Mr Ideal, or Mr Wright?

My favourite teacher was a bloke called Mr Wright. He was my grade 5 teacher. I have always gone through my life with this image of him being my favourite or ideal teacher and now that I am actually put in a position to talk about why he is my ideal teacher I find myself battling a little bit to explain why I liked him so much. I only remember bits and pieces of his class so I guess I can talk about those.  He read the newspaper a lot to us, I guess in a way he kept us focused on real issues and in my eyes he seemed to be teaching us important stuff. There was a regular competitive side to his class, lots of student vs student stuff, top of the class etc. Something that I enjoyed participating in, but now would not emulate. It is funny that the some of things that I enjoyed him for I  would never replicate in my own class.

The article made me think a little bit about perceptions. The fact that pre-service teachers though that personality was a more important attribute than subject knowledge is very interesting. This could be due to the pre-service teachers just relying heavily on their own experiences of teachers (most likely as a student) and rememering their favourite teachers. It was probably the teachers personality that made them appealing in the first place and not necessarily how much they knew.
Content knowledge started to be of increased importance to teachers probably as they were exposed to the reality and pressure of classroom teaching perhaps they found they needed more than their bubbly personalities to help them get through the day.
I definitely think that content knowledge is important but I can’t help but think that somehow pre-service teachers might be onto something that some teachers forget once they are in the everyday hustle and bustle of the classroom.  Respectful relationships are very important and to an extent personality allows positive relationships to occur. Specific content knowledge is important but perhaps the most important knowledge for a teacher to have is where their students are at (in relation to content) ,where they need to get to and how to help them get there.

Reading, Note taking and referencing

After reading about reading I reflected that if I have been asked to read something I generally do the skim and scan technique and highlight important parts but if it something I have chosen I guess I have usually already assessed it as worthy to read so I generally read from start to finish.

I tried some of the techniques that were recommended and I think the are useful. Scheduling time is important. I also think that reading is like lots of things in life, the more you practice the better you will get. So I guess I will just make sure I am practicing reading and will work out what works best for me.

In terms of note taking I have never been a huge note taker which is something that I will have to get better at. I guess with increased amounts of reading, good quality notes may become more important as my ability to recall information and remember where it came from will be tested. I use Evernote quite a bit in my work and think that it could also come in handy when keeping notes on this course.

In terms of referencing I have always though of as a tedious task despite being fully aware of the necessity of it. End Note is on my to-do list as it seems as if it would make  the process of referencing easier.

In terms of whether or not people should cite Wikipedia as a reference I think it most cases it should be avoided as scholarly texts and articles should really be where ideas are generated for assignment work.  Karissa suggested that one of the only times you may use it is if you were writing about the reliability of online sources. I tend to agree with her. What about a blog post? Can you reference that? What about a text message? Can you reference what your butcher said to you last week? Or is that just bordering on ridiculous?

Thanks very much for reading. You have been very kind.

Hume Article

This post includes my reflections an article on reflective journal writing and the benefits that this writing can bring to learning. You can access the article here: Hume


Reflecting on Reflecting:
I thought of a couple of different things whilst reading this article. Firstly that it linked with other things I have read about good teaching and learning and namely that is that the best teachers often think about the impact that they are having on their students. This can only happen upon careful purposeful reflection.  I also am starting to see that the ability to be able to carefully and effectively reflect on my own practice is something that is going to form a big part of this module, subject and indeed course.
I appreciated the Shulman diagram as this might give me more purposeful, directed reflection in the future.  I believe I am probably going to have be a little more disciplined when it comes my reflections. I think that the majority of the reflection I do currently happens in my head and is not necessarily written down. Recording it probably gives me a chance to get a little more purpose to it and directs my practice in the future.
I will have to disciplined and allocate time to record my reflections, I think 10 minutes a day is doable. I guess as Hume suggests though quality reflection is important and more important than quantity. As they became more competent with reflective writing they started to be less frequent but more in depth, quality reflections. Hopefully I can develop my own ability to effectively reflect and start to pump out some quality work.

Loughan Article: My Reflections

This is my response to an article written by John Loughlan . You can access the article here: Loughlan

I think a lot of what was written in the article made sense to me. I think that effective reflective practice is an essential part of learning as much as I can from my own practice.

It is true that we need to be aware of and question our own underlying assumptions or the assumptions of our students that may be in play in the teaching and learning environment. As I was reading the aritcle the article it made me think of a quote “we dont see the world as it really is, we see it as we are. At times we need see ourselves, our classrooms and our practice through another lens (frrame and reframe) and anaylse and adapt our practice accordingly to new light that these alternative lens shine on a situation. Wow I feel like that is a bit wordy, but it makes sense to me.


Reading this aritcle also made me think of the power of reflection to the actual learners themselves, not student teachers but the students I teach. While we consistently engage in ‘reflection’ activities with students, perhaps the power and effectiveness of this may have gone understated in the past.

Digital Learning Day!

Very much looking forward to Thursday’s Digital Learning Day. It should be an excellent opportunity for us to get together and discuss many ideas relating to tech use in our school and come up with  concrete plans for our future direction. I am starting to compile just a few resources for the day. A few people have asked about what we will need to bring.  You will need your laptop and iPad (Hopefully all of our stuff connects OK! ) and most importantly a very open mind. I will add ideas to this post as they develop and perhaps we can even add stuff to this post on the day. A way of keeping all of the information together. I have an interactive picture of Flori below with a few important links. Just hover over his fingers to find out info about the link we will be talking about some of them on the day.




We will start at 8:45am have breaks when we need to and hopefully get a fair bit done. We will not be following a strict agenda but it will be more of a participant driven affair, with each of us sharing ideas and compiling them together into a coherent plan. We do have a rough outline of where we will be going throughout the day though:

  • Why are we here?
  • Taking the E out of E learning
  • Aims for the day?
  • PD Document, Skills checklist for teachers
  • Skills for students plan
  • BYOD Future direction= Happy with device selection? documentation, essential apps list.
  • Detailed look at class and student blogs.
  • “Leveraging digital” audit document.
  • Detailed look at a few “key apps”-Try to focus on creation apps (vs content apps) What can we introduce to our section?
  • Web tools exploration- Edustar Cards, edustar image.

Evidence: Let’s make it easy!

We have heard a lot over the last few weeks about collecting evidence of learning and achievement in our classrooms. I want to spend a little bit of time explaining how technology can help in collecting evidence. In our school we all Professional Development folders in which we need to keep various forms of evidence of our teaching. While the uploading of documents every time can seem like a cumbersome task there are ways around this that can make the process as painless as possible. I utilise Evernote to make it easy for me to upload documents from any device, anytime, anywhere. Also the possibilities of using Google tools to help collect evidence are virtually limitless. You could use Google to complete pre and post testing, surveying your class about your teaching and anything else you want to collect information on.

I will be going through skills like

  • Basic uploading of documents.
  • Creating an evernote account and notebooks and linking notebooks to a folder online
  • Logging in to your google account
  • Creating google forms, sharing the form and collecting responses.


If you have any questions, concerns or comments please leave a comment in the comments section below. Or even easier to is just to write your thoughts on the wall by adding a sticky note below.




From Surface to Deep Learning…

Our school is very excited to be involved in the new pedagogies for deep learning project that 1000 schools worldwide are participating in. In an nutshell the project is aiming to find a way a diffrent approach to teavhing and learning that raises achievement by ensuring that students are engaged in authentic purooseful learning projects. The website is here if you would like to more.

I came across this video form Scott Macould presentation at TED event that summarises how technology can provide an avenue to deep learning opportunities. Check it out:

Here is a collection of the resources that we picked up for from the New Pedagogies for Deep learning conference on Monday.


A self assessment form for us to fill in and consider….


Literacy PD: Classroom Libraries

Tonight we will be delving into the world of classroom libraries. This post includes some resources that might be handy for tonight’s meeting. The main thing you will need to do is to record some of your learning using the form that has been created using google forms below, you just have to click on the blue sticky note below. (We are doing our best to save paper!)


samp8819523aa44a73d9Check out this fantastic presentation:


Check out our pinterest page:
Visit Bourchier Primary’s profile on Pinterest.

Here is the Independent reading at Bourchier Street document.


If you would like to view the responses to the survey you can find them here


Our E-Smart Journey

A couple of years ago our school signed up the E-Smart Schools program overseen by the Madeline and Alannah foundation. The program has involved us following a process that has been really great for our school to follow, We started the journey with a thorough audit of our current practices and from this audit we worked out the areas we needed to improve on. Following the audit way back then we established a bit of a to-do list. Included in that initial list were:

  • Forming an E-Smart committee
  • Conducting regular E-Smart meetings
  • Including E-Smart updates in our sections and while staff meetings.

We have come along way since the initial planning stage of the program. Two years on and we feel as a whole school we have a much better direction in terms of a coherent whole school approach to teaching kids (and the community) about staying safe online. As a result of the program we now have a number of initiatives in practice in our school. Some of the items that have been implemented as a result of our E-Smart program include:

  • Establishment of an E-Smart policy
  • Updated Internet and email policy
  • Updated enrollment forms-to include sections about the responsible use of technology
  • New whole school behavior/incident tracking system.
  • The introduction of ‘Cyber Safety’ Shows for our student shows.
  • A P-6 curriculum document that outlines the explicit teaching of cyber safety behaviours
  • Regular professional development for teachers (from both internal and external providers)
  • Information sessions for parents and students from the same providers.
  • Regular presentations not just from ACMA’s outreach program but also from local police (cyber crime unit) to share information with our students.
  • Regular E-Smart meetings and updates
  • A parent communication program where they get regular cyber safety tips and updates via email and the school newsletter.

We are very proud of how far we have come as a school but we are also aware that the technology is changing rapidly and will continue to do so. We know that we have to continue to learn about new online technologies and more importantly how people use these technologies. Overall, we know that the internet is a fantastic tool and we want to encourage our students to use it for the many positive things it has going for it .

Grammar does matter!

Fresh off the heels of a regional PD our schools literacy team returned with lots of information about the teaching of grammar in a primary classroom.

At first we closely looked at the Ausvels curriculum to familiarize ourselves with all the grammar components of the curriculum. In teams we had a healthy discussion on what needed to be taught at each level.

The team also showed us a few ideas for introducing grammar realted topics to our classes and ways to improve their sentence writing.

We talked about subjects, verbs, simple sentences, complex sentences. Please check out the presentation below for details on what was covered in the session.

Shepparton Grammar PPT by gjdarma


The team showed us quite a few classroom games and activities that re-inforce the teaching of grammar in the primary classroom. Some of these included the (Break- sentence) down language experience where you think of a thing like a person or an animal then write a small list of adjectives, places or settings and actions. The students can then play around with these words to create sentences. The example we used in the staff room was frogs.

Adjectives- Croaky, jumpy, smelly, large

Settings- Swamp, pond, lilypad

Actions- Vigorously,

Obviously your list you create would be dependent on the age group of your students and their abilities. This activity could be varied in a number of ways.

Another activity we had was ABC writing. This is to get students thinking about different ways of starting their sentences. We took a familiar fairy tale, like Cinderella and had to then re-write the fairy tale starting each sentence with a new letter of the alphabet. For example the first word of the first sentence started with an a, nest sentence b and so on. I think this a clever idea and something I will be using in my classroom.

A lot of the ideas in the PD came from this document a language strategies document. Check it out below: