Saturday, 30 July 2011

50 Fabulous digital literacy learning activities

                              I love this terrific collection by Kristine Kopelke. 
                     Have fun exploring these activities for your younger students.

             50 Fabulous digital literacy learning activities. 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Books and strategies to engage reluctant boy readers.

Discover what  GUYS READ have to offer....
"Their  mission is to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.
Research shows that boys are having trouble reading, and that boys are 

getting worse at reading. No one is quite sure why. Some of the reasons are biological. 
Some of the reasons are sociological.
But the good news is that research also shows that boys will read — 

if they are given reading that interests them

When it comes to gender gaps, boys and girls start out a little bit different, but these differences become rapidly magnified by a culture that sees them—and encourages them to see themselves—as fundamentally different creatures.
Thanks to their extra conversation with peers and parents, girls' small verbal advantage balloons by kindergarten into a significant gap in phonological awareness, the key stepping stone for learning to read. the reason boys don't read and write as well as girls has little to do with innate brain wiring and everything to do with the reality that girls engage more than boys with words: talking, reading, journal writing, or endless text-messaging...Read the article 

Educational Leadership:Closing Opportunity Gaps:The Myth of Pink and Blue Brains

Further readings on boys and reading:
Boys' Reading Strategy 11 - Be in Their Corner « The Cheeky Lit Teacher

Boys Need to MOVE IT: How to Use Movement to Help Boys Become Better Readers | Getting Boys To Read

Bookmarks and Posters | Boys into Books 5-11 | School Library Association

At TEDxPSU, Ali Carr-Chellman pinpoints three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain. Bring back the boys.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Make sure you have your say.

Consultation on cross-curriculum priorities

ACARA invites feedback on the cross curriculum priorities information published on the Australian Curriculum website, particularly the overviews, organising ideas and learning area statements. We welcome this feedback through Friday, 9th September 2011.
The cross-curriculum priorities information can be found on the Australian Curriculum website at The navigation bar on the left hand side of the page will take you to each priority and links can then be followed to the learning area statements for that priority.Feedback can be provided on one or more of the priorities.
Individuals and groups who wish to view and to provide feedback should register by clicking here and following the instructions provided.
For further information, please contact ACARA’s senior project officer for the cross-curriculum priorities (Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia and Sustainability) Deborah Palmer via email on or Christine Evans, senior project officer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, via email

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Thought of the Week

The joys of teamwork:

For this week I would love to share with you these Maths Posters  from Adrian Bruce
You can read his blog: The Teacher Toolbox
Adrian encourgages teachers to: Feel Free to Download and Print the Poster You Require.

This is a screenshot of the poster:
 Subtraction: What's the difference?
Subtraction Poster

You can download it at:

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Spelling fun-Spelling Bee Spelling Bee is being conducted for the enjoyment and benefit of New South Wales schools by Nationwide News, with the assistance of major sponsors, Capilano Honey, HarperCollins and Dreamworld. Spelling Bee involves several stages through which students must advance in order to be eligible to participate in the Grand Final, to be held at The Daily Telegraph on 26th September, 2011.

Note: All students, including home schooled students, can be registered to play the Spelling Bee game and enhance their spelling skills. Only registered New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory schools are eligible for semi-finals and the grand final.

Very SWEET! Schools with the highest percentage of active Spelling Bee participants at the end of the Spelling Bee will be entered into the draw to win an $8000 pallet of honey to be used as a P&C fundraiser.’s Spelling Bee is an opportunity for your school to be part of a high-profile state-wide contest and to display your students’ talents and mastery of spelling.

The categories are:
Grades 1 – 3
Grades 4 – 7
Grades 8 -12
Students can play against their class mates and friends with the new player vs player functionality. Throughout the Spelling Bee there will be weekly prizes up for grabs. For more details check out the championship information on the website. Participation online is FREE.
Check out the Championship information
Start by locating  your schools' ID
School login is the same for each class in the school.
To set up your class you will then need to click on add class and enter each student. Each student will be given an automatic login and password which can be personalised.

Teacher Certificates and Teacher Resources are available Teacher Resources page

Congratulations to The Junction Primary School who have succeeded in having the most registered classes in NSW so far. Read the newspaper article.

Thought of the Week

As I prepare for the new term ahead I ponder the wisdom below??
Office Posters-Office Posters - Witty Poster - Cluttered desk; cluttered mind
Which way do you sway??

Friday, 15 July 2011

To award or not to award? That is the question.

I read this post recently and it made me reflect on practices in various schools I have been in. This issue often causes much discussion and a range of different responses from teachers and executives.
Should students who win an award for his talents in a particular subject area receive that award if they have got themselves into trouble? Should the award be withheld? Should they have to wait until their behaviour is acceptable? Does one thing have nothing to do with the other?

Read about one teachers' reflection and decision. 

Don’t judge a student by the low points

What happens at your school? Is there a policy in place to guide teachers? If so, is it consistently upheld? What would you/your staff have decided?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Public Schools Rule

Chester Hill High School shows why public schools are the foundation of a socially cohesive society Cheso's Flag Day story on SBS

Chester Hill's annual Flag Day was held during week 9. SBS World News was there to capture the highlights. Click on the media link below to view the news story.

In the heart of south western Sydney, the most multicutural region in Australia, Chester Hill High School held its annual flag day to embrace it's refugee population with open arms.

Help for those planning: Murder


Murder Under the Microscope 2011

Horror in the Harvest. If you're wondering what you should be doing week by week to prepare yourself and your students for MuM visit the 

MUM teachers' wiki!

There are tips for 'Before the game starts', then weekly advice to keep you on track throughout the project.

You will find a download available to  print if you require the 'print-friendly version of the Teachers' Area' on the left hand side of the wiki.
 Visit  About MuM - Murder Under the Microscope 2011 for more information.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Photoshop for kids by NicoleDalesio
Nicole is a 5th grade teacher/ tech. trainer, Adobe Education Leader, and Google Certified Teacher: I'm interested in digital media: digital art and video art. I'm always looking for new ways to integrate technology into the school curriculum, and using technology for creative purposes.

Nicole has 13 videos stored here with many covering many aspects of this program- made easy enough for kids to follow.

We have a new Director General of Education.

The Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, has today announced the appointment of Dr Michele Bruniges as the new Director-General of Education and Communities and Managing Director of TAFE NSW. Dr Bruniges has a PhD in Educational Measurement, a Master’s Degree in Education, a Graduate Diploma of Educational Studies and a Diploma in Teaching.
Dr Bruniges is expected to start her new role in late August.

News Media Release from:

The Hon Adrian Piccoli MP
Minister for Education
Monday 11 July 2011
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has announced the appointment of Doctor Michele Bruniges as the new Director General of the Department of Education and Communities and Managing Director of TAFE NSW.
“I am delighted that after an international search Dr Bruniges has accepted one of New South Wales’ most important public sector jobs,” Minister Piccoli said.
“Dr Bruniges has extensive leadership and management experience in the education sectors in NSW, the ACT and at the Commonwealth level. Her understanding of the key contemporary national and international education issues and challenges is second to none,” Minster Piccoli said today.
“She has outstanding knowledge and skills in the development and maintenance of high quality teaching and learning standards, and in curriculum, assessment and reporting practices.
“Ensuring our children are educated effectively and giving business the well-trained staff it needs are integral to the state’s progress, and Dr Bruniges will do both extremely well.
“While her most recent role was leading the national school reform agenda as an Associate Secretary with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Doctor Bruniges started her career as a teacher in New South Wales public schools.
“She also taught at TAFE in Western Sydney and worked with the Adult Migrant Education Service teaching English,” said Mr Piccoli.
Dr Bruniges has a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Measurement, a Masters Degree in Education from the University of New South Wales, a Graduate Diploma in Educational Studies and a Diploma in Teaching from the Goulburn College of Advanced Education.
She is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors and the recipient of numerous professional awards, including a Churchill Fellowship to study student achievement in education in the US and the Netherlands, an Exceptional Service Award from the Professional Teachers Council New South Wales for promoting teacher professionalism and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators.
“I congratulate Doctor Bruniges on her appointment, and I look forward to working with her to the benefit of education and training in New South Wales.”
MEDIA: David Bold 0423 202 369

Monday, 11 July 2011

New age: Butcher Paper; Old Pedagogy-New tools

Whiteboards wonderful for collaboration tasks. 
I have seen the individual small whiteboard become very popular of late and they have a place in the classroom as they save a lot of mess and wasted paper.  Education World offers five lessons to engage students in learning with whiteboards. Included: Tips from whiteboard users plus alternatives to whiteboards!  "As thousands of teachers have found, whiteboards are a great way of actively involving students in the learning process -- and a terrific tool for immediate feedback and assessment."  

However, I can also see these large whiteboards being a great tool in the library and in many classrooms. From an economical point of view I like that you can make your own collaborative-sized whiteboards by visiting your local hardware store. It also supports the drive towards the #paperless classroom. The boards can be used many times unlike butchers' paper of old. 

students communicate their ideas
Thanks to Louise Windsor for sharing this link.
"Ideas are more easily exposed, discussed, accepted, discarded, and modified 
 with the flexibility of a whiteboard."
"A large board gives enough room for the students to divide the board into sections. This is valuable if you have
multiple focus questions of if you want the students to have both a diagram and a written explanation."

cropped with SnipSnip

 If we go one step further we can look at a desk sized whiteboard:

Saving Paper, One Desk At A Time!

 From this                          to                       this.

 is a single-coat, roller-applied whiteboard paint that transforms almost anything into a high-performance dry-erase
 surface. Dry-Erase Board Paint for the Home | Kids Room Paint Ideas | IdeaPaint

The post: Desk Reorganization demonstrates the use of a whiteboard desk.

Whiteboard desks   S6300018

The (Nearly) Paperless Classroom blogger, David Wees, shares his ideas about using whiteboards to achieve his #paperless goal. 

David Wees also reminds us we need to change our mindset that the paperless classroom needs a lot of technology. He is quite sure that it doesn't. What it needs, and I totally agree with him, is a transformation of pedagogy from teacher centred and content focused to student centred and a focus on developing skills. 

I love this idea of creating a whiteboard notebook. 

cropped with SnipSnip

For instructions on creating whiteboards try these links:!/.
or we can go even larger by creating whiteboard walls_ From classroom walls in to whiteboards Sebel also supplies IdeaPaint. 
There is a new term (to me) for the activity of students who are engaged in 

using whiteboards collaboratively-"whiteboarding".
Do your students learn by whiteboarding? 
Modeling through whiteboarding:

Tips for whiteboarding in the classroom. 
and not to be left out Apple have brought out:

iPad Application Preview - padBoard - collaborative whiteboarding application  

Can you see yourself organising a few of these whiteboards for your classroom or school library? Would/Do you use whiteboarding as a teaching strategy?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

From textbook to techbook!

South Korea plans to convert all textbooks to digital, swap backpacks for tablets by 2015

By Zach Honig  posted Jul 3rd, 2011 at  6:39AM

 South Korea announced this week that it plans to spend over $2 billion developing digital textbooks, replacing paper in all of its schools by 2015.

Students would access paper-free learning materials from a cloud-based system, supplementing traditional content with multimedia on school-supplied tablets.

Both programs clearly offer significant advantages for the country's education system. 

Source: MIT Technology Review  The Chosunulbo

What are other countries plans? What are Australia's plans? 

Will we go digital soon ? Should we? 

There are now multiple avenues to access digital textbooks (techbooks) at no cost. Some are older versions, some have been written specifically using licences allowing free access such as Creative Commons and GNU Free Documentation. It is simply a matter of knowing where to look.

NEXT STAGE: From textbook to"techbook" 

Multimedia; Multiplatform

Indicative of the growing movement toward digital textbooks, Florida has approved the Discovery Education Science Elementary Techbook for Florida for classroom use. 

"As a holistic learning system, the Techbook integrates the nature of science and inquiry into every phase of learning. With stunning videos, colourful text passages and interactive simulations, the Techbook kindles student interest in how science relates to their everyday life, stimulates critical thinking and deepens students’ understanding of core concepts."

 Let's go beyond the textbook.

See what Discovery Education is now offering-(only in US) 

Science techbook-Over 40 Media Types of Content Available

Check out the video at  Introducing Science Techbook.

Here are a some weblinks to further explore this issue:

Why Focusing on Digital Texts Is a Good Step   

Week Five: Digital Textbooks – Are We Ready?

How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education - TNW Industry

Open Source Textbooks

iPads Replace Textbooks in Brookfield, CT

What IS the future of textbooks?

Online textbooks: Hope or hype? 

So you want to use e-textbooks next year?

Digital devices to replace textbooks
Courtesy of:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Handy tool for the IWB! ZoomIt

This is a super free tool! 
Download Zoomit at the Microsoft TechNet website

ZoomIt works on all versions of Windows and you can use pen input for ZoomIt 
drawing on tablet PCs.
ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that
include application demonstrations.

All you have to do is copy and paste a URL of an image and it will upload it to the website. 
You can then view the picture full screen and zoom into the image getting a better view of certain areas.

               You can choose your own font