Curriculum Memo 2 2014

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Work-life Balance

LifeAs we get head into week 3, how are you going with your sanity-saving goal? Did you get to the staffroom for lunch?  Did you leave by 3:30pm one afternoon?

Whilst urban legend has it that it takes 21 days to form a habit, Forbes Magazine (no, not our Forbes!) says making change is a little more complicated than that in Habit Formation, the 21 day myth.

If one of your excuses is. “I don’t have enough time”, maybe this blog will help: “How to work a 40 hour week as a teacher”.

Teacher Planning Meetings

As per usual, I will meet with staff re their Term Planning and Differentiation over the next two weeks.  

This term, I will meet with you in Year Level Teams, during the NCT time that you share. Our focus areas will be:

  • English: C2C unit and assessment adjustments and your Reading Plan
  • Differentiation: Student needs; Intervention/enrichment
Wk 3 Wednesday Thursday Friday
P3 2A/2B   3A, 2/3B
P4   1A/1B PA/PB


Wk 4 Wednesday Thursday Friday
P2 5B/5G 6B/6G  
P3   4B/4G  


Reading Strategies are “taught not caught”.

As we know from our FSiR training, decoding and comprehension strategies need to be explicitly taught in both whole-class and small group lessons.Our FSiR “Reading Resource Book” (also downloadable here) unpacks each of these teaching practices (pages 123-130) and provides a wealth of resources (from p133, and on the disc) to support implementation. Every day, it is expected that modelled, shared and guided use of decoding and comprehension strategies is occurring in every classroom.

Reading procedures








Last week I emailed out the “Request for Apps” form. Please return ASAP so that we can start updating iPads. Free Technology for Teachers is a blog worth subscribing to. Or follow them on Facebook and get a daily dose of innovative (but real-life, classroom) ideas.

And while you’re getting started – have a read of this article, Are You Ready for iPads in Your School?

Bookwork PolicyBookwork

How are you going with introducing students to our Bookwork Policy? To ensure students understand our expectations, you will need to:

  • Explain: how and why
  • Model/demonstrate
  • Guide and support
  • Provide feedback

For some students, these routines will come easily. Others will require more support – and praise.

Smart Copying Resource

‘Open Education’ is an international movement about making educational resources freely and openly available for educators and students to use, modify and share for teaching and learning.

‘Free for education’ resources allow educators and students to freely copy and use resources for educational purposes. Some permit modifications and sharing. You will need to check the licence terms on each site/resource. What it means for you? … the use of resources without copyright concerns.

More information about how to use OER resources effectively can be found here:

Professional Development

More and more, professional development is occurring online. EQ uses OneChannel extensively for web conferences. If you’ve never tried it, now is the time, with so many brilliant topics being covered this month. Even better, one of you can sign up and a group get together and engage with the conference on an IWB. Whilst interaction with the session is best, all session are recorded and accessible in the learning place.

Contemporary Practice Resource web conference programs

To view and register for any of the web conferences mentioned below please visit the studio:

Fun Phonics with apps (Prep – 1)  This session will unpack the teaching idea Fun Phonics with apps, focusing on phonemic awareness during rotational group activities. Thurs 13 Feb 3:13 – 4:15pm

Warm up with number fact apps (3-5) This session will unpack the teaching idea Warm up with number fact apps, designed for years 3 -5. You will explore how students can develop mathematical fluency , focusing on number facts as a lesson warm up activity. Tues. 18 Feb       4:00 – 4:45pm

Apps to develop maths concepts (6-7) This session will unpack the teaching idea Develop fluency in mathematics concepts with apps, designed for years 6 – 7. You will explore how students can develop mathematical fluency during rotational group activities. Thurs. 27 Feb 8:00– 8:30am

edStudio Digital Portfolio series  This three part series will focus on using edStudio to create student digital portfolios.  Digital portfolios can be used to provide authentic evidence of learning, set and monitor learning goals, collect assessment, reflect on progress and celebrate successes.

  • Create and develop layout- adding basic components Wed.  19 Feb, 8:00 -8:30am
  • Adding resources and media  Wed. 26 Feb, 8:00 – 8:30am
  • Adding interactive components  Wed. 05 Mar, 8.00 – 8.30am

 iPad Digital Portfolio series This three part series which will focus on using iPads to create Digital portfolios. 

  • Create and develop: setting up a Digital Portfolio using Book Creator free app.Fri. 21 Feb 8.00 – 8.30am
  • Adding images: adding creativity to images by creating collages, comics and special effects. These images can then be added to a Digital portfolio. Fri. 28 Feb 8.00 – 8.30am
  • Adding videos: adding creativity to videos by creating talking avatars or video tutorials. These videos can then be added to a Digital portfolio. Fri 7 Mar 8.00 – 8.30am

 Student Blogging series This three part series is on Student Blogging. Blogging provides opportunities for students to develop many skills such as communication, providing and receiving feedback, digital literacy and the ability to demonstrate their understanding and reflect on their own learning.

  • Overview and set up – the session will define blogging and outline the benefits to students’ learning.  You will also have the opportunity to explore how blogging can be used in your context and what to do for your students to start blogging in the Student Space in the Learning Place. Tues. 11 Mar 4.00 – 4.30pm
  • Work flow and commenting – further explore the use of blogging in the classroom by outlining work flow options. There will also be a focus on commenting on blogs where peers can give and receive feedback. Tues. 18 Mar 4.00 – 4.30pm
  • Create a class blog using edStudio discussion – outlines how to set up a class blog using the discussion in edStudio. Tues  25 Mar 4.00 – 4.30pm

 Virtual Poster series A three part series on Virtual Posters:  a digital multimodal product allowing students to present their work in a creative format. It allows students to combine text, audio, video, images, and hyperlinks.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint - Learn to create virtual posters using Microsoft PowerPoint. Fri. 14 March 8.00 – 8.30am
  • iPad apps – Learn to create virtual posters using a range of iPad apps. Fri. 21 March 8.00 – 8.30am
  • Web tools – Learn how to create a virtual poster using web tools such as edStudio and Glogster EDU. Fri. 28 March 8.00 – 8.30am

Virtual classrooms for 2014: these sessions were run on the PDD, but have been recorded and are still accessible. Virtual Classrooms are private, secure eLearn (Blackboard) spaces which teachers create to support learning. A Virtual Classroom enables teachers to present curriculum concepts and understandings in a blended model (rather than just as individual learning objects or activities) and allows students to access the content from home. It also enables students to collaborate and communicate in a safe environment via blogs, wikis, journals and forums.
Part 1 – examples of virtual classrooms,  how they can be used and how to create your own virtual classroom.
Part 2 -  Adding menu navigation to content areas;  Uploading a file to a content area; Adding Learning Place resources to a content area
Part 3 – Personalising your eLearn environment; Creating and using blogs and wikis

Thought for the Week

“Even if you think you’re doing well and have it all figured out, there is a voice you will always inevitably hear at some point which nags at you and says “but wait…” Don’t ever dismiss it, listen to what it has to say. Life will never be close enough to perfect, and listening to that voice means stepping outside of yourself and considering your own wrongdoings and flaws.”  ― Ashly Lorenzana

Reflective teaching: Exploring our own classroom practice: (adapted from article by Julie Tice: in Teaching English)

Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works – a process of self-observation and self-evaluation. By analysing and evaluating this information, we identify and explore our own practices and underlying beliefs. This can then lead to changes and improvements in our teaching.

Reflective teaching is a means of professional development which begins in our classroom.

Why it is important
Many teachers already think about their teaching and talk to colleagues about it too. However, reflective teaching implies a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analysing our thoughts and observations, as well as those of our students, and then going on to making changes.

Beginning the process of reflection
You may begin a process of reflection in response to a particular problem, or simply as a way of finding out more about your teaching. You may decide to focus on a particular learning area, or look at a feature of your teaching.

The first step is to gather information about what happens in the class. Here are some different ways of doing this:                                                                                       

  • Teacher diary 
    This is the easiest way to begin a process of reflection since it is purely personal. After each lesson you write in a notebook about what happened. You may also describe your own reactions and feelings and those you observed on the part of the students. You are likely to begin to pose questions about what you have observed. Diary writing does require a certain discipline in taking the time to do it on a regular basis.                                     
  • Peer observation
    Invite a colleague to come into your class to collect information about your lesson. This may be with a simple observation task or through note taking. This will relate back to the area you have identified to reflect upon.                                                                 
  • Recording lessons
    Video recordings of lessons can provide very useful information for reflection. You may do things in class you are not aware of or there may be things happening in the class that as the teacher you do not normally see.  Your iPad is the perfect tool to achieve this.   
  • Student feedback
    You can also ask your students what they think about what goes on in the classroom. Their opinions and perceptions can add a different and valuable perspective. This can be done with simple questionnaires or learning diaries.

What to do next
Once you have some information recorded about what goes on in your classroom, what do you do?

  • Think: You may have noticed patterns occurring in your teaching through your observation. You may also have noticed things that you were previously unaware of. You may have been surprised by some of your students’ feedback. You may already have ideas for changes to implement.                                                                                      
  • Talk: Just by talking about what you have discovered – to a supportive colleague or even a friend – you may be able to come up with some ideas for how to do things differently. If you have colleagues who also wish to develop their teaching using reflection as a tool, you can meet to discuss issues. Discussion can be based around scenarios from your own classes.
  • Read: You may decide that you need to find out more about a certain area. There are plenty of websites for teachers where you can find useful teaching ideas, or more academic articles.
  • Ask: Pose questions to websites, colleagues, your HOD to get ideas from others.

Reflective teaching is a cyclical process, because once you start to implement changes, then the reflective and evaluative cycle begins again.

What are you doing? Why are you doing it? How effective is it? How are the students responding? How can you do it better?

As a result of your reflection you may decide to do something in a different way, or you may just decide that what you are doing is the best way. And that is what professional development is all about.

Kind regardsSignature



“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit” (Truman)

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