself for a year or so, why don't you consider taking the plunge too? Teach English in China. It will be one of the most rewarding and exciting things you could do.