Algester State School teacher Jami Thomas brings unique activities to every subject for her Year 3 class; in English students go outside and record videos of themselves acting out emotions or describing scenes. In Maths there is a focus on activities that have the students working with their hands and in Science they make models to help understand the concepts being discussed. “Many things are done to keep students engaged in HASS [Humanities and Social Sciences] including making cookies for Anzac Day which the students loved,” former colleague Courtney Wolbers says.
Jami differentiates her teaching in class based on the academic level and engagement of her students. Online courses are tailored, stories are recorded, and flexible seating options are given in class for students who need a change from sitting. Based on feedback from assessment, students are broken into groups with similar needs and taught at each level to achieve success. Surveys are also given to students to find out what they think will help them learn best and what sort of atmosphere they want to experience in the classroom. Hands-on activities are included along with the digital such as iTunes U courses, Book Creators (a resource to create interactive books), Kahoot! (a game-based learning platform) and Kidspiration (learning software) to maximise engagement. Outcomes have included an improvement in reading levels, overall grades and parent feedback on the level of achievement of students. Jami is always willing to attend professional development opportunities and work alongside her colleagues to help further knowledge. Courtney adds, “Team meetings are had often to discuss concerns or just to help praise the team.” She hosts regular events to contribute to staff camaraderie, including trivia afternoons and sending digital communiqués. Weekly newsletters and Seesaw (a learning journal app) are used to keep in touch with parents, as well as discussions with them before and after school. Congratulations Jami on your nomination.